Yesterday was a Sunday, which usually means that I can be found sitting at my computer, working on my second book, while the rest of the world enjoys…well, everything else. Suffice it to say, spending a gorgeous day inside working isn’t my favorite activity. Which is why my mind was thinking about all sorts of other things…including the way we traditionally refer to library research databases. Christian Sheehy talks about this in regards to marketing, in his brilliant post “Let’s Stop With the Databases Already.” We’ve all known for a long time that the word “database” is a terrible way to refer to these things. A few reasons why:
- It’s a scary tech word, like something the IT person deals with (via @epersonae)
- It refers to the container, not the contents.
- It sounds harder to use, like work instead of play (via @mutabilis)
So, I got to thinking about this yesterday. (Should have been writing, I know, I know!) I looked over at my smartphone charging off my laptop, and I realized that, when I want to do something productive on my phone, I use something called an APP. I proceeded to tweet the following (yes, yet more procrastination)
Honestly, I wonder if library research database use would skyrocket if we just stopped calling them databases & started calling them apps.
Shortly thereafter, a veritable flood of retweets and responses came flying in. (Wow, I wasn’t the only person locked to their computer!) Many added their agreement and additional points in favor of calling these apps. (The discussion is just getting started, using the hashtag #callthemapps.) Turns out I wasn’t the only one to have thought of this: Heidi Roycroft, a middle school librarian, has been calling them apps this since last fall. (Great minds think alike?)
“There’s an app for that!” says Apple. Well, yes there usually is. After all, what is an app, more than a specialized electronic resource? According to Wikipedia, an app is:
Just because the application is often accessed via the browser, does that really make a huge difference? I’m thinking not.
People generally know what an app is. Databases? Not so much. What’s wrong with calling these things something the public recognizes and probably associate with things cool or useful?
Sheehy suggested that we start a national revolution around changing the name of databases to “apps.” Are you with us? Comment here, or join the conversation on twitter with the #callthemapps hashtag!