This is a outcomes-driven field quite self conscious about its own potential obsolescence; admitting failure of any kind is not the easiest thing to do. Think about the last time you heard someone disavow or even mildly criticize a program or service from a podium – at times it seems like we’re in the business of convincing ourselves/each other that we can do no wrong. Sadly, this perpetuates a culture ill-prepared to handle the typical result of experimentation: a series of resounding failures hopefully punctuated by modest success. This attitude also results in massive duplication of error that drags us all down – I for one would love to hear more crash and burn stories at conferences and the like, because they’re never without a series of important lessons for things to avoid in the future. This is along the lines of an article Lia and I wrote for Library Journal (before it was nixed, the subtitle was ironically “Getting Ready to Fail, and Like It” or something along those lines).
Here are the presentation slides for those interested – it’s a pared down and updated version of the talk I’ve been giving on OU’s Skype projects for some time, hence the familiarity.