More good material from Marylaine Block, this time on visualization
July 19th, 2007 by JTJ

Our long-time friend Marylaine Block has again served up some good librarian-centric material on her blog/newsletter “Neat New Stuff” and “Exlibrius”. This time it's a fine essay — with links to pertinent sites — on one of our favorite topics, visualization.
Here's the top, but go to
ExLibris #301
for the complete package.

by Marylaine Block

On several occasions librarians have asked me to speak about the future
of reference service – if, indeed, there IS a future for reference
service. I think librarians are worried that the simple delivery of
information is not a growth area for libraries because that's where our
primary competitor, the internet, excels, with its search engines and
resources like Wikipedia.
Helping people make sense of the information they've retrieved is
something else again, and that, I believe, is where the future of
reference service lies. After all, who is dying to compete with
librarians in explaining to people how to fill out online FAFSA and FEMA
applications? Who is fighting librarians for the opportunity to show
people how to select, combine, and chart a variety of data points in
government data sets? Who else wants to help students analyze and
retrieve the kinds of information needed to solve a problem or research a
topic? Who else worries about making sure the information retrieved
matches the user's purposes and level of knowledge and sophistication?
Who else is interested in providing context for the information?
One of the most effective tools we can use to help people make sense of
information is visualization.

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