Friday, December 24, 2004

Googlizers vs. Resistors (by Brian Kenney)

excerpt: For starters, Google, Yahoo, and the other search engines raise questions about expensive, proprietary databases. While the latter deliver precise and high-quality results, users may find them too complex and not be willing to learn how to work with them. But can librarians ever accept providing the public with "good enough" results as opposed to the "best quality" results that are so much a part of our professional mantra?

Beyond commercial databases, Google's search box and relevancy ranking are pushing new designs for accessing cataloged content. Witness the Research Library Group's RedLightGreen project. If Google were to prevail as a model for library research, how would that shape information literacy efforts?

These questions, and more, were taken on at the debate "Googlizers and Resistors: Librarian's Role in a Googlized World," held at the Pennsylvania Library Association Annual Conference, October 27, in King of Prussia. Although the debate was sponsored by the association's College and Research Libraries Division, it attracted academic and public librarians in nearly equal numbers.