Perian, I agree that the discussion between libraries, archives and museums needs to move beyond sharing materials for exhibitions, and quibbling about professional practices (or the perceive lack thereof!). The former is an important step along the way, but I’d hope that we can eventually pull a little closer; the latter might just be chalked off as a measure of expressing the frustration that comes along with any attempt to collaborate.
I’ve just recently re-cap’d my experience at both RBMS and an earlier RLG event about LAM collaboration on hangingtogether, since we’re gearing up for a big push to investigate collaborative models across cultural heritage domains. We’ll investigate in 5 campus (and campus-like) environments how libraries, archives and museums are currently collaborating, and what next steps to deepen their relationship they could take. We’ve hired Diane Zorich to help us write a final report. If you’re interested in learning more, check out http://hangingtogether.org/?p=240 and http://hangingtogether.org/?p=242.
Thanks so much for those links, Gunter. I’ve been in a cave the past few weeks and haven’t kept up on my blog reading.
One of the things fueling my frustration with this discussion is that I’m currently deeply involved with a project at the Magnes to integrate our library, archive, and museum information into one coherent system. Our current collection management system doesn’t look like it will cut it, so we’re turning our eye on another package, IDEA, as a possible solution. Thus far, it looks incredibly promising, but we have a lot to consider before making any decisions.
In addition to the tools, we’re examining our professional practices with a fine-toothed comb. This has been causing some discomfort amongst some staff, but I think people are starting to catch on to the advantages of an integrated system. Fortunately, at least in this case, the library has been neglected for years, so updating or creating practices there is a simple task.
I think the Magnes will be a great case study for ALM integration – if we can survive it!
I was actually at the RBMS conference you mention, one of several “emerging” professionals who received scholarships. I shared some of your disappointment in how convergence was being represented there, and was glad I had the opportunity to disabuse some of these notions.
Just as you are concerned with museums being painted with a broad brush, I’d look carefully about who’s talking here and not generalize to *all* librarians and archivists. The library community is huge and range between the various poles is significant. I think this is one of the problems with the name calling among LAMS – there are many individuals who are probably closer together than they realize.
As noted during the opening plenary, part of the reasons for the scholarships was was because “the average age of attendees in previous years was: ‘dead.'” I’m not sure how much longer they will be offering the scholarships, but you might consider applying to see for yourself. One of the ways to find understanding is for us to mingle more and not just peer over our respective fences.
Thanks for your feedback. Why am I not surprised you were at that conference? I was definitely hoping that persons with a library or archive background would chime in here. As I stated, I certainly hope that the perceptions I addressed were not ubiquitous to the field. My major concern is how these collaborations are being presented by a library group on a national scale, and if it was fair to expect that group was representative of the field. Of course it won’t represent everyone, but I would be interested to know about large, well-respected groups taking a different approach (much like that which Gunter referenced <- please don't kill me for the etymology of that sentence!).