The netizen's duty as cybrarian

The netizen's civic duty is to contribute to the information stored on the Internet. Preferably with accurate, relevant, and generally high quality content.

In order to contribute information constructively, one needs to find the relevant online systems that will store this new information. That is, online systems that accept submissions from arbitrary users as part of its main data - the equivalent of "crowdsourced" systems.

  • Wikipedia, the living encyclopedia ;-)
  • Archive.org: "universal archive of human knowledge" with film, live music recordings, audio recordings, and texts.
  • News: Slashdot, NowPublic, blogs, ad nauseam
  • Video: YouTube
  • Recipes:
  • Music bands and events: Facebook Pages (not really), MySpace (not really), Last.FM (my preference although still missing features)
  • Published literature: Library Thing, Amazon (for reviews, lists, etc.)
  • Published cinema: (none are quite there yet except for IMDB which is not crowdsourced)
  • Recorded music metadata: Discogs
  • Digital recordings: BitTorrent, Rapidshare, etc. (completely crowdsourced)

Linking information

In addition, a key skill is to insert relevant links between different online systems. Links create new routes of traffic on the Internet. When an article on Wikipedia has an external link to a certain site, we can expect that site to be heavily visited, and Wikipedia has therefore created new traffic towards it. The "Slashdot Effect" is an extreme example of this phenomenon.

When the cybrarian inserts links in content, he creates a structure in cyberspace. The link target is a resource that is expected to exist, with as much importance as the number of links that point towards it. Wikipedia is very important, and that's why we can expect that the $7.5M that it asks for will be donated to ensure its continuing operation.

Placement of the link is also crucial: placing a link on a heavy-traffic site, accessibly laid-out on the page ensures higher hits.