8 comments on “The horrors of rubbish university libraries

  1. This is called a link


    If I was them, I’d just clicky on this and settle down to a free hundred page section of “complete genius” as Steven King said in his review. Hands Kung, the famous catholic theologian, said it was so good he almost became a librarian after reading it. Irvine Welch said it was “the best book about libraries” ever written. Hope this helps. Hotboy

  2. It’s so unfair to expect students to interrupt their nocturnal field studies, just to read stuff.

    Hotters. I believe it’s Salmon Rushty’s favorite book.

  3. It was Barracks Obama’s choice for Desert Island discs because of the all soldiers and them living in barracks and all. And it’s only 86p for over 300 pages!! Hotboy

  4. I think what makes the difference between academic libraries that suck and libraries that excel is the architecture they are using for searching: Basically traditional OPACs versus “single searchable aggregators” (SSAs (my acronym)). If you visit a few libraries from a sample of good universities, you quickly can say which ones are still using OPACs (for example “our” Heriot-Watt) and which ones are using the “new” SSAs, for example NCSU.

    I need to research more but I think SSAs, such as Summon, have succeed in putting (aggregating) every library’s content (journal subscription holdings, catalogue records, books, IRs, etc.) in a single repository, which then can produce the search experience that has impressed you. In fact they are doing something that we have been doing since 3 years ago: aggregating RSS metadata directly from the publishers. Again as Ann Clements told us in St. Andrews, the good thing of this approach is that we get data “straight from the horse’s mouth!” (http://www.journaltocs.hw.ac.uk/docs/conf/2010/emtacl10_santy.html)
    Libraries have so many vendors, systems, aggregators, databases that really make them suck.

  5. Hi Santy,

    Yes, you’re right. Something like Summon or Aquabrowser can make a big difference.

    Nevertheless, there’s no excuse for not having links within VLEs to the full text, having incorrect citations, not having material that undergraduates need to read, and (from my previous post) links to blogs from supposedly ‘e-Journals’ lists, non-conten pagest, and links that don’t work from RSS feeds.

    If you look at the NCSU Library website, there are also several other useful things, such as Groupfinder and online booking of rooms, etc.

  6. Santy! Have you started reading my book yet? Steven Hawking said: It’s like a black hole. It just sucked me in and I was lost forever! Hope the reindeers aren’t giving you any bother! Hotboy

  7. This post and its comments are proof once and forall that librarians really know stuff. They don’t just stick labels on books.

    While I’m at it, I should pay tribute to our local library, a wonderful place, much used by me and my partner. Of course, it’s run by New South Caledonians, yet it works.

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