Magazine article Online

Information Professionals as Technologists. (the Homepage)

Magazine article Online

Information Professionals as Technologists. (the Homepage)

Article excerpt

Say to the general public that librarians are the technologists of the present and the future, and you're likely to be greeted with derision. Say the same thing to a group of information professionals, and they'll nod their heads. When I speak to school groups and tell them that the magazine I edit is in its 26th year of publication, the children gasp. They can't imagine an online world without the Internet, and they know that the World Wide Web isn't 26 years old Actually, they can't imagine a world that's not online--and online equates to the Internet, which in turn equates to the Web. This is true whether they're using the Web to research a school project, play games, or chat with friends.

The visionaries of our online past, people like Dialog's Roger Summit, Orbit's Carlos Cuadra, ISI's Eugene Garfield, and Online Inc.'s Jeff Pemberton, perceived the power of the computer to streamline the library research process while introducing new knowledge-creating techniques previously impossible. Technology became the touchstone of modern progressive information professionals.

The technologies we now use are an outgrowth of early, computerized information retrieval programs. However, if we are to truly be the technologies of the present and future, we need to have many technologies in our toolkit. It's not just the Web: It's data files, traditional online databases, chat groups, even books and the telephone. To believe that all research can be accomplished via free Web sites is to diminish the quality of that research and to walk away from the professionalism that we proclaim. …

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