Saturday, March 17, 2007

Users and Uses - The Official Summary

It probably helps to be an insider. This report on the LoC page for the Working Group does a better job of bringing together the messages of that day than I did.
Based on the meeting presentations and comments, two main information user and use environments for bibliographic data are apparent: a consumer environment and a management environment. The consumer environment relates to the end-user of the bibliographic data, the information consumer, as described by Karen Markey and Timothy Burke, and services that are designed to assist the end-user in finding relevant information, from search engines to specialized catalog interfaces. The management environment pertains to resource collection management. Although these two environments represent different perspectives of bibliographic data, they are interrelated...

This tension between the user view and the management view is something that I keep coming up against. Whenever the question comes up of how we will define the library catalog of the future, most librarians exhibit an interesting schizophrenia, trying simultaneously to satisfy the library management need of inventory control and the much broader needs of users who simply want the best information now, no matter who owns it. We really must resolve this conflict if we are to move forward.

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