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ONLINE SEARCHER: Information Discovery, Technology, Strategies


Itís Online Searcher Time
January/February 2013 Issue

It's time to welcome readers to a new year and a new publication. Well, a "new-ish" publication. If you were a subscriber to ONLINE, welcome to Online Searcher. If you were a subscriber to Searcher, welcome to Online Searcher. If you're a new subscriber, welcome to Online Searcher. If you're reading the library's copy, welcome to Online Searcher. We think you'll enjoy the new approach, with articles and informed opinions tailored for just for you, the librarian and information professional.

Although online and searching are now integral parts of most peoples' daily routines, the needs of serious researchers differ from those of the general public. Time and again, I'm astonished at the naïveté and misunderstanding regarding information structure, data availability, and search engine functionality that exists outside our profession. I think we have a duty to search well and to guide others to optimum results. To do these two things, we need to investigate not just content and context, but also the science behind how search works.

The ubiquity of search engines and the abundance of electronic information changes librarians' approaches to finding relevant information. We conceptualize the research process differently, both when we search the web and when we teach about library webscale discovery systems. Even Boolean logic, a mainstay of online searching, changes in this new environment. The basics we learned at school, even the techniques we taught ourselves last year, are up for debate. We must be prepared for constant change and be ready to adapt our online searching behaviors to accommodate change.

In the year ahead, Online Searcher will address questions such as: How have our search behaviors changed? What have we had to unlearn? What long-held beliefs are still valid? What new techniques have proved their value? What new skills and competencies do we need? How are our vendors meeting our needs? What websites hold value for serious research? Where do open source, open access, open data, open science, and other forms of "openness" take information professionals? And what about social media?

With all this change, one certainty is that we'll never be bored. There will always be something new to learn, some new avenue to explore. Disruptive change can make us nervous, but it should also become a vehicle for opportunities to enhance our value to our employers and to give us fulfilling professional and personal lives. Not to get all giddy about this, but I'm very optimistic about our future.

Online Searcher continues our traditional commitment to information professionals, bringing insights into novel and useful technologies, explanations of new and changed sources, and reviews of important developments in the information industry. We'll do a bit of conference coverage, introduce readers to some of the thought leaders of our times, and include a wee bit of news.

Online Searcher aims to be the "go-to" publication for leading-edge information tailored to the library and information professional community. I hope you'll agree that it's time for Online Searcher.

Marydee Ojala

Marydee Ojala is Editor-in-Chief of Online Searcher (the successor journal to ONLINE) and writes its business research column ("The Dollar Sign"). She has contributed feature articles and news stories to Information TodayEContentComputers in LibrariesIntranetsCyberSkeptic's Guide to the InternetBusiness Information Review, and Information Today's NewsBreaks. A long-time observer of the information industry, she speaks frequently at conferences, such as WebSearch University, Internet Librarian, Internet Librarian International, Computers in Libraries, and national library meetings worldwide. She has adjunct faculty status at the School of Library and Information Science at IUPUI (Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis). Her professional career began at BankAmerica Corporation, San Francisco, directing a worldwide program of research and information services. She established her independent information research business in 1987. Her undergraduate degree is from Brown University and her MLS was earned at the University of Pittsburgh.


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