“Searching the library Discovery system is just like Google!” Except it’s really not. Because if it was, I would turn to Scout as often as I turn to Google, meaning at least once a day. As is, I haven’t used Scout once this semester.
And this is the point made by Pete Coco (you go, Pete Coco!) in his guest article at ACRLog. The Discovery system, such as the evil Scout, is not at all like Google, and we can’t expect clients, be they students or otherwise, to think of it as such. Coco brings up the great point that what we need from Google and what we need from Discovery systems vary greatly. But going further, I thought about the way in which items are set up to search. There are entire businesses set up to make an institution’s webpage more Google-able, and institutions spend enormous amounts of time and money so that they can be easily be found. In essense, these people are selling efficient metadata, and there are a slue of buyers. Scholars, unfortunately, do no such thing with their articles. Not because they don’t want to be read and cited, but because that’s not the culture; the paper should stand on it’s own merit. There’s no one telling them, “If you use these words, you’ll be more find-able!”
Coco’s point is that we’re selling a “convenient” item to students when convenience doesn’t truly exist in Discovery systems, at least not in a Google-ish way. And he’s right. But it makes me wonder, if metadata librarians become like the commerical metadata sellers, could it become more like Google?