Monday, October 17, 2011


It really sucks to be sick and have a backache at the same time. I wanted to spend all day in bed, sleeping off the worst of the illness, but I couldn't get comfortable there because my back hurt too much, so I figured I might as well get up.

Also, I did need more Tylenol.

I know: whine, whine, whine.

In other news, I didn't accomplish anything productive because I was too busy whining. I was kind of disoriented--I walked several blocks the wrong way down the street when I got out of the pharmacy--so my concentration was probably doomed anyway.

I did read this interesting post on Butterflies and Wheels that mentions the ways in which the work of journalism is changing.

In a conversation I had with a journalist recently, we discussed what he deemed the two temptations of our post-print era. One is getting mixed up in what he called the“information jungle.” The other is sitting complacently in a “filter bubble.” He suggested that the task of good journalism in the coming years will be to serve as a curator for the public, exposing citizens to, without overfeeding them on, information and ideas that challenge or deepen their firmly held beliefs. All right, but what shall we call it? How about “out-of-the-jungle, beyond-the-bubble Black Swan journalism?”

This idea that journalism may be more about a kind of curation that simply reporting facts reminds me of the idea that librarianism of the future (or of the present, really) can also be seen as more about curation than collection.

If everything (or a significant portion of the 'everything' that most people are likely to look at) is fairly readily available, which parts of it do we want to highlight and recommend to our users?

Except for historical or highly specific collections, it might eventually be less about collecting physical items and keeping them in a single spot, and more about linking to items in various locations online. And paying for them, of course. How many times do librarians roll their eyes when someone says they found a journal article 'free' online and turns out they got access because the library pays for a subscription?

Maybe journalism is looking at a similar problem, in that people find all their news 'free' online and don't really think about how someone--perhaps a professional journalist who might enjoy getting paid--may have been involved in writing and submitting the initial report.

Maybe promoting journalism as more 'curation' will make it seem more worth paying for, to at least enough people to keep news sites going?

Or maybe I'm too disoriented (and recently shivering, but now sweating!--it's the ague, I tell you!*) to actually think about any ideas.

*Incidentally, MeSH doesn't have a term for ague, but maps it to Chills, previously indexed as Shivering, which is much less interesting than the dictionary definition of ague.

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