LIBRARIANS RULE vs EVERYTHING IS MISCELLANEOUS.
Click here for mural:
Today there is an argument including from David Weinberger that people may not need a traditional library catalogue system but will co-evolve a new way to share all knowledge Wikipedia-style. (Weinberger is Harvard adjunct faculty, coauthor of Cluetrain Manifesto. Link above to the mural from his talk at COFES 2005) One result of "everything is miscellaneous," is that many people will look only to like-minded colleagues and friends for information. What happens to objectivity? Could we see a time when there are no shared norms for trustworthy information? Sorting information according to credible sources has been the role of librarians back to ancient Greece. Five years ago on an Intitute for the Future project on e-learning, my secret subtitle was "Librarians rule." I dream about a new role of journalist/librarian that would be similar to Dr. Doug Engelbart's idea of the "certified public logician." Like a CPA, the CPL would have to follow specific rules for auditing information, making sure no one can lie about fact vs. opinion. Perhaps the practicalities are a bit daunting, but it's a comforting concept. Meanwhile, we do have journalists and librarians trying to keep integrity while their institutions are changing radically. (This entry was inspired by Barbara Kelly of the Wisconsin Public Libraries Association's campaign to increase support for funding. Their headline is "Librarians' shouting!" They're trying to get past the old idea that libraries should be supported because they are "good," and to get people to realize they are essential. http://www.wisconsinlibraries.info/)