Information Explorers versus Editors

A post by Bill Harris at “Dubious Quality” with the title Information got caught up in my Technorati filter for disruptive change in libraries. Geoff Engelstein, a colleague of Bill’s mentioned this in an e-mail:

We were a generation of information explorers. They [Geoff's thirteen– and eleven-year-olds] are a generation of editors.

The context is a reflection on Bill’s part of the trials and feelings of success when conducting research: “you’d have to pull out a rack in the card catalog according to the alphabetized subject and flip through the cards. If you got lucky, the title of a book or a brief description would point you in the right direction. Then you had to actually find the book, skim through it, and hope that you’d find some information.” Bill even includes a link to a bibliographic instruction page showing how an actual card catalog works.

Geoff’s observation is that “the big skill [his kids] are learning is what information to dump and what to keep” — hence the comparison to the work of an editor.

This has to get one thinking — are the services we are building for the information explorers or the information editors?