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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The opaque layer of strategic planning

INN331 – Management Issues for Information Professionals

WEEK TWO: Reflections on a tedious lecture.


Sitting in yet another lecture dominated by yet another story about what a dedicated and committed bunch of professionals librarians are, and how inclusive their strategic planning is, I took to wondering how it was that no one was willing to talk about the crux of the planning process: money.

I could not help but imagine the process for the library. The senior bureaucrat in charge decided on a budget and strategic direction well ahead of any library executive ever getting a chance to articulate any plan at all.

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Trivialising an occupation prevents its professional status

INN332 – Information Retrieval

Reading notes on ‘fluffy’ wishful thinking.

The Missingham paper, ‘Library and information science: Skills for twenty-first century professionals’ is, unfortunately another example of the fluffy, non-specific talk surrounding skills librarians ‘need in the future’.

The reality is that these skills might indeed have been needed ‘in the future’ if the paper had been written in the 1990s. Being computer illiterate and IT-phobic today is a disqualification from being recognised as any kind of professional, but particularly in an information environment.

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Empty rhetoric undermines professional ambitions

INN332 – Information Retrieval

Reading notes on LIS pretensions.

The Partridge & Hallam paper set as a reading for week one is now ten years old, and surely superseded by Partridge’s more recent work, this time as a professor, but plugging the same message with Yates, based on some new survey work.

The motivation behind the initial paper is the same as for the one following eight years later: justifying an academic discipline by seeking to tie it to the fortunes of a public sector vocation. And it is a vocation, not yet the profession librarians and academics would like it to be for the sake of their own pay packets and career prospects.

Why not a profession?

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A fragmented landscape
of theory and practice

INN533 – Information Organisation

Final reflections on INN533 journal activities and the unit as a whole.

A common thread running through the INN533 journal activities is the concept of ‘users’, whose needs, we are told, should supersede all other considerations (see, for example, Batley, 2005, p. 24). However, my week two and four journal activities, featuring the New York Museum of Modern Art and various city councils around Australia, seemed to suggest these institutions completely ignored the user mantra. They structured access to their online data in ways that pre-supposed expertise in art, or knowledge of council administrative and revenue-raising priorities.

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of theory and practice”