Library Search

Libraries have not only lots of books on shelves and in storage places, but scientific research makes use of lots of scientific journals as well. The direct access to these journals shortens the search for information. We tend to focus on certain sets of journals, which we follow regularly as well as some random choices. Libraries like the Staatsbibliothek in Berlin have the advantage of access to multiple scientific disciplines under the same roof. This facilitates cross-disciplinary research with access to the best available knowledge. This resembles university libraries where also a broad spectrum of disciplines is taught.

Moving from paper-based publishing to electronic publishing, it is obvious that libraries are part of this move. Printed journals disappear and the electronic versions are made available to the readers. 2 issues arise: (1) adapt your search strategy to e-search and reading on screens and (2) accept that your research leaves traces (and potential tracking of your activities) of what information is really used. User statistics are likely to have consequences in the medium term. All libraries want to know who are my readers and what kind of search strategies do they apply. Similar to some of the best scientific results that are an outcome of by chance findings the search in libraries is enriched through „random effects“ of search. On-shelf access to printed copies allows a rapid overview of a whole year of issues beyond the abstracts always available online anyway. It is so much faster than the online search that we shall miss the paper-based issues of journals for quite some time. At the time of artificial intelligence everywhere reading and writing might be overvalued as economists might say. Our search algorithms and use of libraries is evolving at the same time. The by-chance or random inspiration might move to other places.

library shelf with empty journals‘ stock