Library with a Thousand Databases

Library with a Thousand Databases

In his book, *The Hero with a Thousand Faces*, Joseph Campbell laid out a narrative pattern he saw across myths, stories, and religious rituals that he called The Hero's Journey. The hero moved out of the ordinary world into the "Special realm," where she encountered all manner of obstacles before coming back to the ordinary world transformed.

As librarians, it's easy for us to forget that many patrons leave the ordinary world for the "special realm" of library research databases when they use our services. For decades, these tools have been disconnected, proprietary tools that require a truly epic amount of effort from our hero/patrons if they are to find their treasure (usually articles, books, or citations). But it doesn't have to be this way. We can make the journey easier for our patrons with the right tools and an eye toward improving the search experience.


Matthew Reidsma

November 18, 2013


  1. 5.

    A Hero with the Thousand Faces, 1973, p. 30 “

    A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: Jospeh Campbell
  2. 6.

    A Hero with the Thousand Faces, 1973, p. 30 “

    fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: Jospeh Campbell
  3. 7.

    A Hero with the Thousand Faces, 1973, p. 30 “

    the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man. Jospeh Campbell
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    What makes something simple or complex? It’s not the number

    of dials or controls or how many features it has: “ Donald Norman Living with Complexity, p. 40
  8. 22.

    It is whether the person using the device has a

    good conceptual model of how it operates. “ Donald Norman Living with Complexity, p. 40
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  12. 30.

    The more expert we become at a subject, the more

    complexity we prefer. “ Donald Norman Living with Complexity, p. 13
  13. 31. “ The trouble with Summon is that students don’t

    need to be taught how to use it, but librarians do! Matt Borg
  14. 32.