Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Somewhere Out There

Notwithstanding that I thought about very little else for long stretches of the past two and a half years, I am after only three weeks entirely disengaged from the blog at My Former Place of Work, the ineffable Icarus. Don't even need to avoid looking at it: they'll do what they do.

I don't have the same distance on the library's catalog. It was my baby, I abandoned it when I abandoned my job, there won't be anyone else in the position for at least some months, and it's very hard not to focus on what I can't make happen. Other libraries running our same catalog software are incorporating LibraryThing for Libraries. Danbury Public Library (CT) brought it up first, and now Bedford Public Library (TX) and others have begun to offer it. Realistically, something like this happens when one person's enthusiasm moves their library forward. At MFPOW I'd have had to push and push, but eventually the library would have added the feature. I knew what we [now They] needed to be doing, and they accepted my judgement when the catalog was at issue... Searching by tags, lumping editions, and a recommendation engine, oh my. But Santa Fe's library users won't have access to it, I can't do it for them.

Danbury Public Library has also put a search box on their home page that searches BOTH their catalog and their web pages. I want it, I want it. Well, no I don't. MB at Reference doesn't live there any more.

Danbury's single search box triggered a long and increasingly acrimonious thread on the Next Generation Catalog for Libraries email list. Posts with titles like "Elitism in Libraries"; discussions of whether either we as librarians, or the 'AmaGoogle monster', will still be around in 50 years; and arguments triggered by Martha Yee's paper, "Will the Response of the Library Profession to the Internet be self-immolation? (written testimony to LC’s Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control)". KGS blogged 'Relevance Ranking and OPAC records'. The whole topic is as seductive as it is geeky-to-the-max, and all week I've been grieving that I have no relationship to it anymore.

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