Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Library as Search Engine

The Chronicle: 1/5/2007: The Library as Search Engine: "It is even easier in the online world than in the library to link to different subjects that people may be interested in. A really rich personalization engine is certainly our dream. Greenstein: I'm not worried about that patron. That patron is always going to be there. What is interesting here is that we are taking libraries and turning them inside out so that many thousands of other patrons get to see what is there."

Dr. Greenstein has been on the Electronic Records committee with me and this insight into the future of academic libraries and the Google book project is only one example of how open access is indeed good for everyone.

The most resistent groups I've seen in academe to these "open proposals" are those who have large libraries conveniently located to their own geography and simply miss the point that not all of us have that access. I sitll remember waiting 45 minutes for 3 pages of text from a library - just with basic organizational info about a search, not actual articles or info items - and being excited. I was also able to get caught up on much of my journal reading waiting on file downloads. This was about 12 years ago now and look how far we've come.

Earlier in the article, it talks about how some of the most creative people have trouble staying on task even in the library. I must be one of those people given that I always pick up books beyond the topic of what I am going to the library to find.

And, even though I love the technological access, I love browsing library stacks at other colleges and universities, especially large universities. I also enjoy the bookstores although that has become quite limited lately given the huge amount of work the used market and buyback takes - unless you are around at the beginning of a semester, the bookstore stacks are always closed.

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