It takes an information ecosystem

Monday, May 15, 2006 at 9:54 AM

Librarians are our heroes. That's why we get excited when we hear stories from librarians who've used Google Book Search to find information they couldn't locate using other search tools alone:
Earlier this week our new Teen Services librarian came in with this story: She was helping a fifth-grader try to find a book for a report. She had looked in all the sections she thought were applicable in the shelves and found nothing. So she tried Google Book Search. In the end, they found a book in a section they would never otherwise have thought to look. Child: happy, staff: happy, homework: saved.

There’s no way you can predict a chain of events like that, but it’s just the kind of discovery we hoped full-text book searching would enable. It also highlights an important truth that’s often lost in the debate over making books discoverable online: search tools are only one part of a healthy information ecosystem. They're no replacement for authors, books, libraries or the trained information professionals we call librarians.


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