library marketing was RE: Google Mail

Wilson,Alane wilsona at
Tue Feb 15 21:06:44 EST 2005

Wading into the deep end of the pool here...I am bemused by the notion
that being aware of, and perhaps catering to, peoples' interests is
defined as "trendy" (and I assume trendiness has some pejorative aspect
to it in this case?). Pet rocks were trendy: not very useful socially.
Lance Armstrong yellow bracelets are trendy: pretty useful socially.
Google is trendy: highly useful socially. Why do I think Google is
useful? Because millions of people use Google every single day to
accomplish things they couldn't or didn't do before--and they are happy
with their results. (And this is likely another whole thread, but I am
not sure how publically funded institutions can afford to ignore "what
the people want"). 

So, how about we give this contest up? In the webby world, the
non-library search engines have whupped us. How about we do what many
have suggested in the past 2 days and focus on developing web services
that can be overlaid on other services to make searching/finding easier
and more integrated with other web experiences? There's lots of clever
people out there...why wait for the ILS vendors?

I, personally, will be happy to pass the torch of my profession on to
the next generation. Our inability to really grasp user preferences
(among many other challenges) is an age thing. I gave a presentation at
the University of Victoria several months ago and at least 5 of the
attendees were under-30 librarians. They came to me, as a group, after
the presentation and thanked me, saying: wow, we had no idea all that
stuff (gaming, web habits, instant messaging etc etc) was a problem for
you! My advice? Involve your younger staff in any planning
activities--*especially* the web interfaces and services.

Another another presentation, a librarian took umbrage at
the idea that people were happy using Google and its bretheren, and
said, don't people understand? Learning to use the library is like going
to the's something you just have to do. Yep, there's the
kind of vital, community service we want to a visit to the

Finally, if you haven't, go look at Google's 10 point philosophy. Would
that the library community could so succintly articulate its philosophy
(have we done so since Ranganathan?). By the by, here's OCLC's mission
statement and below is Google's. 
OCLC exists to further access to the world's information and reduce
library costs by offering services for libraries and their users.
Google's mission is to organize the world's information and make it
universally accessible and useful.

Alane Wilson, MLIS
Senior Library Market Consultant
Marketing and Library Services
800-848-5878 x4386


-----Original Message-----
From: web4lib at
[mailto:web4lib at] On Behalf Of Ross Singer
Sent: Tuesday, February 15, 2005 12:22 PM
To: Multiple recipients of list
Subject: [WEB4LIB] Re: library marketing was RE: Google Mail

Gimon, Charles A wrote:

>Actually, you can link to Innovative catalog systems with an ISBN 
>pretty easily, just as easily as you can to Amazon:
In fact, there shouldn't be an ILS out there that can't link by ISBN.  
Or ISSN.  But this is only a small part of the solution.

This cries out even more for the need for web localization.

for ways that libraries are trying to make the web work for them.

However, the way I see this really working is to push for a web 
technology that is more attractive to lay services.  If, say, 
localization allowed a user to find a Torrent of "Team America" from 
IMDB (from the Torrent sites they subscribe to), then there is no reason

that it couldn't also be used to display that "To Kill a Mockingbird" 
(or, even "Team America" - who knows what a library's collection 
development dept. might purchase) is available in your local library.

I guess my point is that we don't need wait around for our vendors and 
other technology producers to create something we can use (and react 
slowly to its introduction), we can actually go out and produce 
something that's useful to us and the rest of the web, on our own.  
There's no reason we can't invent "the next RSS".

But then there's my previous post about "priorities".


More information about the Web4lib mailing list