The Evolving Roles of Information Professionals in Museums

Marty, Paul F.
June 2004
Bulletin of the American Society for Information Science & Techn;Jun/Jul2004, Vol. 30 Issue 5, p20
Does masters degree in Library and Information Science (MLIS) qualify one to work in a museum? Does one need a museum studies degree to be a museum professional? Are MLIS degree recipients qualified to be curators, registrars, archivists or none of the above? These question prompted many days worth of debate over the place of Library and Information Science professionals in museums, with a variety of people, researchers, academics and practitioners, weighing in on all sides. The fact that there was a debate at all was very interesting, especially since the importance of information science for museums has been long established, certainly most museum professionals understand the importance of museums caring for information about artifacts as well as the objects themselves. The museum literature is full of examples of the nightmares that befall museums with poor information management skills, the author's personal favorite is the 2002 "rediscovery" of the bones of a Neanderthal child, physically scattered and informationally lost, the victim of poor recordkeeping, which turned up in a French museum nearly 90 years after it was first discovered as detailed by Whitehouse.


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