Michael Gorman

Even though I have been an ALA member for several years, I haven’t voted for President thus far. Usually because I really didn’t know enough to make an honest evaluation of the choices. But our President-Elect recently went out of his way to distinguish himself.
bq.I am all in favor of digitizing books that concentrate on delivering information, such as dictionaries, encyclopedias and gazetteers, as opposed to knowledge. I also favor digitizing such library holdings as unique manuscript collections, or photographs, when seeing the object itself is the point (this is reportedly the deal the New York Public Library has made with Google). I believe, however, that massive databases of digitized whole books, especially scholarly books, are expensive exercises in futility based on the staggering notion that, for the first time in history, one form of communication (electronic) will supplant and obliterate all previous forms. – “Michael Gorman(Google and God’s Mind)”:http://www.infomotions.com/serials/colldv-l/05/att-0054/M-Gorman___Google_and_God_s_Mind.pdf While that was an assessment of the “Google Library(Google and Libraries)”:http://www.libraryplanet.com/2004/12/google project that not everyone would agree with, it was his opinion to make. But that led to this.
bq.It is obvious that the Blog People read what they want to read rather than what is in front of them and judge me to be wrong on the basis of what they think rather than what I actually wrote. Given the quality of the writing in the blogs I have seen, I doubt that many of the Blog People are in the habit of sustained reading of complex texts. It is entirely possible that their intellectual needs are met by an accumulation of random facts and paragraphs. In that case, their rejection of my view is quite understandable. – “Michael Gorman(Revenge of the Blog People!)”:http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA502009?display=BackTalkNews&industry=BackTalk&industryid=3767&verticalid=151 His remarks did not find universal acceptance among Librarians.
bq.Nice. Really nice. Good use of the ALA presidential bully pulpit: excoriating ad hominem attacks wrapped in academic overspeak. No citations, of course. (Who actually called him an idiot?) – “Karen Schneider(Gorman on Bloggers)”:http://freerangelibrarian.com/archives/022405/gorman_on_bloggers.php
bq.Yes, he has a right to his opinions about blogs. I just wished he had expressed them last year when people were voting on his suitability to be President Elect of the ALA. – “Morgan Wilson(Michael Gorman really doesn’t understand anything about blogs)”:http://www.explodedlibrary.info/2005/02/michael_gorman_.html Or non-Librarians, either.
bq.There are a great many wise and sensible librarians out there, lots of whom have been keeping blogs as long as there have been blogs around, and all of whom understand that the people who can and do read and write and comment on what they read and write are probably not the enemy. Can some of you take your president-elect aside and suggest to him that articles like don’t put him, or the profession, in the best possible light? And tell that there are some fine blogs out there, too. – “Neil Gaiman(Saturday, February 26, 2005)”:http://www.neilgaiman.com/journal/2005/02/nook.asp
bq.Blogs pose no threat to the press. They do pose a great threat to the cultural filters put in place by librarians. – “vintercept(Librarians)”:http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=140584&cid=11775300
bq.Maybe he should do some more research before he rests on his laurels. Seems like the Web is doing pretty well. And it’s not good that he got dealt a dose of name-calling from some bloggers, but he could view it another way, they’re people who could be using his libraries. That is, assuming that libraries really do have a role in the 21st Century, something he, as a president of the association, should be trying to make sure we’re convinced of. – “Dave Winer(Now the name-calling is coming)”:http://archive.scripting.com/2005/02/25#When:8:07:31AM
bq.Honestly, all this does is give ammunition to the people who say that libraries and librarians are obsolete in the digital age. I’ve always disagreed with that position — but if Mr. Gorman is a typical specimen I’ll have to rethink my stance, given that, judging by his comments, Gorman isn’t even very good at using Google. – “Glenn Reynolds(More Tedious and Self-Serving Attacks on Bloggers)”:http://instapundit.com/archives/021380.php Now he offers a sort of explanation…
bq.The piece (LJ, February 15th 2005) was intended to be satirical, though I am certainly no fan of “blogs,” having an old fashioned belief that, if one wishes to air one’s views and be taken seriously, one should go through the publishing/editing process. I am surprised that people who attack an article as mine (LAtimes, Dec. 17th 2004) has been attacked should be as thin-skinned as some appear to be. – “Michael Gorman(Blogs)”:http://lp-web.ala.org:8000/guest/archives/ALACOUN/log0502/msg00188.html That isn’t quite good enough.
bq.Yet one more reason I question the ALA, and one more reason I am not a member. Something tells me the -elect is never going to leave his title. – “Blake Carver(Digging A Deeper Hole)”:http://www.lisnews.com/comments.pl?sid=8730&cid=15491 Essentially, he has embarrassed the entire Librarian community at a time when we can’t really afford it. The ALA needs a President with a vision for the future, not someone who is yearning for the past. It might be too late to do anything about this, but rest assured, I will be paying more attention in the future. And I don’t think I will be alone.