Build it: But How to Make Them Come?
Posted by odyssey2006 on May 21, 2006
Build it—But How to Make Them Come?
Beth Jefferson, founder Bibliocommons
Note taker: K. Mogg
(Due to technical errors which impacted time constraints, this presentation was delivered in a slightly condensed form).
Discovery (in Libraries):
- not enough just to have content; content must be brought to users, users to content
- discovery a large part of library experience; reader advisory
- importance of serendipitous retrieval -importance of browsing
- browsing as a process is missing during electronic transactions; but electronic browsing has surpassed other methods
- media techniques, ipods change methods; particularly the reduction of complexity
(Summary of various graphs and charts comparing High vs. Low frequency remote users of OPAC’s)
- three times a week or more; prediction for all users soon
- average visit to library shorter; average 15 minutes
- how are books selected in this context? Higher incidence of book and video store displays, online reviews
- how frequently do you visit an online book store?
- compare online book stores with libraries
- library experience is much less satisfactory for high frequency users
- need to change libraries
- tendency to browse vs. pre-select; low frequency OPAC browsers use more pre-select
- where do titles come from? Audio book sites, TV, etc
- online sites: help with searching, discovery, etc—back to library to find cheap sources (are materials available in catalogue?)
“Cataloguing News”—Deanna Marcus, Cataloguing Quarterly
- “Why not let Google serve as (y)our library catalogue?”
Why Not to use Google (etc.) as a library catalogue:
- what are you in business for?
- can’t take models from large publishing companies with advertising/marketing and spin- off product deals
- options on a large commercial web site (ie. Amazon or Chapters) impacts what you discover.
- here, the discover is limited to bestsellers; not an infinite variety of choice but rather a narrowing of choice
- Amazon: not an effective discovery tool; websites programmed to generate more titles for online customers, ie. “customers who like this book also bought…”—this in turn used to flog more and more bestsellers
- this will kill libraries
- definition of ‘best-selling’—can be many things. On Amazon this is generally temporal/ephemeral– Google’s ‘most popular’ rankings are similar
- not so with libraries
Why this matters to libraries:
- maintain relevancy for patrons–.as more people ask for best sellers
- demand for “new”
- huge holds lists for best sellers; how does this impact patron satisfaction?
- Amazon: controls experience; uses own staff reviewers—maybe librarians can do this as well?
Clay Shirky: “Power laws, Weblogs, and Inequality”; ‘distribution of demand’;
- mid-list books—challenged in terms of getting noticed; handful of titles accounts for most sales
- in contrast, Netflix—allows for browsing for selection
- desire to circulate all titles and give customers help making a choice; customers are presented with possibilities, even older movies
- offering alternatives, multiple ways into collection
What is Needed:
- expert to P2P
- semantic to social
- Less is more
- collocation: in social context; people don’t choose novels because of subjects
- The question remains: how to find ‘books like…’ in library catalogue? ie Oprah; where to find books like the last one we liked and read
- very relevant for fiction, but other genres as well
- how to do this in a library environment: best not to do this in a ‘between patron to institution’ format, rather patron to patron
- how can we connect one person to another person with similar likes?
- Library Thing—ie Harry Potter; first generation tagging; use of descriptive tools, and the capacity to navigate descriptive tools (other readers who have tagged certain books as “dark” or “magic” etc; )
- “sharing will be everywhere”
- soon to spread all over web; Google, yahoo
- “social network as filter”
- MySpace—takes this to an extreme
How can this benefit libraries? If Myspace has 42 million ‘ever registered” globally, libraries have 150 million plus users: North America; use this model; expand potential
Those who use the OPAC: use it a lot; more frequency than Amazon
- patrons: as evinced from conducted study, show good will and will participate in submitting reviews to a library, including teens. Older adults much more so, since social networks not as open to older adults;
- participation: not tied in to making people buy, as on Amazon
- how people discover materials: browsing materials; fast lane/new; return cart; then after this: library displays down to staff advice
- how do we make entire collection relevant to users?
Libraries built in time of scarcity; now, time of abundance: how will hearts and minds be won? By those who help us discover less that is more relevant, and by those who make the process fun.