Posted tagged ‘Homophily’

Homophily

February 2, 2009

I realize this site is rapidly decending into being nothing more than Tim Spalding fan service, but I can’t help it if the man’s opinions tend to mirror my own.  His latest blog post is a bit on libraries, social networks, and homophily.  The post is in direct response to a Guardian article

The relevant bit is that library catalogs can contribute to this problem, and I’m going to extend that to the physical layout of our collections as well.  Very few patrons like to browse anymore.  By and large people expect to be able to come in, find the one book/subject they’re interested in, grab the relevant title and walk out.  To use Tim’s word, this system removes serendipity from the process.

Our catalog is designed to cater this behavior, and there are plenty of librarians out there taking the next step.  This is one of the reasons special collections can tick me off.  There are certainly reasons why a few of them (local interest) can be a good idea, but much of the time it just limits browsing further and ensures that some of your mid-list titles (or those that defy easy catagorization) will never be discovered.