When Good Enough—Isn’t [Search Engine vs. Librarian Challenge]

When Good Enough—Isn’t by Patti Brennan.

From the post:

Why do we need librarians when we have Google?

What is the role of a librarian now that we can google anything?

How often have you heard that?

Let’s face it: We have all become enticed by the immediacy of the answers that search engines provide, and we’ve come to accept the good-enough answer—even when good enough isn’t.

When I ask a librarian for help, I am tapping not only into his or her expertise, but also into that of countless others behind the scenes.

From the staff who purposefully and thoughtfully develop the collection—guided by a collection development manual other librarians have carefully crafted and considered—to the team of catalogers and indexers who assign metadata to the items we acquire, to the technical staff who design the systems that make automated search possible, we’ve got a small army of librarians supporting my personal act of discovery…and yours.
… (emphasis in original)

A great read to pass along to search fans in your office!

The image of tapping into the wisdom of countless others (dare I say the “crowd?”) behind every librarian is an apt one.

With search engines, you are limited to your expertise and yours alone. No backdrop of indexers, catalogers, metadata experts, to say nothing of those contributing to all those areas.

Compared to a librarian, you are out-classed and over matched, badly.

Are you ready to take Brennan’s challenge:

Let me offer a challenge: The next time you have a substantive question, ask a librarian and then report back here about how it went.

Ping me if you take Brennan up on that challenge. We are all want to benefit from your experience.

PS: Topic maps can build a backdrop of staff wisdom for you or you can wing every decision anew. Which one do you think works better?

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