Andrew Pace’s Top Tech Trends

It’s simply not enough to be known for proliferating the word “sucks” in describing library systems (my mother would be so proud). Thank you Roy and Karen for “spreading the word.” I will spend the next six months attempting to elevate mixing metaphors to an art form. On that note, here is a brief summary of my four-legged stool and what it leaves in its wake:

The dis-integrated library system has four parts

  • OPAC. Yes, it still sucks. Libraries need to build better access to online catalog holdings. NCSU Libraries is working with Endeca’s Guided Navigation to experiment with more relevant keyword search results and faceted browsing of results. Take a look at these searches at Indigo Books or Walmart for examples of their technology at work.
  • Electronic Resource Management. I would have liked to rename this serials and electronic resource management, but it’s hard to saddle a horse at a full gallup. Nevertheless, it’s imperative that these resources be managed with something other than the traditional integrated library system, and something more than an A-Z e-journal service. Check out NCSU’s new public E-Matrix site.
  • Digital Repositories. Nuf said. We’re building them like mad. Tons of content. Little controlled access.
  • Metasearch. Something for all that content. I probably should have made a three-legged stool and made metasearch the seat. NISO Metasearch is almost there.

I think if we can figure these things out, two great things will happen. First, libraries will be able to concentrate more on content. Technologists will always have new toys, so let’s finish building the ones that will allow libraries to do simple things well. Second, it will allow us to move beyond the simplicity (simple, not simplistic) of search and retrieval and begin the work of presenting resources within different user contexts–geographic, demographic, whateveric. This is not that new, but I think it a distraction at times to talk about learning objects, context mangement, and folksonomies when we haven’t really mastered simple search and retrieval yet. If we can build the basics well, eventually we’ll give our stool a back and a seat cushion.

One thought on “Andrew Pace’s Top Tech Trends

  1. […] I’ll put it down to all the subversive things I’ve been reading, but I’m finding I’m more and more in agreement wtih Andrew Pace, who writes in his posting on the LITA Blog that they still need to do better. My particular beef at the moment is with the subject headings used by our current catalogue, which can look like ” People with disabilities–Services for–Australia–Evaluation”. I’m wondering why I can’t just use a controlled vocabularly with multiple entries, rather as things are indexed in Medline. I’m also struggling with why we’re still using catalogues to describe the physical attributes of an item “49 p. ; 30 cm.”, rather than describing what’s in the item. And putting a picture of the cover and a proper abstract and / or contents pages. And the ability for patrons to write reviews. Or see what others who borrowed this book also borrowed. […]

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