Daily Archives: April 8, 2015

Why librarians (and therefore libraries) will always be better than Wikipedia. 


As librarians we protect our services, collections, and patrons from censorship and bias. Simply put- We do not allow it. From too much left or right wing material to too much sci-fi or mystery. At our core we begin from a place of balance, equality, representation, and non-censorship.  This is one of librarianship’s inherent characteristics that draw people to join the profession.

Interestingly I found this today:

Wikipedia Countering Systemic Bias Project

The Wikipedia project suffers systemic bias that naturally grows from its contributors’ demographic groups, manifesting an imbalanced coverage of a subject, thereby discriminating against the less represented demographic groups. …
This project aims to control and (possibly) eliminate the cultural perspective gaps made by the systemic bias, consciously focusing upon subjects and points of view neglected by the encyclopedia as a whole.

 

I must admit…this felt a bit like finding Bigfoot because he stepped into Times Square and said “Ya got me!!”  For how many years have librarians been asked if, in the face of Google and Wikipedia, we would continue to be relevant?  And here we have Wikipedia providing us with the very best answer – within their product exists “systemic bias that naturally grows from its contributors…”.  

Well ladies and gentleman, I cry foul.  There cannot possibly be a more diverse demographic group than is represented within the profession of librarianship. And yet (though VERY isolated instances may occur) public librarians have built centuries of public trust for exactly the fact that they embody the antithesis of what Wikipedia now admits is a serious “systemic” concern for them.  

Long live public libraries…public librarians…and all they have become known and respected for.  See world… it’s isn’t that easy… otherwise anyone (or everyone in the case of Wikipedia) could do it.

 

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