I am going back and reading through Simon Sinek’s Leaders Eat Last. This is in anticipation of a librarian book discussion to take place in the spring. One of the things that interested me was the discussion of the Whitehall Studies. This study began several decades ago and was led by British scientists. The findings shocked me. I had thought that the most stressful positions in organizations would be the leadership positions. However, the Whitehall Studies completely turn that concept on its head. The workers in the lower ranks of the hierarchy had the most stress in this study in large part due to their lack of control over their work.
On page 30 in Sinek’s book, Max McClure, of the Standford News Service is quoted as saying, “It’s possible, in other words, that the feeling of being in charge of one’s own life more than makes up for the greater amount of responsibility that accompanies higher rungs on the social ladder,”
Sinek’s notes the following, “The lower someone’s rank in the organizational hierarchy, the greater their risk of stress related health problems, not the other way around. In other words, those seemingly strung-out top executives, in fact, living longer, healthier lives than the clerks and managers working for them.”
I heard from a librarian the other day about Canva. This platform allowed them to make a great graphic design to promote an activity at a professional association conference. This is worth taking a look at. According to the company, Canva is “fun, free, and simple” to use. If anyone out there has used it and has good things to say let me know.
I recently learned from a friend in academia about ResearchGate. ResearchGate’s mission is as follows, “Our mission is to connect researchers and make it easy for them to share and access scientific output, knowledge, and expertise. On ResearchGate they find what they need to advance their research.”
This site has great accolades on its homepage from Reuters, New York Times, Forbes, Bloomberg Businessweek, Los Angeles Times, NPR, and several others. Apparently you can join for free and the platform works with LinkedIn and Facebook accounts.
According to Wikipedia library science is a field that uses the Research Gate platform.
I tend to feel out of the loop on this. Research Gate was taking off as I was getting my MLS, but I did not hear about it until recently. Can anyone out there shed some light on whether they use this platform for library science or information science work? If so can please discuss the experiences you have had with the platform? I welcome any feedback.
Librarians should keep an eye on Hourly Nerd. This web based platform allows businesses to post projects that need completion and gives current and former MBAs the ability to get in touch with those businesses to help them at a fraction of the cost that a major consulting firm would charge. The library community may want to consider adopting a similar platform for current/former MLS students. Libraries could post their projects and then crowd source to find an MLS librarian who can best assist them. This would also be ideal for internships. Feel free to let me know what you think.
Ruth Simon’s WSJ article “Universities Push Harder Into Realm of Startups” is worth taking a look at. It discusses how universities want to show the value of their research by creating start-up ventures. The difficulty is that education’s main job is to teach and to facilitate research.
Simon notes several challenges, “Technologies emerging from research labs are often embryonic. Academic researchers are typically rewarded for research and publishing, not venture creation, and often have little business experience. Many universities are located far from the funding and people needed to expand companies. Finding ready markets and entrepreneurs to build these businesses are additional challenges.”
How do the schools deal with these obstacles?
Again I will refer to Simon who states, “Some schools are creating funds that help cover startup costs. Others are pairing scientists with entrepreneurs, launching incubators, or programs to foster business development, and even including entrepreneurial activity in their reviews of faculty.”
What is my concern?
I am wondering what role the academic library plays in all of this. Simon’s article did not mention the academic library at all. With its resources, space, technology, and personnel could the library provide assistance to these ventures? I welcome your feedback and input.
Last fall there was a lot of discussion concerning automation in WSJ. It is worth revisiting this again as the topic will continue to be very relevant.
On October 28, WSJ’s Rachel King wrote about the introduction of bilingual robots that can provide customer service at Lowe’s.
About a month later Nicholas Carr wrote a piece for the WSJ entitled, “Automation Makes Us Dumb.”
A couple of points from Carr’s article,
- An over-reliance on automation creates an environment where skills can atrophy as workers become comfortable on technology to handle a growing number of tasks.
- The downside of this is that the chance of mistakes increases greatly. As an example, Carr mentions airline pilots. British aviation researcher Matthew Ebbatson noted that, “Flying skills decay quite rapidly towards the fringes of tolerable performance without relatively frequent practice.”
- The articles noted that automation related pilot errors played a role in the 2009 crashes of Continental Flight 3407 in Buffalo and Air France Flight 447 in the Atlantic Ocean, and the botched landing of Asiana Flight 214 in San Francisco in 2013.
- In regards to doctors the reliance on automation creates distance between doctors and patients. Without interacting enough with a patient “important diagnostic signals” can be overlooked. Readers will want to take a look at the findings Carr includes from SUNY Albany professor Timothy Hoff, Harvard Medical School professor Beth Lown (and her student Dayron Rodriguez), and Hardeep Singh from the journal Diagnosis.
- For architects the creative process can be hindered by the automation process. If computer aided design is brought in too early in the design process it can “deaden the aesthetic sensitivity and conceptual insight that come from sketching and model-building.” It is actually better to work by hand at least in the early stage of the design. Readers will want to take a look at the quotes from Nigel Cross (a design professor at the U.K.’s Open University), Finnish architect Juhani Pallasmaa, and University of Miami architecture professor Jacob Brillhart.
- The solution to all this is to move from “technology centered automation” to “human centered automation”. With “human centered automation” Carr notes that the technology becomes a partner for the worker and not a replacement. In addition the talents of the worker take precedence.
In the last few days I found myself looking through the latest Forbes magazine and learned about Doctor Jim Dahle’s blog (there is a book as well) entitled White Coat Investor. Dr. Dahle has been using the blog to provide financial tips to his fellow medical professionals after having been misled by financial professionals whose advice he sought/paid for. Do we have a librarian that is imitating what Dr. Dahle is doing? It could be a great benefit to our profession.
I should point out that Dr. Dahle’s blog does indicate that he used the library as a resource to help him learn about the financial world. Check out White Coat Investor and let me know what you think.
Yesterday I got a comment on the blog from Lindsey Handley who heads up operations management at LearnToMod (the company that teaches kids how to code using Minecraft). If you are looking to get access to the product see her comment here below. You can also see the commentary at http://wp.me/p2dXjR-4V which has my original blog post.
“It’s free to teachers or anyone who wants to teach groups of students! If a librarian wants to teach with it, we’re happy to send them free access keys! Just e-mail email@example.com“