Warning Sounds for Librarians

First of all, apologies for the extended silence. Between IFLA, First Year Experience activities and a slew of beginning of term instruction, I have had little time to think let alone blog. Now that things are quieting down, I hope to be more on the ball.

I decided to title this post after an article I read on BBC News a while back, Warning Sounded on Web’s Future (speaking of which, I’m trying to read the Future of the Web and How to Stop It – may have more on it later). The line that caught my attention is in bold at the very beginning of the article “The internet needs a way to help people separate rumour from real science, says the creator of the World Wide Web.” Sir Tim Berners-Lee is worried about disinformation on the web. This is where I hear trumpets – duh duh da na! Enter Librarians! This is us! We should be and are doing this! One of the main tenants of information literacy is the evaluation of information in any form. Many of us have been teaching this for years – the skills to evaluate and examine information. So why doesn’t Sit Tim Berners-Lee know this? Why doesn’t anyone seem to know this? How do we get out and teach everyone how to evaluate information? This is a fundamental problem for us. We’re great at what we do but no one knows. It’s partly a marketing issue. It’s partly an outreach issue. It’s also the fact that many people think they are doing alright on the info front and don’t attend a library session to improve their skills. I teach basic library searching skills and web evaluation classes. While I hope the students take something away from both sessions, I hear time and again from faculty that the students felt the web session was more valuable – they learned they didn’t know everything about the web and how to tell good from bad info and it speaks more to the way they tend to search. So how do we let people know that we can help them wade through information swamp that is the Internet? I’m certainly open to suggestions. Does your library offer web or info evaluation sessions?

On a complete aside, it’s conference time. I just helped plan and attended my first Access conference – a very good time and I highly recommend it. A very techy conference, which at times could be intimidating for a tech wannabe like me, but a lot of great content for those with less than stellar tech skills. Up next is Internet Librarian – maybe I’ll see you there!


About theweelibrarian

Liaison Librarian extraordinaire! Interests in libraries and technology, virtual worlds, gov pubs, fun and chocolate.
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One Response to Warning Sounds for Librarians

  1. wade says:

    Great post, Krista!

    I agree, we (meaning libraries and librarians in general) need to do a better job of promoting what we do in the “new world”. I’m reading the Ithaka “Digital Transformation” report at the moment, and it’s a little disturbing how few faculty see a role for the library because the resources they use have gone online. And if it’s online and I can get to it through Google Scholar, it must be free, right? So who needs a library? For some disciplines, our traditional role of collecting books and archival materials continues to be important, but figuring out how to shed the “book warehouse” image and reach other constituencies is a big challenge.

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