This week, I developed a blog post for work about local news sources. Since it's just a blog post, I focused on the main sources with a few relevant niche sources. As I was writing, I realized just how overwhelming a single project like this could be.
What qualifies as news? Do I mention bias? Do I include hyperlocal neighborhoods? Do I split by subject matter or area of the city? Do I include all the ways you could follow one source? Do I expand to include neighborhoods over the border?
I ended up saving loads of resources to put into an expanded research guide that our users could reference later. Said research guide will still be curated but, more importantly, it will be organized for easier navigation. Most importantly, it will include some descriptive information to put each source in context to help the user decide what they really need to look at.
This is not the first time I've had to navigate through these waters. With each research guide, video, or tutorial, I'm making choices on what to include. I'm deciding what works best at this moment and for this audience. That necessarily means that I am deliberately omitting certain sources and information. My main goal with these projects is to funnel information in such a way that they are useful and not an inundation. It would be so easy to just smack a person in the face with ALL THE INFORMATION. That's a bad idea. Instead, I see my work as a librarian to wrangle information in such a way that it is easy to navigate, digest, and understand.
Right now, I have a mental image in my head of a cowboy lassoing a single cat out of a whole herd on the wide open plains. That's an absurd mental image, but it's not wrong. In a world where there's more and more information every second, not everyone can take the time to delicately pick out exactly what they need from the masses.
That's where I come in. I look at the whole landscape, make a short list, and then share that curated list with the person in front of me.