Sunday, 18 April 2010

THE NEW CONDUCTIVE EDUCATION LIBRARY

A new start

It is just over a year since many around the world of Conductive Education experienced the major shock of Gill Maguire's leaving the National Institution of Conductive Education:


One of several proposals for how to make up up for this loss whas been an 'electronic library'. One has to suspect that there was little idea what precisely this might entail or what might be produced as a result – and inevitably the question of resources is a vital factor in deciding what can be done.

In default of any other offers, and despite or because of there being no financial resources, Gill Maguire has come up with and implemented one simple solution:
  • harness the written material on Conductive Education now beginning to proliferate on the Internet, by linking to what is already there and formalising this information through the cataloguing system that she devised for the 'hard' collection in the National Library.
The result is the New Library of Conductive Education, to be reached since yesterday, for the moment anyway, at:


How extensive might this grow? Who knows? Gill has made a start.

What sort of Library? A new one

In one respect, Gill assures us that she will be continuing a noble, liberal librarians' tradition:

Please note that none of the items will be evaluated for quality. That is a job for readers: it is not the role of a library. Inclusion in this catalogue indicates solely their existence on the Internet.

Gill and I used to joke that some ninety-five percent of accessions to the National Library were junk and that this probably reflected the corpus of written material in the field of Conductive Education. Actually, when one takes a long view, we used to think in the early days that ninety-eight percent fell into the junk category, but that over the last couple of years or so this was perhaps dropping to ninety percent or below!

And here's the rub. An Internet-based collection will 'lose' a large proportion of some of the dreadful stuff of yesteryear (which will probably never ever make it on to the Internet). Yes, it is very important that such stuff should remain archived for scholars, but for the future it will remain – very literally – 'shelved!

Of course academic journals and other sources will continue to put some of their old stuff on line and, as is frequently remarked on Conductive World, all sorts of new junk continues to be published. But the junk quotient within the 'literature' of Conductive Education may continue to fall, we must hope, to well below ninety percent!

From now the on-line corpus will be much more readily accessible than real-world hard copies could ever be, and the facility of Gill's developing categorisation and linking will make it much easier to spot potentially useful documents in the the Sargasso Sea of the Internet.

How to sort the good from the bad? Readers will have to read around and find ways to develop their own critical sense – and the 'quoters' learn to recognise that just plonking a reference in a text does not necessarily confer authority, it can simply make one look daft.

Resources

Meanwhile Gill is appealing for relevant URLs (links), in any language. Any other suggestions and comments will also be very welcome.

Find out more about the New Conductive Education Library from Conductive Education Information and from the website of the New Library itself:


And do note out that this important contribution to the wellbeing of Conductive Education is being carried out as an act of personal charitas.

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