Posted tagged ‘catalog’

What’s So Bad About Google

January 26, 2009

The Autocat regulars have picked up the Guardian article on OCLC last week, and the direction they’ve gone with the conversation seems a little….oh what’s the word…wrong?  Complaints immediately sprang up regarding the anti-OCLC agenda held by those who were interviewed (why this is surprising, or a problem I don’t get).  And people responded even more vehemently against the suggestion that it’s wrong for catalog records to be part of the hidden web.

The arguement goes something like this, people can search for a book in either a library’s own catalog or in Worldcat, so why would you want to let Google do it?  Well let’s see, because people use Google and they don’t use Worldcat (the majority of patrons have probably never even heard of it).  Because Google is intuitive to use and our catalogs are anything but.  Because we have to meet the patrons at their level and not force them to come up to ours.

Furthermore, there’s a bit of a fear that giving search engines access to our data will make our own systems irrelevant.  That’s only true in that our systems are already bordering on decrepitude.  Our jobs are to find ways to let people discover our resources.  To do so we should use every single tool at our disposal.  There is no possible downside if a new patron finds our stuff that wouldn’t have otherwise.  Really who cares if this discovery happened through an approved channel or not?  The important thing is that it was able to occur.

A Glutton for Punishment

November 20, 2008

Recently at my library I helped to put together a brand new computer lab.  Now we’re just about to put it into use.

Computer Lab

Computer Lab

 So after building the damn thing, how could I resist the urge to use it.  Thus I’m now working on creating a series of 1-hour workshops for our patrons (and no I haven’t finished preparing my first workshop yet that I started a month ago).  After some brainstorming with our reference staff I’ll be doing a few advanced classes on the catalog (after a colleague covers the basics), an introduction to LibraryThing, a bit on the current state of video games that’ll partially serve as a plug for our Wii nights, and eventually one on web 2.0 applications.

More to come.

Pushing the Boundaries

August 27, 2008

The recent release of III’s Millenium 2007 (not a typo) update has come with one fairly large problem, but it’s one that probably should not be corrected.  Namely that the online catalog no longer functions with outdated versions of internet explorer.

Now it’s one thing to demand that libraries keep up with technology, but it’s another to ask our patrons to do the same, and we have had quite a few complaints because of this.  III clients are libraries, and despite the fact that the catalog is a product designed for the patrons, they are a step removed from the catalog’s designers, and I doubt their voices are ever really heard except for when it’s second hand.

It’s rough because we should be teaching our patrons a bit of computer know how as part of our jobs (in this instance, start using Firefox), but we can’t expect everyone to have the ability to keep current.