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November 16, 2004

Rochelle takes on the anti-bloggers

In Diary of an Aspiring Librarian, rochelle takes on an old school gent who has issues with the rabble actually being allowed to write, produce knowledge or communicate publically. I thought it was Matthew Arnold speaking from beyond the grave on how to keep the world British.

Unfortunately most folks don't realize how much shite gets passed off as knowledge because it was published in a book. My favourite example was when I was working on a translation of the "alliterative joseph of arimathea" (Lawton's edition, not Skeat's) for my MA, and found that the previous scholarly edition was so absolutely wrong as to be useless. As my advisor told me, "Those things just happen..."

I like what Rochelle had to say about this kind gent's comment "Knowledge is purely optional." in relation to blogs and wikis, "If all we blog about is ourselves, we're the goddamn experts, my friend."

It is the stories we tell about ourselves that is what writing is about. I don't use wikipedia for brainsurgery techniques but it is better than and paying encyclopedia for sharing information. I don't use blogs as peer reviewed journal articles, but as an editor of peer reviewed journals, I must admit that I see more useful and better thought out content on many more blogs than I see in journals that seem more interested in the tenure wheel than anything else.

Posted by jason at November 16, 2004 11:34 PM


OK, let's chill out on this. I now have 100-odd kids blogging in 2 courses, and so far I have heard ONE mention of a visit to the library. Point one. Point two: current scholarly books get read and evaluated by readers from the press and by scholars in the field, and they are often revised and edited, before they get published. This is approximately 4-6 readings before hitting the public. How does this compare to what gets put up on websites? How many times zero is 4-6? I have to keep telling the kids that the beauty of the web is freedom, but that its weakness is that same freedom. A university library is not an alternative to the web but a complement to it. And conversely.

Posted by: Wodja at November 17, 2004 01:52 PM