I may be misinterpreting Stephen Arnold’s words with my headline, but if you read his post here and disagree with my interpretation, the comments field is open.
As a law librarian, I took on the training of summer associates, fall associates and partners. Their training needs were based upon the fact that they underutilized the power of the commercial databases at their disposal and didn’t use the free resources on the Internet to their greatest advantage.
Librarians are continuously learning and expanding their own knowledge base. Partnering with vendors to maximize the powerful information collected in commercial services is just one way to win friends and influence users.
Keyword search with Google is so easy because most people are looking for those top indexed terms. Applying the Google method of search to complex information collections does not assure accurate results. If you are searching within a specific industry’sdata and that industry serves multiple audiences that use similar terms that talk about vastly different topics, you will understand that search is more than keywords.
Taxonomies, language structure, database structure and more affect how information is retrieved. The average user doesn’t think beyond their own interpretation of a topic and may turn away frustrated or satisfied when they have no information or the wrong information. And therein lies the danger because the average user does not recognize that the correct information is there, just beyond their keywords.
Without the education provided by information professionals the inaccuracies caused by amateur searchers could have significant impacts on business and research. Our profession must iterate the importance of information literacy that reaches beyond keyword retrieval. Verification of sources, currency, accuracy and complex search techniques are critical skills. No one is better able or placed to teach those skills than librarians.
So my fellow professionals, take up the charge and continue the fight. We must demonstrate the need, the problems caused by not meeting that need and why we are in the best position to meet the need. Teach information literacy beyond keyword search. Teach to cause and effect and champion yourself as the key weapon in the battle for information retrieval.