A Message from the Library

The Charger Bulletin

Correction to the article “The Top 10 Misconceptions about Libraries and Librarians”

Dear University Community,

While the commonly held belief is that you don’t need libraries or librarians, since everything is available for free online, this is not the reality of the situation. The reality is that most of what you find through a Google search is not available for free. There are many factors that impact what is made available in a digital format and what can be found through a search engine, or even what pieces of that content can actually be accessed for free.

Some of these factors include monetary/economic concerns such as who funded the research and provisions of that funding, who owns the intellectual property of the material in question, if the contract that was signed by the creator specified that the material could be produced in multiple mediums, or if the publisher chooses to make a digital copy available for a fee or free. Others include legal issues, such as copyright law or laws that restrict the access of the material (think about the changes to the Freedom of Information Act throughout the past 12 years). Yet others include technical and privacy issues, such as the right of a publisher to determine how search engines such as Google can find and index their internal resources. Yet another is the way that a particular search engine processes the words you used in your search and displays the possible results from your search. Some search engines also try to help you evaluate the results by only showing you what they think you want to see based on what everyone else who has searched for you words has found useful, your geographical location or even your past searching history.

As you can see, there are many variables that control what is published digitally and how that information can be accessed. Given these and other variables that I have not mentioned, it’s actually more important for Libraries and Librarians to exist today as libraries and librarians work with these and other issues surrounding how people can access, search for, find, and evaluate information on a daily basis. Because of this, I would say that the traditional roles for libraries and librarians continue to evolve as the way information is created, shared, organized and accessed evolves.