Recognizing that Wikipedia is "good enough" for the average user/patron/person/student/doctor/etc, stands as the most important point so-called information experts fail to accept. What!? How can we change this? We can't.
Why be so harsh on information experts?
i. Telling people you "know" what information holds the most truth is arrogant -and nearly impossible. While at times information can be verified, a solid open course of teaching information evaluation is better.
ii. We presume to tell people we know better than they do. Rather, we have just a few more years of driving on the open road that teaches us to be more cautious if even some of us learn that. We should teach healthy skepticism, coach, mentor, guide, lead when needed, . We should say: perhaps, consider other sources, look deeper, maybe, go further, don't take at face value, evaluate the legitimacy of everything, above all don't consume information like you're at McDonald's.
iii. Our new role is found working with people as the whole is smarter than the parts.
"How long long have you been driving? Are you an expert just because you've been driving a long time?"
What do most people do with information?
A. Most people don't evaluate information on the quality of the resource.
B. Most people evaluate information on its 1) usefulness to their immediate need in answering a question, 2) their desire to pursue their question further, 3) a decision-making framework based on prior knowledge, experience, and information.
C. Most people would listen to us if we first listened to them.
D. Really, we have a classic example here: librarians didn't create Google or wikipedia or ... and I think that burns most of the traditional information professionals;
Me, I'm informationally promiscuous & I represent how people pull together information for their needs. I will aggregate information as I go, fact-checking as I go, modifying as I go; I go deeper than some people -yes. Do others go deeper down into information trails than I do -yes.
Simply put, so much information is blindly accepted because:
1. we're too busy arguing on how important libraries & librarians are
2. we're too busy arguing the deeply hidden and arcane rules of OPACS, MARC, making research guides etc., --rather than illustrating Google scholar.
3. we're too busy responding to inaccurate observations. :)
4. we fail to accept the enormous hidden pressures people are under: lack of time, lack of care, lack of fluency...
Meredith's right. Think more like a person trying to get information, less like a guardian of the right information.
Be steadfast by remaining open to changing your original belief as you evaluate the information you find. No text is infallible, not even the bible and the world is not flat.
Anything taken out of context can be transformed.