Hi and happy Earth Day. I’ll be heading down to Boston to speak at Simmons this Monday evening and then I think I’ll extend my stay to see Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikepedia, speak at Harvard Tuesday evening. I’ve been delving more and more into the Wikipedia world lately, lending a hand updating some of the Vermont town pages and uploading some public domain images to illustrate some of those pages.
The debate we’ve seen happening over the authority, or lack thereof, of collaborative information systems such as Wikipedia is just scratching the surface of the debates we’ll be seeing in the years to come. Librarians ignore Wikipedia, and by extension the new face of information, at their peril. Keep in mind I’m not saying that we all have to run to the Internet to answer our questions, just that if we fail to see the impact these systems are having, and the openness and transparency they bring with them, then we fail to learn something crucial about the downsides to the inflexible authority of print. Downsides that people have been living with and taking as a given all these years, and now may no longer have to.