Libraries, though they have evolved over time, are still an integral part of the curation of information. Over thousands of years to the present day, they have remained a place that houses a collection of information for people to reference. Despite how they vary, there are some universalities that remain the same.
And that’s the part of the genius (and beauty) of a library. At some point, librarians realized that there were a few essential things a library needed to offer so they could provide people with the best possible experience when trying to find an important piece of content. Let’s take a look at what some of these characteristics are:
- Search: The Card Catalog was the first and best way for someone searching for a specific piece of content to quickly and easily find exactly what they were looking for. It was created as a means to keep track of the massive amounts of information entering the library system.
- Clear Structure: The Dewey Decimal System was established as the framework for finding content, regardless of a particular library a person chose to visit. It houses an alphabetical call number which groups information by content, making it easier to find.
- Browse: The Dewey Decimal System allows for a smooth flow when browsing. This made it easier for people to stroll through aisles in a library to see all of the different options available to them any specific subject or topic.
- Different File Types: A library houses so much more than just books. It offers a variety of content types to its visitors, such as periodicals, audio, video, and microfiche.
- Curation: Librarians are caretakers of information. They have a deep expertise that allows them to present the most interesting and important content. They are selective in what goes into the library and what goes on display.
These universal characteristics are what allow libraries to evolve without losing the integrity of their intended purpose-being the “information authority” that communities of people of refer to.