There really is a man behind the curtain . . . or a woman?
Have you ever gotten a question that you worked on pretty hard and now wish you could share with others? Maybe you think others outside your institution could benefit from the research. If you even think it, it’s probably true!
But who has the time to stop and think about the best way to word the Q&A for posterity? And who has time to think about the best way to assign a subject class heading or a question category or good keywords? Also, what about all that self-disclosure the patron did to explain his question—you don’t want just anyone to see that.
The Global Knowledge Base has editors behind the scenes—volunteer editors, actually, who do a terrific job of reviewing submitted records before activating them for indexing and searching.
You see, when you submit a Q&A to the GKB, you are really contributing the transaction for consideration. It is not immediately visible to or searchable by others.
An editor sees an “Inactive” record—s/he sees the institution that got the question and the institution that answered it, but s/he doesn’t see who the individuals at the institution are. S/he sees the question, but s/he doesn’t see the patron name or the patron e-mail. S/he knows only as much personal information about the patron and the librarian as was disclosed in the question or answer text.
- The editor evaluates the record for appropriateness and completeness. If the question is asking for hours of the library, it probably won’t be included in the Global Knowledge Base. (Note: This might be a perfect, often-asked question, however, for your local KB!)
- The editor checks for any spelling or grammatical errors, but will maintain British versus American spellings and usage.
- The editor reads the question and answer for sense. S/he will often delete a lot of text that isn’t necessary to understanding the query; sometimes s/he’ll rephrase the text to “cut to the chase,” thus improving the eventual searchability of the record.
- The editor deletes any personal names or any information that could identify the questioner or the librarian.
- The editor adds the following to facilitate later searching:
- Keywords to a Keyword field
- LC subject classification headings, but only to the second level (e.g., CT for biography)
- Question type or category, such as FAQ, Ready Reference, or Bibliography
- Link to the title in WorldCat.org (when a title is mentioned), so another user would be able to find the WC record and, thus, a nearby library that holds that title
- The editor indicates whether the record is appropriate for the general public, should a library offer the GKB on its website(s)
- The editor makes sure URLs are hotlinked, after checking to make sure they are valid
So, you see, you don’t have to worry about how well formatted or worded your Q&A is. The important thing is to submit it to be shared for the benefit of your worldwide colleagues and let the editors do the clean-up.
By the way, if you’d like to be a Global Knowledge Base editor, please contact email@example.com.