So, I was reading this excellent post, Cult of the Pundit, on the excellent blog, Bokardo, and I got to thinking about something that annoys me greatly, namely, people asking me if I'm scared I will lose my job to Google, implying (or outright stating, often with a malicious sneer) that internet search engines, or even the internet itself, has rendered my profession obsolete. I mean, as a librarian (if you are a librarian) I'm sure you get that one a lot (along with the ever-so-witty "do you know the Dewey Decimal System?")
Aaaaaanyway, that post made me think about the web, and how it allows pretty much everybody who has access to it (along with proper equipment and bandwidth) to try their hand at pretty much anything (ok, I'm over-simplifying, I know, there probably aren't a lot of easily accessible tools and programs for molecular biology... But you get the point.) But for many mainstream professions, it's true... Anyone with a blog can be a reporter... And anyone with iMovie can be a producer. And I seem to remember from grad school that you can download older versions of ProTools for free, so why not try your hand at music?
Does this mean that professional reporters, producers and musicians are now obsolete? Should we trash those professions altogether? I doubt anyone is suggesting that, so why is it that they are suggesting that librarians are no longer necessary just because anyone can perform an internet search? Doing something as a hobby or on a small scale versus doing it as a profession are two very different things, marked by notably different skill levels. No one is saying that Google can't help you find information, we are just saying that librarians are better at it. 90% of the time Google will find you the information you want, and that's fine, but there are times when you need to consult an expert.
Now please don't get me wrong, I am not against Google, or blogging, or personal podcasting or whatever, mainly because I <3 web 2.0 in all its glory, and am not paranoid about it stealing my thunder (or my job...) I think it's great that so many people can have a voice where once things were much more homogenized. And I also think it's a great method for discovering talent. Really good bloggers don't stay anonymous for long, they become well-known and well-read, and are often considered professional "reporters" in their fields. Just because you start small on the internet does not mean you are forever an amateur... I just don't see why web 2.0 must hail the death of the librarian. Vive la librarian!!!