The Worth of Information, Considering Its Source

As part of her cataloging class, Jennifer over at Life As I Know It, has compiled a list of all the blogs talking about the big OPAC debate. It is a wonderful compilation, but what makes me think is this: She wants to use it as the start of a paper. The kind with research. For graduate school.
I have been waiting for there to be a slight movement towards information from blogs being credible regardless of their lowly origin. I still value the weight of a traditional literature review and frequently conduct them myself, but I rarely, if ever, pick up a journal or newspaper for the latest news and research. I, an educated degreed adult, am not ashamed to admit that my professional reading consists mostly of blogs and online venues.

Why? Why not? All of the cutting edge research, all of the truly lively discussions are occurring online and I can participate in them with a voice of my choosing. There is no editor or review board to poo poo my opinion. I can put it out there for all the world to read or not, but I am still a part of the growth of my profession.

To take this one step further, I rarely, if ever, read a physical newspaper. Only the comics on Sunday! All of my news comes from blogs, online news venues, The Daily Show (seriously), and NPR. I am not ashamed of this. I think I am very well informed. Before some of you start feeling like bashing the Daily Show, yes I know it is not a “real” news show, but that is kind of the point is it not?

Every kind of information has its place in the structure of things and they all serve a different purpose. I think that we are just starting to see blogs, in the past year or so, come into a definition and place of their own.

–Jane, defined

5 thoughts on “The Worth of Information, Considering Its Source

  • July 6, 2006 at 3:13 pm

    Over the past several months, I have been amazed (and often overwhelmed) by the sheer amount of information available about libraries via blogs. I see the library blog world as such a rich community filled with passionate people who care deeply about their profession – and who are interested in affecting revolutionary change in the library sphere. I am extremely interested in the impact of blogs on communication – formal and informal – and am mulling over ideas about examining the world of library blogs for my special project/master’s thesis (which is still a while in the future). I also still value the information garnered by traditional research methodologies, but I think it is time to look at the world of blogs in a more scholarly manner. I find the discussions that are currently taking place about the OPAC (as one example – at this point it happens to relate to a specific class that I am taking) to be extremely significant, thought provoking and worthy of review in a scholarly manner. How it will all pan out is a different story, but I think it is worth the investigation (supported by traditional literature reviews and research).

    By the way, the majority of my current reading in terms of professional development and awareness is also done through blogs, web sites, etc. Generally, any new developments that are worth noting have been mentioned in someone’s blog – with a link to more in depth information. I think it would be extremely interesting to look at the ways in which blogs have influenced professional development.

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  • July 6, 2006 at 4:51 pm

    It’s hard for internet sources to earn credibility because a) they’re free and b) anyone can set up a site. But that doesn’t mean that nothing good ever comes for free and that we can’t distinguish among the good sites and the poor ones, respectively. Good for you for speaking out about this.

  • July 6, 2006 at 5:00 pm

    I’ve talked about this sort of thing at length a few times over on my blog, specifically the parts relating to my master’s paper.

    It’s perfectly clear to me that the future of academic writing is some variation on blogs and wikis. The journal format is (mostly) dead, and collaborative peer-review is the future. In fact, I’d argue that the Google algorithm is a form of peer-review in and of itself.

  • July 6, 2006 at 5:52 pm

    I wrote a paper about OPACs for my cataloging class in the spring and I did a lot of research and background reading on blogs. That’s where the information is! I have a hard time finding anything useful in the journals — a lot of what I come across is either to fluffy or too focused on some nitty-gritty-way-too-technical piece of what I’m looking at.

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