Searching for librarians

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POSTED: August 23, 2006

I was very interested in an article I googled across at SearchEngineWatch just now: an interview with Dr. Gary Flake, the Principal Scientist & Head of Yahoo! Research Labs. He talks about the nature of search engines, and the philosophies behind improving them.

Paraphrasing Frank Zappa he says:

One of my favorite sayings is: “data is not information; information is not knowledge; knowledge is not wisdom.”

He says this in a discussion about the relationship between searching and intelligence, and between search engines and librarians, as gatekeepers to knowledge. On this difference, and the possibility of librarians being made redundant by search engines, he says:

“I think reference librarians will have job security for a long while still. When things change because of search engine improvements, I believe that the emphasis of the role of a reference librarian will shift along the continuum, dealing less with data and more with wisdom. We’ve seen this already, and it’s good news for everyone.”

If the link above doesn’t work, (because apparently SearchEngineWatch updates its links regularly) then you can go to SearchEngineWatch’s front page and search for the article by its title, which is Behind the Scenes at Yahoo Labs.

However, since Searchwatch has now switched to a subscription-based business model, you will have to pay to read it. So you almost certainly won’t..