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I'm receiving a few comments about this journal and the fact that those of us who 
receive it can see that there might be an agenda (especially when you see the 
advertising costs that are paid by those who are sponsoring the journal---ads run 
from $1600 per issue and up---remember, the journal is free to the educator / 
reader but it's being paid for by the advertisers who have their products promoted 
through the journal).  However, most of you are stating that you don't rely on just 
these types of journals to select materials, equipment or services....that's not 
the issue....the issue is:
Do your technology / network administrators read these journals?  Do they make 
purchases based upon what they read?  How about your administrators?  Do they also 
read these free journals and make decisions based upon what they see / read / hear? 
 Do they pay attention to the advertisements and see connections between the 
articles and the ads?  Have they clicked on the "online journal advertisement" 
areas to see who sponsors the journal--if it's free?
WE, as librarians, are taught to evaluate media, resources, materials, equipment, 
services, etc....but we know that many of our colleagues are not taught these 
things.  Most are taught how to be an "administrator" of specific areas or how to 
select or purchase items based upon recent trends (not necessarily based upon the 
"best" performances).    I'm not saying that these individuals don't use a variety 
of resources to evaluate the choices that are made, but I wonder if they (and we) 
are becoming so used to having information packaged in formats that "appear" to be 
professional that we accept them without question?  Do we evaluate the articles 
written in these journals?  Who are the authors? Are they independent writers or 
are they on the journal's staff?  What are their credentials?  If we feel that it 
isn't "our place" to point out these things to our administrators, teachers, or 
other professionals, then are we truly teaching information literacy?   Can this 
make a difference when we start collaborating with our teachers on research topics?
Many of our students know of no other world than what they see today---but many of 
US are overwhelmed with the amount of information that is thrown in our direction 
each day---much of which we do not know if it is true or false.  Thousands of us 
give away personal information without even thinking twice; emails and spam lure us 
into a false sense of security and then strip us of even our personal identity.  
This may be a wild example of what I'm trying to examine, but I believe that 
without professionals (such as librarians), many of our school administrators and 
fellow teachers can be fooled into believing what they find online (and even in 
print) is true and that many of the products that they see advertised are the 
answers to the problems that they face....unless we teach them how to evaluate 
their sources AND use more than one resource to examine an issue / item / research 
Yes, there are a variety of resources out there that we subscribe to (not freebies) 
that are also have an agenda (American Libraries, Knowledge Quest, etc.) BUT we 
also understand, as professionals, that these journals present to us information 
from individuals who are often practicing librarians who place their experiences in 
print for us to evaluate and learn from---not necessarily to buy a product that 
THEY have advertised in the journal.   We also know that when we find a resource 
that we want to know more about we ask others (i.e., LM_NET)....and as many of us 
know, our colleagues often ask us for information on similar "online communities" 
in their subject areas that share this much knowledge with one another.  We are 
fortunate in that we have one another to bounce ideas off of when we need to 
examine products and services; however, I would still like to have you consider the 
idea that maybe others around you might want to know how to evaluate "good and bad" 
information or how to examine resources for bias, agendas, or other issues that we 
teach our students when they come into our libraries.   This is not to say that we 
should be the "know it all" on campus or pretend that we know which journals 
everyone should or shouldn't be reading, but to share with our colleagues the idea 
that asking questions about something that they find online or in print isn't a bad's a smart way to conduct research, business, and educational 
Just a thought.....
Shonda Brisco, MLIS
Trinity Valley MS / US Librarian
Trinity Valley School
Fort Worth, TX  76132
817-321-0100 ext. 410
"Those who have the highest expectations for the web in terms of student research, 
are those who work
with it, and students, the least."  -- LM_NET librarian


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