QOTD: flowing through Amazon

Lorcan 1 min read

From Jon Udell:

At the end of our conversation I relayed a question that came up during my recent Superpatrons and superlibrarians talk at the University of Michigan. When I demonstrated the various ways in which LibraryLookup can disintermediate Amazon, somebody asked: “Does Amazon hate you?” It shouldn’t, I replied, because although LibraryLookup clearly bypasses some purchases, it also invites people to engage with Amazon.com more than they otherwise might. As it turns out, that’s just how Jeff Bezos sees it. During his talk he used a key term of blogging art: flow. When library patrons use Amazon’s catalog to research what’s in the library, they’re creating flow through Amazon’s site, and Bezos says he’s all for that. [Jon Udell: A conversation with Jeff Bezos about Amazon web services]

It would be nice if Amazon were interested in providing a find in a library link on its pages in the way that Google Book Search does (as described here).
I was also interested in the use of the word ‘flow’: it is important for libraries to get into the user workflow, wherever they can.

One way of characterising recent developments is to look at our locus of engagement with the network. We can see a trend from database, to website to workflow.

And this is not really surprising. As more of our working, learning and playing lives moves onto the network we need better workflow support. One can state one of the major challenges facing libraries in these terms. Historically, users have built their workflow around the services the library provides. As we move forward, the reverse will increasingly be the case. On the network, the library needs to build its services around its users’ work- and learn-flows (networkflows). [Lorcan Dempsey’s weblog: Networkflows]

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