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A Thoughtful Response to Michael Gorman

:: As previously noted, Michael Gorman is receiving considerable, and frankly, well-deserved criticism for his Library Journal column, Revenge of the Blog People. Feedback is coming from not only librarians, but those outside the field. This response to Gorman's column in the LA Times and his LJ column, by non-librarian CJ Nieman in LA, is one of the best I've read yet. It is thoughtful and articulate, and I encourage you to read the complete post, Nieman writes:

Digital books will never be a perfect substitute for real books, but they can complement each other. No one is suggesting replacing one with the other.

Michael Gorman needs to trust readers to know how to read a book the way they see fit, and not worry about how the book is presented.

He was heavily criticized online for his views, and he wrote a response titled "Revenge of the Blog People!" In the piece, Gorman dismissed his detractors, many of whom were bloggers who characterized him as a Luddite. He also makes several subtle insults at blogging culture and those he believes are obsessed with technology.

The reason Gorman's opinions have a slightly musty odor to them -- something that smells of technophobia -- is because he believes advocates of digital libraries, such as Google, want electronic media to "supplant and obliterate all previous forms," according to his Los Angeles Times article.

His comments are deeply rooted in his profession as a librarian.

I'm not knocking the trade -- I have a lot of respect for librarians as patrons of literature. They have an admirable and often thankless job.

But his suggestion that Google and others like them want to replace brick-and-mortar libraries is the sound of an alarmist.

I'm not an apologist for technology -- I may have a degree in Management Information Systems, but my difference with Gorman is in how information is used, not in what mode it is delivered.

Gorman should remember that the book itself is a technology -- and it remains the greatest technology in human history.

So I chose to make remarks here in a blog -- another technology -- because I think of a blog as another way to deliver information efficiently, nothing more, nothing less.

LIS News has gathered together some of the responses to Gorman's column.

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