Tara Brabazon’s hitting the headlines again, with an interview in The Guardian.
She thinks that librarians will like her take on things, as we all want more books, and must feel as she does, that using Google, Wikipedia, and even blogs is ‘bad’ research.
Well, I disagree.
I like using Google – it gives me a good starting point. Wikipedia quickly gives me information on topics that I don’t know about. Blogs give a personal view of issues, and often uncover a bias or truth not widely publicised.
Yes, books are wonderful, but to get to the information in them, I need physical access to them…which isn’t always possible. Online tools allow me to start my research from resources I can access, then if needed, I can move on to physical resources. I can’t easily tell if a book even discusses a certain topic without having it and its index in my hand, but I can do a keyword search on a pdf, or webpage, and rapidly check its usefulness.
I’m also a big enough girl to be able to assess the potential accuracy and reliability of the resources I look at.
To be banned from doing this, and allowed to refer only to a list selected by someone else seems stupid. Yes, they may be the leading texts, but what if there’s been comment on them that disagrees with them, but isn’t also included on that list?
Isn’t that just as biased as an error-ridden Wikipedia entry?
Others have already stated that her approach to training students to research by banning use of Google, and giving only a set text list isn’t a particularly great plan…all I can say is she would have HATED me as her student! 🙂