Saturday, June 25, 2005

L-net staff information blog

The following excerpt from L-net staff information blog is really insightful. I've been advocating a shift of focus in library service from library focused to user focused. I had not thought about the way web-based VR technologies enforce a library focused rather than user focused reference service...

L-net staff information blog: "One of the things I began to understand thanks to one of Schmidt's posts to his Walking Paper blog a while back was that the key difference between web-based chat and instant messaging is that for IM, the user is the center of their own information world. Web-based chat expects the library to be the center of the patron's information world, even as we say we are reaching out to internet users.

Think of cell phones. People carry them around, can reach out or be reached anywhere, anytime.

If you don'’t have a cell phone that has text messaging, or don'’t have one at all (like me), find someone who does and ask them to show you texting. Text messaging (also known as SMS) interfaces with instant messaging products so that you can send instant messages from your cell phone, wherever you are.

The instant messaging user is not necessarily sitting at a desk in front of a computer. The web-based chat user has to be.

We are in the middle a shift from a sedentary to a nomadic information-seeking culture. Patrons no longer have to go to their information sources. They can carry them around with them. Can they carry around a reference librarian? How about the whole library?"

A couple years ago, I heard a speaker suggest that the cell phone would soon become the primary user interface for students. He predicted that students would carry them into the stacks and use them for both information discovery and retrieval. Carrying them into the stacks may be optimistic. Getting them into the stacks at all may not happen. But, I think the cell phone or the iPod, or something like it will soon become a primary tool for both information discovery and retrieval.

Recently Lorcan Dempsey reported that one of the OCLC employees in the Research department has the entire WorldCat database on an iPod with enough room remaining for about 5000 song tracks....