Tuesday, May 10, 2005

I don't need a library...

i pointed out the new NLB library in town to someone over the weekend... well.. for someone who hasn't been to the library for over 15 years, the fellow didn't see a need for librarians and libraries.

"I can google." So he says...

The very next day, i got an email from the very same fellow...

"Ok Ms. Librarian, I have a couple of questions for you regarding searching for information.

Generally, is there some way for me to search for a public company's financials in Singapore?

Specifically, I mentioned to you that I am doing XXX for XXX. My supervisor wants me to get a comparison/contrasting between Co. A vs. Co. B, sort of figure out what are some of the pros and cons between the two, how they are perceived in the market place by the general public, etc. Know of any good way of finding any sort of information like that?

I know that it is entirely possible for there to be no such information available.. but thought I'd give you a try. Thanks."

Note: details were masked for privacy

Well... i could have forwarded the enquiry to the relevant librarians, but thought that i could give it a shot... and help a friend. So i managed to get the financials of Co. A, which wasn't too difficult as it was a listed company. Co. B was a bit tough as it was a private company (financials aren't filed as it wasn't required by law) but i did get some financials from a Singaporean publication of top 1000 companies.

Press clippings were easy to find too, using Factiva. From here, i could get the expansion plans, directions, news on the 2 companies.

As for the perceptions of the 2 companies.. it was a bit tough. Often, market research has to be conducted to gather all the consumer behaviour and feedback and such reports are mainly for commercial uses and one would need to pay to get or commission such a research.

Luckily, i managed to get my hands on some dissertations and case studies conducted by university students. One of the case studies was on Co. C. Co. C had identified Co. A and Co. B as its competitors. It listed the strength and weaknesses of the companies.

So i emailed my findings.... and got this email in return.

"Thanks. A lot of information to digest, which is great. NOW I see the importance of librarians. :) Though, I'm still suspicious of the necessity of LIBRARIES."
i wasn't surprised that he didn't get much relevant and usable data from googling... sometimes, one would need help to get direction on the tools and resources to use.

Well... what can i say to convince him the need for libraries? At least for a start, he now realises the role of librarians. i'm glad to say that i've got a switcher on my hands


p/s I'm reading The Cult of Mac by Leander Kahney. It's brilliant! i want a Mac too!!

p/s/s ok ok... not a very interesting story but wanted an opportunity to create and put up a ellen feiss switcher parody. hee hee hee


Anonymous said...

Well, a good digital library will bring out more of librarians I reckon. Whilst a digital library should focus primarily on content, the profile of the people providing and maintaining the digital library should be branded across heavily. Sadly, the digital library thus far from NLB sorely lacks on both ends, tends to be very library centric.

Anonymous said...

With so much information available now, all the more we need librarians to help get the knowledge out of them.

"A lot of these databases put the power in the hands of the user, and even allow the user to do library research alone and at home. But because of the expansion of information, it seems users should rely on librarians more than ever."

Taken from here

Ivan Chew said...

That's a great example of how libarians can stay relevant.