You'd have to be living in a cave not to know that there's a lot of negative prognosis about the future of our profession (at least for cataloging). These days I tend to find inspiration for the future of libraries, cataloging, and metadata creation from either grassroots library movements or visionaries outside our field. And one area in particular is the Open Source community.
Here's a post written by Michael Tiemann, president of the Open Source Initiative. Great title--Metadata for the Common Man (or Woman). He looks at the commonalities of the LIS community and the Open Source community: a commitment to sharing knowledge and a concern for standards. Some selections:
In July I was honored to be appointed Visiting Scholar at SILS, the School of Information and Library Science and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. The Information and Library Science community and the Open Source community share many common passions, especially the belief that sharing knowledge is important and good work. And increasingly I see a shared fate for both communities...
Yet for all of Google's searching power, and for all the power of our own brains, terabytes of data are becoming wasted assets because there was never any concept of information or library science to consider when first the data was being generated.
But increasingly data is being produced without tags, and this lack of tagging makes it difficult or impossible to do intelligent aggregate and selective searches. Folksonomies and taxonomies have become powerful tools in the right hands, but too much data is created without any thoughts or any science about how that data will be maintained or re-purposed in the longer term.
We need to get a lot more serious about metadata definitions and workflows. Fortunately, open source tools make it much easier to reward the metadata creator with an accepting and acceptable workflow. By this I mean an open source desktop can facilitate metadata tagging from the desktop. Open source tools that interface with databases can pass metadata to and from the database. Editors (even 2d paint, 2d illustration and 3d editors) can become part of the metadata workflow. Thus, open source can enable the standards that the information and library scientists can help define.