Thursday, December 12, 2013

My December 2013 update on my research

So I have presumptuously began collecting and analysing data for my research. This is despite the fact that I have not yet given the revised proposal draft to my committee for approval. (Keeping my fingers crossed that it is better now and almost worthy of approval). Any way, I just want to share in this post briefly an update about some of my thinking as it relates to my current research and possibly future direction.

The general gist of my research has to do with constructing a profile of those who tweet and blog about library consultants and library consulting and analysing from these tweets and blog posts the presentation of the library consultant identity. In essence I hope to examine and analyse the identity of library consultants and library consulting as discussed and formulated in blogs and tweets. My approach is to use mixed methods, collecting both quantitative attributes and analysing qualitatively the narratives that I see emerging. In the end, I hope to tell 'a story' on library consultants and library consulting pulling the various strands of data together.

I have also been reading Simon Down's (2006) Narratives of enterprise. In my view, Down (2006) presents a good ethnography of how entrepreneurs craft their identity that may be relevant for my thesis on the crafting of the library consultant identity. However, after completing the reading, I realised that the book has had a profound impact on my own existentialism.

In some regards, Down is like me. He is an academic who has had a previous life as an entrepreneur. He also wrestles with his own self-identity as an academic who still feels the calling to an entrepreneurial identity. He also finds himself critical of entrepreneurial narratives as they tend to be anti-social. His work has got me wondering if the entrepreneurial and enterprising identity can be compatible with good moral values.

These ideas also relate to what I am findng about librarians' views on library consultants who charge for their services. A Judas or betrayal to the profession theme is emerging even though I haven't really started the 'deep' analysis. So far I have seen two particular tweets that summarise this perspective. One tweet in 2008 where a librarian remarked [not verbatim to protect anonymity] 'Am I the only person disturbed by this listing of paid library consultants?' In a more recent tweet, another librarian remarked that 'what library consultants should be doing is lobbying businesses to create more librarian positions' [again not verbatim]. From these tweets, it seems to me that there is a sinister picture being painted about library consultants who charge for their knowledge, expertise and services.

Yet this is also contrasted by other tweets and blog posts, where there is an event where library consultants offer free library consulting services (ASCLA, 2013). Or a tweet by a librarian praising another person for being a 'good library consultant' [not sure though if the person doing the consulting was paid though].

So far, the story being told about library consultants and library consulting on blogs and tweets is an intriguing one, where most times they are portrayed as villains, both by librarians or even the public who express outrage at the fees charged or money spent on them. Yet, there is seemingly praise for those who engage in no-paid library consulting services. However, I can't disclose all my ideas here, but just some of the preliminary notes and perceptions that I am forming of the data as I go through. For more, you've got to read the thesis when it is done or follow up on my future publications.


Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies [ASCLA] (2013). 'Consultants give back: Free 30-minute sessions in Chicago co-sponsored by ASCLA and PLA'. [blog post]. Retrieved from

Down, S. (2006). Narratives of enterprise: Crafting entrepreneurial self-identity in a small firm. Chelteham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing.



No comments:

Post a Comment