Thursday, June 14, 2007

this makes my brain hurt

commentary by former American Liberry Assn prez Michael Gorman on britannica's web 2.0 blog...

responded to a blog on social sites and linked on boing boing (and now on britannica's blog as well)....

i'm currently reading 'everything is miscellaneous', which deals in part with these very issues. in fact, in one of the beginning chapters it details with britannica's history of trying to find other ways of ordering information, which often made it more obscured in the process.

frankly, i'm embarrassed by gorman's assertions. he hinges his argument on the belief that humans learn either by direct experience, or by direct interaction with teachers, experts or authoratative texts. he feels that the internet encourages non-authoritative and non-expert materials out there. for a discussion that is purportedly about web 2.0 sites, this argument is woefully outdated. i know. i made this argument in liberry school. pre-wiki, pre-blog, and at the very birth of google. and even then, we liberrians-in-training talked about applying bibliographic instruction to web information so that our patrons might have a change in heck of discerning a page with valid info from a crackpot site on the wild, wild web.

however, the very point of web 2.0 is that those sites' claims can be debated and challenged - often on the very site, if not on another that links to it much like a citation index. and while i am not saying that consensus equals truth, the formation of consensus - or the failure to form consensus - is as much a set of information as that of original point being made. metadata! it's a good thing.

a big topic, and i'm giving it short shrift here. i also need to read gorman's second part - a quick glance gives the impression that he's off on a further tear about the non-authorative nature of web 2.0, and calls it 'anti-intellectual', and those who support it are under the sway of 'pop sociology'. i wonder why gorman seems to think that every intellectual exercise needs to follow the structure of scholarly academic tradition.

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