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Google and ALA: One Pair of Matching Bookends?

At today’s board meeting for My Place of Work, we made reference to Google so often as we discussed planned upgrades to our system it might as well have been an article of speech, as in “May I Google you another cup of coffee?” or “I need to Google the projector closer to the screen.” So I felt a strong humming vibe when I saw by way of It’s All Good that blogger and Google-guy Chris DiBona had invited Michael Gorman to visit Google.

This is close to being a good idea. Close, because it has two problems which lend themselves to a remarkably simple solution.

First, Michael Gorman has been bad, and a visit to the Googleplex is something some of us would consider a reward, even those of us (including me) who are just a tiny bit concerned about sole-sourcing the digitization and access of a vast quantity of the world’s recorded knowledge to a few young Turks in Mountain View. Yes, hegemony bothers me, but Google’s searchalicious engine does kick butt in a way that steams up my trifocals big time.

Second, it is possible that due to his visit some in the land of Google might conclude that all librarians, or even most librarians, think like Michael Gorman. That would be unfortunate.

The following is just an idea; I am not speaking in any official capacity. But in addition to inviting Gorman, why not also invite the geek-elite of the American Library Association for a tour of Google? The Library and Information Technology Association is holding its annual Forum in San Jose this October. Google could meet a nice representative sample of the librarians who are busy maintaining servers, coding in XML, mulling over stylesheets, implementing OpenURL resolvers, making their libraries wi-fi friendly, or simply grooving on major new technology trends. Some of us even manage fully digital libraries.

Yes, librarians and Google-people are kindred souls, and we should meet around the table. To quote a great American bard, “They laugh alike, they walk alike, At times they even talk alike.” Oh, Google, such a crazy pair we could be! Invite us to your table, and find out for yourselves.

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