Information and the Future

This is the blog of the Information and the Future task force of the Rolfing Library at Trinity International University. The IF task force exists to explore the role of libraries in the future of Christian higher education.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The Long Tail

The phrase "long tail" has become something of a buzz phrase in library blogs for awhile. It is sure to get more discussion with the recent publication of Christopher Anderson's book by that title. The book is currently the number 3 best seller on Amazon.

The basic idea behind the long tail is that although only a few items (think books or music) will have really high demand, many items will have some limited demand. The argument goes that with the internet companies like Itunes and Amazon can make more money selling niche items than selling the "top 40." Here is the wikipedia definition of long tail.

I wanted to make you aware of the ALA Techsource blog which has a good introduction of this concept and discussion of how libraries may leverage the long tail. See also the libraryCrunch's discussion of the ALA TS post.

Both of these discussions make me think about ways to make ILL more efficient and transparent to users. It seems that in our massively networked world finding ways to get material quickly from one place to another is going to be increasing important as we will never be able to buy everything people want. Perhaps worldcat.org will help once it is up and running. It is suppose to allow the general public to search worldcat and provide an access point for worldcat searches to be incorporated into local websites. I'm sure there will be more to come on that.

2 Comments:

  • At 7:52 AM, Blogger arcee said…

    I think this concept of 'the long tail' is certainly worth pursuing considering our patron population. I would guess that we have a number of students and faculty who are interested in many relatively obscure materials. (Heh...I happen to be one of them myself.)

     
  • At 9:28 AM, Blogger arcee said…

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

     

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