how we know what we know… collaboratively

The Wikipedia media attention lately has really gotten people thinking about the idea of truth, and truth in news particularly. The NYT this weekend had an article entitled When No Good Fact Goes Unchecked discussing how collaborative systems of evaluation and assessment can actually result in more accurate facts. My argument, when I discussed this in relation to blogs at an ALA Preconference is that this can be helpful for effective reference work as well. I’m sure it’s no suprise that The Fact Checker’s Bible is creeping up there in Amazon sales rank. The more we get over the Tyranny of the Expert and accept that there’s more than one way of looking at many issues — even with the same set of “facts” — the more easy it is to actually utilize collaborative information systems to help us with many library oriented jobs like selecting vendors, providing news and reference services, making good referrals and connecting with our patrons.