Librarians have mixed feelings about Google. Sometimes, we think the company should be given a medal because Google Print intends to make the books on our shelves full-text searchable. Sometimes we think libraries should sue Google because its mission—to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful—duplicates the mission of the library. Even those of us who have job security and faith in the virtues of librarianship know that we’re more likely to hear “Look it up on Google” than “Go ask a librarian.” Yet, we can compete on an equal footing if we focus on our mission and the steps we must take to be successful. The Google philosophy (www.google.com/corporate/tenthings.html) presents new challenges to librarians.
The ten things:
- Focus on the user and all else will follow.
- It’s best to do one thing really, really well.
- Fast is better than slow.
- Democracy on the web works.
- You don’t need to be at your desk to need an answer.
- You can make money without doing evil.
- There’s always more information out there.
- The need for information crosses all borders.
- You can be serious without a suit.
- Great just isn’t good enough.