Why “Access Points”?

December 13, 2013

I was recently asked why I named this blog Access Points. This has to do with my background as a librarian and IT Manager here at the Center for Inquiry (CFI).

In the computer world, access points are used to connect computers to networks, the Internet, or other computers. WiFi users probably connected to one without even knowing it. You connect to it via password, encryption, or other method, and it provides access to the Internet.

In library lingo, access points are what we use to connect people to information. When you have a book, there are many types of access points that tell you what the book holds. Titles, authors, subjects, classification numbers, and other elements are all access points. When cataloging these works, we try to give as many access points to the book as is reasonable so that people can find the information they desire.

Another, more philosophical aspect of the term also involves libraries and librarians. Libraries themselves are access points. We provide access to the building itself and have the knowledge of the library to share the information that we hold. In the case of CFI, we provide information to our organizations and authors, as well as to the media and the public.

With that in mind, I am additionally providing you (the reader) with access to some of our most cherished materials here at CFI. This venue will allow me to share the progress in making our materials available to everyone. I am also hoping to give glimpses into the inner workings of a small special library, so you will come to see why it can be difficult to operate but very rewarding as well.