May 14, 2003

Answerland is a new venture from Oregon’s public libraries that lets users submit a question, and have it answered by a Real Live Librarian (often within 10 minutes for simple inquiries). (They’ve got a blog too, if you want to follow them up close and personal.)

Unfortunately you have to be logged in from one of their participating libraries to use it, which I suppose is necessary to keep the workload down but which nonetheless seems to dampen the potential of the idea somewhat. Here’s an idea: I bet that there are people out there who’d be willing to pay $1 per query to use such a service — that’s cheaper than Google Answers by a long shot, and you could waive the fee for people logged in via a library (to encourage users to come on down). That way, if enough folks outside a library wanted to use the service, you could use the dough to hire more librarians.

Attention State of Oregon: that’s the last free advice you’ll get from me, from now on I’m charging my standard hourly consulting rate :-) [Seen on The Shifted Librarian]

Posted by Jason Lefkowitz at May 14, 2003
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