February 25, 2005

My Letter to Michael Gorman......

While I'm fine with someone not digging blogs and the writers thereof, this article by ALA President Elect Michael Gorman: Library Journal - Revenge of the Blog People! is a bit, well, off.

So I'll just come out and say this: What's up with calling Google a "notoriously inefficient search engine"? That is baffling. Maybe it is just my love of google, but I still consider it the best way to find information on the internet and I wouldn't consider labeling it as inefficient. A quarter second to a very good result of 8 billion pages is a terrific information retrieval feat.

As an information professional, I have idly wondered if there are librarians who don't like the internet because there is some fear that they make libraries obsolete, when in fact in my opinion nothing could be further from the truth.

The internet, and by "the internet" I mean everything, bloggers, search engines... hell, even podcasts ... is strongly complimentary to libraries. I go to libraries with my daughter all the time, and I can't think of a place I'd rather study. A bastion of silence in this noisy world of ours. I'm loking at our conference bag now filled with books and such from the library as I type this (working from home this morning!)

I'm completely okay with Mr. Gormans questioning of Google's ability to execute well on the book indexing project. It's a very difficult thing to do well, but at its core, the project is designed to make more information available to everyone, and in the process of doing so, we're likely to make mistakes along the way. But this is a good problem to have and to attempt to solve.

I'd like to personally invite Mr. Gorman to come visit Google and meet some of the people involved in it, and I think he'd find kindred souls walking around the google plex. Almost universally, the culture of google is a reading culture. We're not looking to reduce the world of the web and the printed page down to snippets and paragraphs, we want to help people find that information so they can appreciate it in its full glory.


Michael Bresnahan said...

Google "Notoriously inefficient search enging" wow. I go to my folks house last night, it was my dad's 76 birthday, and my mom is freaking out because they punched in their phone number in google and it not only gave them the phone listing but maps from Yahoo and Mapquest, and in less than 2 seconds I might add on dial up. My mom is on a mission to tell all her friends about it so they could all opt out. Again, "Notoriously inefficient search enging"???? Google Rocks!

Luca said...

I am also a regular library patron, as well as a victim of 100% Google dependency. I also wrote a response to Mr. Gorman: http://luca9200.typepad.com/blog/2005/02/google_and_libr.html