Are Systems Librarians “Toast”?

According to Roy Tennant, they are!

When I, as just a moderately savvy librarian, can learn maybe five to ten very specific steps and be able to deploy any application I would likely want to deploy, why do I need to talk to my system administrator ever again? Let alone bring this person pizza or cookies to keep them happy? Just asking.

So here’s the thing — here’s why I have the title for this post that I do. Let’s just say you need a full-featured web site. If it’s possible that some existing piece of software, such as WordPress, or Drupal, or a variety of other applications are what you need, then you are only a few clicks away from being up and running in the cloud. You need to understand this, and this is why the job of system administrator is in jeopardy — at least in libraries.

I think his point about moving towards the cloud is a good one. But his conclusion is way off. This means that the focus of a Systems Librarian will change from hardware to development, but the job itself isn’t going anywhere any time soon – nor is the need for it.

I like the way one of his commenters put it:

One thing that the cloud offers is the opportunity to focus less on running network cable, figuring out power supplies, buying machines, plugging them in, setting up the host operating system … and more on configuring, customizing and creating applications that are of use in the library environment. I think we are seeing a transition of developer/sysadmin jobs into DevOps, where traditional roles of systems administrator and developer are blurred.

This is definitely the direction we’re going – and it’s not toast.


Posted on October 18, 2011, in Information, Technology. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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