A Librarian's Worst Nightmare

Interesting food for thought...

"Even though Yahoo! Answers is so frequently sloppy and inaccurate, it's still the juggernaut in its field. Despite a rapid proliferation of answer-giving sites—'s recently inaugurated Askville just joined a crowded field that includes Answerbag, WikiAnswers, AnswerBank, and Ask Metafilter—Yahoo!'s is still by far the most popular. And in the question-answering game, size matters. While the others have a few clever features (like Answerbag's efforts to separate "educational" and "conversational" questions) or a more specialized community, the sheer magnitude of Yahoo!'s community gives it the upper hand...

The lesson Yahoo! Answers teaches is that, for millions of people on the Web, it's less important to get a good answer than to get someone to listen to your question in the first place."

I think those that work in public services can really relate to the last sentence. It's often not the quality of the answer that's most important to the customer; it's that someone personally took an active interest in helping them and in listening to their information needs. And that, in itself, is a very powerful thing.

Full article here, A Librarian's Worst Nightmare.

PS: Thanks Ed for the link :)

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