Re: [Videolib] Whither Media or What?

From: <ghandman@library.berkeley.edu>
Date: Wed Apr 08 2009 - 08:13:48 PDT

One way of getting around the nomenclature bog is to simply use a
functional title. My card says: Director, Media Resources Center.

I gave up using the L word in my title or in the description of my job to
strangers years ago, after an incident at a dinner party. I was sitting
next to a woman with a huge beehive hairdo and a Jersey accent you could
cut with a chainsaw. She rambled on for a good fifteen minutes about the
glories of her successful son, the doctor. Finally, she asked me what I
did for a living. When I told her I was a librarian, she looked me up and
down with a mixture of profound pity and contempt and said: "Oy! Does
your mother know?"

gary handman

> Great question, Jared. I think both "media" and "librarian" are
> problematic terms:
> - many users tend to think of "media" in terms of mass media , e.g.
> news (that's why I get newspaper related questions referred to me
> from time to time);
> - people don't rent "media" from Netflix or Blockbuster, or download
> "media" from itunes. They rent "videos" and watch movies or download
> "mp3s" and listen to music.
> And if you look up "media" in OED the phrase "media centre" (sic)
> stands alone. Among all the other media-hyphenated phrases it's the
> only one associated with audio-visual media and not mass media, news,
> reporters, etc. It's also, predominately, a US term. I don't think
> it's used elsewhere much, but please correct me if I'm wrong.
>
> "Librarian" carries a lot of baggage for our profession: "the keeper
> or custodian of a library" (OED). And a "library" is meant to be for
> books: "A place set apart to contain books for reading, study, or
> reference" (OED). Unless associated with a certain discipline or
> subject area--such as an ethnomusicology archive or an oral history
> collection--media librarians are defined in terms of what they are
> not: non-book caretakers.
>
> So what instead? AV Archivists? Perhaps, but archivists have a
> different mission, and AV has it's own backlog of issues.
>
> I know that was probably far from helpful, but thanks anyway for
> raising the issue!
>
> John
> <><><><><><><><><><><><><>
> John Vallier
> Head, Distributed Media Services
> University of Washington Libraries
> http://www.lib.washington.edu/media
> http://faculty.washington.edu/vallier
>
>
>
>
> VIDEOLIB is intended to encourage the broad and lively discussion of
> issues relating to the selection, evaluation, acquisition,bibliographic
> control, preservation, and use of current and evolving video formats in
> libraries and related institutions. It is hoped that the list will serve
> as an effective working tool for video librarians, as well as a channel of
> communication between libraries,educational institutions, and video
> producers and distributors.
>

Gary Handman
Director
Media Resources Center
Moffitt Library
UC Berkeley

510-643-8566
ghandman@library.berkeley.edu
http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/MRC

"I have always preferred the reflection of life to life itself."
--Francois Truffaut

VIDEOLIB is intended to encourage the broad and lively discussion of issues relating to the selection, evaluation, acquisition,bibliographic control, preservation, and use of current and evolving video formats in libraries and related institutions. It is hoped that the list will serve as an effective working tool for video librarians, as well as a channel of communication between libraries,educational institutions, and video producers and distributors.
Received on Wed Apr 8 08:14:49 2009

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