Re: [NGC4LIB] Video of “Think Different”

Posting to NGC4LIB

On 11/11/2012 22:58, Dan Matei wrote:

<snip>
My point is: “lexical co-location” is could be valuable for the user. Suppose I’m looking for “Stockhausen” (knowing exactly that I mean Karlheinz S.). But if the name “Markus Stockhausen” is shown to me after K.S., maybe this way I find out that Karlheinz has a son, composer too.
</snip>

Perhaps, but even then I question the value for a user of a catalog. While I may be interested in the professional or creative output of an individual, it doesn’t mean that I am also interested in their personal details and in fact, even presenting those details to me is a detraction from what I really want. For instance, I may be interested to know what other books and articles some person wrote, but does it follow that I am interested in the fact that he has been married three times, beat his second wife, or that he had an affair that set the entire university where he works to talking, that he has three children and gave money to Mitt Romney for president?

I submit that in my role as a catalog user, this is as important to me as are the details of the life of the person who fixes my coffee at the bar. While it matters to the spouse and family of the person fixing my coffee, it doesn’t matter to me so long as that person makes a good cup of coffee. Otherwise, all of these details only serve as detours from what really interests me.

For instance, let’s assume that I am researching the topic “the role of ethics in modern financial institutions”. I find an interesting article by an author, click on him and discover that he is leading a wild life. “Oh! He had an affair! I wonder what she looked like? What happened then I wonder? Oh my goodness! …” and while some may call this “serendipity” I call it “wasting my time” because after all, I am actually interested in “the role of ethics in modern financial institutions”.

So, it is more important for a user of a catalog to know that this person wrote articles with certain other people, that they in turn wrote these other articles, perhaps that he works at a department of a specific institution where the researchers have produced these articles, that my author has cited these other papers, and in turn was cited in these other papers, and so on. You can do a lot of this in Microsoft Academic Search today. Here is someone who writes on “the role of ethics in modern financial institutions” http://academic.research.microsoft.com/Author/28163512/gordon-francis-woodbine. You can see this fellow’s co-authors, citations, institution and so on.

As a side note concerning Karen’s example of “Bretenders”, I looked it up in Google and got “Did you mean: pretenders”.

My own example of alphabetization is a little different. A children’s librarian once told me a story when she first started. An old woman who had worked as a children’s librarian her entire life was training her, and not long after my friend started, a very cute little girl walked up to them and said, “I want a book on the beginnings of sin.”

The new librarian was absolutely shocked and didn’t know at all what to do, but the old lady said, “Honey, do you want a book on Cinderella?” “Yes!”

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