Wednesday, November 19, 2008

What is an "expert"

I had seen Meredith Farkas's blog post on experts, and now the Liminal Librarian has added to the conversation. I've already left a comment on Meredith's post, but I want to address it here since it's a topic that gets me wound up.

After almost a year of professional experience, I went to ALA. That was my first conference. As I made my way through the vendors, I came across a vendor's booth that had some type of encyclopedia. It touted its list of librarian "experts" that was involved in the production and approval of the encyclopedia. At least two of these "experts" were my LIS classmates.

I have serious issues with someone who has only a year or two of professional experience being labeled an "expert" to promote publications and deciding the fate of more experienced librarians when it comes to their posters and presentations being accepted to conferences and journals. I admire people who dive into the profession head-first. Furthermore I agree with Meredith that it's all how you position yourself. But these believes are not in conflict with my feelings towards experts. You start by publishing, presenting, and getting a reputation on a certain topic. Once you have a body of accoplishments, you then become an "expert."

My mentor has assured me that librarians are not faster to label "experts" than other branches of academia. This is both assuring and disturbing.


Andrew said...

Ooh, ooh, do I know any of these "experts?"

Mary said...

I'm sure you do, but I won't mention any names! I like some of them and don't blame them. I blame the system!