thinking like a user, not a librarian

I should have know that this would be the slippery slope that lead to… a wishlist.

I did something today that was revolutionary. Well, for me, anyway. I tagged an album on RateYourMusic that I do not own, nor have I ever owned. I tagged an album for my wishlist.

I have been treating RateYourMusic as a LibraryThing for music, which it pretty much is, without all the flair and design and integration that LT currently provides. My personal rule (a.k.a. thinking like a librarian) was that I would “catalog” what I owned, not what I wanted or had previously owned. That’s how I roll over at LT, and for my book collection, it makes a lot of sense.

My music collection, however, is much more fluid. I’m less likely to hang on to a CD once I’ve grown tired of it, so I regularly trade out “old” albums for “new” ones. A while back I started tagging albums as “used to own” rather than completely de-accessioning them. Because I’m regularly acquiring new music, I need to know what I’ve already evaluated and passed on, and this is one way to do that.

I should have know that this would be the slippery slope that lead to… a wishlist. Sure, I have wishlists all over the place, from Amazon to the various swap sites I participate in. However, RateYourMusic is supposed to be a catalog, right? And a library catalog doesn’t have wishlist items, right? (Well, unless you count those books that never show up from the publisher/jobber/vendor.)

This is the point at which I stopped thinking like a librarian and started thinking like a user. Having a wishlist mixed in with my have and use-to-have lists means it’s all in one, indexed collection. It feels freeing to let go of the “rules” that keep me from using all of the tools available to me!

2 thoughts on “thinking like a user, not a librarian”

  1. Here I thought this was going to be about usability testing or something similar in the library…. Shows where my mind automatically goes when you start talking about users: if you want to know how they’re gonna act in the wild, study them in captivity! 🙂

  2. I’ve been using the term “users” because I think it’s more inclusive and descriptive than “patrons” or “customers.”

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