January 16, 2007

The Online Library Catalog: Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained?

That the title of a new article in Dlib this month, The Online Library Catalog: Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained? by Karen Markey of University of Michigan.

Here's the abstract:

This think piece tells why the online library catalog fell from grace and why new directions pertaining to cataloging simplification and primary sources will not attract people back to the online catalog. It proposes an alternative direction that has greater likelihood of regaining the online catalog's lofty status and longtime users. Such a direction will require paradigm shifts in library cataloging and in the design and development of online library catalogs that heed catalog users' longtime demands for improvements to the searching experience. Our failure to respond accordingly may permanently exile scholarly and scientific information to a netherworld where no one searches while less reliable, accurate, and objective sources of information thrive in a paradise where people prefer to search for information.

Lots of interesting stuff here, mostly about totally rethinking our approach to our online catalogues and how we do metadata, take a look at some of the section headings to get a feel for it:

  • Searching for Information in the Library Puts People on an Emotional Roller Coaster
  • Domain Expertise—It's All about Knowing What You Want and Where to Look
  • Embrace Post-Boolean Probabilistic Searching
  • Building the Future Online Catalog Now

I also have to recommend the bibliography, there's lots of thought-provoking additional reading there.

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