Actually, the super-searcher never really went away (not that you’d know from the length of time that’s passed since my last blog entry). All good information professionals try to be super-searchers, it’s why we’re often quicker than our users in finding the information they need.
The idea is that we know how to create a good search strategy, have a lot of know-how in where to look and the skills to search specialist sources (as well as the web) really effectively.
However, in recent years the pressure has been on to do more than this: don’t just find the stuff, analyse it for your users too, give ’em some value-add!
OK, nothing wrong with that…except that an interesting finding from Business Information Review’s annual survey , which has been causing ripples through the profession, suggests that some of our users would prefer that we remain primarily as super-searchers. It seems that most are quite happy to do the fiddly data-mangling, sorry, analysis themselves. One employer also remarked that he has no problem finding applicants with market analyst skills, but ever so much more difficulty finding candidates with the skills to perform really good searches.
Perhaps the messages here are that:
1) Providing some value-add analysis to the information you find is fine and often a good extra service to provide, but don’t let it be at the expense of keeping your super searching skills finely honed.
2) Don’t forget your users, they’ll still need to search for themselves, so share your skills and help to make them information literate too. It’s a great way of raising your profile and advertising your service.