THE DIGITAL LIBRARY OF BABEL OR THE ART OF HANDLING KNOWLEDGE RESOURCES ON WEB 2.0
Danube University Krems (AUSTRIA)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2009 Proceedings
Publication year: 2009
Conference name: 2nd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 16-18 November, 2009
Location: Madrid, Spain
Abstract:Web 2.0 has introduced a paradigm shift in handling with information closely connected with the acquisition of knowledge. Theoretically, everybody has open access to a wide range of information and, at the same time, everybody has a chance to contribute content while placing web sites or other documents in the Web. This democratization of knowledge, however, is not entirely free of controversy. The coexistence of factually correct and trivial information alerts the opponents. They detect an information overload and fear the demise of classical education.
The short story “The Library of Babel” by the Argentine author and librarian Jorge Luis Borges describes a universe in the form of a vast library containing all possible books. In her study “Borges 2.0: From Text to Virtual Worlds” (2007) Perla Sassón-Henry analyses Borges' innovative ideas about reading, writing, the role of the author, the role of the reader, and shows how Borges anticipates hypertext and Internet: "In 'The Library of Babel', Borges’s portrays man’s inability to find the infinite and perfect book. Thus, Borges seems to prophesy the predicament of those in the twenty-first century who attempt to find all the answers to their problems in the Internet. From this perspective, Borges’s 'The Library of Babel', representing the limitations of printing, may be read today as a warning about the limitations of hypermedia systems (Sassón-Henry 2007:53)." The center of Borges’ library such as that of the World Wide Web can be seen anywhere or nowhere, which does nothing to the cause. Of particular importance is, actually, not whether the center is found or not, but the traveled way and the ideas developed during reading. This search for meaning in the library as in the virtual space makes route worthwhile. It is the readers’ turn, because they have the task to add importance to what to them appears as chaos.
Based on this thoughts which one can find in Borges’ short story, the research project “The Digital Library of Babel” addresses the following questions:
- How is it possible to locate high-quality web sites in the overabundance of web resources?
- What’s the contribution that Social Software can provide in this context?
- What makes web sites reliable and trustworthy sources of information?
The main goal of this research project is to develop strategies for handling knowledge resources on the web considering theoretical and practical implications. The main focus is to discuss the application of evaluation methods and to demonstrate how social software, e.g. social bookmarking or social tagging, supports the search process and helps to find web sites with qualitative and trustworthy information.
The results of this research project and some selected strategies will be presented at the conference.
Keywords: information research, web site evaluation, social software.