I’ve heard a lot of people express concern over the effectiveness of discovery tools. While Pete Coco’s article Convenience and its Discontents: Teaching Web-Scale Discovery in the Context of Google definitely addresses some of these concerns, it also emphasizes the importance of information literacy and user instruction as a means to further exploit discovery tools.
While I had always assumed that user instruction was essential to librarianship, I hadn’t necessarily thought of us as educators. I was never required to take an introduction to the library class in college, but I’ve since realized how little I understood about the university’s offerings and how much my research would have benefited from a better orientation to the library’s resources.
This gap between the user and technology is where librarians belong and have really always belonged. Improving access to our collections doesn’t end with metadata or algorithms or user-friendly interfaces. We still need that human element, especially as our technologies and tools continue to evolve beyond the user’s reach.