Audrey Fenner

Librarians view themselves as information professionals. How do they view information? In the past, librarians have busied themselves most with the communication or transmittal stage of the information process. Others do the collecting and organizing of information writers, artists, and publishers, for example. Librarians present this gathered content and make it available. While a librarian must be aware of content, knowing what it is and where to find it, his or her chief concern is with the presentation of content, not with its production.
At present librarians are keenly interested in the format in which information appears, and with its means of presentation. Many library conferences and journal articles focus on the characteristics of print versus electronic formats, or discuss commercial enterprises such as content mediators that librarians fear may encroach on territory they consider their own.

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  1. shinichi Post author

    Placing Value on Information

    by Audrey Fenner

    Library Philosophy and Practice Vol. 4, No. 2 (Spring 2002)

    http://www.webpages.uidaho.edu/~mbolin/fenner.html

    In the literature of library science there is much discussion of value-added information services. Both librarians and their clients have become concerned about the glut of information, asking how to eliminate needless and worthless data in the search for appropriate content. For library users, there are very real barriers to accessing, analyzing, and applying information, and librarians add value to information whenever they reduce the barriers to it. Value is added in easing the finding of the most appropriate, complete source of information, and in easing connections with information. Value is also added in easing the analysis and processing of information, and in facilitating its application. Consultants of all sorts know this well, and it is plain to see how much value our society places on providing hand-holding and turn-key solutions.

    For all their concern with providing information access, giving good service to users, and adding value, librarians are hampered by the fact that information cannot yet be quantified and valued in any measurable way. Each element of information-handling requires its own accounting: acquiring information, presenting information, analyzing information, and so on. What is the relationship between the expense incurred in collecting information and the value of that information? This is a troublesome question for librarians. They must plan for the future, justifying increasing expenditures to their funding agencies, in the absence of a meaningful scheme to measure the value of information.

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