Monday, April 03, 2006

We're doing a little pilot project offering late (or at least later) evening hours on the reference desk. As I suspected, we have little to no traffic at the Science Library. In fact, our reference desk business is way down; the "main" library still seems to be hopping. Why?

We don't have very many faculty or graduate students come ask for help verifying citations any more. Lots of citations just automatically link to the full text; you don't have to figure out the abbreviation, navigate the OPAC, find it on the shelf, etc. And if you really did need the abbreviation, you can type them into Google, and almost always find the full title. Yikes! Maybe people just don't bother when the article is in print; if they can't get it from their desk top - forget it.

And most undergraduate in the sciences only need a few articles to write a paper. They don't have the vocabulary or knowledge to read the scholarly literature. They used to come to us to use the print indexes or the cdrom databases. Now you can find very good stuff on google. So why ask at the reference desk?

Data? Did people ever ask for data? I don't think I can remember the last time I was asked a real data question. And now where are they going? Well obviously - google!

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