A great, engaging talk from Bran Ferren. One of his more provocative remarks was to challenge us to get out of the mindset of competing with Google and switch gears to take advantage of it. This hit a sweet spot in my heart, even though I come from years of schooling in the art of librarianship and have been party to that competition for many years. Yes, I think the idea is sound and more actionable than one might think.
So, here’s another layer – that Google or Wikipedia or their peers are not really the “knowledge” that we might think others think them to be. By that I mean that, they gather content – they are structures and vehicles purposed to gather and host content. The degree to which they have been successful is the result of content owners believing in the viability of Google/Wikipedia’s concept and structure and using those vehicles. Content seekers learn that these are places to find the content. And Google becomes a verb.
I think at the heart of this whole question is whether we are willing to let another entity “carry” our knowledge and expertise to the multi-generational bodies of today’s and tomorrow’s discoverers. One of the more popular sets of images SI posted to the Flickr Commons earlier this year was that of our dead scientists. Sure enough, those images were grabbed by others who attached them to Wikipedia entries. A demonstration of SI assets at work, but by others who see Wikipedia as this type of vehicle. Can we grab hold of this same mindset? Is this the right mindset? If it’s not spot on – I think it is – or it’s awfully close.