The Wheel Turns Again: Another Milestone, Measured in Quarter Turns

By Janes, Joseph | American Libraries, November-December 2012 | Go to article overview

The Wheel Turns Again: Another Milestone, Measured in Quarter Turns


Janes, Joseph, American Libraries


And here we are, at my 100th column. Readers with long memories (or nothing better to do) may recall that for my 50th (Feb. 2007, p. 27) and 75th (Aug. 2009, p. 36) columns, I pioneered the groundbreaking idea of letting the internet do my work by, respectively, googling the numbers "50" and "75" and seeing what happened. Good times.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Well, of course, I felt obligated to give it one more try, so I googled "100." The first entry, naturally, was Wikipedia. It was followed closely by the Z100 radio station in New York and a search engine bafflingly called 100.com (which seems rather pointless), and then in 10th position--seriously---a listing for the MARC 21 format for the 100 field. If Google retrieved that because it "knows" I'm a librarian, even though over the decades I have had nothing more than a passing relationship with cataloging, then it's doing a much better job than I believed.

Interspersed through the results were also numerous lists: 100 top this, 100 best that, 100 most, and so on. It's a nice round number, and there's a sense of completion, of circularity, associated with it.

Double circle

This 100th column comes smack on top of my 10-year anniversary writing it; this double circle has given me an opportunity to reflect on what has been, what is, and what could be, and I've arrived at the conclusion that a column called Internet Librarian is no longer necessary. Not yet outdated or an anachronism, fingers crossed, but certainly not groundbreaking territory either. I was comfortable saying seven years ago (Nov. 2005, p. 62) that we'd crossed the Rubicon and you can't really be a librarian anymore without the internet. And, we know now, there's no way back.

Thus, with profound fondness and gratitude, I hereby retire that field. As I do, it's only fitting to acknowledge and thank my friend and predecessor, Karen Schneider (whose feature on personal branding appears in this issue, p. …

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