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Keeping Our Eyes on the Prize (From Roy Tenant’s blog in LJ)

Posted by Editor on July 22, 2008

Downloaded 7/22/08 – something for us all to think about!

As I often do, I’m working on a presentation I must give tomorrow morning. Actually, I’m a bit ahead of myself. I mean, I like have hours left. But anyway, that isn’t my point. My point is taken straight from my presentation:

Why do we try to differentiate on stuff that doesn’t matterin ways users find annoying?

Let me explain. No one in their right mind wants to use a library catalog. Yes, you read that right. No one wants to use a library catalog. They want to find a book. Or an article or whatever. They only use a library catalog because they have to. And actually, they often just use it to find out a) if you have a particular book they’ve already discovered elsewhere, and b) whether it’s on the shelf.

From a library user’s perspective, then, library catalogs don’t matter — they would prefer to have other ways of doing what they need to do if we could possibly understand their pain enough to alleviate it. Frankly, a great deal of library user pain could be avoided simply by decent signage. It works fairly well in a bookstore, why not a small library? That would take care of the “I want books on this subject” and “I want a good mystery” purposes for most users…

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