Here are the notes for the pre-conference conversation between Liza Barry-Kessler and David Weinberger.

Liza Barry-Kessler
Ph.D. Student
School of Information Studies
University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee
barryke2@uwm.edu

David’s Answers:
1. Why are you going to this conference?

David writes about the Internet. In 2007, he wrote a book called
Everything is Miscellaneous, about the way that online technology is
changing the way we organize information; that pulled him into the
library world, and he is currently co-director of the Harvard Library
Innovation Lab. He’s also had a long-term interest in what hyperlinks
are doing to the structure of writing; his latest book (“Too Big to
Know,” which comes out this Fall) includes a chapter about the future
of long-form writing. He’s also been a freelance features writer since
the 1970s, and has a practical interest in what the Net is doing to
journalistic forms.

2. An experience about the intersection of journalism and libraries:

Books and news articles have historically been disconnective media — they endeavor to provide all of the information the reader needs within the document, so that the reader doesn’t need to go out of the story. But the Internet makes it incredibly easy to go outside of the story. This challenges the fundamental form of both libraries and news media.

4. A question you hope will be answered at this conference:

In the past, both librarians and journalists have shared values such as the goal of enabling informed democracy, and protecting freedom of speech and opinion. However, as the medium changes, commonality of purpose may no longer be enough to maintain a commonality of practice. Information has become more disintermediated — people have more direct access to information. The role of curation is rapidly changing, and may leave librarians and journalists with less and less in common.

Liza’s Answers

1. Why are you going to this conference?

Liza is a first-year grad student in information policy, with a
concentration in law, ethics, and public policy. In her former life,
she was an attorney who did some work with libraries. She’s not a
librarian but has always been interested in their role as info
providers and protectors of intellectual freedom. Liza is funded
through a fabulous grant that U of Wisc Milwaukee was awarded, and
the opportunity came up go to this conference, also funded in part through
the IMLS Barriers to Access grant, she jumped at the chance.

2. An experience about the intersection of journalism and libraries:

Liza is most interested in looking at the intersection of the two
fields in terms of public access. Libraries value intellectual freedom
and free speech, but are also required by policies and legislation to
install filters on content. Inevitably, the filters catch
controversial topics that are interesting within a public policy
context — not just porn, but LGBT topics, sexual assault, etc. The
restrictions aren’t going away any time soon. How can they be gotten
around? There’s a role for journalists and libraries in that endeavor.

3. Some values and challenges shared by libraries and journalists
have surfaced. How can the relationship between the two serve the
public good?

Journalists and librarians generally have entered their fields with a
traditional idea of how to serve the public good. But the way our
technology and media universes have changed has transformed how both
journalism and librarianship are practiced. Liza doesn’t know how how
those two professional communities will transform themselves, but
there’s still a hunger for access to the information that people need
to govern themselves wisely. Remaining engaged in conversations about
how to achieve those missions is essential to serving the public good.