Paul Hagon, the National Library’s senior web designer, has a lot of interesting ideas on the ways that libraries might be able to utilise emerging technologies. Paul recently spoke to Michael Stephens over at ALA TechSource and made an important point about the way that libraries provide their information to users, primarily through a search box interface. But how easily is information available and findable through such interfaces? Paul suggests that there are a multitide of other avenues to finding and gaining access to information and asks,
How can we easily provide this information to others to use? There are too many applications for us to be building them all. I think this is the important part. We should just be the ‘pipes’ that provide the information.
Michael asked Paul about what he thought libraries could do to start moving in that direction. Paul said:
I would love to see libraries opening up their information for others to use in an easier manner. Currently libraries are both the custodians of information, and also the custodians of how you access that information (eg: through a traditional catalogue/search interface). Libraries can still be the custodians of the information and retain that authoritative role that they should have, but they shouldn’t necessarily be deciding how people access that information. There are a lot of smart people out there building clever applications. Let them use the information how they want. Good ideas come from anywhere.