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Reconfiguring the Library Systems Environment
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Dempsey, Lorcan. 2008. “Reconfiguring the Library Systems Environment.” Guest
editorial. portal: Libraries and the Academy, 8,2 (April). E-print available online at:
Dempsey: Reconfiguring the Library Systems Environment
Think of some of the ways in which the environment that library users operate in has
changed in recent years. Behaviors and expectations have been reconfigured in a network
environment as more of what people do enters a network space.
• Discovery happens elsewhere: People discover items of interest in a variety of
ways: on search engines, in their RSS aggregators, in the resource networks
created on social network sites, in consumer recommendations, on collaborative
bookmarking sites, in reading and course lists, and so on. Increasingly, we cannot
expect users to seek out individual Web sites or resources.
• In the flow: Now that readers and writers increasingly organize their work in
network environments, we must build library services around their workflow (or
learnflow, or researchflow, or…). This flow is supported by a range of personal
tools (RSS aggregators, toolbars, …), network services (Facebook, del.icio.us,
…), and by prefabricated workflow support systems (course management
systems, for example). Readers and writers expect to work with information
resources in those environments, to "gath