Making It Look So Easy
by Dick Kaser
It’s a brave new world for information services, largely thanks to Google, who set the user expectation that search should be easy and search results good. When today’s patrons walk into a library (or, just as likely, visit the library’s website), they naturally expect to search everything at once, get results that are relevant, and zip straight off to retrieve the resources they want.
Patrons’ experience with social media—such as Twitter and Facebook—also has set new benchmarks for libraries to live up to as they attempt to get their collections opened up for ease of discovery, referral, and recommendation. This issue of Computers in Libraries is chockfull of methods and means for exposing your library’s resources to inquiring minds.
Maybe you need to add a discovery layer to your OPAC. Read Sharon Yang’s article comparing the features of the various commercial solutions on the market.
Maybe you’re wondering if outreach is key. See what other libraries are doing by reading the third in a series of reports we’ve published from a longitudinal study by Colorado State Library on trends in social media adoption by public libraries.
Maybe, as a key factor in making your library’s digital resources more discoverable, you just need to figure out what it is you’ve got. Heidi Webb shares her experiences in putting the pieces of her library’s digital collection together.
Get your stuff tagged! Jan Zastrow reviews state-of-the-art crowdsourcing and how that approach to metadata development might help unlock your collection’s hidden gems. Marshall Breeding takes it one step further by highlighting how SEO techniques and semantic data structures could throw your content vaults wide open.
And—talk about a new world—why stop at pointing to content when, these days, you can also make your own? Read the columns by Jessamyn West and Terence Huwe on content creation initiatives for libraries and archives.
We’ll be talking further about all this stuff at our Internet Librarian conference in Monterey, Calif., this month. Check out the show preview at the back of this issue. I sure hope to see you there—or in London for Internet Librarian International. For more details, visit infotoday.com.
Dick Kaser, Executive Editor