Beyond records .. genres

We tend to have a very record-based view of bibliographic systems. Searches in a resource result in lists of record-based displays for items. All fields may not be indexed. This means that the data works less hard than it might, given the variety of ways in which it could be leveraged to tell us more … Continue reading Beyond records .. genres

Indirect discovery

I have found that the phrase Discovery happens elsewhere has quite a bit of resonance in discussion. Increasingly people discover websites, or encounter content from them, in a variety of places. Most clearly, this happens through network-level services like Google or Twitter, but also happens in personal services (my RSS aggregator), or services which allow … Continue reading Indirect discovery


Google revamped its home page a while ago, highlighting a little more some additional features such as its wonder wheel, related searches, social (which searches among your ‘friends’ on various sites), nearby, and so on. I find the ability to limit by the date of pages in results quite useful – there are many times … Continue reading Googling

The context web

In preparing some recent presentations I have been talking about three primary ways of experiencing the web which emerged successively and continue to work together. Here I will call them the site-web, the search-web, and the context-web (alternatives might be site-centric, network-centric, and user-centric). Site-web. Our early experience of the web tended to focus on … Continue reading The context web

Outside-in and inside-out

An ‘industry’ pattern appears to have emerged which builds a discovery layer over resources available from the library (or from a group library service, at the level of a state or a consortium for example). Three characteristics come to mind. First, there is an attempt to provide an integrated discovery experience over multiple resource types/workflows: … Continue reading Outside-in and inside-out

Your new home page

Tony Hirst has made the interesting observation that an organization’s real home page is the first page of its Google results. One of the several announcements made by Google last week was one about the integration of real-time feeds in its search results. First, we’re introducing new features that bring your search results to life … Continue reading Your new home page

Choice is hard work: an anecdatum

We got an iMac for family use in the Summer. I never liked the keyboard and the mouse keeps sticking as crumbs and so on get lodged in it. Myself and my son headed off to Micro Center the other evening to explore replacements. They had sold out of the new ‘magic’ mouse, so we … Continue reading Choice is hard work: an anecdatum

Discoverability .. a report that’s worth a look

We are awash in assisted thinking, as I may have remarked. One document that is worth a look is Discoverability produced earlier this year by a team at the University of Minnesota. In October 2008, the Web Services Steering Committee at the University of Minnesota Libraries created the Discoverability exploratory subgroup, charged to recommend ways … Continue reading Discoverability .. a report that’s worth a look


Digital environments provide many more opportunities for serendipity than print ones. Sure, there may be happy discoveries on the shelf or in a random group of items bound together. But the chances of happy discovery are multiplied in the web environment. Now, when I hear an argument based on serendipity, I usually assume that it … Continue reading Serendipity

Working around works

There is a significant – if little read – literature of cataloging theory. A recurrent theme is the balance between gathering like items, and discriminating between them. Managing similarity and difference in this way, and making sensible user interface choices, is not straightforward. The FRBR model represents a recent approach to a part of this … Continue reading Working around works