Monday, February 28, 2005

You Gotta Love Michael Gorman

Love Michael Gorman? Sure I do! Despite a wee bit of negative response to Michael's rampage on bloggers, Michael's got personality and character, period.

I've enjoyed Michael Gorman's opinionated rants for years, and will continue to do so. I don't always agree with him, but the man delivers his considered opinion in a very clear and entertaining way. Take a peek at the McCarthyist tone to this sentence (and tell me that it wasn't fun to read)...

"For the record, though I may have associated with Antidigitalists, I am not and have never been a member of the Antidigitalist party and would be willing to testify to that under oath."

Do I think he's a luddite? No, not really. He's a well educated and critical thinker. He's also a bit of an arrogant academic - but that's ok, if he drops that part he's no fun at all.

If you haven't read his LA Times response to the Google-Libraries partnership, he's called the project an "expensive exercise in futility", basically saying that we're fooling ourselves into believing Google will give us access to 'world knowledge'. I'm not about to disagree with that. We should never be surprised what 'good marketing' can make people believe.

While Michael's prone to write with 'both-barrels-a-blazin', I have my doubts that he's fully considered who he's tangling with. He won't be changing global opinions, or opinions within the Library community, using the aggressive tone in his article above. Can he wage an issue based debate (battle) with a whole community of Bloggers? In normal circumstances, my money's on Gorman. Unfortunately, I think he's going to require a blog to do so.

For the record, I also have questions about the Google-Libraries digitalization project. Not to the digitalization itself, but as alluded to, the notion that Google will be sold as more than a finding tool; that it will be a fool's replacement for reading longer discourse (with the associated loss of context). That said, and seeing as it's not my money, I say let's do it! It's going to happen regardless of who's for or against it, and it will be a powerful finding tool.

Besides... once public domain works have become digital, we Librarians can start collection building again.


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