As one librarian/information specialist/trainer to another, I’m curious to hear what and how you are thinking about the breaking news from Google on the “refreshment” of search responses. If you’re a public library administrator, you’ve been working with staff to develop their understanding of how to be effective and efficient professional researchers. If you’re a school librarian, or working in a public library where homework questions from students of any age account for at least some of your staff’s interactions with in-person customers, you’ve been teaching resource evaluation for a long time. With the rubber about to meet a newly repaved highway, here are some guiding questions to consider:
- Why should you be invested in thinking about this now, instead of waiting until Google shows us the results of what they have announced?
- Who needs first level priority in undertaking a deeper examination of how this change may impact collections, services, and staff training needs?
- Where will you concentrate your library’s efforts to keep both users and staff onboard with the library’s role in information retrieval and dispersal with this changing landscape?
- How will you break down the concept of the semantic web so that inexperienced researchers can be clear about its role to Google search results and thus better understand what the results show and don’t show?
- Which communities within your broad community will need increased support, lest they be left even further removed from access to “free” information?
- When will you plan to work with other information gatekeepers, such as teachers creating assignments, so that you and they can reach a common understanding of meaningful exploitation of available information resources and conduits?
With some staff, change isn’t viewed as neutral, so you’ll need to coordinate expectations (both optimistic and pessimistic). The best way to do that, of course, is to keep yourself informed, flexible, and willing to share the truth that change is a fact of life, and that our roles in the information world include the ability to recognize when a change on the horizon must be met with a change in our habits.
So, now from your point of view, how’s this change appearing to you?