librarian, library schools, lack of math skills

Melissa Silvestre silvest at
Sun Dec 3 02:15:35 EST 1995

>A last comment about librarians.  I would expect vast amounts of solid
>research findings about how humans interact with information and information
>systems to be flowing out of our schools of library science. And of course
>not much is . . . Why is this?  Have we attracted too many humanities types
>into the programs?  People weak in mathematical skills?  It's 1995, for
>heaven's sake -- by now we should have had mountains of verifiable
>findings about how people and interfaces interact. Stuff we could use
>in designing systems. Stuff we could give to programmers and not force
>them to flail about.
>Joe Schallan
>Glendale (Ariz.) Public Library
>jschall at

I just graduated from UCLA's GSLIS (recently rearranged to something else)
just a couple of years ago, and there were several courses about this
topic by such creative minds as Marcia Bates who has researched and
published extensively and in quite practical terms about patron use
of search tools. But she's publishing in Library Science and Info Science
journals, not the mainstream computer science ones, and the scholarly
literature of our field is known for not being read by anyone out of it.
So again, maybe at least part of the blame belongs to the programmers who
aren't listening to us (reading our i.s. journals) and partly to
us for not doing whatever it is we're supposed to do to encourage c.s.
folks to read our i.s. journals.

All that aside, I am frequently depressed by the lack of what I consider
basic statistical and technical skills of my older peers, but UCLA at least
to be doing a good job of forcing the humanities types in the MLS
program to learn those basics (at least when I was there).

Isn't all this a little off the subject of web4lib (web-less)? 
let me try to bring it back with a question:

Is anyone in library/info science doing research on usability issues in web page
design from the perspective of web pages as an information resource in
the library sense? Or writing about applying the past general research about
interface design in terms that us practicing librarians/web page authors can
Citations always welcome!

Melissa Silvestre    silvest at   fax: (314) 516-5853
University of Missouri-St. Louis, Thomas Jefferson Library
My words are my own and do not reflect the view of UM-St. Louis

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