November 11th, 2008

library - sign

Who do you trust?

SE passed along this article about yet another attempt to leverage librarian knowledge to build a better search engine. I'm a little skeptical, since this kind of thing has been tried before, but maybe the time is right now, and of course I can't argue with the baseline idea.

That's not why I link it here, though. I'm linking it because I was so taken by this graph, from the research proposal backing the search engine project. It's a graph of the credibility rating given to different information sources as determined by a research study. The winners? Libraries. Over museums, archives, commercial entities, and the government. Well, of course, right? When it comes to getting information, there is no better source than the librarian.

I was also amused to note that the government came in at the middle of the pack, above commercial and personal websites but after a number of others, including genealogical societies. Also amusing, and sort of horrifying, this quote:

How do people judge credibility on the Internet? According to research from the "Credibility Commons" project, the two top factors are 1) how pretty does it look? and 2) do I agree with it already? This is, to say the least, a non-optimal way of evaluating information...

Yes. You could say that...