Respond to Ben to Discuss scapes!

This post is part of the Atlas book group discussing the Knowledge Thread.

Respond to Ben to Discuss scapes!

What do you think of scopes? Would they work? Why or why not?

How do scopes differ from the traditional reference process? Do they?
In the example given in the Atlas, John’s question was ultimately
answered in almost exactly the same way it would be in a traditional
reference interview.
“John then asks the librarian, “Hi…do you know if this song is a
remake?’ to which the librarian replies, “Actually, it is a remake of
a song from Fiddler on the Roof.’”
Is the extra (or is it extraneous?) information useful? Why or why not?

How credible would a scape be? Who should be able to edit one, and to
what degree (should “landscaping” be included in a scape on “Scapes”?
If you immediately thought no, try coming up with an argument for yes,
and vice versa.)?

Think of other examples of member generated and edited content (Wikis
might be a jumping off point). How are they similar to scopes? How are
they different? What problems exist in these examples and how could
they be addressed in a scape?

What features other than those described in the text would you like to
see in a scape?

Resources on scopes:
The Atlas of New Librarianship: p53 – 60, p353 – 365 (Note: if you’re
feeling frisky, there’s lots of great supplementary information on
scopes on p353 – 365. There’s a lot of technical elaboration, but also
3 additional examples of how scopes might be used on p353 – 357, with

Additional resources mentioned in the Atlas (some redundant
information, but some new formats and elaboration, as well):
Dave’s talk on scopes at the OCLC Symposium on Reference and Social
Networking (text, audio, and video)
Another book by Dave which mentions scopes:;jsessionid=EF21EDF752365F9E3B890BA397683FDA?lang=eng&suite=def

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  • Erin O’Connell

    My initial response to scapes is that they would serve to further confuse people who are currently trying to keep up with technology, especially those who come into public libraries. Specifically, the example in the book about using a scape to facilitate a community discussion on youth violence didn’t make much sense to me. Yes, it would reduce the amount of physical paper that is used at meetings. But I think in that venue it would be more confusing that it would be helpful. Additionally, I definitely don’t think it would help anyone come up with a solution, it would just be another way to organize information. Librarians can help the community formulate agreements, discuss them, help document them, and help implement them without using scapes. So what is the benefit? 

  • Ben Chartoff

    Since we had four “mini” threads, our group had an
    interesting opportunity to observe how conversations evolve (how appropriate to
    the chapter!) from four different seed values.


    The conversation theory discussion thread started off with
    some interesting comments on the “hard” theories in the chapter, but really
    took off when the discussion shifted towards the means by which library patrons
    can give feedback, and how libraries should respond to the feedback.


    The discussion on knowledge creation didn’t go as far as we
    wanted but it definitely sparked a conversation on such an abstract thought! We
    wanted to create a conversation by adding on to what the previous person had
    said, making this creation totally up to the person! The last comment was
    “Especially when you’re unsure of what the quest is….. water guns?”
    Yes the “quest” we created was about water guns but we wanted people
    to create a story which it sort of did! Knowledge creation is not just taking
    artifacts for what they are worth, but by putting them to use and creating a
    better understanding or something completely different, which we tried to
    accomplish here.


    While the app challenge was purely theoretical and fun
    exercise, it did reveal something very interesting.  Most apps tend to be seen as technical applications, not
    social ones.  However, almost all
    of the apps in one way or another helped connect the community with others,
    whether directly like the book club app and the community events one or indirectly
    like the reading recommendation one that’s generated by a librarian (not
    statistics).  The apps did not
    replace the librarian; instead they helped further involve the library in
    people’s lives.


    The scapes conversation didn’t develop far at all (there was
    only one comment, an astute criticism, which we hoped might lead to a spirited
    debate—it did not). We have three possible explanations for the low response rate
    1.) the scapes section of the book was a mix of theory and practical
    applications—respondents who were interested in hard theory responded to the
    conversation theory thread, respondents interested in practice replied to the
    app challenge, so scapes got lost in the middle 2.) not everyone may have read
    the section on scapes, and therefore could not respond (we don’t have any
    preexisting knowledge of scapes to write about) or 3.) the first post disagreed
    with the textbook, and other participants may have been unwilling to enter into
    an argument or even a disagreement.


    Thanks for your responses, everyone, we really enjoyed
    facilitating this conversation!