I think Gary may be correct IF one chooses to look at the future of academic video librarianship through the lens solely of library video (media) collections-related services, and audiovisual preservation. Specifically, I agree that though multimedia sources represent significant forms of communication in our society and increasingly, the academy, they will never come close to parity with its print counterparts in the library for the reasons Gary cited. That said, I disagree with his outlook regarding the future of professional specialization in the field, related to media or otherwise.
In fact, if anything, I think going forward we will need to be at once even more specialized in a few core domains, while simultaneously taking on additional responsibilities at a more superficial expertise level to compensate for lower head counts. The reason I think more specialization will become increasingly important is because I believe the nature of our work will need to change, and the [perhaps naive] optimist in me believes the outcomes of these new services will garner greater respect by the library administration, campus community, and field of librarianship. So no, we may not see as many specialized video librarians with significant film knowledge acting as the primary selector for their institutions -a tremendous loss to be certain- but instead library supported media programs that require subject librarians to be more media resource aware and inclusive in their selections (I know first hand it is very hard work to build such a culture one librarian at a time, but I do think it is possible).
Beyond facilitating this environment while continuing to provide some greater level of media selection, I believe adding depth of expertise in emerging movements such as media/visual literacy, student media production and the Digital Arts and Humanities for faculty member research, will serve to make the future media librarian more visible in the eyes of core constituencies. Particularly, if these media program leaders are adept at better assessing and communicating LOUDLY their media programs impact on the bottom line (teaching/learning, research, preservation), through the use of more accessible metrics that help people appreciate what it is we do. With this improved respect for media in general, appreciation for audiovisual preservation will hopefully, improve as well (to the extent that preservation investment is respected at any institution). That's my game plan at least.
Adding further expertise to non-media specific, but related areas of teaching/learning, library assessment, and faculty research support should also work to improve the profile of this individual within the organization. Acknowledged, my perspective is progressive, maybe even a little boisterous, but challenging times call for bold measures.
In my opinion there are lots of new competences to be included: We need practical solutions for capturing, storing, finding and using of audiovisual materials. This includes automatic content analysis, visual search and retrieval tools / interfaces. We also have to work on Metadata Standards as Marwa suggested in the above comment and also set up persistant identifier like DOI Registration for audiovisual content to make AV-objects citeable as publications.
It's interesting to hear about the project that brought Kathleen to the museum. The largest inventory I've done so far has been just under 700 items. 2000 un-inventoried items is staggering to contemplate.
While not the same, the mention of the mystery organizational structure made me think of the way audiovisual material is handled at the state archive I am interning at this summer. My supervisor has been dubbed "Electronic Records Archivist" and literally recieves anything that is not a photograph, map or piece of paper. With the increase in non-paper records the in-flow to the department (Electronic Records, manned by a single person) is becoming increasingly overwhelming, magnified by the lack of an audiovisual specialist.This has been a great example of how audiovisual archiving remains this misunderstood other that is neglected in many institutions. It's been very interesting to see the way audiovisual materials are viewed in a paper-based archival institution.
Carolyn's difficulty finding work in a library without an MLIS is not only common, it's the norm. Yet, at the same time, there are some libraries—the University of Virginia for instance—where an MLIS is not mandatory for employment eligibility. Is UVa. still relatively anomalous or is the number of like-minded institutions growing?
Obviously, many positions in libraries and archives depend on grant monies for their sustainment, but Alex's model of acquiring funding from outside sources, like film production companies and local TV stations, seems rare, if not unique. Are there others out there with similar situations?
I'd be curious to hear from other librarians who have experience participating in long-term shared digital repositories such as CAVPP or the Hathi Trust, etc. What difficulties/challenges did you face? And what benefits did it bring to your library?