One of my colleagues passed on a link to William Brody’s column in the December 6 issue of the Johns Hopkins Gazette. Brody touches on his Google-envy, and then goes on to extol the virtues of cataloging subject headings for precision information searching. I’m sure this has been passed around the librarian blogosphere many times already, but maybe it would be nice to read it again if you’re wallowing in your own Google-envy.
You see, our library has the most effective search engines yet invented — librarians who are highly skilled at ferreting out the uniquely useful references that you need. Rather than commercializing the library collections, why not export to the public market the most meaningful core of Hopkins’ intellectual property — the ability to turn raw information into useful knowledge.
I hope by now you realize that any talk of taking our library public is simply to emphasize the point missing in all this Google mania: Massive information overload is placing librarians in an ever more important role as human search engines. They are trained and gifted at ferreting out and vetting the key resource material when you need it. Today’s technology is spectacular — but it can’t always trump a skilled human.
Have you hugged your librarian today?