Thursday, August 18, 2005

Portals and metasearch and OPACs, oh my

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Lorcan Dempsey of OCLC has yet another insightful post about presenting an integrated library web presence, including this bit:
We tend to talk about the integration of library services, one stop shops, portals, and so on. I would argue that integration of library resources should not be pursued as an end in itself, but rather as a means to better integrate resources into user behaviors.
This goes back to something I've been thinking about a lot lately, about how folksonomies and tagging services tend to use a person's own gestalt as their entrance point into information. It's personalized information access, in ways that formal classification schemes have a difficult time managing. When a person can tag his or her own information with keywords, then finding it becomes easy, because the tags are personally meaningful to that person. Education experts have been studying the different ways in which people learn and adapting teaching methods to accommodate different learning styles for years. Isn't it about time that librarians started making more concerted efforts to study information-seeking behavior and adapting our presentation of information to accommodate different styles?