Monday, 28 January 2008

Tea for two

Two is the number of the moment. It started with web 2.0. Roughly this is the idea that moved us from programmes and functions that were bought (expensively) and installed on a particular physical PC to things that can be obtained freely, shared and accessed at whichever PC you are sitting at. The buzzwords are "social" and "personal" - social because you can share your bookmarks, pictures or thoughts, personal because you can personalise everything to suit you.

After web 2.0 came library 2.0. Despite the bun, tweeds and pearls image that librarians angst about so much there is a sizeable part of the library community that is really rather techie. Libraries were early on the bandwagon of websites, intranets, blogs and wikis. The point f library 2.0 is meeting those we serve (that's you!) in the spaces where you like to hang out - it's about being customer-centred.

Now we're awaiting the coming of search 2.0. This will be the new way to search from the National Library for Health. It will mean all your Athens resources in one handy place.

So the first question is WHY? You've probably spent ages growing used to Dialog Datastar (the current "front end" for Medline, Cinahl et al) so why are we asking you to use something new?

The idea is that the suppliers of databases and search technology change from time to time as contracts expire. Future contracts will be with firms who will work with search 2.0. So search 2.0 will change, evolve, improve, make use of new technology as it comes along, but will remain fairly stable in the way it looks because it wont have to present the corporate face of Ovid or Dialog or whichever other supplier is used. Books and journals will be included in the search, and local resources as well as national ones.

The other big benefit should be that because it is partly "in house" plenty of notice should be taken of what librarians want from the search - and that means us passing on what you, the user, wants. So if you have a bright idea or a gripe or a niggle, let us know. After all, search 2.0 is all about you.

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