norayoung.ca | At the Corner of Technology and Culture

Learning, Libraries, and Credibility Hubs

Image of GuardianLast night, I was in Stratford, ON for a town hall meeting on the future of the Stratford library. I was part of a panel – the first step in coming up with a 4-7 year strategic plan for the library. I love that Stratford is making this an issue for public consultation and discussion. It was an inspiring group of people, who left me with a lot to think about. One of the points I touched on is something I’ve been thinking about for a while: organizations and individuals who can be informal “credibility hubs”. As the old top-down model of rigidly curated and approved information breaks down (largely for the better, I think) we’re all struggling a bit with Clay Shirky’s “filter failure“. How can people such as journalists, academics, expert-amateurs, and librarians act as informal, less hierarchical nodes of expertise within the new information ecosystem? Algorithms have taken us some way down this curatorial road, as have the social relationships on networking sites, of course, but I wonder what role people who, by dint of their training, expertise, or jobs, might effectively help the communities we serve without retreating into old hierarchies. It’s something the always thought-provoking Anand Giridharadas has written about here.

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