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Culture Shock: Librarians' Response to Web Scale Search
ECU Publications Pre. 2011
  • David Howard, Edith Cowan University
  • Constance Wiebrands, Edith Cowan University
Publication Date
Document Type
Conference Proceeding
Library Services Centre
Library Services Centre

This conference paper was originally published as: Howard, D., & Wiebrands, C. (2011, February). Culture Shock: Librarians' Response to Web Scale Search. Paper presented at the 2011 ALIA Information Online Conference, Australian Library and Information Association, Sydney, N.S.W. Original article available here

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In common with many other academic libraries, search tools such as the library catalogue, link resolver and federated search are utilised at Edith Cowan University Library to enable access to its collections and subscribed resources. It could be argued that these tools reflect methods of organising information from an earlier, pre-Internet era, and as such, they "make sense" to librarians. However, these tools are not simple to use or navigate, particularly when compared to Google, which, studies show, tends to be the first search tool of choice for many students and academic staff. Recognising that easier methods of accessing and discovering library resources are essential, ECU Library implemented the Serials Solution web scale discovery tool Summon at the beginning of 2010. This paper describes the rollout of Summon and the subsequent impact on ECU Library and its users, with a specific focus on its impact on ECU's librarians and the information literacy programmes provided to library users. As librarians we faced several challenges when taking on Summon. A philosophical shift was required in the way we thought about finding and teaching others to find information. Much of our energy was expended in adapting to this new environment. The biggest risk we faced was negative librarian experiences and views flowing through to our users. A survey was conducted of ECU librarians, to determine their experiences and expectations with the use of Summon. This paper discusses the findings of the survey and examines the issues that librarians faced in developing their understanding and enhancing their use of the tool.

Citation Information
David Howard and Constance Wiebrands. "Culture Shock: Librarians' Response to Web Scale Search" (2011)
Available at: