We are seeing the emergence of a user-centered LiveWeb world where people do most of their work, and play, within their web browser. Library customers encounter new systems and tools to help them do their research daily. As a result, the expectations that customers are placing on libraries for online interaction are changing.
Libraries are used to thinking about the catalog as the primary tool for resource discovery. The reality is that the catalog is not going to be the primary library discovery tool for the NetGen. They are going to utilize any discovery tool that fits into their information seeking workflow.
While libraries use web sites not only as a service and marketing tools, they are thought of as additional portals to resources. While libraries view the web site as an important discovery tool, it is not going to be the primary portal for the NetGen. They are going to utilize any discovery tool that fits into their information seeking workflow.
To provide access to the library's assets and services libraries must get into their NetGen's daily workflow. We need begin thinking about how to make our resources findable - regardless of the discovery tool used. We need to design and deploy applications that will work for all of customers no matter where they are and what tools they are using.
Neither the catalog or the library web site are a part of my daily workflow. I have to go out of my way to use them. If I am not a NetGen and I rarely use those discovery tools, how do libraries expect the real NetGen to use them? We need to begin thinking of new ways of unlocking the content contained in our systems in order to make it more findable.
I wish I could attended today's Library Camp (held on a Friday of a holiday weekend?). There should be some interesting sessions that would provide an opportunity for face-to-face discussion of these and other LiveWeb issues.
(Note: the title and inspiration for this post comes from a quote from a recent Lorcan Dempsey entry reacting to a Web4Lib discussion about exposing the contents of library catalogs to Google.)
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