Thursday, 16 October 2008

My name is now Elphinstone, Baron von Harlot, Director of Knowledge Management (pending)

I don't normally enjoy my Library Liaison Committee meetings. We grind our noses against such consequential matters as whether the daily fines levied against overdue library books should be staggered according to the duration of the original loan. We examine the results of the annual seating survey, which attempts to determine "how heavily each type of seating is used (individual study desks, computer workstations, group study areas, audiovisual study spaces, lockable study carrels, informal/lounge seating, etc) and the peak occupancy".* Noone ever mentions the obvious: that the survey fails to take into account the weight in kilograms of the relevant sitters. Or that "heaviness" isn't really the pertinent criterion, here; what we should be surveying is the raw scholarliness quotient of students relative to the type of seating they utilise (as qualitatively assessed by output of graffiti in proximity to seating type and analysed under a Marxio-Hegelian hermeneutic, lightly drizzled with Lacan). Personally, I would rather spend two hours stuffing sultanas up my nostrils than attend your average Library Liaison Committee meeting.

Today, however, I met the new chief librarian. She has an excellent hair cut, something like the hanging gardens of Babylon, she uses the word folksonomy (which marks her out as one cool cat, in the scheme of bibliotechnical nerderie), and – this, oh my, oh my, oh my – she is a Director of Knowledge Management. I think she may have picked this title up from Paradise Lost; it reminds me of that serpent dude; there is no doubt, at any rate, that "Director of Knowledge Management" dings a decidedly metaphysical ding. I have decided: just as soon as I get m'self redundified, I'm going to set in train Operation Turn Myself into a Director of Knowledge Management. I don't care if the dollar has been completely abolished and noone can afford to have their knowledge managed. I will set up a cardtable on the footpath in Preston Heights and direct knowledge management for free.

In other news, I am thinking of changing my name to Elphinstone.

* A real quotation, from a real Library Liaison Committee report, which I really read.


eyrie said...

a Director of Knowledge Management.

It has a vaguely fascist ring to my ear, but I might be too worldly. At least she's not a "CEO and chief librarian" (which seems to be the fashion now). My mother was a librarian and the library world was full of buzz words (every bit as bad as academia), which amused and depressed her in equal measure.

Hope the redundifying business turns out OK. I don't suppose it would ever occur to them to shed a few deputy vice-chancellors and the like, thereby firing fewer people.

Ampersand Duck said...

She has an excellent hair cut, something like the hanging gardens of Babylon

O, for a photo! I am guessing it's severely 'shingled'; I need inspiration for a new haircut as I grow downwards (follicle-wise and bottom-wise).

Alexis, Baron von Harlot said...

It's a sort of asymmetrical job. She has short wavy hair, and it lollops off to the front left in a long wave, very short at the front right. Something clever and sculptural going on round the back. I don't think it would work without her curliness. She looked awful schmick for a lady of her seniority.

Thanks for the redundification wishes, Eyrie. I worry more for people with kiddliwinks.

ThirdCat said...

Are there still directors of knowledge management? I thought they were a bit turn of the century and we'd all gone back to being librarians. Oh, well, shows what I know.

Anonymous said...

The thought of knowledge being managed bemuses me. I thought it just sort of spilled out everywhere in all directions. It would be like herding cats. Even just holding it down to give it a haircut would be problematic.