After a long day at the Library and Information Show courtesy of Birmingham’s NEC I feel ready to count my free pens and stress balls… All day I’ve been wondering why so many exhibitors offer free stress balls! It seems to suggest that us librarians are easily stressed?? Yet if we were really that stressed I can’t help but think a little squigy ball isn’t going to help all that much.
I think the highlight of my day was sitting in on Dave Pattern’s talk about the continuing impact of Web 2.0 on library catalogues. I’m really into this whole Amazonisation of library OPACs but really, can such a thing take off? In my opinion, yes I think it could given the right setting. Knowing your library user and how they use the library’s OPAC seemed to be one of the key factors in helping the University of Huddersfield to really add-value to library services. In monitoring the keywords used to generate searches the University of Huddersfield were able to build up a bank of about three million words to create a ’suggestive’ service (and a really awesome tag cloud) to recommend titles and keyword combinations to generate more specific results. Now if that had been implemented at Sheffield University during my time it would have really helped me out! I’m not so sure I would have used the further features of Huddersfield’s OPAC 2.0 like comments and ratings but I’d like to think I’d have caught on to the RSS alerts early and personalised ratings without my own library account to keep track of books I’d already borrowed. There’s nothing more frustrating than forgetting the title of that awesome book that was really helpful when you’re standing outside the doors of a building that houses 1.4 million titles! ARGH.
I think I’ll probably have more to write about this but Heroes is back on our screens soon and I can’t be late! Check out these links to some of the libraries Dave talked about though.
Use his advice: ‘Have a play’:
- Ann Arbor District Library;
- Hennepin County Library;
- Library Thing;
- North Carolina State University;
- Plymouth State University;
- Topeka and Shawnee County;
- University of Warwick.