May 26, 2004

Librarians Are Not Search Engines
So writes Joseph Janes in the ALA's American Libraries OnLine.
Some librarians, writes Janes, not without justification, might see search engines as competition. It?s not at all difficult to look at the rise of free and easy Internet searching and the simultaneous and sometimes precipitous drop in reference statistics and put two and two together. And that may well be a big part of what?s going on. So why not portray ourselves as the preferred alternative, in the same ballpark?
... But, he writes, "If {librarians] we see search engines as our competition and try to beat them at their own game, we can?t possibly win. They will always be faster and cheaper and easier to use, in almost any circumstance, than any library. Why in the world would we want to try to compete with them?
"Surely we can do better than this. We can recognize that what we are, and what we do, are superior to search engines: We help people know what they really want, we know lots of ways of searching for it, we know how to evaluate stuff, we care about quality, we know about and have access to lots of other kinds of resources beyond the free Web, we know when to stop searching, and so on."

Accept no substitutes Posted by Hello

Books For Soldiers is a soldier support site that ships books, DVDs and supplies to deployed soliders and soldiers in VA hospitals, via our large volunteer network.
If you have old, but usuable paperback books sitting around, collecting dust, why not send them to a solider for a big morale boost?
Many of our volunteers have received email and letters from the soldiers they have adopted.
Help us out, help the troops out, mail them your books.
If you can't take your old books to a nearby VA Hospital, as I do, this is a great idea.

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