Week 2: Gatekeeping and Recommender Systems

This week in class we discussed Gatekeeping.  Eli Pariser’s Ted Talk (found below) focuses on how so much of what we do online passes through Gatekeepers, so we may not be shown the content for which we are looking.  When does “tailoring” crossover into withholding?

We also discussed how the internet and social networking are bringing us closer together as a society and improving our social ties.  The availability of so many ways to communicate with each other increases the ease of our communication.

Because of all of this, as information professionals, we need to work to ensure that our clients, users, students, etc. are being given the information needed to succeed, not just the information that can be easily accessed.

I have heard many people say that there is not a need for librarians anymore.  The infinite amount of information available to users of the Internet seemingly makes people think that they can find anything they want if they just Google it.  They do not need to ask librarians about anything anymore because they can find the answer online, but as information professionals, we can make sure they find balanced information, and not just what information the sites they visit provide for them, because more and more, the information provided is “specifically for them,” even if they are using the Social Networking Tools we discussed in class- Flickr, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.  Each of these sites can decide what “you may like,” or who “you may know” or want to like or want to know.

Now, more than ever Information Professionals are needed to be the Gatekeepers by disseminating information, and making sure that those affected by the digital divide have equitable access to this information.

Here are some articles that discuss recommender systems:

http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/2006/11/27/8394347/

http://readwrite.com/2009/01/28/5_problems_of_recommender_systems

http://readwrite.com/2007/01/16/recommendation_engines

http://www.dlib.org/dlib/may08/monnich/05monnich.html

http://ieeexplore.ieee.org.proxy.lib.utk.edu:90/stamp/stamp.jsp?tp=&arnumber=1167344&isnumber=26323

 

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One Response to Week 2: Gatekeeping and Recommender Systems

  1. Great TED talk that you linked to. I knew there was some filtering going on, but not this much. It is quite frightening in many respects. I work very hard to stay out of the information bubble. I believe in looking at all sides of an argument or subject. I read news from a variety of sources just so I do not become skewed by looking at only one source. Even with Facebook when I am tempted to unfriend someone over their postings, I do not because it helps me be a better person to be exposed to all different types of ideas and opinions. To think that Facebook, Google, and others are narrowing my exposure to different perspectives is disconcerting. As to librarians being obsolete I feel we need them now more than ever. Librarians can help users navigate the internet. Instead of gatekeepers we should consider ourselves guides.

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