The Lede: Information Discovery, Overload, and How the Library Can Help
During the summer the library configured a new QuickSearch service –you can try below. This service combines results from most of the Library’s databases –so many results that a simple search (“music therapy”) results in over 589,000 results. How can anyone make sense of so many results?
Quicksearch allows its users to narrow their focus in many different ways: by type (full text, peer reviewed, or all library resources), date, source type (academic journals, books, news, and more), publication date ranges –and many more possible limits.
More than limiting results, QuickSearch also helps to connect users with human help –using articles from Credo Reference, Research Starters, and Library Research Guides. Users can ask librarians directly for help using the “Ask Us” Chat widget on the right side of the screen. Usually .pdf full text articles are only a click away –sometimes more, following the revamped “Full Text Finder” link.
What matters is how to steer through the overload –and this is where the library really stands ready to help. Seventeen new videos can be placed directly into your Blackboard course shells to help students from organizing their research (even at the last minute –Reserarch 911!) to printing in the library from their own laptops. For faculty, there is a guide to embedding library content in your course shells (see related article, A Service You Should Know About: Library Research Guides in Your Blackboard Course Shell).
These new services speed a library member’s discovery of relevant content –so much so that she or he will need help with sorting it all out. The problem of information overload has long been observed. The purpose of the library is not to present nearly ubiquitous information, but to sort it all out. “Discovery” has come really to mean “unraveling” –the thick skein of citations and word patterns so that useful and relevant knowledge can begin to emerge. The new QuickSearch service, and co-ordinated strategies and services, can help you and your students to get to the point quicker –to save time. “Save the time of the user” –Ranganthan’s fourth law of librarianship, now in a new context.