Roy Tennant: The "Last Mile" Problem

By reeset / On / In Access 2006

“Last Mile” Problem:

  • Libraries are better at description than delivery
  • We’ve rested on our past successes (library automation, conversion)
  • Too many clicks — it takes too many clicks to get users from the search to the digital resources.  (one click to search, one click to get)

Roy makes a great point.  In demonstrating how many clicks it takes to get to full text items within his own organization’s system — he notes that his organization, like others are limited by the vendor software that they use.  However, he doesn’t put the blame on the vendors alone.  He says that we all own the problem — and I agree.  I’ve said this for some time — the problem that we currently have with vendors is one of our own creation.  As an Innovative Interfaces library, I feel like we have outgrown this system some time ago because of their failure to offer solutions for users that want to move outside of their blackbox solution.  However, I recognize that we created this beast.  Libraries have in the past (and for some reason, continue to request) demanded this type of development path from our vendors.  It always surprises me when any library moves to Innovative, but in talking to people, I still find that there is a large segment of the population that is simply looking for black box solutions.

Roy also brings up another good point.  Services exist to help make users lives and experiences easier — to some degree — its up to libraries to simply start taking advantage of them.  I’d argue also that libraries also need to start building their own services to surface their own information within other webservices and take better advantage of the metadata and data available within their own system (or build new systems).

 

–TR

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