May 16, 2022

Lorcan Dempsey Writes “Workflow is the New Content”

From the First Post in a New Series by Lorcan Dempsey:

Lorcan Dempsey (Source:

Writing here in 2017, I noted that my occasional blog entries tended to balloon into article proportions. One was on research workflows, very much from a library point of view. I reviewed the draft and decided to publish it here, splitting it into four linked entries, to appear over the next while. I have updated it somewhat and added links to the extensive work of my OCLC Research colleagues in a final section. However, it also retains some references from back then. It is largely descriptive, and is meant to frame an area of interest. Much has been written on these general topics in the interim, as well as much more specialist coverage of particular areas.

  1. Workflow is the new content 1: Looking at research support and engagement
  2. Workflow is the new content 2: The new job description, publishers and libraries
  3. Workflow is the new content 3: Some library considerations
  4. Workflow is the new content 4: Sourcing, scaling and links to further work

Workflow is the new content …

The digital environment makes workflow support more important, as activities, content, and communications are tied together on the network in various combinations. This is especially the case as more of our activity moves to the cloud. Think of the interesting interaction of social media, computational engines, and chess, for example, or of the mix of social and functional capacities in an application like Strava, used by athletes to track and compare performance as well to connect with other athletes. In a library or research environment this trend is also clear. Think of  reading and ebooks, or of the evolution of citation management applications from simple lists to fuller scholarly platforms. Research practices, and the support provided by libraries, publishers, community and disciplinary projects and others, provide an intriguing example, as workflows produce, manage and consume content, enable collaboration, and tie devices together to get things done. Increasingly, we are aware of how digital workflows are an important element of information use, and moreover how the evolution of workflow, data, and behaviors are mutually constitutive.

In these posts I focus on research workflows. More particularly, I look very specifically at library support and partnership in the research process.

Learn More, Read the Complete Post (Part One of Four-Part Series)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.