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ERIC Number: EJ878692
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1041-7915
The Day Search Stood Still
Sexton, Will
Computers in Libraries, v30 n1 p6-9, 12 Jan-Feb 2010
That little rectangle with a button next to it? (Those things called search boxes but might just as well be called "resource drains.") Imagine it disappearing from a library's webpages. The intricate works behind these design elements make up a major portion of what library staff spends time and money developing, populating, supporting, refining, re-imagining, and reliving in work-related nightmares. Conceding that there is no immediate threat to its existence, the author takes a moment to think outside the library search box. The library has always enjoyed certain advantages, namely, location, location, location. The basic blueprint of a human city--imitated by campuses of all kinds--places a seat of power in the center, in the form of a fortress, a palace, or a temple. Libraries have always stood near this center. From its privileged position, the library could borrow authority from its neighbors and project it back into the space where intellectual pursuit, discourse, and debate take place. For a long time, the model sustained an essentially idealist institution through social upheaval, paradigm shifts, and revolutions. But the ground has shifted. Suddenly, it's easier--and cheaper--for people to participate in knowledge-seeking networks outside of the library than it is to find parking downtown or on campus. The author contends that library IT staff ought to recognize that the concept of "discovery" has outgrown the confines of the functionality known as "search." The evolution of the internet has deselected rigid structures, and the present environment compels library IT staff to develop flexible architectures that human beings can shape and influence. If they do, they will find less and less of the library's resources disappearing into those search boxes.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Adult Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A