Mobeus Trip

yin yangThe other day, I was at a retreat for my library’s administrative team. We were doing some strategic visioning. I managed to get some of my ideas about collections embraced. Well, actually, they were all pretty prepared to accept a lot of what I want to have as part of our collection vision. In fact, our head of discovery services (cataloging) was pretty quick to recognize the key concept: discovery and collections are one and the same. We spent some time coming up with metaphors for that idea. It’s the yin/yang of the library. Or maybe its a mobeus strip. Collections and discovery on different sides of the strip…wait a minute!

There are a couple of other key concepts to this vision. Discovery is seamless, which is to say all discovery looks the same. There are no separate interfaces. It’s all one interface, one discovery platform (though perhaps with many customization and personalization features). The other concept, however, is that the collection is a hybrid. Some of it is an owned physical collection, some of it is subscription-based, some free, some curated local data, much of it is digital. A lot of it is not owned or subscribed to in any normal sense of those words, but access to it is mediated instantaneously or on-the-fly. Demand driven collections that happen at the point of need.

The discovery mechanism is what allows your library users to have access to information. In this environment, library staff will be engaged in pointing the discovery mechanism in the direction of collections or repositories that are useful. Although I think users should also be able to point it anywhere they like. More to the point, library staff will be engaged as well in creating metadata for information objects that will make them more discoverable, regardless of whether they are already owned or subscribed to. I guess this also means that cataloging and acquisitions are more or less the same process.

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