Last week, John Doe and Dave Jones, two brilliant UNCC graduate students presented a proposal for a digital product for our library. Their presentation began with a series of photos of the library’s search process, with the caption “The search process is not a pretty sight.” Ouch! It hurts to hear blunt truths like this, but the pain is a healthy reminder of the urgency we all feel in making search better.
There is no shame in our current search environment: search in an academic context is an unusually difficult problem, fraught with obstacles and complexity that Google does not have to contend with. But it’s no consolation that our pain is shared by research communities worldwide: over the next few months, the Library will be engaged in a rigorous review of options with potential to make quantum improvements in the power and simplicity of search, and to make those improvements before the end of the current fiscal year. Some interesting models of possible search environments can be found here, here, and here.