I just finished The Tipping Point. You know I think it’s a good book if I keep a page of notes tucked into it while I’m reading it. (I think there has only ever been one work of fiction that I’ve done this with, & that was Snow Crash.) Anyway, my Tipping Points notes will keep me in blog entries for a while.

Gladwell writes in chapter 5, the chapter about the magic number 150, about transactive memory. Transactive memory is shared memory, that memory that you keep outside of your own head, in objects or other people. I refer to such things (my Outlook calendar, Yvonne, etc.) as my auxiliary brain. Or, as Samuel Johnson put it, “Knowledge is of two kinds: we know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it.”

This is a favorite quote among librarians, for fairly obvious reasons. Which made me think, librarianship has raised transactive memory to the status of a profession. So here’s my question: what can we learn about librarians, about the personality type or cognitive skills or whatever of people who choose librarianship as a career, from studying how librarians use transactive memory? And on the other hand, what can we learn about transactive memory in humans in general by studying librarians, who are so expert in utilizing it?

Any PhD students in cognitive psychology in My Beloved Audience?