Computers in Libraries
Vol. 21, No. 1 • January 2001

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Working and Playing Well with Others
by Kathy Dempsey

Since you're all grown-ups now, I probably don't have to preach to you about the importance of cooperation. Considering the career path that many of you have taken, you're probably the "people type" to begin with (unless you're the "back-room-tech type"). On your early report cards, you probably got the coveted check marks under "works and plays well with others." So, now that life has gotten a bit more complicated, are you still living up to that phrase today?

In a way, partnering with others means more work—building relationships, making more phone calls to get each step approved, etc. In another way, though, it means less work for you, because you get to split up the tasks and share the duties with others. It's not always easy to cooperate and collaborate. But this sort of work can bring about tremendous results.

The features in this issue show you real-life stories of some great accomplishments that libraries have achieved in cooperative projects. They range from very local work (the Rochester Images program that Rodney Perry discusses) to statewide ventures (the Alabama Virtual Library that Josie Morgan helped put together). We offer insight into campus cooperation (Lindstrom and Dutcher's "marriage made in heaven"), and into the headaches and happy times of working with the local systems department (Digby's experiences). Last but not least, consider the good chemistry that comes from carefully mixing the right agents (Rhodes and Davis at Hampton University in Virginia).

Each of these articles demonstrates the heights that you can reach when you reach out. Each provides a sort of template that you could adapt to your own situation. Hopefully they will inspire you to take on a project that you've been loath to attempt. And you've gotta love Andrew Pace's column, which excitedly suggests that, if they worked together hard enough, librarians could take over the world!

If you're not in the mood for warm and fuzzy cooperation stories, and are looking for something a little meatier, we have some conference reports that will bring you up to speed on trends. First, library technical writer David Dorman shares what he learned at DC8, the eighth annual meeting of the folks who are putting together the Dublin Core standards. That will give you something to chew on for a while ... Then if you still want more, CIL managing editor Kimberly Mestrow and CIL columnist Michael Schuyler both discuss the recent Internet Librarian conference that they went to in California.

To those of you who are still hiding in the back rooms of your information centers punching computer keys, I say, Come on out and share your expertise with the rest of the gang! Working and playing well with others can lead to truly great achievements.

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© 2001