Monday, January 14, 2008

What's In?

I was reading the latest issue of University Business over the weekend and in the editor's column was a discussion of what's in in technology and what's out. Included in a chart of technology trends was that Library Stacks were out and "collaboratories, e-Journals, Wikipedia and Google" were now in. At least he didn't include librarians as being out! The term "collaboratories" was an interesting one; I had not heard it before. But, as libraries continue to develop and evolve with more electronic functions, I can see where that term would be appropriate. Many libraries are now cooperatively offering joint facilities with IT folks, where students have access to multimedia production hardware and software to work on course assignments. The assignments themselves are becoming more complex in nature, requiring increased knowledge of computers and various kinds of software. I think that in that respect, the library is a great place to think of going.

But including Wikipedia and Google (internet sources) and not library resources is disturbing to me as a director. It is a shame that "library stacks" are what the library is considered to be about and not the many other excellent (and credible!) resources that we do offer. And while Wikipedia and Google are there (whether librarians like it or not), they still must be treated with care and crictial evaluation. It's too bad that critical thinking and information literacy are not considered an "in" trend.

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