Fleetly Needs Librarians

Fleetly is a free workout app that turns exercise into a game and is available in Apple’s IOS App Store. I’ve used it since early January and find it motivating and fun. If they can sort out their technical problems the app would be great. However, that’s not why I’m writing. I’m writing, because Fleetly needs librarians and here’s why.

If you are building an application for users to log their exercise, what choices do you make? One choice is which exercises can users log? You could take the controlled approach and create all of the possible exercises. But, is that realistic? Can your team do that level of research? And what happens when you have an excited user, named Bill, who just spent 10 minutes flipping a tractor tire across the floor and wants to log it, only to find their exercise does not exist?

So, you take the other approach and you crowdsource. Give users the power to create exercises on the fly. This is great. Problem solved. Now, Bill can flip his tire, search the app, not find his exercise and create a new tire-flip exercise. Best of all everyone can use Bill’s tire-flip exercise. Problem solved, right?

If the problem is solved, then why does Fleetly need librarians? Librarians are experts in authority control. For non-librarians, that means librarians are good at deciding what something is and how we should all refer to it. What happens if I searched “tire flip” in Fleetly and found “Tire Flip”, “tireflip”, “tyre flip” “flipping tire”, etc? Which “tire flip” do I use? Do I check them all to see which has the most complete description (in order to be fast, descriptions are optional)? Do I randomly pick one? Or, do I make my own? Fleetly needs a librarian, or someone with those skills, to go through and consolidate exercises. Fleetly needs authority control.

However, in Fleetly’s rush to quickly build the service this may not be possible. The reason for that is data loss. How do you consolidate all of the information users have logged under differently named exercises that are all the same exercise? I’m sure it’s doable, but is it worth it?

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