Monday, 9 November 2009

The Catalogue of our dreams?

Chronicle of Higher Education contained an article "After Losing Users in Catalogs, Libraries Find Better Search Software" showing that some US libraries are spending large sums investing in new catalogues using web scale index searching which could combat Google. Not a field that I have looked into yet, but seems to be a step up from federated searching. Will this help our IL interventions?

Susan L. Gibbons, vice provost and dean of the River Campus Libraries at the University of Rochester, summed up the discussion in an e-mail to The Chronicle:

"The commentary shows the all-too-common divide within libraries about information literacy. Some pine for the good old days when students had no choice but to come to the physical library and be forced to learn the idiosyncrasies of mastering a research tool, such as journal indices and the power of Library of Congress subject headings. Personally, I think libraries have gone from being in a monopolistic to a competitive marketplace for information; and that marketplace shift requires different thinking about services. I am of the opinion that libraries should do everything they can to lower the barrier of entry. Nothing should stand in the way of a student entering some search terms and discovering good resources. Once the student has entered into the (virtually or physically) library, then the rich complexities can be revealed."

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