Monday, June 02, 2008

On libraries and the news

In the upcoming issue of New York Review of Books: The Library in the New Age, by Robert Darnton.

This discussion of how information is disseminated spends a bit of time on news, blogs, and other new media. Good stuff:
...stories about blogging point to the same conclusion: blogs create news, and news can take the form of a textual reality that trumps the reality under our noses. Today many reporters spend more time tracking blogs than they do checking out traditional sources such as the spokespersons of public authorities. News in the information age has broken loose from its conventional moorings, creating possibilities of misinformation on a global scale. We live in a time of unprecedented accessibility to information that is increasingly unreliable. Or do we?
I would argue that news has always been an artifact and that it never corresponded exactly to what actually happened.
...having learned to write news, I now distrust newspapers as a source of information, and I am often surprised by historians who take them as primary sources for knowing what really happened.

...I speak as a Google enthusiast. I believe Google Book Search really will make book learning accessible on a new, worldwide scale, despite the great digital divide that separates the poor from the computerized. It also will open up possibilities for research involving vast quantities of data, which could never be mastered without digitization.
...Meanwhile, I say: shore up the library. Stock it with printed matter. Reinforce its reading rooms. But don't think of it as a warehouse or a museum.

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home