What is a core service?

Bob Schrier of AutoGraphics writes about digitisation and posits that it should be perceived as a core service of libraries. I do agree with the him in that digitisation is indeed something libraries could (and perhaps should, with an emphasis) consider as an offering that both makes sense considering the mission of (public) libraries, community needs and the existing and conceivable competences and capabilities of libraries. At the same time, however, I am not entirely convinced that it would be a good idea to dub digitisation as a core service at least in the long run. At the moment digitisation could undoubtedly be a significant offering and a feasible service but it remains to be seen how long time this state of affairs should and would remain. I am not saying a definite no to Schrier's proposal but in order to avoid establishing unnecessary and potentially harmful orthodoxies I would probably define the core service  in terms of helping library users to access and maintaining access to both their personal and publically available information and knowledge. In this respect digitisation is at the moment a potentially powerful instrument for delivering that service but widens the understanding of the principal problem, that of the availability and accessibility of information in the widest possible meaning (comprising entertainment, bildung, learning, professional needs, social, cultural, heritage-related and emotional aspects).

Information Services and Digital Literacy provides an alternative perspective for understanding information services and digital literacy, and argues that a central problem in the age of the social web and the culture of participation is that we do not know the premises of how we know, and how ways of interacting with information affect our actions and their outcomes.

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Taking Health Information Behaviour into Account: implications of a neglected element for success- ful implementation of consumer health technologies on older adults (HIBA) is an Academy of Finland funded research project at Åbo Akademi University.

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ARKDIS project maps the implications and opportunities of the digitalisation of information and information work in the domain of archaeology and to develop and evaluate conceptual and practical methods and procedures for enhancing archaeological information work in the digitalised environment.

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