I came across this term in the report on Youth and Digital Media: From Credibility to Information Quality published by the Berkman Center for Internet & Society.
In a traditional setting for the provision and management of information, the common term with which most would be familiar is an intermediary…someone who acts as a gatekeeper and/or a “middleman”.
With a greater use of mobile technologies and the always-connected user, the digital context heralds a change – instead of intermediaries we have the apomediaries who “stand by” as guides whose advice, direction and intervention is optional.
So what is an apomediary?
Interesting that it is the health industry that provided me with an answer.
“Both Health 2.0 and Medicine 2.0 have given rise to yet another term, apomediation. Apo comes from the Latin for “stand by,” and mediate comes from the Latin mediare to “be in the middle.” Apomediation describes the fact that when you access information on the Internet, you cut out the gatekeepers or any middlemen (like your own doctor or an insurance salesman), and allows you to go directly to the source of information, even if it is not a (previously considered) “expert” source. The expert “stands by” you. The information may come from a professional, or it may come from someone considered to be more of a peer. The expert source is an apomediary (or apomediator), someone who stands by, offering you the Internet information you seek.”
In a school context, I firmly believe it is the teacher librarian/school librarian who fits comfortably into this role, not only to “stand by” the students, but also the teaching staff and school administrators.
As we move more towards principal/school autonomy where decisions are being made at the local level, the teacher librarian can contribute content from the digital context to help inform the decisions being made.
For example, the Executive Summary in the original report that I referred to at the beginning of this post would be a useful document to discuss with school decision makers.