"Amazoogle" and Libraries

Last week I attended an academic library conference in Missouri. The keynote speaker was Susan Singleton, Executive Director of CARLI. In her presentation Susan referenced Karen Schneider's blog, specifically The User is not Broken.

Susan challenged the attendees to think about some of the points that Karen made in her posting, such as "The user is not "remote." You, the librarian, are remote, and it is your job to close that gap", "Every technology you learned about in library school will be dead someday", and my personal favorite "The OPAC is not the sun. The OPAC is at best a distant planet, every year moving farther from the orbit of its solar system".

In regards to the last statement I believe that one of the largest barriers to opening up our OPACs have been librarians’ philosophy of privacy (as opposed to Amazon’s, Google’s, etc.). At least until recently, OPACs have not allowed any personalization. I think that the options of privacy should be up to the users not us – if they want to share their reading lists with friends let them do so. Why not have features on our OPACs such as people who checked this book out also checked these out, or allow users to rate items?