2 thoughts on “Audience level”

  1. ldempsey++

    For quite a while I thought it would be a good idea to incorporate audience levels into the description of library information resources. About a year ago I was heartened to discover a placeholder in MARC records for such values and I endeavored to create a catalog that exploited this information, but alas, I soon discovered the values in these placeholders were usually empty.

    For a long time now Notre Dame’s MyLibrary software has supported the integration of information resources, facet/term combinations, and people into its system. [1] Through the facet/term combinations is possible to create relationships between information resources and people — the heart of public service, IMHO. Facet/term combinations can include Audience/Freshman, Audience/Sophomore, etc. Additionally, facet/term combinations could be Reading Level/Grade school, Reading Level/High school, Reading Level/College. By “cataloging” information resources as well as people with these sorts of qualities and combining them with traditional subject classifications it is possible to narrow or broaden lists of suggested resources and making our systems appear smarter.

    Finally, the use of the slider illustrated above is another thing I’ve advocated for a while. I first articulated it in a “next generation” library catalog essay, and I called it a Suggestion Widget. [2] What is really interesting is the slider can be used for all sorts of the things. Spelling suggestions. Thesaurus suggestions. More like this one. More details. Etc. Sliders are graphic examples of what is implied in our textual lists.

    [1] MyLibrary facet/term combinations – http://mylibrary.library.nd.edu/category/facets/
    [2] Suggestion Widget – http://www.library.nd.edu/daiad/morgan/musings/ngc/

    Eric Lease Morgan
    University Libraries of Notre Dame

  2. Interesting.
    Nice idea. I suppose, in time, as bandwidth in the ‘clouds’ grows, we’ll be seeing more audio/videos, so perhaps there should be some type of viewer rating above the slider (e.g. G,MA, R, etc).
    Would you also give some consideration to Eric’s idea about subjects, but with a spin. And this goes to your ideas about getting librarians “in the flow”. We’re starting to see an increasing demand for ways that people, after they find a doc (of any format) might be directed to an online place where “clusters of interest” can ask questions, discuss a subject and be sociable. It kinda makes a bit more sense if you think Wikipedia, Citizendium, etc (or any fully digital library). This slide illustrates the (not so) virtuous cycle (at the moment). http://www.scivee.tv/about
    Any way we could use (a cut down version of) the DDC as a way tag both the docs, the ‘audience level’ AND their related community discussion spaces?

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