Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Wow! Have you heard of this thing called "The Internet"?

I'm not so jazzed about the next of the 23 Things--IMing. Are people still doing that? It seems IM reference services were what everyone (if everyone is a librarian) was talking about three years ago. To my jaundiced eye it appears that--obviously--we need to offer IM reference along with all the other ways we need to offer reference assistance. Which is to say, if people are out there using [blank] as a way to communicate, then we need to be figuring it out. Any resistance is soooo 2003.

Does anyone else remember the very first time they accessed the Internet? I sure do. It was through the Gopher service run by the University of Minnesota, way back in 1994. And it wasn't even "the Internet" as we now know it, that's for sure. The first thing I saw was, I believe, a precursor to a Word doc, and it was some government communication (looked like a text file) out of Israel. And it Blew. My. Mind.

Nowadays, everything in the online world is so pliable, and the interface is so friendly. I'm fascinated, for example, by the layout capabilities of this blog. There are so many bells and whistles available and--most amazing--they can be utilized by a person like me with absolutely no programming experience.

You know, we talk and talk about how the relationship between people and information has changed--that there is this infinite amount of information out there and where do librarians fit in, do they at all, and oh my goodness what if people no longer need us? Of course they do. They do now, they did then, and they always will. People don't just need information, they need useful information. The University of Buffalo YouTube bit (which I will try to locate and post here) where they demonstrate their IM reference service is a perfect example: "Hey, overwhelmed undergrad--let me know what your paper is on and I will show you the way." Any student with an ounce of common sense will immediately see the value here. So you can place me in the camp of people who think this "information revolution" is all for the good in terms of librarianship.

I'm very impressed that I somehow managed to yank the content of this post somehow back to IMing.


caramama said...

Yea! You started a blog! I did not realize that until just now, or I'd have been over sooner. I blame my mommybrain.

I also believe that librarians will always be needed. Computers and the internet are just more tools that the librarian can use to help people.

I'm going to go check out the things on a stick you are talking about now.


Jennifer said...

I remember the first time I was aware of the Internet! The Gulf War I, 1991. I was walking to my college class and saw a piece of paper tacked to a bulletin board. I looked it and realized it was a message from Baghdad sent as the bombs were falling on the writer. That sounds pretty mundane now, but like you it totally Blew My Mind--I just stared at it, my mind reeling at what it implied.

As for IM-ing...are libraries using it for live-research? I suspect voice-chat is going to replace it soon, and I will find that a terrible shame. I much prefer the freedom that the time-lag in chatting gives you...the online friends I chat with usually use Skype but most of the time we prefer to stay in text, since that's how we "know" each other...

fresca said...

I've asked some friends, and many people do indeed remember their first Internet experience--sort of like "where were you when you heard about [fill in the blank]?"
But I don't, alas.
However I do remember the first time I turned on a computer! Fred Zinn, computer wizard, led a little class in the library on how to use the newly installed machines--must have been early 1990s?--and I didn't even know how to get the thing to start. Ha! I really enjoy your blog--it's encouraging me not to stop learning how to turn on new stuff.