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Librarians Try to Reinvent Things, Again

On LISNews I ran across a blog post linking to another blog post referring to a discussion at another website about something called Reference Extract, which is apparently going to be another attempt by library folk to create another search engine that gives people results that librarians like. The sidebar of the site says, "Reference Extracts [sic] will be built for maximum credibility by relying on the expertise and credibility judgments of librarians from around the globe." The discussion point was whether librarians had lost the search war. The obvious response is, I didn’t even know they were fighting it. That’s not really a good sign for your side of the war when you’re the only one who knows you’re fighting it. The flies buzzing around the elephant probably think, "Oooh! We’ve got him this time!"

Someone criticized the Reference Extract project for being a useless vanity project for library folk to feel good about themselves (I think I like that person). LISNews extracts the best portions from a response by David Lankes:

"It is a constant drumbeat that we must change and make our libraries relevant. But dammit, we must move beyond bullet points and slogans and translate this drumbeat into real risk, real action, real new thinking…. Why can’t we replace the ‘Read’ posters that portray libraries as places of things with ‘Ask’ posters that show them as places of curiosity? Why do library gaming programs have to be some sort of lost leader to reading when gaming is a literacy unto itself? Who said the catalog has to be the public face of the library on the web? WHY CAN”T LIBRARIES REINVENT SEARCH?"

The first thing that caught my attention was the call to move beyond bullet points and slogans. Fat chance. Lankes and I see the same futile inaction from librarians. The difference is it’s exactly what I expect and I don’t mind a bit.

Then I noticed that "gaming is a literacy unto itself." News to me, but, yeah, I guess, if you stretch the word "literacy" to breaking point. It’s not the kind of literacy that are going to make the little kiddies who need the library grow up to be responsible and productive citizens who’ll be able to use their "literacy" skills to do things like read and write, which I’ve heard are a lot more important than playing videogames for a lot of good jobs, especially if employers start discriminating against World of Warcraft players because they spend all their time gaming and don’t pay enough attention to their work. Regardless, the kind of "literacy" gaming fosters isn’t any kind worth promoting at the public expense.

The main point of the response was about libraries and search, though. Why can’t libraries reinvent search? I should think it was obvious, but maybe it’s worthwhile to point out a few reasons why.

Consider the competition, which for the most part is Google. Google makes a boatload of money. They can afford to pay the best software engineers and programmers in the country and give them a lot of support in their work. Their revenue is based on competitively creating products that people want to use because they work so darn well. They’ve been enormously successful, and within a few years have outstripped all their rivals. Some of their rivals also make a lot of money, and they also hire good engineers and programmers.

And libraries? They hire library school graduates. In case the penny hasn’t dropped, let’s do the comparison in our heads. On the one hand, we have the best engineers and programmers in the country, and on the other hand we have…library school graduates. Unless the ALA can lobby successfully for some anti-competitive labor standards favoring librarians, I don’t see how libraries are going to compete. They’re not businesses. They don’t have cadres of programmers working in the bowels of the library developing neat stuff. If they’ve got someone who can build a decent website and make a wiki they feel like they’ve achieved some sort of technological wonder. If some librarians feel like they’re hot stuff at creating search engines, let them apply to work at Google and see how far they get.

That’s just the quality of the people doing the work. Then there’s the money. Google and Yahoo exist to build search engines and make their money that way. Libraries exist to be all things for all people, and they don’t make any money for anyone, including themselves. Most search projects they do get off the ground are grant-driven, and a lot of them seem to die or scale back once the grant is gone. Thus, libraries can sometimes persuade other people who have made money just to give it to the libraries, but they don’t make any themselves, especially creating "credible" search engines that nobody but librarians cares about.

And that’s yet another point. It seems that nobody but librarians care about so-called credible or authoritative search engines. Thus, these projects are search engines built by librarians for librarians. Librarians don’t use them either, though, because Google works so much better. Who is the audience for these things? Library school students in a reference class who need to write short group essays evaluating them?

Even when they do try to "reinvent search," really all librarians are doing is creating yet another Internet index of web pages destined to be outdated before the index can be updated. This is just a fancier version of those pages of "favorite links" libraries have been posting for the last ten or fifteen years. Creating good search engines is about creating great search algorithms that will lead to the most relevant hits for any given search. Do we really expect libraries to compete with Google in this endeavor?

Let’s return to the original question, are libraries losing the search war. The answer is no, because libraries were never fighting the search war. The history of search hasn’t been a history of libraries competing with commercial enterprises to improve search. The major search engines and indexes that most librarians use weren’t created by librarians. Other people create them and libraries use them. Just like other people create books and magazines andvideogames and the Internet and whatever else libraries provide access to. Libraries have rarely actively created information; instead they acquire, organize, and disseminate what others have done. Even if we consider all the social software the twopointopians get so worked up over. Libraries didn’t invent any of these tools. Creative non-librarians did, and librarians just use them.

Why is this so shocking? Why should anyone get worked up about losing a war we were never fighting in the first place? Librarians have been early adopters and expert users of all sorts of information technology for decades, and somehow this has evolved into a feeling of ownership, as if librarians had a creative stake in these tools when they’ve merely been better at using them than the general populace.

Librarians should just relax, because they’re not going to reinvent anything. They never have. They never will. That’s not what libraries are for, but a lot of librarians like to get all hot and bothered that they can’t compete in a field they never entered in the first place.

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Comments

  1. that wasn't me says:

    So true. Also as regards bioinformatics.

  2. that wasn't me says:

    Though, were the credible librarians to judge RefEx search output continuously, in real time, by voting at their reference desks, they would at least feel needed at work.

  3. laura says:

    Thank you for pointing out the elephant in the room. The truth isn’t always pleasant. And it’s time libraries stop wasting their time trying to recreate wheels they don’t have the resources to duplicate and fighting wars, as you so aptly point out, the other side doesn’t even know it’s fighting. AL FTW!

  4. publiclibrarEwoman says:

    I agree with all of this, AL. I think that a better use of librarians’ time would be to help teach people how to use Google and other popular search engines more efficiently and to evaluate the resources they find using those search engines more critically.

  5. Jim Jones says:

    I say we all kill ourselves.

    Then they will be sorry that we are gone.

    if they even miss us

  6. Dr. Pepper says:

    This is yet another attempt for MLIS librarians to justify their existence – teeheehee. In my library we constantly reinvent the wheel despite the fact that many ‘regular joes’ point out that the liberians are reinventing the wheel.

    There go the municipal finds LMAO

  7. Honest Speaker says:

    Libraries and Librarians are no longer needed and the money wasted on both should be put to better use.

  8. Dr. Pepper says:

    Libraries are needed…librarians on the other hand…

  9. Alexander the So-So says:

    There is no need for libraries.

    The “great” library in Alexandria was used for firewood and life went on.

    Get over your self.

  10. dork says:

    “I think that a better use of librarians’ time would be to help teach people how to use Google and other popular search engines more efficiently and to evaluate the resources they find using those search engines more critically.”

    I wholeheartedly agree with this concept. I honestly don’t think Google is going to be the demise of libraries and librarianship. If anything, I think it might–or perhaps will–increase the role of libraries. Anyone can use Google, but not all may know how to use it efficiently and effectively. Perhaps libraries can show them how.

  11. Devil's Advocate says:

    I don’t see Libraries as in a war with Google and co., but I do see them as having to benefit if they win our patrons over. This, surely can’t be denied. The fear, as I see it, is that eventually they might do a better job at everything than we ever could.

  12. god's advocate says:

    You can’t have people getting things on their own. Then they will be getting what they want and not what the librarians tell them the “need”.

  13. PublicLibGirl says:

    This does strike me as a colossal waste of time. I agree with publiclibrarEwoman–it’s better spent learning to use Google (and other engines) efficiently and teach patrons to do the same. We don’t object to publishers putting indices in their books instead of having the LoC do it–why should we object to Google doing it for the web?

    Wikis, del.icio.us pages, blogs, whatever–I’m sure they’re all very amusing for the people doing them, but they’re not exactly world-bending. The job of a reference librarian is still the basic one–figure out what the heck the patron actually wants, and use the most efficient resources at your disposal to get hold of it. I would add duly warning about the possibility of misinformation on the web, and suggesting that you need to find a couple of references in disparate areas, but that’s a flourish. Assuming that patrons know how to search through Google is sometimes a stretch–I pulled up ”

  14. PublicLibGirl says:

    Er… got cut off. I pulled up Advanced Search in Google once just to cross-reference a couple of keywords, and the patron asked if that was something the library subscribed to, and if I thought it was something he could afford at home. Information literacy=a part of the job that’s *not* duplicated.

  15. Face It says:

    No matter what technology is available, there is going to be a huge percentage of the population that have no idea how to use it and what it can do and will need third party help in retrieving excellent results.

    sadly that population is made up a librarians who would rather say “Hush! and look in an outdated book rather than learn any 2.0 skills.

  16. PublicLibGirl says:

    On the other hand, there are a good number of patrons who want us to re-learn the lost art of saying “Hush” when it’s necessary. Librarians may like the more relaxed atmosphere about noise, but it’s a decidedly mixed bag among the patrons.

  17. Thomas Edison says:

    The last thing a librarian helped invent was the MARC record. The new version should come out of committee in 2023 and will fully address all the Y2K issues and CD-ROM access problems.

  18. Dr. Pepper says:

    I’ve seen patrons that want people to hush up, but they are of a certain age and would rather be in a research library. I think there is a place for the shushing, and a place of the collaborative approach. The spaces cannot be mixed though.

  19. carptrash says:

    Anyone can use Google, but not all may know how to use it efficiently and effectively.

    Give me a break! It’s a little box and you type in words to find web sites. Anybody that can’t use Google is a moron and any librarian who thinks they should send time teaching morons to use Google is an idiot. eeeeeeeeeeeeek

  20. that wasn't me says:

    I use Google most effectively in a quiet library.

  21. Ms. Prim says:

    Please. Would you quit using such a big font? It is too big on by screen. Thank you.

  22. that wasn't me says:

    I’ve seen patrons that want people to hush up, but they are of a certain age and would rather be in a research library.

    Aren’t they also mostly white? I suspect some are even Jews. We know they’re all pseudo-intellectuals. The gall, to expect to be able to concentrate on their reading in a public library, instead of driving to the nearest public university and paying for privileges there. They’ll never honor our credential by asking us how to get to the seventh level of Swords of the Bloviators, so screw ‘em.

  23. Mr. Kat says:

    I like hush puppies.

  24. Ms. Proper says:

    “I like hush puppies.”


    You should not eat them, they are extremely bad for your health. You should only have water and Purina Human Chow if you want a truly healthful and well balanced diet.

  25. Urban Legend says:

    The AL has stooped down to doing FOOF blog posting.

    So much for original and insightful thinking.

  26. Mr. Kat says:

    I love foof chairs.

  27. publiclibrarEwoman says:

    In response to carptrash, the difficult part of using Google is not usually typing things into the search box, but rather evaluating the results that you get from that search. That’s probably the area in which librarians can be of most help in regards to online searching. Even figuring out which terms to type into the search box can be frustrating, though. I have received some really odd search results using Google, all because my search terms needed to be changed. So… Google is not as common-sensical as it might look.

  28. Mr. Chortle says:

    Like librarians can evaluate search results.

    BWAAAAA HAAAAA HAAAAA!

    What a joke!

  29. carptrash says:

    Librarians are no more qualified to evaluate Google results than anybody else. It just requires common sense, not an advanced degree in “library science.” eeeeeeeeeeeeek

  30. Librarian says:

    I’ve taught many highly educated people how to improve their Google searching skills.

    Anyone can use Google to find the website of an organization or get basic information about any topic. But more complicated queries often need to be crafted more carefully. Everyone Googles, and everyone can Google more efficiently. Librarians provide a valuable by making sure that the advanced features of Google are known and used by the communities they serve.

  31. Mr. Kat says:

    Librarians provide a valuable by making sure that the advanced features of Google are known and used by the communities they serve.

    I think I’m going to puke. Somebody went to graduate school to learn how to show people how to use Google. Who’s the bigger loser – the moron who can’t use Google or the librarian with the worthless degree? Let’s just call it a tie.

  32. Mr. Kat says:

    Thanks, previous Imposter, you’re on the money…


    Librarians lost the search war the day "Google" became a verb and entered into the dictionary. Honestly, we don't say "Librarian it," we say "Google it." Librarians, ye lost. Game over, there are no consolation prizes; go find a new line of work.

    This whole line about “Credible Voices” meaning more then the driven slush irks me too. The way I see it, if the fact is indeed true then it will not matter who says it; the fact is still true. A salt cellar and a little common sense about how to judge information is all you need to navigate google!!!

    I find it interesting how the people with the bigger hangups about evaluating google search results are librarians and other obsolete resource specialists. These people spent some serious time learning how to actually use those lagre bibligraphies in the Z section of the LCC system. And now those records are useless since some history major idiot from the freshman dorm took his college texts and used them to spiff up the Wikipedia page on his favorite interests, everything Greek…

    All the resources you need to learn how to do advanced searches are all present in the Google advanced search page. There are no Degree barriers, no professional barriers, no qualification barriers; there are no advanced access barriers to the marketplace here, everybody is on equal footing. That must drive serious professional librarians crazy at night.

    These librarian search revivals remind me of the times when teachers and parents and other old people started discovering things we [gen (x, y, z)] have been playing with for over a decade now and they try to start telling us how to use it all over again like they just figured it out for the very first time ever. Well, they might have for themselves, but it’s pretty old hat out here.

    I have also found the reference interview to be quite amusing. No wonder Google won.

    It asks no questions – just a little white query box. Wow. Clear Eyes. Wow.

    Go ahead librarians, complicate the issue.

    game over

  33. PublicLibGirl says:

    Okay. I think this is the place where we smile and back away slowly, not making any sudden moves.

    Poking random keywords into Google can help you find a few things, but people generally come to the reference desk when this hasn’t worked for them. The logic of a reference interview works the same way on Google that it does with more traditional sources. I’m not sure *why* this isn’t taught in schools, but it apparently isn’t, as younger patrons have as much trouble as older ones formulating searches. One of the main things we do in helping with a Google search is help the person figure out what he or she is actually looking for.

    As to that wasn’t me–yup, you never know what dastardly folks want to use the library for research. Some of them might be teenagers, too, so watch your wallets and keep a wary on them. You can’t trust those people who think they can go to the library to study something. I mean, sheesh.

  34. Mr. Kat says:

    Those previous two posts were by imposters but I basically agree with what they had to say. As if the MLS makes someone a better user of Google. It’s like getting a mechanical engineering degree to learn how to operate a toothbrush.

  35. nate says:

    “Then I noticed that “gaming is a literacy unto itself.” News to me, but, yeah, I guess, if you stretch the word “literacy” to breaking point.”

    There are all different kinds of literacies, and I rather like the public library adressing a variety of media literacies at the public expense. I myself am a barely literate gamer… sort of just getting into things and definitely learing some interesting bits of how to think strategically within a system. It seems to me that ‘gaming literacy’ makes a lot of sense in a time where people navigate web interfaces as much as they navigate books. Read that book “Ender’s Game”. Someone recently pointed out that it is an interesting sort of window into the idea of gaming as a literacy.

    Of course I had to be literate in the classic definition of the word in order to read “Ender’s Game” in the first place…

  36. Friendly Neighborhood Librarian says:

    “It seems that nobody but librarians care about so-called credible or authoritative search engines.” What makes a resource credible or authoritative anyway? Think about it historically. Anyone can say anything, until someone with more power or resources has the speaker shut down. If enough people believe what you say, you gain power and (potentially) resources to say more about your beliefs. The more the topic is spoken, the more likely you gain adherents and your position becomes ‘credible’ and your voice ‘authoritative’. Not that long ago Lamarckism was considered a credible idea from an authoritative source. And I’m sure librarians of the time pushed it to users as truth.

    “I think that a better use of librarians’ time would be to help teach people how to use Google and other popular search engines more efficiently and to evaluate the resources they find using those search engines more critically.” Technically, I think this is the job of TEACHERS many of whom get paid more than my colleagues in the library profession. Isn’t ‘critical thinking’ one of the things those kids are suppose to end up with at some point in their tedious public school internment? Or at least by the time they have their baccalaureate! I had a young woman come into the college library I worked in who said she had graduated a couple years ago and had never come into the college library when she was a student. I was afraid to ask what her major was. The one who was shown twice how to use CINAHL & Medline, yet kept insisting on using Ask Jeeves for her nursing classes was more disturbing. How should we teach ‘them’ to use Google and other popular search engines more efficiently to learn how to nurse patients?

  37. ORIGINAL LIBRARY CYNIC says:

    Nursing students shouldn’t be spending time looking at computers. They should be practicing their backrub techniques on me.

  38. that wasn't me says:

    The one who was shown twice how to use CINAHL & Medline, yet kept insisting on using Ask Jeeves for her nursing classes was more disturbing.

    If I may make a suggestion, FNL: it is quite possible that the object of that nursing student’s academic interest might have been hangover remedies. Such an interest would go far in explaining her choice of authority.

  39. Desperate says:

    Libraries have rarely actively created information….

    We create ‘pathfinders’ every once in a while…if we’re told to by our bosses. Eeeeek!

  40. dork says:

    Ya know, I think I’m gonna suggest offereing a Google class to my library. I’m not suggesting that librarians should teach people how to Google search, more like hiring a REAL professional–HA!–to teach the “morons.” Btw, is everyone here a librarian? I mean what’s up with all the self-loathing? Not to mention, imaturity too :P

  41. Devil's Advocate says:

    Nursing students shouldn’t be spending time looking at computers. They should be practicing their backrub techniques on me.

    Something to note here. Being young and good looking all I have to do is teach them a few of the little “tricks” I picked up in library school, and they’ll think I’m super smart! That’ll show all the people who directly laughed at me earning my MLS! Brad Pitt watch out!

  42. Mr. Kat says:

    This may work in fields like religion and in sectors like social sciences or the humanitites. Otherwise you’re wrong. There is absolute empiricle truth that is undeniable.

    The earth is round, the sun is the center of the solar system but not the universe, The sun is NOT hoist above the sky by a egomaniac driving a chariot across the sky, The titanic sunk because of brittle metal in combination to an idiot driving a ship[he was listening mroe to reporters then to good sensible logic that screamed out "there are Icebergs - we should slow down or go around!!"]…on and on and on; there ARE undeniable truths out there that cannot be changed just a consensus says otherwise.

    In undergraduate physics we routinely tested the theory that the consensus does not accurately reflect the truth. We had to do complex problems and then report our personal answers on an electronic “Poll the Audience” sort of thing. Routinely the Majority did NOT select the right answer – the one and only TRUE answer. And even when the majority did select the right answer, another 25% still did not. And this was with physics problems where all the variables and unknowns were defined and in plain sight – I shudder to think just how wrong we humans have so many other things, namely those things the ignorant masses cling to most.

    Some of the biggest breakthroughs in the Natural Sciences were made by very weak, very small voices. These people were pummeled into the ground by the opposition – look up Alfred Wegner. His theory won out in the end because no matter how much the human opposition disagreed with it, their consensus could not change the truth that already existed.

    If the consensus way was the way of truth, we’d all still be stuck in the dark ages with a pope and a very large church telling us what the truth is. Thank God truth does not work that way!!

    As my personal line goes, the more salt you have to use, the more likely the piece of information is either not true or simply not typical. If you know anything at all about statistics, then you know these outliers are expected and dealt with in the process of generalizing the data.

    I learned none of this in library school.

  43. Mr. Kat says:

    The quote I was responding to got cut out; I’ll repost it here for those who get confused easily by my seemingly disconnected previous post.

    Friendly Neighborhood Librarian commented:


    “It seems that nobody but librarians care about so-called credible or authoritative search engines.” What makes a resource credible or authoritative anyway? Think about it historically. Anyone can say anything, until someone with more power or resources has the speaker shut down. If enough people believe what you say, you gain power and (potentially) resources to say more about your beliefs. The more the topic is spoken, the more likely you gain adherents and your position becomes ‘credible’ and your voice ‘authoritative’. Not that long ago Lamarckism was considered a credible idea from an authoritative source. And I’m sure librarians of the time pushed it to users as truth.

  44. THE Reference Maven says:

    Poking random keywords into Google can help you find a few things, but people generally come to the reference desk when this hasn’t worked for them.”


    You think people still come to the reference desk? The only ones who come up with problems are mouth breathing idiots who can’t find The Bible because there is nothing in the T index with that title.

    Grow up and get a new job.

  45. HarleyGrl says:

    AL, once again you point out the obvious. We learned about Library Extract in LS and I wondered, “What on earth for?”
    ”Gaming is a literacy”?? Hardly! On Christmas Day I watched my 7 y/o nephew play a game. The first thing I noticed was that the music frightened me. It was the theme song from Jaws. Then as I watched I realized, the child was playing the shark and he was going around and eating divers and other marine life. WTH? There was blood spewing everywhere and people screaming on the docks! That’s literacy? For a 7 year old? Nice… I went downstairs and informed their parents how disturbing that was and they simply shrugged their shoulders. To think this little guy will play this for hours and hours.
    For libraries to remain solvent, they need to capitalize on what they are famous for: Free Stuff. But they should get smart and incorporate free stuff with literacy. I would love to be able to check out a Kindle at the library and then utilize a NetLibrary pass to download books. The DRM is configured to make the book no longer accessible after 21 days or so and I’d happily leave a credit card number on file or cash deposit to check out the Kindle. The same can be done with little MP3 players for audio books. And the IT dept at the library should be able to allow the patron to do all the downloading they want from their home PC. That download can be counted as a visit just as if the patron walked through the door. Patrons today want technology and bringing technology to them while combining literacy is what will keep libraries and librarians (PL’s) a needed entity in today’s world. I realize some libraries may be doing something this on their own, but it is not an industry standard. And having patrons out of the physical building will keep them from being exposed to the homeless guy relieving himself in the corner. It’s a win/win. And instead of meaningless posters on the walls advertising READ or ASK, they should say ON THE GO with a huge picture of the Kindle (or like item). Promote the use of technology and how it can benefit the patron and the libraries just might find themselves back in the limelight.

  46. Mr. Kat says:

    In statistics, a null hypothesis is a hypothesis set up to be nullified or refuted in order to support an alternative hypothesis. When used, the null hypothesis is presumed true until statistical evidence in the form of a hypothesis test indicates otherwise. The use of the null hypothesis is controversial, a null hypothesis is often the reverse of what the experimenter actually believes; it is put forward to allow the data to contradict it.

    The null hypothesis is generally that which is presumed to be true initially. Hence, we reject only when we are quite sure that it is false, often 90, 95, or 99% confident that the data do not support it.

    Formulation of the null hypothesis is a vital step in testing statistical significance. Having formulated such a hypothesis, one can establish the probability of observing the obtained data or data more different from the prediction of the null hypothesis, if the null hypothesis is true. That probability is what is commonly called the “significance level” of the results. In statistics, a result is significant if it is unlikely to have occurred by chance, given that a presumed null hypothesis is true.

    When a null hypothesis is formed, it is always in contrast to an implicit alternative hypothesis, which is accepted if the observed data values are sufficiently improbable under the null hypothesis. The precise formulation of the null hypothesis has implications for the alternative. For example, if the null hypothesis is that sample A is drawn from a population with the same mean as sample B, the alternative hypothesis is that they come from populations with different means, which can be tested with a two-tailed test of significance. But if the null hypothesis is that sample A is drawn from a population whose mean is lower than the mean of the population from which sample B is drawn, the alternative hypothesis is that sample A comes from a population with a higher mean than the population from which sample B is drawn, which can be tested with a one-tailed test. The two-tailed test is the test of a given statistical hypothesis in which a value of the statistic that is either sufficiently small or sufficiently large will lead to rejection of the hypothesis tested.

    A null hypothesis is only useful if it is possible to calculate the probability of observing a data set with particular parameters from it. In general it is much harder to be precise about how probable the data would be if the alternative hypothesis is true.

    If experimental observations contradict the prediction of the null hypothesis, it means that either the null hypothesis is false, or we have observed an event with very low probability. This gives us high confidence in the falsehood of the null hypothesis, which can be improved by increasing the number of trials. However, accepting the alternative hypothesis only commits us to a difference in observed parameters; it does not prove that the theory or principles that predicted such a difference is true, since it is always possible that the difference could be due to additional factors not recognised by the theory.

    For example, rejection of a null hypothesis (that, say, rates of symptom relief in a sample of patients who received a placebo and a sample who received a medicinal drug will be equal) allows us to make a non-null statement (that the rates differed); it does not prove that the drug relieved the symptoms, though it gives us more confidence in that hypothesis. A placebo is a medicine or preparation which has no inherent pertinent pharmacologic activity but which is effective only by virtue of the factor of suggestion attendant upon its administration.

    The formulation, testing, and rejection of null hypotheses is methodologically consistent with the falsificationist model of scientific discovery formulated by Karl Popper and widely believed to apply to most kinds of empirical research. However, concerns regarding the high power of statistical tests to detect differences in large samples have led to suggestions for re-defining the null hypothesis, for example as a hypothesis that an effect falls within a range considered negligible. This is an attempt to address the confusion among non-statisticians between significant and substantial, since large enough samples are likely to be able to indicate differences however minor. This page discusses how a theory or assertion is falsifiable (disprovable opp: verifiable), rather than the non-philosophical use of falsification, meaning counterfeiting. … Part of a scientific laboratory at the University of Cologne. … Sir Karl Raimund Popper, CH, MA, Ph. … Empirical research is any activity that uses direct or indirect observation as its test of reality. … The power of a statistical test is the probability that the test will reject a false null hypothesis, or in other words that it will not make a Type II error. … One may be faced with the problem of making a definite decision with respect to an uncertain hypothesis which is known only through its observable consequences.

    The theory underlying the idea of a null hypothesis is closely associated with the frequentist theory of probability, in which probabilistic statements can only be made about the relative frequencies of events in arbitrarily large samples. A failure to reject the null hypothesis is meaningful only in relation to an arbitrarily large population from which the observed sample is supposed to be drawn.

  47. anonymous says:

    I think RefEx is a great idea. Why not? It’s not like we’re doing anything else.

  48. Busy Busy Bizee says:

    I am doing lots of other things. I am disinfecting the tables where the bums, excuse me, the unfortunate homeless sleep, I am reading tons of books because that is what librarians do, and I am making stupid comments to a stupid library blog.<

  49. hick says:

    Why do I get the impression that AL’s blog is sorta like a Jerry Springer show? The other blogs bankrolled by LJ, while not receiving as much traffic as AL’s, appear pretty respectable. Man, are librarians this angry and juvenile?

  50. Library School Dropout says:

    I credit this blog as the final straw in my decision not to waste any further money on library school.

  51. Tauren Hunter says:

    For the Horde!

  52. Dr. Pepper says:

    @ Library School Dropout – working in a library (and already having a respected academic background), I decided NOT to go into library school after I (1) analyzed various MLIS curricula, (2) talked to MLIS librarians all of whom agreed that an MLIS won’t be challenging and I won’t learn anything and (3) reading what librarians say on here about their profession ;-)
    Not going to library school is the best decision I ever made ;-)

  53. Nyah Nah, Librarian says:

    “Man, are librarians this angry and juvenile?”


    No, we are not.

    So, shut up, you doodie head. :banana:

  54. Library School Dropout says:

    What we need is a separate blog for annoyed library staff!

  55. HarleyGrl says:

    Somebody give Mr. Kat’s meds back to him pleeze.

  56. HarleyGrl says:

    Somebody give Mr. Kat’s meds back to him pleeze.

  57. Ms. Katt says:

    In statistics, a null hypothesis is a hypothesis set up to be nullified or refuted in order to support an alternative hypothesis. When used, the null hypothesis is presumed true until statistical evidence in the form of a hypothesis test indicates otherwise. The use of the null hypothesis is controversial, a null hypothesis is often the reverse of what the experimenter actually believes; it is put forward to allow the data to contradict it.

    The null hypothesis is generally that which is presumed to be true initially. Hence, we reject only when we are quite sure that it is false, often 90, 95, or 99% confident that the data do not support it.

    Formulation of the null hypothesis is a vital step in testing statistical significance. Having formulated such a hypothesis, one can establish the probability of observing the obtained data or data more different from the prediction of the null hypothesis, if the null hypothesis is true. That probability is what is commonly called the “significance level” of the results. In statistics, a result is significant if it is unlikely to have occurred by chance, given that a presumed null hypothesis is true.

    When a null hypothesis is formed, it is always in contrast to an implicit alternative hypothesis, which is accepted if the observed data values are sufficiently improbable under the null hypothesis. The precise formulation of the null hypothesis has implications for the alternative. For example, if the null hypothesis is that sample A is drawn from a population with the same mean as sample B, the alternative hypothesis is that they come from populations with different means, which can be tested with a two-tailed test of significance. But if the null hypothesis is that sample A is drawn from a population whose mean is lower than the mean of the population from which sample B is drawn, the alternative hypothesis is that sample A comes from a population with a higher mean than the population from which sample B is drawn, which can be tested with a one-tailed test. The two-tailed test is the test of a given statistical hypothesis in which a value of the statistic that is either sufficiently small or sufficiently large will lead to rejection of the hypothesis tested.

    A null hypothesis is only useful if it is possible to calculate the probability of observing a data set with particular parameters from it. In general it is much harder to be precise about how probable the data would be if the alternative hypothesis is true.

    If experimental observations contradict the prediction of the null hypothesis, it means that either the null hypothesis is false, or we have observed an event with very low probability. This gives us high confidence in the falsehood of the null hypothesis, which can be improved by increasing the number of trials. However, accepting the alternative hypothesis only commits us to a difference in observed parameters; it does not prove that the theory or principles that predicted such a difference is true, since it is always possible that the difference could be due to additional factors not recognised by the theory.

    For example, rejection of a null hypothesis (that, say, rates of symptom relief in a sample of patients who received a placebo and a sample who received a medicinal drug will be equal) allows us to make a non-null statement (that the rates differed); it does not prove that the drug relieved the symptoms, though it gives us more confidence in that hypothesis. A placebo is a medicine or preparation which has no inherent pertinent pharmacologic activity but which is effective only by virtue of the factor of suggestion attendant upon its administration.

    The formulation, testing, and rejection of null hypotheses is methodologically consistent with the falsificationist model of scientific discovery formulated by Karl Popper and widely believed to apply to most kinds of empirical research. However, concerns regarding the high power of statistical tests to detect differences in large samples have led to suggestions for re-defining the null hypothesis, for example as a hypothesis that an effect falls within a range considered negligible. This is an attempt to address the confusion among non-statisticians between significant and substantial, since large enough samples are likely to be able to indicate differences however minor. This page discusses how a theory or assertion is falsifiable (disprovable opp: verifiable), rather than the non-philosophical use of falsification, meaning counterfeiting. … Part of a scientific laboratory at the University of Cologne. … Sir Karl Raimund Popper, CH, MA, Ph. … Empirical research is any activity that uses direct or indirect observation as its test of reality. … The power of a statistical test is the probability that the test will reject a false null hypothesis, or in other words that it will not make a Type II error. … One may be faced with the problem of making a definite decision with respect to an uncertain hypothesis which is known only through its observable consequences.

    The theory underlying the idea of a null hypothesis is closely associated with the frequentist theory of probability, in which probabilistic statements can only be made about the relative frequencies of events in arbitrarily large samples. A failure to reject the null hypothesis is meaningful only in relation to an arbitrarily large population from which the observed sample is supposed to be drawn.


    I call bullshit

  58. Mr. Kat says:

    I see your bullshit and raise you a plagerizing impostering dupe.

    Harleygrl, multipersonality disorder is indeed treatable with meds; unfortunately I don’t think they have a cure in the event that the multiple personalities also have multiple bodies. Indeed, I believe claiming to have frequent out of body experiences is the surest way to become a homeless wandering looney, seeing as how the looneybins have been closed.

    Anyhow, Your idea about the Kindle is interesting and forward-thinking, but I wonder just how libraries will be able to afford it. Between the Kindles that come back broken, the patrons that lose them, and then the simple wear and tear on the machines, it will be challenging. Nonetheless, the Academic library here offers laptop checkouts. Mind you, these are old brick doorstops, but they work. If you can finish your work in four hours, it’s a solution in a bind.

    The Codex has been a truely brilliant piece of durable technology!! Maybe there will be a revival in long term ownership of information once this next depression blows through and removes consumer ability to spend money on throwaway goods?

  59. carptrash says:

    Somebody give Mr. Kat’s meds back to him pleeze.

    Mr. Kat likes to ramble incoherently but I don’t think it’s related to his meds – I think he just needs a life. eeeeeeek

  60. EWC says:

    *I’m not sure *why* this isn’t taught in schools, but it apparently isn’t* Nothing is taught in schools anymore. As for circulating Kindles in a public library–right, sure, libraries can’t even keep track of paperbacks…a 300 dollar cool toy will really stay on the shelves.

  61. Mr. Kat says:

    You wouldn’t put the Kindle on the shelves moron. It would be kept behind the circ desk and only removed when it was checked out to someone.

  62. Post Postmodern Librarian says:

    Just a quick message to the AL. ALA is allowing people to ask questions of the new candidates via youtube. I think it would be interesting to hear the questions you would ask each of them and the comments that would follow.

  63. Gary Brookins says:

    You know you are a Plugger when you run for ALA office.

  64. nate says:

    @harleygirl:

    re: your comments on ”Gaming is a literacy”?? Hardly! –

    The fact that you find the content and subject matter of that video game your nephew played on Christmas distasteful says nothing about whether or not gaming is a type of literacy. I’ve got a lot of books in my library full of content that I find distateful but that doesn’t render those books useless as knowledge tools for someone else.

    That point aside, I agree with you about much of what you are saying re: the Kindle etc, only I’m not sure I’m a fan of trying to adapt the Kindle (an Amazon device designed to work within the Amazon service model) to work in public libraries (where we really have a very different service model). I’d like to see public libraries have their own means of effciently distributing e-resources to mobile devices… but I don’t have the answer. Maybe someone else does…?

  65. Auntie Nanuuq says:


    And that’s yet another point. It seems that nobody but librarians care about so-called credible or authoritative search engines. Thus, these projects are search engines built by librarians for librarians. Librarians don’t use them either, though, because Google works so much better. Who is the audience for these things? Library school students in a reference class who need to write short group essays evaluating them?” Are we alluding to Dialog? LOL…the most convoluted & difficult & expensive to use database we are taught to revere?

  66. Mr. Kat says:

    The computer and video gaming industry has come to have a significant impact on our culture and economy. As we consider the multiple ways that games presented via the screen have influenced how we interface with the world, it becomes useful to consider how these games might influence our literacy practices.

    Furthermore, these games also ask us to consider our practices as teachers of literacy as well. Let’s consider a critique of traditional teaching while considering the ways that games teach, and the types of things they teach. For instance, game simulations situate students in concrete contexts that they can then actively learn from in embodied ways through playing with this simulated world.

    In other ways, however, traditional schooling is also replicated in some games through rote memorization, repetition of exercises, and the importance of following the rules.

    In looking at composition, literacy, and video gaming, we might imagine all manner of intersections, especially for those who have played games for some time. Early text-based games in which finding the right word or means of saying something allowed you to progress in a game seems to have a clear analog to writing outside of the game world. Later, graphic intensive games haven’t seemed to have the same overt connections.

    However, later games, such as massive multiplayer online role-playing games, have collaborative elements and require means of cooperation and communication (written and otherwise) not needed by those earlier games. At a more conceptual level, as games have become more complex, so have the players. From the social contracts that have developed in Second Life to the social debates necessary in order to collaboratively function within larger guilds in World of Warcraft, games have progressed to include more complex civic, rhetorical, and learning connections.

    As we consider the contemporary landscape of games as well as the contemporary technologies that play host to these games, we cannot help but also consider what has been lost and what has been gained. For many students, learning has become connected with fun, just as it was for the ancient Greeks where oratory was often perceived as a type of game; for others, learning represents hard work and diligence, and is not particularly associated with play.

    Just as debates continue over the so-called “serious” games versus those more ludic in nature, or specific educational games versus commercial off the shelf games, teachers of writing are at the center of these discussions. Within these discussions are questions about the nature of gaming, play, learning and literacy. In what ways can games change how we learn as well as how we learn games? Along with this, we might also ask, what makes games different at teaching some things rather than others? Or more precisely, what makes games better at teaching and learning? How does game design and curriculum design intersect? What theories of gaming interface with teaching and learning?

    So what do we do as librarians? Do we encourage these video games or look down upon them?

  67. Nanuuq of the North says:

    Mr. Kat is proof positive that librarianship is dead and never coming back.

  68. Auntie Nanuuq says:

    dork commented:

    “I think that a better use of librarians’ time would be to help teach people how to use Google and other popular search engines more efficiently and to evaluate the resources they find using those search engines more critically.”

    “I wholeheartedly agree with this concept. I honestly don’t think Google is going to be the demise of libraries and librarianship. If anything, I think it might–or perhaps will–increase the role of libraries. Anyone can use Google, but not all may know how to use it efficiently and effectively. Perhaps libraries can show them how.”

    Actually, yes “anyone” can use Google…however since so many are too busy Gaming, downloading music to their i-pods, plating games on their mega-cell phones & and eBay shopping…we will still be needed (wanted) to answer their homework questions and find their resources for their research projects….

  69. Dr. Pepper says:

    The demise of librarianship will be poor MLIS programs, poor library management and antiquated practices (oh yeah, an the abnormal preoccupation with the homeless, bums, drug addicts , drunkards, and shushing, oh yes, and the DDC)

  70. carptrash says:

    Stop picking on Mr. Kat. He just has a lot of free time on his hands and nothing to do. eeeeeeeeek

  71. Henry Ford says:

    Back in my day, cars were dangerous, unreliable, expensive etc. Horse and buggies on the other hand were safer, more reliable, less expensive etc. I am glad that those infernal self-propelled buggies never caught on.

  72. Mr. Kat says:

    Carptrash…”Mr. Kat” is the new “anonymous.” Think about it. I have posted only about half the content by Mr. Kat thus far; two long blocks of Mr. Kat posts look like they have been cut and paste from sources elsewhere. That is something I don’t do!

    But anyhow, onward to the point I wanted to discuss: “I’m not sure I’m a fan of trying to adapt the Kindle (an Amazon device designed to work within the Amazon service model) to work in public libraries (where we really have a very different service model).”

    Look, if you librarians wanted to be the center of the e-novel PDF universe, you should have gone out and invented the Kindle before Amazon did and made it part of the Library Model. But once again Librarians Failed. As our libraries fail to keep up with society, society happily adapts to these new things like Kindle. It’s kind of funny to note that with each new piece of technology like this, people take one step further away from the library model. Do libraries have free iTune accounts yet?

    Librarians are the buggywhip manufacturers of the 1900s. Unlike the Driving glove makers, there isn’t a future for whips makers.

  73. carptrash says:

    If peope are posting bogus stuff under your name, why not just use another name? eeeeeeek

  74. carptrash says:

    That is what I do.

    Part of the re-inventing of myself.

    eeeeeek

  75. carptrash says:

    Even though I was perfect the first time. eeeeeeeeeeeeeeek

  76. HarleyGrl says:

    Nate – See? To come up with a library-type model of the Kindle is once again the Re-invention which AL originally referenced in this blog. If something isn’

  77. HarleyGrl says:

    Nate – See? To come up with a library-type model of the Kindle is once again the Re-invention which AL originally referenced in this blog. If something isn’t broke, don’t fix it. Have you tried to buy a Kindle lately? You can’t! The “used” ones are up to $50 more expensive than a new one because you have to wait 8-10 weeks to get a new one directly from Amazon. They simply cannot keep these things on the shelves or keep up with demand. To create another Kindle type model imposes IT limits on the library. And the ALA doesn’t have a centralized IT dept so each library would have to come up with their own. To utilize what is already on the market is the cheapest and most effective way to go.
    Why doesn’t the ALA get into a partnership with Amazon and get these darn things into our libraries? Then extend that partnership to the rights to the media so our patrons can download the books? Oh…that would cost money. But we spend our tax dollars already buying or leasing books from publishers so what’s another publisher named Amazon? And as a patron, I would borrow a Kindle from the library to check it out before I bought one anyway. And then both the library and Amazon would benefit from the usage. This makes so much sense it’s no wonder the ALA hasn’t thought of it or isn’t entertaining the idea. HELLO???
    As for how to check them out? Yes, it is a $350 toy. It should be kept behind the circ desk and the patron’s credit card be charged $400 on the spot for its replacement. (Can’t do a pending charge because once the patron is out the door, they are free to cancel the card.) When the Kindle is returned, the patron is given a full refund. The IT guy deletes any and all remaining media on the device and it is updated and fully refreshed and ready for check out again.
    As for iTunes, I strongly discourage. Their media is not MP3 compliant. iTunes only work on iPods. An iPod will convert MP3 media to the correct format, but not back again. I love the idea of an MP3 player that can be checked out in the same fashion as the Kindle, but then the patron can also check out the CDs in the library and load them onto the device from home for their listening pleasure. With the Kindle, the patron would have to have a NetLibrary or Amazon account to access the book media. Not a way to do that from home since the Kindle downloads wirelessly anywhere.

  78. Mikey says:

    Back to the article – oh I agree. We must praise Annoyed. Unerringly correct again. It must be irritating being you.

    But anyways it’s not worth beating ourselves up over because we don’t own the internet searching. On the positive side this search strategy effort keeps some folks busy, which means less time to “save” public libraries with some kooky 2.0 poop.

  79. Mr. Kat says:

    I had another light bulb go off at work today of another recent instance where modern media once again portrays modern informaiotn seeking behavior. In this event, I offer the example of the most recent X-files addition.

    Does Scully use CINAHL to look up new techniques in cutting edge stem cell therapy? Does she use Medline to do research on the topic of limb transplantation? NO!!!

    She Used GOOGLE!!!

    Did she use BOOLEAN Language and all these advanced features librarians harp so much about?

    I can’t remember – she might have there on the third search; otherwise, she did a total of three searches in the entire movie and somehow the best results were in the first page of results.

    Wow.

    Good luck, librarians, in fighting public perception! And a special piece of luck to you when your search devices fail to meet or exceed patron’s expectations!!

  80. Mr. Kat says:

    Harleygrl, so much good stuff to discuss!!

    It’s kind of ironic how some librarians call themselves information specialists and yet libraries have been consistently behind the technology curve. It’s easy to be a tech specialist, I suppose, if your newest technology is a barcode scanner – your local grocery stop has had those things since I was in diapers!

    A partnership with Amazon would be completely contrary to the utopian library model. First, it would mean the library would be showing favor to a commercial entity – in this case, Amazon, a conflict of interests where the first is a no – profit organization and the other is a for profit business. This put local publishers and bookstores at an unfair disadvantage, further separating the library from local support and naturally getting the underwear of all those “Locally Grown Organic Liberals” in a severe twist.

    There is another problem with this model. Once the initial partnership agreement runs out, the library will be in a state of dependence on Amazon. At this point Amazon will be able to ask for any increase they want and they will likely get it. Libraries are very bad negotiators, at least in academic libraries. In that case libraries are over a barrel with e-access to Journals, leading to the Publishers pushing rates that have in short increased 8% every year since the inception of the idea. If libraries do not purchase access, however, they will not be able to get either print access or digital access to past volumes, never mind the current issue, which puts the library in bad water with the local research community. Regardless of any partnerships, Amazon already cannot keep up with demand for the product. An agreement would be horribly lopsided towards Amazon, since at this point they have the upper hand.

    The Kindle has turned out to be a GREAT idea. [whodathunk, huh?] The biggest hurdle is that it is expensive and worse, extremely desirable. Between theft and breaks, this device barely stands a chance. You want to further charge patrons a month’s rent to check it out [ok, rent is now about 600, inflation] which is further unlikely to work. Libraries are not businesses, you must remember, so if the library was even using this route to Sell the public Kindles, librarians would once again be committing a cardinal sin.

    I take your comments about iTunes and whole-heartedly agree with your statements; I was citing the iPod for familiarity purposes. Now you do see a new problem, yes? Libraries will have to be responsible and host the music sharing website or other sort of software to ensure that all patrons can use the MP3 players. Even if libraries across the nation collaboratively signed up for a service, they would still have to deal with virus-laden software and more user threats to the library computer infrastructure.

    Now the question we should be asking is if the Kindle is the only PDF device out there. Just as you blew out the iPod, I suggest it is possible to also blow out the Kindle!! But we want the next generation device; we don’t want to reach the status quo, we want to BE the status quo! We need a tablet device that has WIFI Access and perhaps some other minor functionality. This device would make it possible to make better use of all those Science Papers that we have electronic access to through the electronic journals. And this device would have to cost no more than about 50 bucks apiece. Remember, full desktops are sitting int eh 300-500 dollar level, so we should be able to lever the price of this device down further! If our patrons want to buy PDFs or other e-novels from other places our library does not carry, they would be able to do so. See, we CAN be on the edge – but we won’t, just like every time BEFORE.

    There have been a number of opportunities where the ALA could have stepped up and been at the forefront of the technology revolution. They had a chance to build the giant Journal Reference Databases; Web of Knowledge/Science sort of beat them soundly. The iPod was an obvious advance, given the previous popularity of the Walkman and the Discman. ALA had a chance to be at the forefront of the MP3 Revolution if they could have simply approached the music industry in Pre-Napster days and put together the agreement.

    Libraries refuse to commit to a technology these days for fear that society will move on to a new one. Well, guess what, society moved to a new one and then a new one once again. The only group hurt, at this point, would be libraries – for with each new technology revolution the library refuses to participate in, the public takes one step further away from the library. I can only imagine the response of the Obsolete Librarian to a request for PDFs…

    “PDFs? Oh, so what you’re really looking for is information on computer formats? We have tons of books about computers!! You’ll find them next to books about Big Foot, UFOs and Religion!!!”

  81. nate says:

    @Mr. Kat and @HarleyGrl:

    Thanks for turning the comments on this blog post into an interesting discussion! I think Mr. Kat summed up my concerns regarding a partnership btwn Amazon and public libraries pretty well. HarelyGrl, I really don’t think that considering a different delivery method for digital content to portable devices is re-inventing what Amazon does already. Maybe we don’t need to design a separate object, maybe we need to just make library content available for peoples existing devices- their phones. Again, libraries and Amazon are different. I never had bookstore envy when comparing physical libraries to physical bookstores; I use both differently and respect what makes them unique and different. Same deal with Amazon (the digital bookstore) and libraries providing digital resources. Public libraries exist for a totally different reason than Amazon does, and I’ll add that its not all just about books and how many times they get checked out. There’s more to it than that. Community building in the digital era of information abundance… that will be a fun challenge for public libraries in coming times…

    btw, I’ve played w/ a Kindle and a Sony reader, and as useful as they are I don’t think either is a very good piece of industrial design. I’d still rather read a book on my phone than on either of those clutzy pieces of 90s looking design.

    oh- hey- Happy New Year everyone!

  82. that wasn't me says:

    Mr Kat or an ipostor wrote Does Scully use CINAHL to look up new techniques in cutting edge stem cell therapy? Does she use Medline to do research on the topic of limb transplantation? NO!!!

    She Used GOOGLE!!!

    Did she use BOOLEAN Language and all these advanced features librarians harp so much about?

    That’s the movies. I’m a life scientist and use PubMed for work much more than Google or Google Scholar. The latter aren’t useless, but the precise limits possible in PubMed searches and the related-papers feature make searching the biomedical lit much easier with PubMed. Finding protocols is one task for which I’ll try G, but that’s a small part of all the searching I do.

  83. Mr. Kat says:

    I apologize for the missing paragraph breaks in my long block in response to Harleygrl. Now if this library journal was on the cutting edge of technology, they would have already implemented a new application that would allow me to log on to my account with my locally registered handle, open my post and edit it. Of course, the application would also code paragraph breaks automatically and offer e a spell checker. But recall for me what I said about libraries and thus library organizations being on the cutting edge of information technology. After all, the capabilities I am asking for are not new – interactive software providing all of these features such as the Bulletin Board have been in operation now on the Internet for no less then TEN YEARS now!!!

    The funnier part is how Library Journal, an organization that pulls $149 per member each year or so, has a technology interface that is so soundly trodden by organizations that are free to all.

    Wasn’t Me, that was my post as well;

    The point here is not that this is the movies and we’re in real life. The point here is that this is that the media outlets are a direct reflection of the society that produces them. In this case, see a reflection of modern search behavior Expectations – everything is on Google.

    I also sat through Twilight – and I was equally intrigued with how Belle did her research on the vampire occult. She uses a combination of Google and Amazon to find a local bookstore. She did not check her materials out; she bought them.

    These cinematography events are merely drops in the bucket, of course, but in each case we see modern society using anything but the library to do their information research. The current public mindset appears to be that everything can be found on Google and second, when you need a book, you get it from a Bookstore or from the Amazon Network. The library and all of it’s information resources seemingly don’t exist. That is the issue that concerns me.

  84. Me says:

    Our library materials budget is down 40% from 2008. I’m not even thinking about moving ahead; I’m hoping we don’t fall too far behind. Those of us who actually work in public libraries, with the public, know what I’m talking about. Hmmm, guess we should be running ourselves more like a business and them we’d be getting a multibillion dollar bailout.

  85. Me says:

    Our library materials budget is down 40% from 2008. I’m not even thinking about moving ahead; I’m hoping we don’t fall too far behind. Those of us who actually work in public libraries, with the public, know what I’m talking about. Hmmm, guess we should be running ourselves more like a business and them we’d be getting a multibillion dollar bailout.

  86. David Lankes says:

    Rather than post a long response here I’ve put it up on my blog as “Bullet Point: The Annoyed Librarian.” I’m going to go ahead and assume from all the comments you can find it in Google.

  87. Library Cynic says:

    For those of you who can’t find it:

    quartz dot syr dot edu slash rdlankes slash blog

  88. BILL DREW says:

    The Annoyed Librarian is obsolete and should retire!! Libraries and librarians MUST reinvent themselves. This is just about the most negative piece of crap to come out of the Annoyed Librarian yet. Come out from behind your cloak of anonymity and show us who you really are. Not being willing to show who you are makes your negative views worthless in my mind. By the way, I support the work David Lankes is doing. I know him in the real world and he cares about the future of libraries and librarians and is doing something about it, not just carping and doing nothing.

  89. ahniwa says:

    If you can’t see beyond a few [perceived] failures and look at the future of librarianship with some amount of optimism, recognizing the unique value we add to society, then I only have one thing to say to you:

    librarianship? ur doing it wrong

  90. ahniwa says:

    To which I’ll add, good for Mr. Lankes for doing something. I have my doubts that Reference Extract will work out, but at least he’s DOING something. He’s out there trying it.

    I have NO doubt that he’s adding a lot more to the profession then the whiners and naysayers who seem to have nothing better to do all day then read AL and write excessively long comments.

    What have you done that was of benefit to the library profession, lately?

  91. Mr. Kat says:

    Primarily I have moved to another career field. That should help with the spouted “Librarian Shortage.”

    I reject your notion that if I am somehow not embracing the Rah-Rah Librarianship model I am somehow doing Librarianship wrong. The buggywhip makers 100 years ago could have been rah rah Optimism through the roof and they STILL would not have made it beyond the 1930s. This is not about optimisim nor pessimism; this is about reality. And today the reality of the situation is quite a bit removed from the ideality of the root philosophy of “librarianship.”

    Librarianship is nothing more than the position of a librarian, which historically has been a position that serves a role in connecting patron with information. Today that role has been superceded in a large part by the accesibility of the internet in general and google in specific. What unique value we once had has been vastly diminished; this is our reality! It is not BAD librarianship to state reality!

    I could still have some optimisim if there were only a few failures; now tell me what I am supposed to do when the few failures are multiplied by a couple hundred! Do I need to mention the specific failures of library budgets or the failures of library organizations to properly project the future demand for librarians?

    Mr. Lankes is doing something, but there is yet to be little to no proof that doing something is better than doing nothing when the value of something is already doubtable…

    The saying “You’re just Spinning your wheels” comes to mind. I seem to remember a high school teacher who drove his car off the road into a large mudhole. He would have been better off doing nothing. But instead, he did something; He put the car into gear and pressed down the gas. He got all the way up to third gear when the tires caught the ground quite suddenly. Instead of the car rocketing forward, the entire drivetrain instantaneously erupted into a pile of twisted wrecked parts, all the way form the engine to the back axle and everything in between.

    There is no proof that doing Something when the future is unknown is any better than doing Nothing. Indeed, if you do Nothing, you may save yourself a lifetime in wasted energy and in the process find an endeavor elsewhere that actually leads to Something worthwhile.

  92. Techserving You says:

    I agree with Mr. Kat. And Ahniwa, I actually know who you are (I mean, personally, not by reputation)! I applaud some of the things that you’re doing in Washington State. But I think that you need to be in the library profession longer, and in a variety of places (especially academic libraries) before you dump on the naysayers. I have worked in 7 libraries and I find that the AL is often right on target with her observations.