Back in the days before iPods, there was a program called Desert Island Discs. The concept was that you were stranded on a desert island and had to choose only eight albums or CD’s to listen to forever.
Well, I am working a on a project I call Desert Island Reference. In a world where the Internet is the preferred method of beginning any reference search, followed by databases and then print sources, I am trying to plan a small and useful core print reference collection for cruise ship libraries.
Cruise ships sometimes have slow or limited Internet access. Therefore, it is important to have 25-50 volumes on hand to help Librarians answer a wide range of general reference questions. I know I need an almanac, atlas, biographical dictionary and single volume encyclopedia, regular dictionary, thesaurus and Leonard Maltin’s movie guide.
What would you put in your Desert Island Reference collection?
Here’s the thing. I worked in libraries and then I worked in advertising for over a decade and now I am a bona fide librarian working in a corporate setting. Corporations have money that they use to buy media or product placement to reach their particular niche target markets.
Libraries – public and academic – draw unique demographics. Libraries tend to have a lot of space that can be utilized for ads as well as opportunities for cross promotion or product placement. How about the Amazon Kindle Best Seller Corner? Neighborhood Movie Night courtesy of Sony Pictures? Apple Music Studio?
I know that librarians have balked in the past about services that are self sustaining (like the Denver Public Library Digital Collections selling prints) and that many stipulations are placed on federal, state and locally funded entities like libraries forbidding certain types of funding sources and behavior. However, when the typical government funding sources are no longer available, can these parameters persist?
This idea would help advertising agencies too. They are struggling to navigate the new economy the same way that libraries are, albeit with flashier cars and better clothes. Let’s get over ourselves already and do something to keep libraries relevant. Thanks Andy!
“The Social Networks and Archival Context Project (SNAC) will address the ongoing challenge of transforming description of and improving access to primary humanities resources through the use of advanced technologies.”
A collaboration between the University of Virginia, UC Berkeley and the California Digital Library, the SNAC project seems an intriguing link between existing EAD-encoded finding aids and creating context, especially on the lives of people documented in various sources. Made possible by a variety of data contributors as well as the new standard EAC-CPF, this project and resulting prototypes and open source solutions will change the face of archival description. Much more information here.