deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
[personal profile] deborah
Roy Tennant has dashed off the startlingly ignorant "If You Are a Library Sysadmin, You Are Toast". I really hope it was tongue-in-cheek and just missed its mark as far as humor goes.

There's a certain extent to which I think if you are a library sysadmin, you are making poor career choices. If you have that skill set and feel like sitting alone in a basement closet all day interacting with nobody but computers, why are you working in libraries when you could have a real job that pays actual money? (Said the pot to kettle.)

Tennant says:

When I, as just a moderately savvy librarian, can learn maybe five to ten very specific steps and be able to deploy any application I would likely want to deploy, why do I need to talk to my system administrator ever again?


Roy, in this day and age, 90% of what system administrators do is something that you, as a moderately savvy librarian, could figure out how to do. Most systems administrators aren't writing device drivers and patching kernels all day long. But you know what? 90% of what librarians do is something any moderately savvy patron could figure out. 90% of what office administrators do is something any moderately savvy office employee could figure out. You don't have specialized employees because they have access to the supersecret field knowledge that only guild members, with their club handshakes, can discover. You hire specialized employees because in order to have something done well in a time efficient fashion, our society has decided to specialize.

Sure, you could set up an externally hosted ILS, hack Drupal in the cloud all day, store all your data in Amazon S3. And then either:

  1. You will be doing a bad job of managing that information and making sure it is backed up and reliably accessible; you don't have a lot of time because you have your own actual job to do, or

  2. You will be doing a bad job of your own actual job, because you will be too busy making sure that all of your cloud-hosted material is backed up and reliably accessible and managed to actually do the tasks you've been paid to do, or

  3. You will wake up one morning and discover you have become a library sysadmin.


"I can find books and articles myself with Google scholar, what would I ever need a librarian for? LOL your job is in danger!"

Date: 2011-10-18 02:52 pm (UTC)
vass: A sepia-toned line-drawing of a man in naval uniform dancing a hornpipe, his crotch prominent (Default)
From: [personal profile] vass
I have a disaffected librarian friend who has sometimes in her more cynical moments thought that she'll soon be replaced by Google.

Date: 2011-10-18 11:21 pm (UTC)
tahnan: It's pretty much me, really. (Default)
From: [personal profile] tahnan
Yeah, but "I'll soon be replaced by a robot" has been a standard feeling for decades among workers, and for the most part it isn't actually true (probably mostly because of the 10% of everything else that Deborah alludes to in her post).
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