Day 2, Computers in Libraries, Crystal City, VA

This day was rather disappointing. The track I focused on today was on web catalogs, and the only thing that came out of any of the sessions was that no one is doing it quite right, not vendors, and not libraries. It was pointed out how weak the library catalog is compared to search engines like Google, and sites like The problem with the set of lectures was that we, as librarians, were not the people who needed to hear these things. We already know it. It’s the vendors who need to hear this.

After the first session, I talked to a couple of other people who were sitting around me and we all felt the same way: kind of helpless, bound by our budgets and tied to these vendors as if they own our souls. Obviously, the goal is to do anything we can to get away from this archaic technology of the typical library web catalog, but we need more direction in what is the best way to take action.

There was light at the end of the tunnel, with products like Aquabrowser Library, Enceda, LibraryThing for Libraries, however, do these products do enough or are they only a stop-gap measure until we can address the issue of the attached ILS that is the back-end of the webcatalog? That’s why I’m really looking forward to tomorrow, where the track I will attend is all about open source solutions. So we’ll see if I feel any better about things after day 3!

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