Friday, April 24, 2009

The end of monopoly?

David Weinberger noted a few days ago (in a note from a conference on User Generated Content): "Then John Palfrey gave a talk about how the world and books look to those born into the digital age. To these digital natives, said John, the world doesn’t divide into online and offline; it’s all converged. They assume digital access. (YouTube is the #2 search engine, JP said.) They expect to be co-creators. They also give away too much information and need to learn to do for themselves the gatekeeping that used to be done for them. The opportunities are huge, JP said, for creativity, reuse, and making knowledge together. JP expects libraries will continue to become social spaces where we learn and explore together, and he expects physical books to persevere because they are so well engineered for knowledge and extended argument. [Personally, I'm not convinced of that. I think books may turn out to be an accident of paper. Check back in 30 years to see who's right.]" -- hrmm... that's interesting. I think. Libraries as social spaces... The end of physical books... OK, that's all well. But users as co-creators of the organization, representation, classification and meaning-making of books? How do we go about that; how do we get librarians to give up on their monopoly of being the profession that have the right to say what books in libraries are about and how we should think about them? When will it be the norm that I can add my categories, my thoughts, my comments to any book in any library catalog?


  1. I think what's needed is for libraries to develop some sort of reputation system (like the Slashdot comment system) so that library patrons can set the level of user-developed content they want to see. Some patrons might not want to see any, some might want to see it all, and some might want something in between.

  2. that day may not be far off and librarians may not have a choice....

    Who determines who controls information? What is the purpose of control anyway? I think that paper was the only choice of spreading information for a certain time. We keep evolving and so should the way information is shared and created. If people started to work together for the better and gave up their need control and monoplies...Wow...Librarians could lead the way...We need to start working together for the Bigger Picture. People should always have choice in what they want information and in what form suits them best. However, the whole world isn't on the same page so different systems need to be developed for each system.