Friday, March 02, 2007

Librarians vs. The Terminator

The embedded movie below started out as a project of a Director of Technology for a High School.

Here is a list of sources.

So, does this make you want to hang it up and buy a ranch in Wyoming? Or perhaps The Terminator or The Matrix were not too far off?

But what role do libraries (and librarians) play in this current and future scenario?

Jakob Nielsen, the "king of web usability", recently wrote about lifelong computer skills. Basically, he says that schools should move away from teaching applications [ex. Word, Excel] directly and move towards teaching broader concepts, because today's applications will be completely different than tomorrow's.

I disagree and think Mr. Nielsen was trying to prove a point, but, as Techdirt states, the way to learn a concept is to see it in action. The only way to see it in action is to know the applications.

Nielsen then moves on to the part I agree with. He lists a number of concepts that should be taught, the first three of which librarians can have great impact.

  • Search Strategies
  • Information Credibility
  • Information Overload
So what role do libraries (and librarians) play in this current and future scenario?

We can continue providing access to the computer applications (Web, Word, Excel, etc.). We can help them with common stumbling blocks that occur with these applications. We can steer customers to better search queries and more reliable sources. And we can help make sense of all this information.

If librarians cannot do this, the world will certainly be taken over by computers. We don't want that, do we?


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