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The database paradox: Unlimited information and the false blessing of “objectivity”

Peter Suber (Professor, Departments of Philosophy and Computer Science, Earlham College, Richmond, Indiana.)

Library Hi Tech

ISSN: 0737-8831

Article publication date: 1 April 1992



It is possible that the universe of available information will become so large that some teachers might actually control their students' command of it the way the mapmaker controls the explorer in the wilderness. We must resist this temptation: our interest should not be to limit the alternatives that students see, but to make sure that they are able to make responsible judgments. We must educate students for intellectual autonomy, not discipleship, so they can navigate for themselves in the wilderness of information. We must present our considered views, of course, but for an audience that more and more will judge them in light of their alternatives. Enhanced access to information will make us comic figures if we present our own views as if our critics were silent. Educating students for autonomy is not as easy as typing keywords at a terminal and catching a cascade of citations in a basket; it requires real teaching.


Suber, P. (1992), "The database paradox: Unlimited information and the false blessing of “objectivity”", Library Hi Tech, Vol. 10 No. 4, pp. 51-57.




Copyright © 1992, MCB UP Limited

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