Wikipedia – The End of the Librarian?

This morning’s water cooler question of the day on WBAL TV was – Do you think people rely too much on online resources like Wikipedia for accurate research and information? Hmm, this one has been debated before and as part of the library profession I know where some folks stand on this one. I myself have struggled with this one. For me it is a great jumping off point and is often a way to confirm something I already know but just wasn’t 100% sure about.

Since the web is no longer 1.0 but 2.0 and beyond these days, it stands to reason that sites where the “public” can contribute to the greater knowledge are becoming more and more attractive. Gone are the days where an “expert” would design/contribute to a web site and that would be the authoritative source, end of story, bye-bye, see you later. With the advent of wikis and such, more and more people (some who actually know of what they speak) are contributing to the information on the web.

I believe that one must always weigh the information they find on the web, in a book, via a pamphlet with common sense no matter what the source. Just because it is printed does not make it accurate. The old Motown song comes to mind “…People say believe half of what you see, Son, and none of what you hear.

Do I think that the general public is going to forsake the sage wisdom and training of the librarian for Wikipedia? Hard to say. But one thing that is for sure if we as a profession don’t get ourselves out on the web more and contribute to sites like Wikipedia we may find that we are no longer seen as “Information Professionals”.


One Response to Wikipedia – The End of the Librarian?

  1. Carleton Place Public Library says:

    I don’t think as librarians that we “know all” anyway. We are merely people who can help in the dissemination of information, guiding our patrons along to find the things they need. As the internet has become such a staple of our lives, we as librarians maybe need to change how and where we get the information, but I think we will always be needed. Even though there is a wealth of sources available, we still find that most patrons will ask us for help in finding the right information. Or maybe the ones who are finding the info themselves never really came to the library in the first place? I’m not sure, but I think we will always be needed. We just need to open our minds to how we , as professionals, also find that information. Tough question!

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