A recent post by Seth Godin got me thinking about library advertising Basically, Godin states you should mention why your product might be too expensive or not right for everyone, and then give reasons why it is worth one’s time.
Academic libraries are all too keen on rolling out discovery tools to make searching quick and easy, a one stop shop for all your academic research. Google already does this. Trying to create a tool that is as good as Goggle’s without having Google’s money/development team/cool place to work is an exercise in futility. Yes, Google Scholar does not have your entire library’s collection, but your users do not care.
I spent a considerable amount of time yesterday using JSTOR to help a student. After 10 minutes of working I finally got the right combination of words to find what the student wanted. So how about this for a library ad….
“The academic databases/resources at X university are not fast. They are not intuitive. They can frustrate you to no end. They can, however, provide you with a breadth and depth of scholarship that you can find nowhere else. If you want to scratch the surface and find information that may, or may not, be reliable then use the web at large. But if you want your research to be the best possible, use the library.”
Not all students would respond to this kind of advertisement. But some would. Letting students know that the research process is difficult could, perhaps, encourage more students to be persistant regarding their research. Or maybe it would be a train wreck.