Speaker: Joseph Janes
Title: What Does it Take to be Good at Reference in the Age of Google?
Aside – Sorta humorous – moderator asked us to turn off our cell phones… in THIS session about emerging trends in the age of google! Hee. Probably should have said “put cell phones on mute.”
“we can find things they can’t find” – this is a revelation to many people.
we shouldn’t emphasize ready reference anymore – Google is the rough equivalent of ready reference, and we can’t compete with it.
We can do better than that – we don’t have to answer the dumb questions anymore!
Google does great at orientation
Google is free, quick, easy, and good enough – we can’t beat that!
What Google cannot do:
- not good at gathering – Google does great at finding, but not gathering…
- google doesn’t evaluate, decide, understand, help
- google doesn’t do print (yet)
- doesn’t do fee-based stuff
- google doesn’t have highly sophisticated search (lexis-nexis, etc)
- not part of the community
How to be a good reference librarian in the age of google?
- be a reference librarian
- just not the same one you would have been 10 years ago
- do a good interview – regardless of mode (in person, phone, email, chat, IM, text message, etc)
Know the tricks:
- be more effective searchers
- know all the tricks, advanced features, etc
- know alternatives, when to use it and not to use it
articulate our strengths – we don’t do a good job of that!
(aside – Joe works a couple hours at the desk at the library – that’s cool! My library profs hadn’t worked in libraries for years)
Build tools that help people without direct intervention
- research guides (Cornell vodcasting Research Minutes on YouTube – how to use the library in 90 seconds or less – I need to check these out!)
- use easily understood names for services, tools, etc…
- citation = traffic ticket
- catalog = comes from LandsEnd
Position ourselves and our services as time-savers
- google’s fast, but we can save you time! average time spent searching in Google is 11 minutes! Wow! We are obviously faster than that!
- why search when we can help you find?
Be where they are
- we must be available, positioned, and ready to support, assist, and participate – on their terms
good point – when people ask us questions, it’s because they already tried and failed…
people ask shelvers questions – why? Because they’re there…
what to do:
we can’t beat them on quick, fast, easy, and cheap – we can fight them on quality, depth, education, instruction, literacy, etc
- play on our strengths
- and how they fit in the emerging world
What about print?
- in the short run, it’s a secret weapon – not everyone has access to print!
- they are unique
- in the longer run, they will be slowly decreasing in importance
wikipedia – if you don’t like it, get over it!
- instead of whining about it… do something about it!
- if you don’t vote, don’t complain
- create and edit entries, cite sources, fight for quality, be a positive force (a la learning 2.0)
- search for libraries – even funnier – search for “libary”
- make a video!
- have your own, yes, but also participate in community/others
Read blogs of people in your community – and participate by commenting!
- it’s a new way to create
- it’s a way to get into the ground floor of a whole new way of creating
Most important – Work Together.
the idea of library has escaped the building
it’s now an extended notion of library – anywhere, anytime, any way in which people interact with information organized, provided, supported by their own community via their library staff.
“We have to be even better online than in person”