I'm sure you've all heard the parable that if you give a room full of monkeys a bunch of typewriters, in time, one of them will bang out the works of Shakespeare.
It's been used to describe various aspects of the Internet, usually to mock it, especially with the idea that most of what is online are the monkey's non-Hamlet rejects. But it leads one to wonder: which non-"Hamlet" draft did the monkeys themselves like best?
In "Information and Equity" Lievrouw and Farb conclude that to achieve some degree of equity, information professionals should "develop the ability to interact with diverse individuals and groups so that they can facilitate, broker or navigate those groups' various interests and practices -- again, to achieve whatever people may value doing or being, in whatever contexts and to whatever degree people consider important. Information practice should include not only indentifying and accessing existing resources, and teaching people to be 'users' of those established resources; it will also require the ability to recognize and bring into play a heterogeneous range of social, cultural and documentary information resources -- interpersonal and family networks, informal links among experts, and sources of local and universal knowledge."
The question I have is: If access and education were unversally available (and yes, that's a big if with lots of issues in and of itself, but is encouraged earlier in L&F's 'implications' section ) why wouldn't this just happen on its own? If so, shouldn't the question be "how can information professionals get out of the way?" A libertarian distribution model to be sure (if you can distribute information) -- but is there any other practical way to diversify content and interest online?
By the way, try the Monkey-Hamlet thing out for yourself