For a little while I’ve been trying to find some ways of characterising the different generations or ages of library ‘search’ systems. By library ‘search’ I’ve been thinking in terms of tools to find resources in libraries (search as a locating tool) as well as the more recent trend (athough online databases have been with us for a while) of search as a tool to find information.
I wanted something that I could use as a comparison that picked up on some of the features of library search but compared them with some other domain that was reasonably well known. Then I was listening to the radio the other day and there was some mention that it was the anniversary of the 45rpm single, and that made me wonder whether I could compare the generations of library search against the changes in formats in the music industry.
My attempt at trying to map them across is illustrated here. There are some connections – both discovery systems and the likes of spotify streaming music systems are both cloud hosted. Early printed music scores and the printed library catalogue such as the original British Museum library catalogue. I’m not so sure about some of the stages in between though, certainly the direction for both has been to make library/music content more accessible. But it seemed like a worthwhile thing to think about and try it out. Maybe it works, maybe not.