Seduced by the darkside


Google shows no mercy in their effort to seduce the library world. In my year and a bit of library work I can honestly say that providing free food (especially ice cream) is the quickest way to get library workers to do anything you say.

Google’s gonna get you!


As Google’s inevitable march towards world domination continues, there is more news on their entry into the educational sphere.

They have shifted their Librarian Newsletter into a blog. While this should help us to keep on top of the latest news on nifty tools like Google Earth and Google Scholar, this development has provided another opportunity for those who cast a wary eye on Google’s intentions to speak their minds.

Over at Library Stuff they speculate that this is another step in Google’s “brainwashing” of librarians so they can go in and scan all of our books. While I wouldn’t go that far, there is an undeniable push and pull between library staff’s desire to get students to learn to research with our tried and tested tools and an acknowledgement that students today are used to tools like Google and we need to integrate them in our approaches to information literacy. See this report from the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative for more information about this.

In other Google news, Lakehead University in Thunder Bay Ontario has, according to this press release, “recently aligned with Google to be the first large-scale deployment of Google Apps for Education in Canada.”

This arrangement might concern those uncomfortable with the entire university’s email, calendering systems, etc. being hosted by Google and not the university’s own I.T. department but for the cost of $0 it’s not a bad trade-off. The other benefit mentioned there and in this article about Arizona State’s adoption of the Google Apps, is the amount of money and labour that can now be redirected to more forward looking projects than making sure that ageing email server the school purchased 8 years ago keeps from breaking down twice a day.

These web-based Apps will also constantly receive updates and improved functionality, which I can only see as the way ahead from the current model of purchasing a fairly static suite of software tools that can’t take advantage of evolving tools and technologies.

Speaking as someone who works at a school that has not yet established a central email system for the students, I can’t help but feel a little jealous of our friends on Lake Superior.