Quoting Jason Griffey <[log in to unmask]>:
> I happen to think that authority is dead dead dead as a method of measuring
> information worth, but that's just me. :-)
I think it depends on what you mean by "authority." The formal
authority of librarians seems to have few followers. Academics follow
authority in terms of citations -- who (in their defined circle) has
cited whom. Lots of people view the NY Times best seller list as a
viable authority for a "good read.". Most of us have one or more
friends whose film recommendations tell us pretty clearly whether or
not to see the film.
The problem isn't authority, per se, but who is making the statement
and what you know about them. Like standards. with authorities there
are so many to choose from. The difficulty is selecting the authority
that will give you the results you desire.
I suspect that many people use the term 'authority' to mean something
like 'proven' or 'correct' or 'of scientific basis.' Yet each of these
makes sense only in a particular context for a particular set of
questions. I fear that the set of questions that libraries respond to
with authority are ones that are of interest only to a small minority
of world inhabitants.
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