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Virtual Shelves

One thing that old-school librarians like to say about the Internet and search engines and Amazon is that, while they're great at serving up specific information when you want it, they don't allow for discovery. In other words, what if you don't know exactly what you want and just want to browse in the hope you'll find something useful or entertaining? The Web, old-schoolers say, doesn't enable such browsing the way shelves in a library do.

Well, now the Web does, too. Meet Zoomii.

With its drag-and-zoom browsing interface a la Google Maps, wouldn't Zoomii be a great addition to an OPAC?

Thanks to Mrs. Librarian (who keeps me Playful) for finding this on Information Aesthetics.

1 comment:

porpentine11 said...

I find the Internet quite useful for discovery, indeed more useful than Zoomii is likely to be. When one is researching a topic, one is led through an associative chain in a search engine and, especially with Google Books, often ends up finding material--which is more useful than a book title--one did not expect to find. Of course, one has to then go to the library or the bookstore eventually, but the Internet research makes your time in the library or bookstore more focused.