Is Yahoo! Answers a Threat?

At first glance, it does seem that collaborative answers web sites like Yahoo! Answers or Ask Metafilter could be a threat to the role a librarian plays in gathering and distributing information. Closer examination, however, reveals that they cannot take the place of a real reference librarian.

I have used Yahoo! Answers on several occasions when I haven’t been able to find the answers I need via Google. And each time, it was hit or miss with whether or not the question was actually answered. More often than not, internet trolls are looking to provide you with silly or degrading answers, rather than actually help you with your query. The user has to be discerning when choosing to accept answers. While sites like these provide you the opportunity to provide sources for the answer, more often than not there is either no source listed or the source is something akin to “my own brain”.

When a user is looking for actual, serious information – these just aren’t sources you would turn to. These sources can often provide wisdom in the form of life experiences and opinions, but they can’t provide credible resources. Wikipedia is more credible than these web sites – and we all know that we can’t use it as a scholarly source!

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Posted on October 25, 2011, in LIBR 246 Web 2.0 and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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