Problems with Wikipedia

When I started my library career, way back in the eighties, the hardest working books in the library where the encyclopedias. Even in a small library the encyclopedias would become discolored through use and would be replaced every year or so. The publishers would update the books using dozens of editors and hundreds of experts.

In the past few years the use of print encyclopedias has fallen dramatically. But, at the same time, the on line encyclopedia called Wikipedia has become one of the top ten web sites. What is interesting about Wikipedia is that all of the articles are generated by anyone who wishes to spend the time and effort to write one. Though this method is unorthodox, compared to traditional encyclopedias, it has produced a pretty effective encyclopedia. The Washington Post article Death by Wikipedia: The Kenneth Lay Chronicles illustrates some of the issues using Wikipedia, especially for controversial information.

Why OPACs Suck

In the library world OPAC stand for On-line Patron Access Catalog, which is a fancy term for computerized card catalog. MPL will be updating our OPAC in the next few months and I have been doing some research on the topic. One of the more interesting article I found was How OPACs Suck by Karen Schneider. Though the title is rather blunt her article details features that are needed in future OPACs.

Getting Back to it!

When we started our new web site the idea was that certain people, me included, would write and blog about our favorite articles. Since I am the Director of the library, I thought I would blog about current trends and ideas in the library universe. Obviously what I planned to do has not happened. However, in the future I do plan to get back to task and start making this a part of my normal routine.

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