Perhaps we are comparing apples to oranges here. Amazon and the App Store don't offer to sell you "information" but deliver metadata instead. They offers "products". You search Amazon to buy an HDMI cable, a coffeemaker, an iPad, backpack, or yes, even a book. You identify the item you want and await delivery. There is no real or implied offer to provide quality there either, even though you may find ratings supplied by previous purchasers who may or may not be objective in their description of what you are about to purchase. Libraries OTOH offer "information", rather expensively vetted for quality by collection development staff, but really only deliver metadata that might lead you to the information you seek.  At least through the catalog.  We also offer "quality" information more directly, in the form of licensed content through our full-text databases and e-resources.  The shear quantity of those resources renders the collection development process more of a firehose approach than libraries might like, given that much of this comes in the form of prepackaged batched content, but there is at least some imprimatur of quality.  So, the catalog could be analogous to Amazon, except for the implication that we also vet the content of our texts, serials, and e-resources for the quality of the information contained therein.  And we also offer hand-holding in the form of public services staff, who help users navigate to the information that they need and in some instances, may even take time to interpret the information.

   Charley Pennell
   NCSU Libraries
   North Carolina State University

On Mon, Mar 9, 2015 at 10:32 AM, James Weinheimer <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
On 09/03/2015 14.48, Karen Coyle wrote:
Jim, Amazon and the APP store, like library catalogs, have only metadata. So excusing libraries because they only have metadata is bogus. You can have nothing more than metadata and still serve people's needs. This has nothing to do with instructors. Amazon has no instructors. People use Amazon A LOT. That's a statement of fact.

I've gone into detail several times stating that libraries DO NOT only have metadata. Libraries have content--they have acres and acres of content, but it is in the collections. Amazon has content too, for that matter, but you have to pay money to get at their information (the books and DVDs etc.). (By the way, when you search Amazon, I don't know what you are really searching)

I agree that people use Amazon a lot--me too--but I think very few people use it just for the metadata. They use it to buy the stuff they want, or at least put it on a wish list so that maybe somebody else will get it for them. It is also a statement of fact that instructors who teach students get very nervous about their students doing their "research" on Amazon. And college students do it too.

I also agree that you can have nothing more than metadata and still serve people's needs--if their needs are nothing more than metadata. But for the vast majority of people sooner or later they want more than only metadata--they want or need the real stuff. Just as my presentation at La Sapienza that I mentioned, I had a book: a guidebook to the Greek Islands. I showed the people the book and the catalog record I had made for it. I asked: what would you rather take on a trip to the Greek Islands: this book or my record? My record won't get you very far in Greece, but my record is supposed to help you get to the book.

Is this really all that difficult or outrageous?

--
James Weinheimer [log in to unmask] First Thus http://blog.jweinheimer.net First Thus Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/FirstThus Cooperative Cataloging Rules http://sites.google.com/site/opencatalogingrules/ Cataloging Matters Podcasts http://blog.jweinheimer.net/cataloging-matters-podcasts [delay +30 days]



--
Charley Pennell
Principal Cataloger
NCSU Libraries
North Carolina State University