Journalism, Librarianship, and Astrophysics by ProQuest


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									info pro                                                                                                                       MARY ELLEN BATES

    Librarianship,                                                           Rocky Mountain News shortly before it folded, lamenting the

    and Astrophysics                                                         fact that, since 2002, the Rocky and The Denver Post had lost
                                                                             $100 million in classified advertising revenue, due largely to
                                                                             craigslist. Just as newspapers unable to adapt to the pressures of
                                                                             the web are imploding, journalists who define themselves by
                                                                             what they do now rather than by the skills and talents they have
            recently attended the annual conference of the Special           will find the job market challenging.

     i     Libraries Association (SLA). The closing session, a panel
           discussion moderated by Judy Woodruff, was particularly
     timely with its combination of content creators and users.
                                                                                The other two panelists at the SLA session—John R. Patrick,
                                                                             internet industry big-thinker, and Neil deGrasse Tyson, the
                                                                             country’s most entertaining astrophysicist—offered the
         Robyn Meredith, senior editor at Forbes, expressed her con-         perspectives of information users. The seeming overabundance
     cerns about the future of her profession. I heard the echoes of         of data isn’t the problem as much as it is developing tools to sift
     info pros and librarians everywhere: “We are journalists                out what is relevant for us. The value of blogs is that they are
     because we were trained in journalism,” she said, which                 created by people who are sifting through data and highlighting
     sounded frighteningly like me in the 1980s, stamping my foot            what’s most relevant to them.
     and saying, “We are librarians because we have a Master of                 Tyson pointed to the 4GB of data streaming to us from the
     Library Science degree.”                                                Hubble Space Telescope every day. There is an office devoted
         As SLA examines what info pros are valued for within their          solely to taking that information and making it accessible to the
     organizations, it has become clear that the value of info pros is       public, in the forms of images, videos, educational resources, and
     our ability to provide strategic information when, where, and           multimedia displays. And, he suggested, this is the role of info
     how it is needed. It’s not what we know or what we do with              pros—to provide guidance in 
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