The Internet can do it all?

This article in the Guardian (which I found via Derek Morrison at Auricle) is an interesting follow-up to my post yeterday.

Apparently, the internet may be a suitable replacement for eight (?!) subject librarians at Bangor University. As ridiculous as I found the proposition that courseware can replace a professor, I guess some folks are buying into this idea.

Both articles hint at/mention the monetary analysis that comes into play in these decisions–administrators are looking at this from a cost-benefit analysis. I guess this kind of thinking has been plaguing higher education for decades as more and more schools try to find ways to run themselves more like businesses–where the almighty dollar and bottom line is the ruling force. I did a brief stint in the administration prior to coming back to UMW, so I do understand the financial challenges that schools face, but , as Morrison notes in his post about this article, Bangor is taking a huge risk when it places its chips on the internet instead of on highly-trained, dedicated, professional librarians.

And we wonder why so many folks in higher education find technology threatening?

Oh, and by the way, I completely agree with the librarian quoted in the article who basically says the presence of the internet in higher education increases our need for trained librarians–to help guide students through the complicated minefield of online research. Or, more simply put:

access to more information=need for more information experts.