Sarah Morrison is an information professional based in Toronto, Ontario. Her posts explore the intersections of technology, knowledge, feminism, social justice, and fandom.

Using Your Powers for Good

Using Your Powers for Good

I came across this article from the Scholarly Kitchen website: "The MIxed Marriage of For-profit and Not-for-profit Publishing". In addition to being a great look into some of the nuances of the current scholarly publishing landscape, I think the basic concepts are transferable to a (potential) tension in LIS.

I don't think it's a surprise to anyone that for-profit institutions or ideals influence not-for-profit organizations. A very relevant example of this is when university administrations decide to run the school like a business (hello, Chakmagate). Additionally, something I've seen a lot of us struggling with is whether we can reconcile a lot of the principles of library and information science with working in a for-profit environment. (I, personally, can. I know some people who can't, or won't. Neither is right or wrong, but it's not necessarily an easy internal struggle, depending on your political leanings, where you got your MLIS, and your interests.)

The part of this article that really struck me, however, was the fact that not-for-profits can influence the for-profits right back. As the article states,

When a NFP publisher begins to offer authors new services, even with no prospect of making money from them, the for-profit competitors have to grit their teeth and match these features item by item. To do otherwise is to risk alienating authors and to create problems in brand management, as the absence of certain features may appear to be an expression of greed or indifference. Thus mission-based organizations doth make missionaries of us all.
— http://scholarlykitchen.sspnet.org/2015/06/16/the-mixed-marriage-of-for-profit-and-not-for-profit-publishing/

This is huge. And true! Not-for-profits aren't beholden to the bottom line, which can give them freedom to introduce new products, services, and ways of interacting with their clients. If this becomes the standard, then for-profits have to adapt to it in order to lure in or keep customers.

I put this forward as a way of potentially reconciling some of the tensions I see people working through with regard to being an LIS practitioner in a for-profit environment. At the end of the day, if you're taking a salary, you're participating in the system (even if that salary comes from a not-for-profit organization.) However, if you're someone that has misgivings about going to work in industry (just as one example), this can maybe let you take heart - Can you apply some of the parts of LIS that don't seem to jive with a corporate environment to try to change the organizational culture from within? It's really interesting food for thought, and I wanted to highlight the article and what it could mean for those of us soon to be embarking out into the working world.

Do You Wiki? Using Wikis in Information Organizations

Do You Wiki? Using Wikis in Information Organizations

Social Media and the Information Professional

Social Media and the Information Professional