BrisBloggers Meetup, Ideas and Librarians

Friday’s inaugural meeting of the Brisbane Bloggers was interesting and useful. We are rather an eclectic bunch of armchair philosophers, and as such it was most entertaining to spend some time chatting with new people about everything from politics to technology and drinking games. I’m just sorry I couldn’t stay long, as I was obliged to attend a graduand function after about an hour. Nevertheless, the first meeting was fun, and I’m sure that in future meetings the Brisbane blogging community can work together to achieve some useful public debate.

Speaking of debate and public engagement, I haven’t exactly been bombarded with suggestions on my previous RFI post on community engagement. Thanks to Rob for your suggestion – most appreciated! But to everyone else, if you read this blog, I’d be grateful if you took the time to just make a suggestion or two.

Finally, I am absolutely floored by the extraordinary hypocrisy of the elected president of the American Library Association, Michael Gorman, who is now describing bloggers as effectually ignorant:

Given the quality of the writing in the blogs I have seen, I doubt that many of the Blog People are in the habit of sustained reading of complex texts. It is entirely possible that their intellectual needs are met by an accumulation of random facts and paragraphs.

His main complaint is that bloggers base their criticism of his writing on excerpts of his work. This, in spite of the fact that Gorman himself says he has learned about the blogosphere as a result of reading only fragments of works. Email messages containing blog excerpts seem to form the basis of this highly antagonistic and defensive article in LibraryJournal. “At least two of the blog excerpts sent to me….”. He is even trite enough to suggest that the investment Google is making on digitising books and making them available through the Google search engine should instead be spent on books and libraries in California. This cheap grab at the public interest is apparently proof of his shallow understanding of the project Google is undertaking. Whilst he regards Google as an inefficient tool for information retrieval, he seems to be wilfully ignorant of the fact that the global audience for information retrieved through Google is now in excess of 934 million citizens, and not just the 35 million in California, and that humanity and society are far better supported by global connectivity and the information sharing that occurs online than if there were a few more libraries in wealthy California. What a shame that an individual who is supposedly dedicated to knowledge propagation has mistaken alternative channels for information access and debate as competition for his own business of information entombing.

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