Role of Libraries in the Google Age

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Presentation given at McGill University on July

Presentation given at McGill University on July

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  • The results of four studies suggest that when faced with difficult questions, people are primed to think about computers and that when people expect to have future access to information, they have lower rates of recall of the information itself and enhanced recall instead for where to access it. The Internet has become a primary form of external or transactive memory, whereinformation is stored collectively outside ourselves.
  • Four independent studies conducted at Columbia and reported in Science explored how the internet may be changing the way people handle information. The results, the researchers say, confirm a growing belief that people are using the internet as a personal memory bank: the so-called Google effect. What surprised the researchers most was not people’s reliance on online information but their ability to find it.
  • Librarians’ roles: to explore, develop and promote new avenues of information delivery
  • Best library services bridge clients to collections
  • in-person, email, chat, text
  • Live & video


  • 1.
  • 2. The role of a research/academic library and librarians in the age of
    Robin Featherstone, MLIS
    July 20, 2011
  • 3. In the age of Google…
    “[P]rocesses of human memory are adapting to the advent of new computing and communication technology. […] The experience of losing our Internet connection becomes more and more like losing a friend. We must remain plugged in to know what Google knows (Sparrow, 2011).”
  • 4. “The Google Effect”
  • 5. Job Talk Outline
    Facilitating discovery
    Innovatively providing services
    Assessing client needs
    Delivering pro-active support
  • 6. Facilitating discovery
  • 7. Scholarly Information
  • 8. Library’s Role
  • 9. Facilitating Discovery
    Enhancing subject access to collections
    Enabling patron-driven purchasing
    Digitizing unique content
    Developing open-access repositories
    Promoting scholarly sharing
    Mobilizing search tools
  • 10. Access Point
    Future Developments?
    • Course or subject guides
  • Future Developments?
    • Automatic redirection to the mobile site
    • 11. VPN or EZ Proxy access options
    • 12. Increased visibility of mobile resources (e.g., CINAHL & UpToDate’s mobile sites)
    • McGill Library app
    - CU Library
    Access Point
  • 13. Innovatively providing services
  • 14. Services
    “[I]n an era when everything we know about how content is created, acquired, accessed, evaluated, disseminated, employed, and preserved for the future is in flux, the research library must be distinguished by the scope and quality of its service programs in the same way it has long been by the breadth and depth of its locally-held collections (Walter, 2011).”
  • 15. Services Connect Clients to Collections
  • 16. Librarians’ Role
  • 17. Innovative Services: Reference
  • 18. Innovative Services: Case Based, Interactive Learning
  • 19. Innovative Services: Video Instruction
  • 20. Innovative Services: Social Networking
  • 21. Assessing client needs
  • 22. Life Sciences User Overview
    Early adopters of mobile/handheld devices (McAlearney, 2004) & social software (Giustini, 2006)
    Less likely to implement social software in professional settings due to privacy concerns and standards of care issues (Hawn, 2009)
    Email is their preferred mode of communication from librarian liaisons (Glynn & Wu, 2003)
    Medical students, in particular, have packed schedules which make course-integrated instruction difficult (Tennant et al., 2006)
    Nurses had the highest awareness (97.1%) of library liaison services while medical residents had the lowest (16%) (Tennant et al., 2006)
  • 23. Integrated Assessment
  • 24. Research
  • 25. Delivering pro-active support
  • 26. Library’s Role
  • 27. Delivering Pro-active Support
  • 28. Delivering Pro-active Support
  • 29. Embedded Librarian
  • 30. Summary
    “The Google Effect” has changed the way clients think about information
    Pro-active, innovative services are facilitating discovery and changing the way clients use the academic research library
    Academic research libraries and librarians will change the way clients use information
  • 31. Questions
  • 32. References
    Giustini, D. (2006). How Web 2.0 is changing medicine. BMJ, 333, 1283-1284.
    Glynn, T., & Wu, C. (2003). New roles and opportunities for academic library liaisons: a survey and recommendations. Reference Services Review, 31(2), 122-128.
    Hawn, C. (2009). Take two aspirin and tweet me in the morning: How Twitter, Facebook, and other social media are reshaping health care. Health Affairs, 28(2), 361-368.
    McAlearney, A. S., Schweikhart, S. B., & Medow, M. A. (2004). Doctors’ experience with handheld computers in clinical practice: qualitative study. BMJ, 328, 1162.
    Sparrow, B., et al. (2011). Google Effects on Memory: Cognitive Consequences of Having Information at our Fingertips. Science Express. Published online 14 July, 2011. Retrieved from
    Tennant, M. R., Cataldo, T. T., Sherwill-Navarro, P. & Jesano, R. (2006) Evaluation of a liaison librarian program: Client and liaison perspectives. Journal of the Medical Library Association, 94(4), 402-409.
    Walter, S. (2011). “Distinctive Signifiers of Excellence”: Library Services and the Future of the Academic Library. College & Research Libraries, 72(1), 6-8. Retrieved from OmniFile Full Text Mega database