Time for a rant – and I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but why the heck does it have to be so hard to find things in libraries??
Yesterday my husband was traveling and he was worried that he’d miss his connection so while he was on the ground but not at the gate I wanted to find out where his next gate was. I decided to try a little something on Google. I typed in (without quotes) ‘United Flight 2456 gate’ and right there at the top of my results were the flights and the gate info!
I then thought, boy wouldn’t it be great if library catalogs were that smart and that friendly. So I went to my public library catalog and searched for (without quotes) ‘the help’. I don’t know where in the results (if at all) my book was, but it wasn’t on page one and there was no way to filter the results by author (that I saw).
So then I thought, well WorldCat does searching much better, so let’s see how hard it is to find out if my library has a copy of the book available using WorldCat. So I went and did the same exact search and results numbers 1, 3, and 4 were all The Help (no idea how result #2 got in there).
So then I clicked to see if my library had the material and things just went downhill. The first 4 libraries on the list of local libraries didn’t take me to the book, but to the library catalog homepage and then the one that did show me the book made me click yet again to get the availability information.
Why the heck does it have to be this hard?? I want to know if my library has a book and if it’s available and I know how to use the library, but our patrons are going through this nonsense when they can type in simple queries like ‘United Flight 2456 gate’ to Google and get the info they need without any additional clicks.
Now, Koha isn’t perfect, but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention here that when you search for ‘the help’ (without quotes) on a Koha catalog the material you want is the first result (if you have your search set to sort by relevance – which is the default) and availability information displays right on the search results page (if you have that preference turned on – and why the heck wouldn’t you?) so that I don’t have to click any further unless I want to learn more about the material.
No wonder everyone turns to Google instead of to libraries for answers …