Magazine article Computers in Libraries

Is It Finally Time to Throw in the Optical Towel?

Magazine article Computers in Libraries

Is It Finally Time to Throw in the Optical Towel?

Article excerpt

Library catalogs moving Webward? Well, what isn't? And why not. Whatever problems exist with the Internet relate more to how it is applied rather than to its intrinsic capabilities.

A recent study from the scientific journal Nature said that most search engines are not up to the Internet's rapid expansion. The most sophisticated search engines list no more than 16 percent of all Web sites, and the majority of engines cover less than 10 percent each. That's not good news for someone wanting a free alternative to DIALOG, but it doesn't really bear on the question of whether this channel can cost-effectively deliver the local library catalog. Because it can.

On the other hand, another recent study said that, in Croatia, awareness of the Internet is very low. Almost 25 percent of the people have never heard of it, and of those who have, 28 percent have no idea what it is. That's an international matter; but even we North Americans are not necessarily as wired as we might think.

But there is still room for other formats. I know a guy who operates a small business on a little farm here in Canada, very reminiscent of what Woodstock attendees might have. He makes library catalogs and bibliographies on CD-ROM. Business is not waning. This is not an isolated instance--that small business and its long-haired proprietor might just as easily have been in Vermont or Colorado. And they are.

The point is that we do indeed appear to be moving Webward, but that the medium is not the best for absolutely everything, or for everyone--at least not just yet. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.