I had a conversation with someone about libraries today. The person was certainly pro-library, and this was good, but I don’t think they understood the confluence of libraries and infotech. They were still hung up on the false dichotomy of LIBRARIES v. WEB. While it was very nice to hear this person promoting libraries over the web, for some reason they couldn’t quite understand that the web is a tool. Just like a book. Or a hammer. We use these things, in part, to help us interface with the world around us and mitigate issues that our environments present. Some say that ‘high tech’ information has become our environment and that infotech has moved beyond mere tool status. “Never before have we had to log out of a tool,” I’ve heard someone say. This is true, but many tools have responsibilities associated with it. For instance, I had to learn how to use a plunge router before I could use one properly and safely. I can’t think of any reasons why ‘high tech’ information tools are different from ‘low tech’ information tools, or any other tools for that matter. There are all sorts of serious cultural implications associated with the things we use to help us (e.g., clothing and food), but the bottom line is that we use them to survive. Maybe just because the interweb is still relatively new and hot, people are giving it special attributes and creating the false dichotomy. I don’t think it will pass, but it certainly is in fad status right now. The possibility for innovation might make for some sort of paradoxical ongoing fad situation where people are continually exicted for the next great thing. But what is novel now will at some point be blasé

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