In honor of the four year anniversary of Feral Librarian, I’m recycling some of my favorite posts from that first summer of blogging. Turns out I was most interested in browsing, Google, and other random stuff in those early days. Turns out I still agree with some, but not all, of what my younger self blogged back then. In library-years, four years is a long time …happy to see that some of what I said stands the test of time. Happier still that my thinking continues to evolve.
So, what exactly is “browsing”? The colloquial definition seems to be about “serendipity” and finding things we weren’t looking for and didn’t know we wanted. This happens because items are ordered or grouped in some logical way…So what browsing advantages are lost in the online environment?
Because academic browsing is so selective, browsing the stacks of a large research library strikes me as a pretty inefficient way of finding items of interest. LC call # order is a lousy approximation of the kinds of similarities or relatedness that I am looking for when I browse. It seems unlikely to me that scholars find much useful material by browsing the stacks.
Writers have always taken extraordinary measures to separate themselves from the distractions of regular life so that they could concentrate on writing.
I will concede that it does seem to take an extra dose of self-discipline to really “unplug” for the kind of sustained concentration needed to write. Since most of us write on our laptops, the lure of online distractions is right there. But that challenge is not the same as Carr’s assertion that excessive “Googling” rewires our brains, rendering us incapable of sustained concentration.
Apparently, by neglecting the Google Librarian Central blog, Google failed to live up to their side of the deal. And, apparently, the Google libraries were really punked, and now have some kind of obligation to the rest of the library community to call Google out on this.
An old grad school classmate, James Evans, has published an article in Science that is getting a bit of attention. In Electronic Publication and the Narrowing of Science and Scholarship, Evans finds:
that as more journal issues came online, the articles referenced tended to be more recent, fewer journals and articles were cited, and more of those citations were to fewer journals and articles.
My question is: Why do libraries want to be gateways?
A gateway implies that there is a fence, and that the gate is the only way to get through the fence to the other side.
Folks—there is no fence!
The new My Morning Jacket CD (Evil Urges) contains a great little song called Librarian, all about unrequited love for “the sexiest librarian”. Turns out Green Day has a catchy tune called At the Library, also about unrequited love. Jimmy Buffet has a song called Love in the Library.