From INFOLINKS's listserv yesterday, here is a link to a great article in the NY Times, Most reliable search tool could be your librarian (free subscription required).
Exciting article for libraries! Here are a few quotes you can add to your elevator speeches:
"For some people, if the answer isn't in the first few results it might as well not be there," said Gary Price, founder and editor of the ResourceShelf blog and director of online resources at Ask.com. "No matter how smart and helpful search engines get, they're never going to replace librarians."
"There's a problem with information illiteracy among people. People find information online and don't question whether it's valid or not," said Chris Sherman, executive editor of industry blog site SearchEngineWatch.com. "I think that's where librarians are extremely important. They are trained to evaluate the quality of the information."
This is a great one to add when your are talking about online resources (databases):
In addition, search engines also are only offering up a fraction of all the information out there. There is still the relatively untapped so-called "deep Web" of information behind corporate firewalls and password-protected Web sites. To get to the information, people have to know where the sites are and often have to pay to subscribe. -NYTimes
"A lot of people don't know that they can get access to much of the walled-off information in specialized databases for free if they have a public library card, said Price, of Ask.com and ResourceShelf. "
On today's library:
With the advent of the Web and search engines, people's interaction with libraries has changed. While the number of reference questions at California public libraries has been declining, the difficulty of the questions has increased, said Ira Bray, a technology consultant at the California State Library.
Gone are the days of calling or visiting the library to find out a famous person's birthplace or the gross national product for the U.S. in 1972--you can get that in two seconds on Google. But you'll need more than a search engine to figure out, for example, what factors were at play in the growth of the U.S. economy that year, said Lee Rainie, director of the Pew Internet & American Life Project, which conducts research on the impact of the Internet on Americans.
"The idea of the 1950s librarian, that's outdated," said Sarah Houghton-Jan, information Web services manager at the San Mateo County Library in Northern California. "You find people who are expert at searching the Web and using online tools; high-level information experts instead of someone who just stamps books at the checkout desk."