At ALA Midwinter I went to ALCTS CMDS Collection Development Librarians of Academic Libraries Discussion Group chaired by Debbi Smith from Adelphi University. There were 3 separate discussions. Naturally, I went to the one about the implications of Library 2.0 for collection development moderated by Brian Quinn from Texas Tech. The meeting was surprisingly well attended. There was a really good mix of academic and public librarians. Props to all you Collections 2.0 folks!
We talked about many topics, but one of the most prominent was using the catalog to deliver enhanced bibliographic information: cover images, contents notes, user comments, links to reviews. We also talked about making the catalog more user-friendly and less full of library jargon. Someone mentioned links like “you might be interested in” to lead users to related materials. It suddenly struck me that we have that link; we just call it by the wrong name: subject headings.
It would be nice if we could speak human to users when we design products. We could still use our secret language when nobody was looking. Of course, we’d have to come up with a secret handshake to identify members of the club. But otherwise we would pretend like people knew nothing about our arcane lingo.