Gary Price is the information industry’s best kept secret. Many of us were introduced to Gary’s keen intellect in his 2001 work with Chris Sherman, The Invisible Web: Uncovering Information Sources Search Engines Can’t See. Twelve years later Gary is still uncovering and surfacing the deep floor of the Web for us. I suggest to public libraries all the time that they should have 30 minute quarterly or bi-annual updates for staff with Gary. Library staff are often so busy that they don’t have time to learn new e-resources or to think about how these e-resources can benefit their customers. Most importantly, public libraries need to differentiate their services and resources. Anyone can use Google or Bing or Yahoo. What libraries have and – must raise awareness of – are resources and expertise that goes way beyond (and to take the analogy of ‘uncovering’ one step further “go under”) these search engines. Most of these sources, sites and tools Gary introduces me to are free. Gary is a librarian, after all. He’s all about open source and free.
What I find so amazing each time I talk with Gary or listen to him or read him in InfoDocket is his vast insight into publishing, the web and libraries. I’m not just amazed – I’m enthralled. I don’t make these links; I can’t retain these details. But why should I? Gary does. Imagine Gary at your next staff day; the morning session focused on developments in publishing and implications for libraries & library patrons; the afternoon on sites & tools you haven’t had time to explore and that absolutely delight and awe customers; and maybe an evening session for the public on ‘way beyond Google – and why you should care.’
I’m having Gary talk with a small Canadian public library – via Skype – in a few weeks (he knows more about Canada and Canadian resources than most Canadians!). As a back-up I video-taped him. He’s leading the group through Top 10 Tools (You May Not Know About), but this is just about one of those: planefinder.net. What amazed me was how easily Gary connected this site to helping kids learn geography and math in an interesting, practical way. Wow.
Please forgive my beginner skills at screencasting. With Gary’s help, I’ll improve!! Here’s the larger version.
No, this isn’t an advertisement for Gary. I’m not his agent or anything else. I’m a Gary groupie I guess. He keeps me current. And as an information professional I need to be current.- We all need to be current.