What Is It Good For?

Regular readers know that I tend to get a bit hacked off when librarians start making sweeping negative comments about one technology or another (Google or blogs, anyone?) and fearing for their jobs. My usual response is to sputter and mutter, “Get a freakin’ life people!” Gentle readers, though I can occasionally create sentences full of wonderful diction, most days I simply post whatever words seem to be floating in my mind at that given moment.

That being said: Lis*dom, who you really should be reading, has some great things to say about all those naysayers of “Google.” Google being the stand-in for technologies on the web that are frequently attacked. The all important question is “For what?” I agree that it would be much more useful for the “OMG it is the end of all civilized knowledge types” to be able to ask “What is this resource good for?” instead of “This is bad for reasons that make no sense.”

Is Wikipedia or Google good for everything? No. Are they good for some things? Yes? Are they better than many subscription encyclopedias? Heck Yes!

We should learn to not only harness the technology around us, but learn to examine it critically. Our jobs as information specialists should demand critical thinking about information and how people access it. Please, please, please… Can we stop harping on Google and instead focus on ways to use it for good? Google is not going to leave us and people are not going to stop using Google, therefore we must learn how to take the best of our knowledge and use the power of Google for the benefit of all.

(Since I read lis*dom’s piece I have been thinking: Google, huh, what is it good for? Absolutely something!) One must actually sing it in your head and do the “huh” to get the full effect.

–Jane, hops off soapbox