BIBLIOCRACY

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Daniel Caron: CLA 2012 Speech Now Available

Well, it’s finally out there - Daniel Caron’s now-infamous CLA 2012 keynote speech is now available on LAC’s website. You may recall a general susurration of incredulity and faintly-suppressed outrage among members of the library and archival communities when this speech was delivered back in June - the Twitter feeds from that morning were especially memorable, with even the more laid-back and optimistic librarians trying desperately to make sense of it all. Among the more memorable quotes:

  • "…[W]hen information is encoded digitally, it is liberated from its container. Importantly, once information is liberated from its container, it undergoes what I would refer to as a phase transition, turning from something that is solid to something that is much more fluid in nature.” (File formats, anyone? No?)
  • "Now that the digital landscape has arrived, I believe we need to ask ourselves a fundamental question: are the time-honoured methods that were appropriate for an analogue world transferable to the digital realm?" (What is this, 1996?)
  • "More than ever, individuals are inserting themselves as active participants into the communications circuit that disperses information and knowledge. Effectively, this process unleashes uncontrollable forces and as a consequence brings about unanticipated results." (Horrors! It’s the E-pocalypse!)
  • "To use an analogy, although the milkman has stopped making home deliveries, people are still drinking milk. Similarly, although long-form thinking is giving way to shorter units of interactive discourse, people are reading and creating more texts than ever before.” (What on earth do these two phrases have to do with one another?)
  • "Rather than being the stewards of culture that bring the received wisdom of the ages to the waiting masses, information professionals now need to serve as guides and enablers." (Wow. So much for "know your audience")
  • "Our Twitter account was launched at the end of February and now has over 600 followers…[w]e have integrated the content from our four YouTube channels into a singular departmental channel, organized by themes in order to raise awareness about LAC’s holdings and activities. And our official Facebook account has just been launched." (If these are LAC’s idea of what constitute "modernisation initiatives", we’re in trouble.)
  • "…I would take issue with those allegations that the changes we are now implementing at LAC represent the capricious desires of senior management. On the contrary, changes are driven by the new environment and Canadians’ needs. In addition, the nature of the modernization initiatives was laid out clearly and early in the process with the publication of Shaping our Continuing Memory Collectively: A Representative Documentary Heritage." (This reminds me so much of that one scene in Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy where the Vogons inform Arthur that the plans for demolishing Earth have been on file in the local planning office for some time. Right?)
  • "Finally, to those who would wrap themselves in the Canadian flag while digging in their heels to protect the status quo, I would respond…" (Yes. He actually said that to a room full of librarians.)

I think this speech perfectly encapsulates why the current management culture and organisational direction of LAC are so dangerous. Put on your long-form thinking cap, give it a read, and see for yourself.

  1. bibliocracy-now posted this
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