Web mining technology and academic librarianship: Human-machine connections for the twenty-first century

May Y. Chau


John Naisbitt predicted in his book Megatrends (1980) that high technology would bring the need for "high human touch." This prediction is reflected in today's information-intense world. Due to the rapid development of technology, the library profession faces an uncertain future. Library professionals must use insight to identify technology's potential to benefit the academic library's role in the twenty-first century. This paper focuses on the human-machine connection between academic librarians and Web mining technology with respect to electronic reference service. The connection is featured in processes of: (a) identifying problems of electronic reference service; (b) selecting a technology to solve the problem; and, (c) envisioning the potential of the selected technology for librarianship. Scenarios address pertinent questions, including: (a) What role should librarians play to facilitate implementation of a technology? and, (b) What opportunities do technology offer to the profession in return?

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v4i6.677

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