Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Discovery Interface is Kind of a Crummy Name

Ever wish library catalogues worked more like Google*? You're not alone. Some libraries are trying to find better search software. More power to them! However, there are 'pockets of resistance':

'Some argue that new search products—sometimes called next-generation catalogs or discovery interfaces—amount to a dumbing-down of catalogs.'

What? A library catalogue that would help users actually find something? Horrors!

Very cool idea, but very expensive, and it seems another argument for librarians being computer savvy. (I don't mind that. I'm comfortable around computers. I think computers plus libraries equals brilliant.) Adjusting to a specific library's needs will require better strategies for organizing the information in the database and knowledge as to how to make the searches relevant. The article gives an example of how searching for a book on Thomas Jefferson got someone papers from a conference in Brazil. Not so useful.

Adjusting systems to specific needs instead of trying to cram it into the one-size-fits-all standard
isn't new; my current course instructor told us about a project organizing aviation materials. If it's all aviation, standard cataloguing doesn't work so well.

It seems that computer know-how is becoming a lot more important in the information sciences; I think programming experience could be of immense help and now I'm kind of interested in pursuing that avenue to help with my future librarianing.

* Again with the Google. I know.


Post a Comment