Is the Academic Library OPAC Going Extinct?

I don't normally point to LJ (not because I don't read/like it, but because you should already be reading it, and I normally try to point at things you would never read elsewhere.) but you should go read Google Books vs. BISON right now.

"We invest so much effort getting students to use our resources; it is absolutely excruciating to know we are frequently sending them off with nothing, especially when they don't ask for help from librarians."

"The bar has been raised. The maturing Internet and evolving array of Web 2.0 services has turned our customer base into what many have called a “Google Generation.” We can debate that moniker, but, clearly, no one is calling this the “Academic Library Generation.” Our BISON catalog may not be extinct, but it is being hunted down by the competition. As in nature, libraries had best adapt, change quickly, and build on past successes."

Tip O' The Hat to Bernie Sloan for the link.


I love how the article mentions that students often left their search with nothing. I never left with nothing. If I couldn't find something in the catalog or in the library, I would find out how to find it. I was performing nested boolean searches when I was just six-months old.

I don't know how to hammer a nail without bending it, so I blame the hammer. Maybe the hammer needs a USB port? Maybe the color of the hammer affects its usefulness. But obviously the hammer is at fault.

soon google will be the only choice, but people won't care.

One purpose of a middle range academic library is to provide users with what they cannot get via Google.

If I sit at home and use Google I can access all the information in the green. If I go to the library I can get to the green and the purple information.

Google will never be able to contain all known information so libraries have the role to provide the wedge of information that is not in the green. We may also be able to provide better and more useful information in the green.

As much as I agree with you and the chart the key here is "people won't care"

The space between the green and purple is the amount people care about this stuff, can't see it? nither can I. People want fast, easy, free. If we (as a profession) don't get off our collective asses and do something it's only going to get worse.

>People want fast, easy, free. If we (as a profession) don't get off our >collective asses and do something it's only going to get worse.

What are your ideas for the top things that libraries should be doing to address your concerns?