Monday, March 17, 2008

NZSOE at VALA 2008

Schubert Foo: ‘Going Virtual for Enhanced Library Experience’
VALA 2008 Conference Wednesday 6 February 2008

One of the new terms that Shubert Foo used in his presentation was the notion of ‘information-object’ as ‘info-concierge’.

Foo says on p.2 of his written paper that when the information object is discovered it becomes an info-concierge ‘with the ability to connect the information seeker, to other content, both within and outside the library, or other information seekers. Each information object in the library thus serves as an info-concierge, connecting people to content, people to people, and content to another piece of content. ‘

The concept of concierge has an inherent notion of guarding in it, although the meaning he was keen to use was ‘the opening up’ or ‘letting through to’. Wikipedia (16 March 2008) says that: ‘a concierge is often expected to "achieve the impossible", dealing with any request a guest may have, no matter how strange, relying on an extensive list of personal contacts with various local merchants and service providers.’ I liked this information source concept and it certainly fits with what he writes:

‘An information object, as an info-concierge, connects through various means. These include:
(1) simple hyperlinks within an article [an information object]
(2) putting own content on different platforms [information objects that presents information in a different context] for discovery
(3) ‘push’ information to suggestion for exploration of other related categories of Resources’[1]

The ELIS Pathfinder on Country Information could be seen as an example:

· Hyperlinks point to other sites of country information Content to content
· If this was linked to one of the exporter blogs where the country information has been discussed then this would be Content to People linking
· If within the blog exporters had been commenting on the usefulness of the information in the Pathfinder then this would be People to People linking
· If those exporters then pushed or suggested another information source or website then would be People to content

His implication was of course that the librarian and information professional should be exploiting this ‘info-concierge’ role of information objects.
[1] Foo, Schubert, (2008) paper from VALA Conference, p.16


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