Hmm. I wonder who wrote that posting (if it was a posting). Sorry I didn't make a note of who wrote it, but, after all, who cares? We could ask the ether, the same ether that will be giving us the answers to all our other questions.
EDITORIAL Searcher’s Voice Bibles W hat this world needs is more bibles. No, I am not advocating we all questions. I’m assuming the “ether” to which the author alluded would be the one defined by Merriam-Webster as “the upper reaches of space,” though — as an join Gideons International information professional — I could see the need to apply [www.gideons.org] and an alternate definition in this situation, namely “a light start putting the Good volatile flammable liquid C4H10O used chiefly as a Book in every hotel room. (In fact, the Gideons wouldn’t solvent and especially formerly as an anesthetic.” In this accept many of us, according to their FAQ, since we are professional’s humble opinion, you’d have to have a not all men aged whatever to whatever. I stopped goodly quantity of that former anesthetic on hand to reading at that point.) What I mean is that this world trust unathenticated answers from the void, especially needs more authoritative sources and it needs to know when your standard for a “friend” denigrates to the level it needs them. It needs to identify the best sources, to of anyone who happens to answer your question. analyze their strengths and weaknesses, to monitor their Back in the prehistoric days of my library school quality as that quality grows or diminishes, to support education, I remember discussions of important studies them and their improvement, and to get the word out of information gathering and usage by the Defense so that everyone who needs information knows where Department. (Anyone here remember the name Casper to find the best. Weinberger?) The studies showed that researchers relied Sound vaguely familiar? It should. That’s why the world first and foremost on information supplied by colleagues. built libraries. That’s why publishers seek out qualified But as haphazard as that process can be, at least authors and qualified authors seek out prestigious information gathering was done within a collegial publications. That’s why news organizations hire graduates community of expertise. of journalism schools. That’s why experts of all types and Social media now absorbs a quarter of the time U.S. fields of study have entrance requirements to become online users spend online (“Social Media Syphoning 25% practitioners. That’s why librarians and information Of U.S. Online Time [Nielsen],” SEWatch, Tuesday, Aug. professionals have careers identifying expertise wherever 3, 2010). Facebook has opened Facebook Questions they find it. [http://apps.facebook.com/_yedda_], where you can ask But today here we are with the “wisdom of the and/or answer whatever for whomever. Who are you, crowd.” Nothing new really. I recently read a blog oh gracious answerer? A self-defined Facebook profile. posting — at least I think it was a blog posting — What do you know, oh voice from the ether? What that cheering the wonderful technological advantages profile I wrote says I know. On the other hand, the price along those lines: is great — free — and the convenience too. Not even In fact, throughout human history, by far the the complexity of sticking words into a Google box and commonest source of shared information was having to endure the burden of scanning and choosing through asking other people. Increasingly, the alternative sites for answers. online world is making it easier to ask our friends Now I’m not against the wisdom of the crowd aka for help. We can even pose a question into the user-generated content. I couldn’t be after persuading ether without even knowing which friend will Nick Tomaiuolo to write a wonderful series — which will know the answer and respond. shortly become a wonderful book — on how users Hmm. I wonder who wrote that posting (if it was a should generate content. But Nick wrote that series posting). Sorry I didn’t make a note of who wrote it, but, targeting sites the world of users relied upon, sites which after all, who cares? We could ask the ether, the same have some rules for entry and revisions built into them. ether that will be giving us the answers to all our other continued on page 6 4 SEARCHER The Magazine for Database Professionals EDITORIAL The Magazine for Database Professionals text continued from page 4 And he aimed his articles at improving the process. After all, everybody’s an Vice President, Content Richard Kaser expert at something, and one of the beauties of good user-generated content Editor-in-Chief Barbara Quint lies in the acceptance of anything as something worth being an expert about. Managing Editor Lauree Padgett Some topic any respectable reference work would regard as irrelevant trivia Editorial Services Manager Deborah Poulson may be just the thing one or two lone users may want to learn about. Proofreader Celeste Peterson-Sloss
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