We spent an incredible amount of time (read: three hour class) today discussing economics and how they apply to the information field as us, as information professionals. If this sounds like an incredibly boring topic to you, or even moreso, an incredibly useless topic, I beg you to think again. While I could easily play the nerd card and admit that I have always found economics fun to study – Marie plays the nerd card for +10 to a lack of street cred! – I’m re-evaluating what I already know and applying it to information and discovering all sorts of new things.
Information can be treated like a commodity or a public good. In this case, public good does not mean a good that’s supplied by the public, or owned by the public, or financed by the public per say but is defined by the non-rivalry inherent within. If I am reading a journal article online, I am not preventing you from also reading that journal article, and both of us are able to benefit from reading it. Thus the public good aspect of information.
For class, we had to read a book by Bruce Kingma entitled “The Economics of Information” that I would recommend everyone at the very least skim (also, if you’re taking 618 in the future, and you will be, it probably wouldn’t hurt, since it’ll probably be required again). Understanding how to effectively analyze and conduct a cost-benefit analysis *might* seem a bit complicated and overdone at first, but if you end up in a position of management in a library – or anywhere, for that matter – it’ll be ridiculously helpful. I’d by lying by omission if I didn’t admit that I CBA lots of things in my life. Making decisions based on opportunity cost and the time-value of money may not always work, but it certainly attempts to remove one from the situation and make a less emotion-based decision. And, well, I have no problems with that every once in a while.
And herein I apologize for how absolutely boring this blogpost is. And now I will shrug.