Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Thinking aloud: Learning, taxonomies and the library's role

I've been thinking about Learning, Taxonomies, and the Role of Libraries lately (not necessarily in that particular order). Am involved in discussions and projects to define the roadmap for NLB libraries for the next 5 years (me and many tens of colleagues).

It should be safe for me to write that there will be a press conference on that soon (the 10-year Library 2000 has reached its zenith this year, so NLB will be charting plans for the next 5 years). Until then, I won't say more about the projects being discussed (not that I have a lot to say about them).

But I can use one of Preetam's latest photo travelogue to China as an illustration of one project that I'm thinking about.

I'm referring to his sharing of how the "cross the bridge" noodle came to be named as such. When I read it, I've learnt something new. And he's tagged it (applying a kind of taxonomy if you will).

Where does the library come in?

If the idea I'm trying to define does actualise, the library would play a central role in reframing for people what it means to be learning and being contributors to learning. The learning need not be something formalised. The realisation will be that learning is ubiquitous. And Singaporeans would be "teachers" and "learners" without consciously knowing they are doing it. It's not really developing tools but inculcation of mindsets.

Chances are you can't make heads or tails of what I'm saying here. I have trouble convincing myself it could work too. Things are simply too hazy at this point. Pure day-dreaming on my part.

Or maybe the library doesn't have to do anything 'cos it's already happening with tools like Flickr.com and blogs etc.

Well, see what you make of it. Perhaps you can share some ideas or thoughts on this. To be honest, I really don't have anything concrete and I'm really thinking aloud here.

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  1. the library already has a large database of users and what they've borrowed, and some amazon-like features could be added, like
    book ratings, book reviews, "people who've borrowed this book also borrowed the following". and perhaps allow a user to contact another user, something which amazon doesn't have? who knows, this might even boost the national birth rate ;)

  2. Thanks for comments, Tinkertailor. Hopefully it doesn't boost crime rates also :)

    It's an idea. Still not quite what I'm trying to say, but yes -- a definite possible project to work on, if management can be convinced that it's worth the cost and effort.


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