Variations on this warning appear on almost any consumer product you can buy nowadays from cups of coffee to chain saws. This came up in a conversation we were having the other day about innovation. Innovation is using already existing things with positive results in ways for which they were not intended (I think we should skip the injury and death). We compared this with invention, which we concluded was creating something new that did not previously exist. The lines between innnovation and invention necessarily blur, and you can split hairs about what is invented in any innovative project, but I think we have the basic idea. In my work, I tend to try to innovate, especially with technology, since I do not have the skills or creativity in that area to invent anything of value. While I sincerely appreciate the makers who can create new things, I really like to innovate, and work with makers who are interested in extending their inventions in new and different directions.
I’ve used an ILS circulation system to manage digitization workflows, since of course an ILS is, by nature an inventory control system, we controlled the location of our inventory by creating pseudo-patrons for each of the locations. Much faster than changing the location field in the bibliographic record. Similarly, we’ve seen in other posts how we have used social media tools to illustrate intellectual connections between archival objects. As the tools get easier to use, and have much less overhead–most tools are browser-based, with little investment in infrastructure–our opportunity for innovation grows.