I am quite giddy whenever I see hashtags on tweets, Instagram and blog post tags and categories. The much maligned and put upon Technical Services and Cataloging librarians have finally gotten the last laugh even though they don’t know it and may be cringing when they see hashtags.
Catalogers are often considered to be the most introverted, the most pinched and the most uptight of all librarians in a profession where stereotypes run rampant. Even today when librarians have tattoos and piercings, listen to heavy metal as often as opera and run marathons, we are thought to be spinsters and bachelors with buns and excellent skills at shushing.
In reality Technical Services librarians, now called Metadata Application Specialists are some of the most detail oriented, smartest librarians I know. They have it down when talking about taxonomies, controlled vocabularies and subject headings.
In order to stay relevant, these TSL/MAS must embrace hashtags. Hashtags are uncontrolled. Hashtags are folksonomy. Hashtags are slangy and crazy. Hashtags are also useful and consumers have embraced them. We must as well. We must allow patrons to add hashtags to catalog records for their own use. We must teach the relevance of hashtags and how they relate to the library catalog. Hashtags are a perfect entry to library use. Embrace them.