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When is a word not a word?

At the risk of sounding like a very grumpy old woman, I have come across two nasty examples in the last week of dubious jargon.

The first came in an otherwise interesting IWR article last week on the role of professional associations in supporting librarians. I was flummoxed for some time, however, by this sentence "Today's librarians need to take on a number of roles, both specialising and hybridising".

Hybridising? I can see what it means in biology but here it's just confusing. Surely much simpler just to say that information professionals must combine their skills with those of other professionals to create hybrid roles.

The second was in a job description we received from a client who shall be nameless. It required candidates who are able to "operationalise ideas". Ouch.

Why can't people just say what they mean in plain English? I'm off to spend the weekend spluttering into my G&T – "disgraceful…country…going…dogs…standards…appalling"

4 comments to this post

  •  :  I'm sure this will only wind you up even more, but FT columnist Lucy Kellaway has been writing on this topic for many years, and even has an annual award for the worst examples. Twaddle thrives amid the turmoil <a href="http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/3a41f80a-d8d3-11dd-ab5f-000077b07658.html" rel="nofollow">http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/3a41f80a-d8d3-11dd-ab5f-000077b07658.html</a> <a href="http://ninfield.wordpress.com/2008/02/12/lucy-kellaway-puncturing-egos-and-praising-good-service/" rel="nofollow">http://ninfield.wordpress.com/2008/02/12/lucy-kellaway-puncturing-egos-and-praising-good-service/</a>
  •  :  Brilliant, thanks Neil. Lucy Kellaway used to be the highlight of my Mondays when I worked in a library that took the FT but I had completely forgotten about her in more recent times. I will enjoy rediscovering her columns (perhaps even via podcast). Her common-sense approach is so refreshing.
  •  :  Hybridising? I can understand why someone would use the word Hybrid as this does describe some of the new roles that Librarians are taking on. Using the word hybridising is just weird though, it sounds like they are growing Librarians, which is wrong on so many levels.
  •  :  Ha ha, that's what it put me in mind of too. Lab-grown librarians are quite a scary prospect!

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