On 02/08/2013 18:34, Dave Caroline wrote:
When I have managed in a very few cases to get someone to understand how the subject headings work, they ask: Why don’t Google and Yahoo work this way? That question made me feel great! I think that people today would absolutely love that kind of “new” and “innovative” experience that they can find nowhere else on the web. Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Apple and the other “information companies” will never offer such access.
While you claim they will never, they are actually trying to show related items and data and are sometimes getting it right and sometimes wrong. Much easier to see this happening with rare searches with small result sets than the normal millions of results. I certainly see attempts at related items being shown to me in Ebay result sets with some well matched and some very badly, probably to be expected for new algorithms.
I didn’t make myself clear. Providing “related items” can always be done with algorithms and people can tweak those algorithms everyday, but I will state that it is substantively different from the access you get in a library catalog. Of course, that assumes that the library catalog works as it is supposed to and I haven’t found an OPAC that does that yet.
I am not saying that one method is better than the other. What I am saying is that a library, and its catalog, provide all kinds of things that the Googles do not, and will not, provide. And vice versa. Both methods have powerful strengths and significant weaknesses, but it is interesting that where algorithmic access is weak, the traditional methods are strong, and where the traditional methods are weak, the algorithmic methods are strong. I believe that the two methods could work together to provide something never seen before and extremely powerful for everybody.
At least libraries could give it a try. It’s better than running a foot-race against normal runners when your legs are tied together (libraries vs. the Googlies).