To me, one of the most important parts of being a Librarian has always meant helping people to find the information they want, either from the library they are in or from another source using skills learnt to search the resources available.
Since the advent of the Internet and the World Wide Web everything has changed. There is so much information available it is difficult to sort the wheat from the chaff.
Yesterday I was sent this link which reports on an example of the new skills that Librarians have to learn now and how these can be shared.
The librarian says:
…it’s no longer a question of there not being enough information out there, but of there being too much. “There’s more filtering in the librarian’s job now,….People need help discerning good solid sources from the rest.”
The report goes on to describe a group tutorial of searching for information and sorting out what is appropriate and what is not, lead by a librarian. All involved were very pleased with the results.
I am not sure how much of this sort of help is available to those studying and researching Conductive Education. It is not a subject with much academic interest or publication and most of what is available on-line is not of the best quality.
Meeting users’ needs was an aspect that I really enjoyed when I was working as a librarian in Conductive Education and my knowledge of the library holdings and methods of searching usually bore the right fruit.
I hope that I can still do this with my knowledge of the subject, limited physical resources, the virtual library catalogue, and connection to the Internet.
On the front page of this blog is a note in the right hand column stating:
Please contact me if you think that I can help in any way with
information on books, articles, papers, news on Conductive
Education. If I can’t help, I will know someone who can!
Over the past few years I have been happy to help with any information that I can and have responded to enquiries from parents, conductors, centre managers, and potential service users all over the world, sometimes at length and providing a variety of links, references etc.
This week I had a reponse thanking me for information I had sent.
I was really pleased, and then realised that this was unusual because once my reply has gone out, sometimes with documents attached, I rarely receive any acknowledgment, or even thanks. If I have not helped in the way hoped for, I never know. If the information has been useful, I still don’t know. This is leading me to wonder whether this service is not satisfactory and perhaps not worth continuing with, or not appreciated.
Constructive feedback would be very welcome and help me to respond appropriately the next time.
What else can I do?
Ever since I have been involved in Conductive Education I have had lots of enquiries from lots of different people at all sorts of levels, from the general to the specific. These I have answered to the best of my ability and most respond with thanks for the information. Most people have told me who they are, what they are doing and why they are asking the questions. Some don’t. Only this week I had an enquiry about biographies of Andras Peto and was only given the name of the enquirer, nothing else, but I answered, as I always do. At no time has it occurred to me to question any query as to its validity.
This week I have been following the postings on Susie Mallet’s and Andrew Sutton’s blogs about an enquiry which turned up in Susie’s spam box and I too wondered if it was a hoax.
Then I get the same message in my spam and now understand her reaction and puzzlement. Usually anyone doing research at an academic level mentions exactly what they intend to investigate in their enquiry,(as well as including where they are studying etc.) and asks specific questions(s), which is what I would expect from a student working at that level.
This emailer mentions he is a Master’s student at a named university but also adds that he is “Working on a school project I am doing research on conductive education and my focus is CE furniture”. Perhaps he means that his research is being carried out in a school nearby which is offering CE and has the furniture, otherwise ‘school project’ and ‘masterate’ don’t really go together in my book, and sounds very odd. Or perhaps that is not the case. There may be a language problem here and if so, clarification would be helpful. I hope that the enquirer writes to all of us to explain further so we can understand his request fully.
I have received an enquiry asking where statistics on the number of children with cerebral palsy receiving/received Conductive Education can be found. Well, as far as I know there are none. Individual providers may well keep their own for administrative purposes and to include them in Annual Reports, but these are not made available in an obvious public way or collated by anyone.
The Peto Institute did produce some statistics quite a while ago, a copy of which is in the National Conductive Education Library, and Maria Hari often talked about ‘making the statistic’, including them in her early presentations. These, of course, are now way out of date.
I referred the enquirer to the National Library of Conductive Education where it may be possible to find some figures in student dissertations, conference proceedings or research articles. Quite a time consuming process.
How useful they can be, I am not sure, but if anyone is willing to send me any figures they know of, I will try and produce an overall picture and put it on this blog.