I recently spoke at a Transportation Librarians Roundtable virtual event about finding hidden web resources (slides here). As often happens, the most interesting part was the conversation after I finished presenting, and one question really got me thinking.
When preparing for my part in the Search Skills Academy at Internet Librarian International, I was asked to come up with a couple of search tips (in addition to what I’d developed for Internet Librarian, downloadable here). As I thought about it, I realized that my biggest lesson from the last year could be summarized as “search ugly, deliver pretty”. What do I mean by that?
When I give presentations and workshops about research strategies, I often include a mention of the need to create value-added deliverables after you’ve found all that great information. But what exactly does that mean? Isn’t everything you do added value, just because it took your skills and expertise to find the information?
Actually, value-adding is more than “merely” finding the information. It means transforming it into something more. One metric I use to evaluate a deliverable:
- If most of what my client reads is my own writing, I’ve provided added value.
- If most of what my client reads is others’ writing, I’m providing little value.