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(Weitergel.) Re: Essay in Christian Science Monitor


ich erlaube mir, einen Beitrag von allegmeinem bibliothekarischen 
Interesse an die Liste weiterzuleiten. Der text erschien 
urspruenglich in der Liste BUSLIB (Business Libraries)
Klaus Junkes-Kirchen

------- Weitergeleitete Nachricht folgt -------
Date:          Mon, 10 Jun 1996 18:07:28 -0700
Reply-to:      BUSLIB-L - Business Libraries Discussion List <BUSLIB-L _at__ IDBSU.IDBSU.EDU>
Here's something to brighten your day!  (Forwarded from the GOVDOC-L
listserv - Thanks to Larry Romans, Vanderbilt University Library)

>From The Christian Science Monitor, June 4, 1996
>Put a Good Librarian, Not Software, in Driver's Seat
>In the information-gathering business, the human touch and expertise
>are irreplaceable
>By Bonnie A. Nardi, Vicki O'Day, and Edward J. Valauskas. Bonnie A.
>Nardi is an anthropologist in the Advanced Technology Group at Apple
>Computer. Her latest book is "Context and Consciousness: Activity
>Theory and Human-Computer Interaction." Vicki O'Day is a computer
>scientist at The Xerox Palo Alto Research Center. Edward J. Valauskas
>is a librarian and writer. He is co-editor of "Internet Initiative:
>Libraries Providing Internet Services and How They Plan, Pay and
>The explosion of Internet resources, new software applications, and
>ever-faster, more-powerful computer systems has led many
>budget-cutters to replace people with technology. But could an
>"intelligent software agent" do what, say, a librarian can do? We
>conducted a study of corporate libraries at Apple Computer in
>Cupetino, Calif., and Hewlett-Packard Research Labs in Palo Alto,
>Calif., to find out. Our conclusion in this version of Kasporov versus
>computer chess: It would be virtually impossible for a software agent
>to replace librarians for several reasons not generally understood.
>First, librarians are more than technicians. They are, it seems,
>information therapists who analyze problems as well as find answers.
>At Hewlett-Packard, for example, a client wanted to be enlightened
>about "the presence of HP in Japan and Europe." The librarian pointed
>out the problems with this request: "Is the person thinking about
>market share or the number of units? Does he mean plant size or
>relative presence? Does he need something economic like conversion
>ratios?" A skilled librarian can focus the search and add other
>possible areas of interest to clients. This occurs through artful
>conversations that librarians modestly call "reference interviews,"
>which would be impossible to duplicate or at least time consuming and
>incomplete if done through keyword searches.
>Just the facts, please Librarians can seek information even when their
>clients can't figure out just what they want. A management consultant
>described how he needed to get a feel for the size of a new industry:
>"... whether it's smaller than a bread box, bigger than a house - just
>size it." Perhaps someday software will exist that can evaluate such a
>request. But not today. Librarians understand that information wears
>all sorts of disguises - as financial data, scientific articles,
>analyst reports, news, product reviews, and patents, just to name a
>few. Unlike software programs, librarians can judge the reliability of
>sources (are they rumor or fact?), estimate costs, and find material
>with a particular slant or perspective. They also think of useful
>things clients wouldn't think of themselves. For example, one
>librarian said whenever she receives a request for all of an author's
>technical papers she asks whether the client wants the author's
>patents as well. No wonder clients often become attached to a
>librarian who can personalize their searches. Once librarians have a
>client history, they can aim the search spotlight exactly where the
>client wants it, without a second round of questions. An invaluable
>service only a librarian could perform, particularly for clients in
>business or government, is to find and broker the release of
>proprietary material. Librarians are both discreet and nosy. In
>corporations and government departments, librarians make it their job
>to know what their colleagues are up to. When it comes to distributing
>proprietary material, they can often put the right people in touch,
>then let them decide if they want to share secrets. Another service
>that would be impossible for software to perform is to read, and weed
>out, what librarians call "false drops," citations that technically
>match search criteria but actually have nothing to do with the
>client's needs. Not having to slog through these is a blessing for
>busy people trying to compete in today's business climate. But perhaps
>the most valuable service librarians perform is to act as guides to
>the information riches in cyberspace. Librarians were among the
>earliest computer users, even creating some of the first international
>standards for databases so that bibliographic data could be
>transferred around the world. Because of their experience with
>technology and information searches, librarians can quickly adjust to
>the rapidly changing landscape of Internet resources and on-line
>databases. At the Apple Library, librarians were sometimes heard to
>mutter that a particular commercial database was "lame" or "pathetic."
>Software's soft spot Unlike your average cyberpilgrim, librarians
>understand when a database is returning lousy results because it has
>not been updated or the index terms have changed. They are able to
>save clients money by doing pre-searches, by using the most
>cost-effective databases, and by using the right combination of key
>words to focus but not over-constrain a search. The most critical and
>underestimated advantage librarians bring to bear is the most obvious
>- the human touch. A client who had been on-line across from the
>circulation desk of the Apple Library walked over and simply stood
>there - speechless and frowning. Recognizing his frustration, the
>librarian immediately responded by helping her client articulate his
>problem and accomplish the search. Try that with a software agent.
>reprinted with permission from The Christian Science Monitor
>Copyright 1996 The Christian Science Publishing Society
>All rights reserved
>Thanks to
>Connie Dowcett
>Copyright and Trademark Administrator
>who says:
>Please be sure to visit our new Web site at: http://www.csmonitor.com
Christa J. Burns
Graduate Services Librarian                 (914)422-4384
Pace University                 BURNS _at__ PACEVM.DAC.PACE.EDU

"A human mind, once stretched to a new idea,
  never returns to its former dimensions."
       --Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
Dr. Klaus Junkes-Kirchen
Fachbereichsbibliothek Wirtschaftswissenschaften
Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universitaet
E-mail: junkes-kirchen _at__ em.uni-frankfurt.de
   Tel: ++49 (0)69 798 22217
   URL: http://www.wiwi.uni-frankfurt.de/FBB/FBBhome.html

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