Ontology and Customer Service
One of my pet peeves is when librarians call things names that don’t make sense. Sometimes the problem is simple word choice, or it’s jargon. Other times, it’s ontology. When I’m working with library customers/patrons, I keep my language understandable.
Google says ontology is “the branch of metaphysics dealing with the nature of being.” Basically, ontology is the science of figuring out what to call things.
From a patron experience perspective, librarians sometimes do ontology wrong by calling things the wrong names . My favorite example of this is Boopsie.
Library mobile apps like the ones that the Indian Trails Public Library or the Lincolnwood Public Library have shouldn’t be called Boopsie. Boopsie is the company that makes the app. They make it for whichever library. The app should be called the name of the library. Patrons should never hear the word Boopsie because we as libraries should help filter out this information that we know doesn’t really matter to them.
People find these library apps by searching for the name of their library, not by searching for Boopsie. Good ontological choices contribute to great customer service. We shouldn’t call the app “Boopsie” since it just confuses patrons.
An Open Letter to Joe Murphy (@libraryfuture)
To Joe Murphy:
I do not support your lawsuit against Lisa Rabey and nina de jesus. As a librarian and educator, I value open dialogue and believe the proper response to accusations of harassment is understanding and engagement. Instead, you have chosen to use legal action to silence future discussions about a critical issue in our profession and will likely prevent other victims of harassment from speaking out against their abusers. Thus, I request the following:
1. That you immediately cease legal action against the two defendants.
2. That you publicly apologize for using legal actions to silence and prevent public dialogue about a critical issue in our field.
3. That you compensate the defendants for any financial costs incurred as a result of your legal actions.
4. That you make a meaningful, symbolic gesture of solidarity, healing, and reform. I leave the nature of this gesture entirely to your design.
I believe the above requests are reasonable and furthermore will benefit the future of the library profession by setting an example for how to appropriately respond to accusations of harassment.
John Jackson, Librarian
“You don’t necessarily have to do anything once you acknowledge your privilege. You don’t have to apologize for it. You need to understand the extent of your privilege, the consequences of your privilege, and remain aware that people who are different from you move through and experience the world in ways you might never know anything about. They might endure situations you can never know anything about. You could, however, use that privilege for the greater good—to try to level the playing field for everyone, to work for social justice, to bring attention to how those without certain privileges are disenfranchised. We’re seen what the hoarding of privilege has done, and the results are shameful.”
“Books are mirrors: you only see in them what you already have inside you.”
“A quarter of high schools with the highest percentage of black and Latino students do not offer Algebra II; a third of these schools do not offer chemistry. Fewer than half of American Indian and Native-Alaskan high school students have access to the full range of math and science courses in their high school”