Week Four

Predominantly because of the advent of the internet, we currently produce more information daily than ever before in our history. Clive Thompson’s article “Why Even the Worst Bloggers Are Making Us Smarter”, he estimates that, on a daily basis, “we send 154.6 billion emails, more than 400 million tweets, and over 1 million blog posts and around 2 million blog comments on WordPress. On Facebook, we post about 16 billion words. Altogether, we compose some 3.6 trillion words every day on email and social media — the equivalent of 36 million books”. The internet provides an outlet for quick and efficient production, retrieval and distribution of all types of information. Individual opinions can now be shared easily and quickly, and reach a much broader audience than was ever possible before.

Thompson also indicates that not all of this information is good. A simple Google search can return millions of results in less than a second, and the vast majority of information users lack the specialized knowledge to sift through such a vast quantity of information in order to determine which items are relevant, credible and useful for their purposes. This is where bounded educational institutions like libraries are uniquely qualified to step in. Such institutions can serve as mediators between information and information users, assisting users in finding quality information from valid sources and in interpreting the information that has been retrieved. Libraries can work to facilitate learning by encouraging users to engage with information on an intellectual level, using critical thinking skills to examine the credibility and relevance of information and arrive at their own conclusions.

References

Thompson, C. (2013). How successful networks nurture good ideas. Smarter than you think: How technology is changing our minds for the better. Retrieved from http://www.wired.com/2013/09/how-successful-networks-nurture-good-ideas-2/all/.

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