Thursday, 3 May 2007

Put your hand up if you can't hear me!

Webbed or Web Sceptic? In a new guest blog on the UK Web Focus Blog, Sheila Webber of the University of Sheffield raises an interesting point:

I thought I’d write about the division that seems to be growing up
a) those information professionals who mostly gather and disseminate information to their peers in a webly fashion (I shall call these people the Webbed), and

b) those for whom all this faffing around on the web seems (frankly)a waste of time (I shall call these Web Sceptics).

She argues that the information profession, which is already fragmented into a number of more or less isolated groups, is being further split between those who get their information from, and network on, the internet and those who rely on traditional methods (e.g. print, face-to-face networking). Sheila asks

Is this not a potential split at all, just a phase? Am I wrong to think that the Webbed and Web Sceptics are developing different information-world–views - it’s more than just reading things in different media? Am I right in thinking that in
some ways it is getting more challenging for a Web Sceptic to start to become Webbed?

I found this interesting because I set up this blog as I felt that there are a growing number of informational professionals who are relying on Web 2.0 applications and we could not afford to ignore them. On the other hand many others simply do not use this channel of communication. I don't think it is just a case of being sceptical about the web. If you have looked at what is on offer and decided that it is not for you then that is your choice. The problem I think is

  • many librarians are still not aware of how fast this new online community is growing and what they are missing.
  • many librarians do not have easy access to a PC at work and are excluded from this new forum.
  • many librarians simply do not have the time to spend on professional development activities at work

If you are webbed then you can join in with this debate. If you are not then you probably don't even know that this issue is being debated! If you can't hear me put your hand up.

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