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Digital Libraries, Librarianship

Tailoring My Google Results, Impact on Librarians?

Professor Jill Hurst-Wahl posted this video on the implications of customized search on Google.  Google tailors search results based on what it thinks the searcher will find the most interesting.  This means
two people can search for the same topic, but receive drastically different results.  I agree that there must be a balance and that the ethics of must be considered/applied.   Having a search only display what it thinks the searcher will like limits the searchers access to browse information, and limits the searchers sphere of digital knowledge which has real world consequences.  It was already limiting before in the sense that Google places emphasis on popularity and commercial value, not if the website will enhance the searchers comprehension of the subject.  I find it fascinating and wonder how this will impact reference and research as a whole.  Librarians are trained to recognize their bias, and to present access to as many valid (non-commercial, relevant) viewpoints as possible.  However if this search tool, which we may utilize, is inherently and acceptably biased, how can we then still provide ethical reference services?

And of course, my second thought was this is why librarians are so much more awesome then any computer customization program.  We will give the patron access to what they need.  Libraries put the users’ best interest first, not commercial interests, and can provide access to all viewpoints.  Customized searchers limit the searchers access to knowledge.  While this can be great for a very specific search for personal pleasure, it is very limiting for browsing for research and inspiration.  Librarians promote comprehension, will showcase the other view point, provide access to comprehensible resources and lead patrons/user  in how to ask better in-depth questions.


About Dorotea Szkolar

My name is Dorotea and I am in my last semester of earning my Masters of Library and Information Sciences at Syracuse University with a Certificate of Advance Study in Digital Libraries. I am an aspiring digital librarian and metadata expert, currently seeking full time opportunities. Because of my specialization in Digital Libraries, my coursework continues to cover a wide array of practices, issues and technologies specific to digital libraries including metadata, digitization, copyright, database management, internet services, institutional , open access, policy, and the preservation of digital assets. In addition to my studies, I completed an internship with the Mountain West Digital Library. The internship trained me in Dublin Core, metadata cross walking and harvesting, Open Archives Initiative and CONTENTdm, and I researched, analyzed and composed a report on spatial metadata interoperability issues within the MWDL. My strengths, in addition to my knowledge of digital and academic libraries, include exceptional communication, presentation, analytical and interpersonal skills; and expertise with current trends, technologies and software in metadata and digital librarianship. I am also an experienced professional researcher who has worked for numerous organizations. Before moving to Santa Barbara, I was also the Research Editor for Utah Business Magazine responsible for contacting, researching and authenticating data about businesses for special publications like Utah’s Major Employers Guide. Additionally, I earned my Bachelor of Arts in History at SUNY Binghamton and worked extensively at several non-profits including the Bundy Museum of History & Art, White Plains Ecumenical Food Pantry and Community Options Inc.


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