New models of information production

De Saulles, M. (2012). New models of information production. In Information 2.0: new models of information production, distribution and consumption (pp. 13-35). London: Facet.

What are some of the defining characteristics of the Internet and world wide web that have stimulated the creation for new models of information production?

What are some of the challenges that these models present to educators and/or information professionals?

The digitisation of information and the proliferation of devices with internet access means that information that was once scarce and/or difficult to access is now freely available. The world wide web, and in particular, Web 2.0 have made it possible for anyone, even with limited resources, to publish to the world. Formats like blogs and podcasts are logical, democratised, developments of pre-internet formats such as newspapers and radio broadcasts. What is new is the built-in powers of search engines and the metadata accessible through social media giving rise to new developments in the study of human trends. These can be used in diverse ways such as tracking the spread of disease to manage health resources, targeted marketing, or identifying and responding to the issues most important to voters at multiple levels.

These new models of information production present both challenges and opportunities to educators and information professionals.

With information no longer scarce and precious we are challenged with dealing with too much rather than too little information. Educators are challenged with teaching students the skills required to filter and think critically about what they find and, just as importantly, what they share. Information professionals, whose core function of getting the right information to the right person at the right time has not fundamentally altered, are challenged by this oversupply of information making their role more and more complex. At the same time there are new opportunities as the skills of information professionals – organising, classifying, disseminating – are needed more than ever in the era of big data.

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