Re: [ACAT] Tell all your associates, don’t go to library school.

Posting to Autocat

On 22/06/2012 15:09, Sandra DeSio wrote:

Unfortunately the search engines have an advantage over us in that they have access to the full text of every work (i.e., website) they index available to them. That’s what patrons want, to be able to do a keyword search in our catalogs and be able to find the information they want contained within the work itself, not just within the title, author, or subject fields. And that is where our problem is. We can’t reproduce every work full text within our catalogs due to copyright restrictions, so we can’t give them what they want, and no cataloging rule is going to change that.  </snip>

Yes and no. There is a Google Books API that can be included into a library’s catalog in all kinds of ways (easier to implement in open source catalogs than in proprietary ones). Another idea, although I know that people will say, “Oh my God!” but–it is a fact that there is nothing stopping the library field from building their own type of Google search engine. Please keep reading: But don’t make a competitor. Make a tool that is limited only to sites that have been chosen by a selector. That makes everything *much easier*. We could work with the Internet Archive and that fabulous Wayback Machine to make sure everything is archived. How would the catalog interoperate with a full-text search engine that we had control of, and the Wayback machine? I don’t know, but I think it would be fun to find out! Yes, there would be costs, but if it were not a single library paying for it, but a bunch of them, it would probably be pretty manageable and the public would probably love it. “A website of reliable, selected information” All of the software to create and maintain something like this is open source.

Plus, I think libraries have something great, if they would use it: the subject headings and the syndetics of the authority records. Yes, I know much of it is broken today and have been broken ever since keyword was introduced, but they are still there. These represent real power that the Googles do not have, and cannot have because a human brain is required, at least for the foreseeable future.

There are a wealth of possible projects that could make a difference to the public, but we must use our imagination, and as the Romans used to say: “Fortes fortuna adiuvat”, or “fortune favors the bold”.