Zillow (and its brother application, Expedia) are examples of Web-
based tools and services that can be used to empower users by
bringing together vast amounts of information to answer specific
questions. When (if ever) will libraries try such things?
As you may or may not know, Zillow provides information regarding
real estate. Go to zillow.com, enter an exact address, and get back
bunches o' information about the house at that location. Estimated
price. Taxes. Size of house. Similar houses in the area. Etc. This
information empowers the user to make better decisions. It does not
negate the role of the real estate agent, just changes it. Expedia, a
travel site created by the same guy who created Zillow, does the same
thing for booking various reservations.
I sincerely believe the creation of Zillow and Expedia-like sites for
libraries is a growth area, if only there were enough interest in
libraries and if there were enough computer expertise in libraries.