Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Librarian, more than ever

Eli Pariser talks about Internet, algorithms, personalization: the filter bubble. What is it about? Well, it's simple: all searchers use algorithms to personalize results according to "relevance" = what have you downloaded, which friends do you read, what websites have you visited, and so on. Facebook and friends are sweeping the web so you only see what they "think" you want to see... After hearing the talk, I thought: we, librarians can help people to get access to different points of view, new ideas, new people... In fact, to create knowledge that maybe, as Pariser points out, Google and friends will edit out of the web, without telling us about it.

Why can not the library be the place were people can expand their worldview? We can help by teaching how to disable cookies, to erase web history... or much better: use the computer room at the library! That could be the gate to a neutral, depersonalized, unfiltered web.
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