Navigators, Debaters or Information Architects? How Library, Museum and Archive Professionals Perceive their Role in the Future Society

Publication Type:

Conference Paper


Isto Huvila


Information in e-Motion: Proceedings of the BOBCATSSS 2012 20th International Conference on Information Science Amsterdam, 23-25 January 2012, Bock + Herchen, p.190–194 (2012)


The past two decades have witnessed an increasing political interest in archives, librar- ies and museums (ALM) as memory institutions, their role as shapers of the future society and providers of access to public information. At the same time, the some of the proponents of digital information technologies have heralded the Internet age as their end. Even if it might be too early to doom ALMs altogether, even many professionals have acknowledged a need to change the traditional work at the institutions. In spite of the scale of the debate, the general understanding of that what is happening seems to be rather fragmented. The aim of this study is to map the future role of librarians, museum and archive professionals as it is conceptualised by the professionals themselves. The analysis is based on a quantitative and qualitative analysis of the results of a web survey of Nordic librarians and information professionals conducted in February-March 2011. The analysis of the results shows that the views of the professionals epitomise three widely di- verging and contradictory ideas of the future of their professional roles, described in this article as navigators, debaters and information architects.

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