Process control for customer service

INN331 – Management Issues for Information Professionals

WEEK SIX: Designing career diversification.


The short piece by Chase is interesting for two reasons: first, it proposes integration into one discipline of the findings from another; and secondly, it proposes a reversal of the currently fashionable overemphasis on empirically measurable correlations suggesting cause and effect.

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Revelling in reference: Reflection and references

INN332 – Information Retrieval

Assignment INN332.1

Content for this page relates to a university assignment which will not be finalised until 6 April 2014. It will make no sense to most readers.

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Eclipsing liberal education with determinism

INN331 – Management Issues for Information Professionals

WEEK FIVE: Reading notes.


The readings this week seem curiously entangled with INN332, whose project appears to be to create more self-aware library drones who can actually listen to information seeker requests rather than shut them out or superimpose preconceived notions.

My response to the risible attempts at engineering systematic approaches to substitute for generally lousy customer service skills and very poor liberal education seems appropriate for INN331 readings also.

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A little bit of humanity(ies) in the library?

INN332 – Information Retrieval

WEEK FIVE: Dilemma of education?.


My most immediate reaction to the required reading was one of irritated exasperation with the academic process. All students are required, by threat of losing marks, to reference all citations in a specific manner. Offering two of three readings by direct link to online repositories without also resolving the conflict between the official referencing guidelines and the sources of the papers, strikes me as an unnecessary complicating factor. Or as just plain sloppy thinking. My reaction may seem harsh, but this is a library and information science (LIS) subject. And about reference interviews at that!

The one adequately referenced article, by Ross & Dewdney came as a pleasant surprise. It is a no-nonsense reminder to librarians that their customers aren’t fooled by ‘negative closure’, which might be more accurately termed as bad customer service, or just ill-tempered personal self-indulgence.

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Managing the impossible

INN331 – Management Issues for Information Professionals

WEEK FOUR: Reading discussion.

This post is a response to a university pre-class discussion prep on two readings, one on change management and one on innovation management, with three highlights for each.


The readings chosen are Drucker and Hamel.

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Gullibility 2.0 for degree 2.0

INN332 – Information Retrieval

WEEK FOUR: Liturgy on social media technology.


Trying to make sense of readings that attempt to evangelise the marketing term ‘web 2.0’ re-tasked as ‘library 2.0’ for an LIS agenda in the QUT IT Master’s programme is no easy task. The information and knowledge management literature is quite short on history and critical analysis.
However, it is possible to trace the 2.0 terminology to decade-old Silicon Valley snake oil, and its evolution into library 2.0 as disappointingly vacuous nonsense from which the only beneficiaries are software vendors and those academics who publish papers about the topic.

So how did the conflation of web 2.0 with library 2.0 come about?

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Rationalisations for inertia

INN332 – Information Retrieval

WEEK FOUR: Liturgy on social media technology.


The Whatley & Collard paper reiterates information I am already acquainted with via INN533: that library users typically don’t know how to use search tools to their best advantage. So, OK. What can be done about it? Whatley & Collard don’t really have any revelatory insights, apparently implying only that reference librarians are needed to explain stuff to idiots. Not a terribly sophisticated proposition.

It seems that adding detailed help files and how-tos is not a preferred option, even if it seems the most obvious one to me, and certainly my preferred option; I’s much rather read written instructions on using search engines than having to wait for a reference librarian to be available and on my wavelength. But I suppose I’m in a minority here.

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The Stanford prison experiment revisited

INN331 – Management Issues for Information Professionals

WEEK THREE: Lecture tangent on manipulating staff.

This comment relates to a university lecture and may not make any sense to anyone who did not attend that lecture.


About 20 years ago I participated in a corporate change management and team building ‘retreat’ during which we played a limited version of the 1971 Stanford Prison Experiment.

Our game was devoid of props like prison cells or handcuffs, and we were divided into ‘patricians’ and plebeians’, with the patricians being encouraged to abuse and bully the plebeians into accomplishing menial tasks in their service.

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Cautionary tales: Organisational culture

INN331 – Management Issues for Information Professionals

WEEK THREE: Gauging theory on culture without cultural theory.


Overall the required reading seemed like a good start in introducing the idea of organisational culture as both ‘caused’ by something, and therefore open to change by something. The trick is not to become too wedded to fixed models or approaches.

Notable by its absence in considering organisational culture was any reference to cultural theory as discussed in social sciences, particularly in relation to negotiation of meaning, the ‘other’, normality and deviance, and political constraints. As the Fard, Rostami & Taghiloo reading made clear to me, perspectives are coloured heavily by cultural and political context.

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Understanding political economy is vital!

INN332 – Information Retrieval

WEEK TWO: Reflection on agendas and ends.



This is a reflection of the kind IT43 curriculum designers seem to be so fond of in setting assessment items. Except that this is a critical reflection about the curriculum itself. It concludes that the curriculum is deficient by not being honest about the ends of private and public sector organisations, and that the difficulty of independently finding information about the dynamics of the Australian public sector indicate a lacuna that academic researchers and curriculum designers ought to fill.

The ideas and reasoning presented here have been brewing for a while, and aren’t unique to INN332.

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