Pop Goes the Library

Using Pop Culture to Make Libraries Better.

by Sophie Brookover, Liz Burns, Melissa Rabey, Susan Quinn, John Klima, Carlie Webber, Karen Corday, and Eli Neiburger. We're librarians. We're pop culture mavens. We're Pop Culture Librarians.


Knowledgeable Guides

Because my definition of a "knowledgeable guide, who has experience or background a particular field" is "college students, retirees and stay-at-home parents" who get paid "$5 to $10 an hour" (but the bigger the customer satisfaction, the bigger the paycheck: "up to $20.")

It's called ChaCha Search. Basically, it's a search engine that utilizes real people to get search results. And the above quotes reflects the people who will hired by the company to create search results.

News articles about this: Rethinking Google's system Human-powered search premieres (source of the quotes, above); One day searchers may quit Googling and start ChaCha-ing (calls this a "librarian" system working on an Anway pay system: "These people are employed at home (or anywhere) by ChaCha in an Amway-like structure. Experts who recruit other experts get a slice of their recruits' earnings.") Humans ChaCha Into Search Dance.

Where shall the ranting begin? Given the people I see in the library every day who need my help, I do wonder how "knowledgeable" these guides will be. And then there's always the low money being paid, showing the lack of respect being given to search professionals; but of course, it's not professionals being trained to do this, right? < sarcasm font>It's not like you need a degree to do a good search.< /sarcasm font> And finally, hey you public libraries... here's a business filling a perceived need. What have you done, or not done, that people think they need to go to ChaCha instead of contacting the library?


  • At 7:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Egad. Amway-type payment plan. Just what the employees of this firm DON'T need. Who vets these experts... or will they be suckered in like people thinking they can get rich quick by getting others to join?
    Apart from the lack of expertise, the thought of anybody getting involved in pyramid schemes, especially as it impacts on libraries. scares me witless.

  • At 11:26 AM, Blogger David Hook said…

    This sort of thing has failed before - InfoRocket springs to mind, to name one. Also, didn't Google attempt this sort of thing a while back with Google Answers?

    I don't see how these services can compete with or replace library references services:
    * Library reference services are free
    * Libraries have an unparalleled reputation for trust and customer service
    * Libraries have the experience edge.

    To answer your last question, though, what libraries are not doing well enough is marketing themselves. Places like ChaCha Search build their customer base on people who aren't aware that their local library can provide a better service for free.


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