Library science

Subject: Library science
From: "Larry Kunz ((919) 254-6395)" <ldkunz -at- VNET -dot- IBM -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 11 Jan 1996 14:49:35 EST

Yesterday Tina Klein (cklein -at- BNR -dot- CA) wrote:

> Library science - After a pleasant and relaxing Christmas
> vacation with my friend who has trained as a library scientist,
> it is my opinion that our professions may be converging
> into the realm of knowledge navigation. Opinions? Comments?
> Current readings to support or destroy this hypotheses?
> What can we learn from them???

At the STC Region 2 conference last October, one of the speakers
on the "Trends in Technical Communication" panel made a similar
point. (Sorry, I don't remember which speaker it was -- either
Charles Breuninger, Cynthia Morgan, or Joe Peck. Maybe someone
else who was there will remember.)

The argument went something like this:

If asked to describe in one sentence what distinguishes
technical communication as a profession, most of us would say
something like "A good technical writer communicates technically
complex information using terminology and style appropriate for
the target audience." (Someone -- again, I don't remember who
-- actually DID say this on the list a few days ago.)

Soon the Internet will give everyone access to all the
information they need -- in every style, format, and reading
level. Maybe our job will be to organize this vast information
stockpile and help people navigate through it so they get what
they want, when they want it, in the form (style, format,
reading level) they want. Organizing information and providing
navigation aids, of course, is what library science is about.

I find the argument persuasive. While I wouldn't go so far as
to say you'll need to know library science to be an effective
technical communicator in the 21st century, I certainly see the
two disciplines converging and overlapping as the "Information
Age" continues to explode around us.

Larry Kunz
STC Assistant to the President for Professional Development
ldkunz -at- vnet -dot- ibm -dot- com

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