Access alas poor access where art thou

inicola writes "I would like to share a pet peeve of mine. I really hate the access issues in most library softwares that access fulltext. I don't think that they are nearly as trck enough to get students interested in them. When in the recent conversation with a cowarker it came up that perhaps one of the reasons for the access as a continuing issue was perhaps that we did not voice our needs or better yeat our clients needs well.

I will state the dread phrase without naming names, "search engines"

No one intends by proprietary nature to make a product poorly but the difference between library and other business softwares begs the question "why?"

Since one of my goals while working in a library was to help the patron navigate and access information I remain perplexed and disappoint at what search engines seem to do so much faster in the mind of the patron...I site a Bisson article of customer perceptions of libraries and search engines...

See the article I refer to:

OCLC Report: Libraries vs. Search Engines

Let's not beat a dead horse, but let us consistently ask for self aware software, that uses technology to the best of it's potential for directing the most patrons to their target resource efficiently...

Speed is relative and the mark and finish line to what is acceptable in retrieval situation will change as long as someone out in the great "out there" can find, make, suggest a better way...

Yay for paraprofessionals in the mix, because sometimes I think we underestimate our influence and our numbers..."


The writer of this piece needsA. Spell and Grammar CheckB. A good editorHaving said that this heartfelt expression regarding the problems of search engines...lack of focus...too much information...too much junk is true.That's why there are librarians and library catalogs, and yes even paraprofessionals which can all help the library user find what they seek instead of being overwhelmed and lost.And yes, we can even help people learn how to use search engines so they get better results!

Let's not let the surface issues distract us. This poster makes a strong case. In an age of type-it-and-get-answers speed, we library people run a real risk of being seen as outdated dinosaurs. Yes, we can continue to preach quality over quantity and speed, but our audience may not stop to listen.
  inicola focuses on technology as the answer, but we have to keep this idea at the forefront of everything we do right now. How can we be relevant? Not like the pathetic sitcom dad trying to talk like his kids, but really and truly. How can we compete with the ubiquity of search? No matter how many times we deny it or hide behind "but we're better!" this question will not go away. Many of our young patrons see the library as a gathering place to play games and hang out, which is wonderful, but we need to figure out how to show them what we're really here for.

I agree, Karl.Gotta say I think the best way for us to show library users how knowledgable we are is to do what some librarians are doing...get out from behind the desk and go to the computer users and start talking to them and offering help...Sure there will be some who won't need it, sure there will be some just there to "play" but we gotta shed the tether of the desk and the phones (some have to be there but take turns and get out there people!)We are to used to being the unapproachable gods behind the reference desk temple...once the people using search engines and kinda sorta finding or not finding what they need, find out what WE know and can help them with, librarians will be seen as the valuable experts we are...It's all about direct customer service and interacting and educating!

While I wrote under time constraint, I thought about this one factor. We are all limited in the things that we do by time. I failed the spell and grammar check in my haste to not lose the idea of what I meant to say. That the architecture in information specific databases lack the object specificity that business software commonly utilizes to it's greater customer service advantage. Can you imagine for instance if you had only one way to look for an online item because that's what the seller wanted to categorize/file it under?

Now you have a perfect example of how not to get to a desired object, you have jargon...we are so good at jargon we sometimes forget that no one else cares, "content not container" is the principle that we need to grasp. It's a race to the content as far as architecture goes, thank goodness for the economic driving forces or else we would really be unsatisfied. I apologize for the spelling and gramar, but being from Hawai'i also found it (my lack of grammar phobia) amuzing at the same time.

We are still better searchers than software developers for either databases or search engines, which is why we are able to use both to our own personal there is definitely the respect for content but the software, still seems lacking in object specificity. I remember working at a larger institution and wondering years ago why fulltext for journal did not exist, there was not the awareness of it's potential as a marketable object, now that that has been recognized the software that organzies and searches the objects of interest needs to be explored and developed so the the delivery of the object, digital information whether text graphics or media is user friendly.

Speaking of friendly, I love this blogging concept.

Because of blogging we for the first time in history have a chance for universal dialogue nondependent on physical space and open for all to comment in a timely fashion.

I am so grateful to see the interest in the access issue as evidenced by the number of comments.

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