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.

Karen Coyle
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ph: 1-510-540-7596
m: 1-510-435-8234
skype: kcoylenet