Tuesday, May 31, 2005

On Wikipedia, passing on some thoughts.

The exploded library blog points to a post by Karen G. Schneider, author of the Free Range Librarian blog. Ms. Schneider makes an excellent argument to why librarians object and have concerns over Wikipedia. If it makes her a gatekeeper to be concerned, then so be it, she says. You can read her post here. I like the idea of being subversive gatekeepers, and we clearly have to embrace that role. Patrons and people come to us with their information needs, and they trust us with what with provide. They expect us to have standards even if they don't actually say it. I don't know about the rest of the profession, but I happen to take that trust very seriously. I have faith my colleagues do as well. Anyways, Ms. Schneider articulates much of what many librarians think and would like to express, so hop on over and read for yourself.

On the other hand, Time has published an article about Wikipedia and its founder. It does include the comparison from an Encyclopaedia Britannica editor that compared Wikipedia to a public toilet seat because you never knew who used it last. I had not heard that before today (it sounds quite harsh). In the article, the former editor in chief of Wikipedia makes some interesting observations and explains why he does not allow his students to use Wikipedia as a source on their papers, "partly because he knows they could confirm anything they like by adding it themselves." I found the reference at the Library Stuff blog which provided the link to the article.

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