Digital (Dis)Order: Implementing Professional and Organizational Change

Visual Resources Association 26th Annual Conference, San Diego, California, March 15, 2008

Organizer: Maureen Burns, University of California, Irvine


After a long period of stability, visual resources professionals, librarians, and information technologists are experiencing the constant change of a new digital order, or more accurately, disorder. Experts at organizing our physical environment, patrons are no longer walking in the door and prefer to serve themselves from the endless supply of information on the Web. What worked in the analog world may or may not work with the new complexities of digital information. Many are questioning the fundamental nature of their work—unsure of which hat to wear at any given time and who should be wearing it. Although creating common ground between information technology, librarianship, and visual resources, digital disorder has also accentuated differences and created anxiety. What is worth collecting and how should we build collections in the light of Google books and Flickr images? How do we reach and engage patrons? How do we keep up with the explosion of software tools patrons are experimenting with or might need to use pedagogically? Are the services that we provide the same, complementary, or do they differ? How do we candidly assess job differences, including what functions are worth keeping and which might need to be jettisoned? Can we leverage all of our strengths to define a new 21st century information professional? How do we make administrative adjustments without negatively impacting patrons and existing staff? What is the best way to communicate and mobilize for functional collaboration? This panel will explore these tensions and how our knowledge, work, and organizational cultures might be adjusted to implement positive change.


I Don't Want to be a Bouncer at the Digital Party: Roles for 21st century visual resources professionals
Susan Jane Williams, Independent Cataloging and Consulting Services

Warm and Fuzzy Tales of Collaboration at University of California: Mobilizing for Functional Collaboration
Lena Zentall, California Digital Library