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Monday, June 18, 2012

libraries and their websites

Ah library websites. OCLC brings to the fore the notion that library websites are not being used by their patrons as often as search engines are used. [Perceptions of Libraries, 2010: Context and Community: A Report to the OCLC Membership (2010)  http://www.oclc.org/reports/2010perceptions.htmIs this really an issue?

Libraries create  websites and expect their users to stop there first. In reality, library websites are portals to resources and databases, they are not search engines and aren't even conceived as such. It's no wonder that our users come to us last, if ever.Library websites provide access to the catalog, to reading lists, to e-books and downloadable audiobooks. Our websites provided access to fee-based databases and resources like Academic Search Complete or Early English Books Online (EEBO), dictionaries, and reference books. They even provide links to resources we think are important, useful, or helpful to our patrons such as IRS tax forms, E-government sites, genealogy sites.

Should we change how we perceive of our sites? I don't think so, because they serve our mission, which is to help people find what they seek. People seek articles, books, and data through libraries and our websites provide access to just what our users seek. 

It's not our mission to organize the web, but to make it accessible.

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