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.
THis is the reason we need people fluent in information analysis. It's not enough to understand Japanese in a classroom -that's being literate. It's far more important to be able to confidently move around the country knowing if you get hurt or lost or stuck, you can get help. That's being fluent. Guess which is more powerful information literacy or information fluency?
Chris Demorro disguised his true intentions. While it's easy to say, "hey I'm just pointing out the facts as they lie" -I suspect he couched his true intentions when first publishing this article. He did so knowing it would incite both sides of this vociferous debate. So inciteful would it be, bloggers and the media would fact check after -shoot(post) first... I don't doubt he didn't think this would not generate major interest and potentially garner fame for himself. I quote him here and I cite my source outright unlike Mr. Demorro:
"This is a large part of why I wrote the article in the first place: I believe hybrids are not going to solve our imminent energy crisis, and focusing on a platform that still requires petrol in any amount is ultimately a band-aid for what could become a mortal wound. "
--Chris Demorro "Prius Still Not Sitting Pretty"
--date accessed: 06-12-2007
--date article posted as listed on website: March 28, 2007
While that argument seems true when passively accepted, his mark is off. Mr Demorro actually portrays himself as a very real danger to the supposed change he wants to see.
Distorting information because you think your opinion is right and for your own needs dangeroulsy belies how grave an injustice that action is. Presently, hybrids may fail; at present recycling may not work; computers have increased paper consumption -everything that is supposed to save us seems a proverbial dead pointless end. The real point: all those items I just mentioned are beginning technologies that must be developed, adopted, improved, and used for maximum effectiveness. No technology is born perfect. The curve is steep. Yet, the more that newer technologies are adopted the faster those technologies improve: a classic network effect.
Read the rest of his too late self-disclosure here.
Cached here is the paper's editorial response.
200,000 mile Prius:
--Just Google the original article. I'm not linking to it. :)
The smash-up of list and wish. I like this part.
"...we try to encourage the discovery and promotion of products from
small retailers and manufacturers and young designers."
Imagine information wish lists; a place where someone did the legwork of figuring out some piece of information you wanted to know but didn't want to take the time to find out. Not like the several "answering" services there are but something like an rss feed you could plug into, submit questions to, and something would bet spit out of -kinda like reverse twitter maybe?