I'm starting #blogjune with a post I drafted in August 2010, but never quite finished or published. I am a notoriously slow and non-prolific blogger. Recovering these lost posts is not just an easy way of knocking off a post - because it's not, there was a reason why the posts weren't quite finished in the first place. The other reason is that the self-censor in this blog has grown too strong and I need to put him back in his place.
It’s interesting how blogging works. I can spend hours on a post, drafting and redrafting and editing it, and it will appear to have no impact whatsoever. Then a different post, such as the one I wrote last year called reflection on KM and libraries in law firms will have a much bigger impact, even though I may have only spent 30 minutes on it. I’ve been meaning to write a follow up to that post for well over a year. For some reason it’s been difficult to gather my thoughts. These are difficult issues and I know it’s likely I’ll trip up somewhere. But I don’t want this to deter me.
The post wasn’t intended to be a public rebuke to KM, I hardly imagined that anyone in KM would read it. My intention was to record my experience, so that librarians entering employment in a law firm would be forewarned. But what actually happened with V Mary Abraham noticing the post and generating a discussion amongst KM and librarian bloggers, so more insightful than what I had initially planned for the post.
What I learned from the discussion which followed is to think beyond the toxic situation I was working in, and engage with KM people (including following more of their blogs and attending a KM conference), so I can see where they are coming from.
It's the undefinedness of some KM roles which make some librarians uncomfortable, especially in environments which are becoming increasingly difficult for librarians - such as law firms and government departments. Now I’m experiencing the other side of this issue. My new position is extremely unbound from the library. I look at parts of my new job - particularly creating content in wikis and marketing - and I feel almost as close to KM as to libraries.
It’s a very interesting situation, two different professions overlapping in certain places - one old and the other new. I don’t agree with the notion that KM is the successor to librarianship. Librarians are in a very fluid situation right now. We are way past “change or die”. I can see librarians incorporating more ideas from outside the profession, including KM. This is adaptive not adversarial. I wonder if the boundaries between the two professions will blur until there’s something new, something we don’t even have a name for yet.
Of course there will continue to be differences. For example, I must confess, I really don’t get cataloguing. Despite a terrifying unit in Cataloguing at library school, I really don’t understand their arcane work. If that makes me a bad librarian, then that’s what I am. The differences between KM and my work seem minor in comparison, but despite all this, I value cataloguers as colleagues.
I’m definitely not saying that one profession is going to consume the other. I just wonder if the differences are becoming more blurry and indefinite.