September 20, 2004

No surrender to the IRM

I have just been informed that the office in which I work is called "the IRM office". It is a tribute to the usefulness of this description that I had not the faintest idea what it meant. I could have done ERM or IRA or even ILM, but IRM proved to be a little bit beyond me.

It turns out to mean Information Resources Management, which I should have probably have guessed given that ILM, the initialisation of my postgraduate degree, means Information and Library Management. (Why isn't it Library and Information Management?) But given that I thought I carried out the functions - or rituals, if I had my way - of an Acquisitions Librarian and a Cataloguer, and given that I am no more a manager than I am a labrador, the solution to the conundrum simply failed to occur to me.

I shall not be going along with (or what should one say, "demonstrating compliance"?) with this particular piece of management bureaucratese, apparently designed to choke all the personality and ubiquity out of what we do in the Acquisitions Office or the Cataloguing Room. And designed also to replace it with a function that sounds meaningless because it cannot be distinguished from anything else. Rather than say what it is, it is intent on not saying what it is as such - because it is attempting to describe, not its nature, but its role within an organisation. As if it were any role and any organisation. The lack of character is not only deliberate - it is essential.

I am not an information resources manager nor an information professional nor even a service provider. I am a librarian. And a free man. So there.


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