John Mark Ockerbloom has outlined an exciting concept and system for dynamically incorporating a user’s local library resources into Wikipedia articles.
I’ve heard the lament in more than one library discussion over the years. “People aren’t coming to our library like they should,” librarians have told me. “We’ve got a rich collection, and we’ve expended lots of resources on an online presence, but lots of our patrons just go to Google and Wikipedia without checking to see what we have.” The pattern of quick online information-finding using search engines and Wikipedia is well-known enough that it has its own acronym: GWR, for Google -> Wikipedia -> References. (David White gives a good description of that pattern in the linked article.)
Some people I’ve talked to think we should break this pattern. With the right search tool or marketing plan, some say, we can get patrons to start with us first, instead of Google or Wikipedia. This idea seems to me both futile and beside the point. Between them, Google and…
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