Wall Street Journal Gets Rid Of Its Research Librarian

from the what-are-they-doing-instead? dept

Apparently, the Wall Street Journal has eliminated the two research librarian jobs at the paper with no plans to replace them. The idea, apparently, is that reporters should be doing their own damn research from now on. I actually have rather mixed feelings on the news. At a time when newspapers should be focused on providing a better product to remain relevant, you have to wonder if removing research services makes sense. However, the question remains as to whether or not the position is really needed. This is not -- at all -- to suggest that research librarian aren't quite good at what they do and provide a truly valuable service. But, it is true that the tools for research have become much cheaper and accessible for anyone.

And, therein lies the challenge. If the WSJ were willing to replace the lost librarians with a crowd-sourced or "open" research process, that might be quite interesting. While not let the community help with the research? In many ways that could be a lot more effective and useful. But, somehow I doubt that's what's going to happen. Traditional newspapers still have this fear of tipping off anyone as to what they're working on until the "final story" is ready to go. So, they'll probably just remain as closed as usual. At the same time, though, why not create a more centralized "research" service that various news organizations can tap into, so that they don't duplicate efforts. By making more information more accessible, shouldn't it improve researching ability?
Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: library, newspapers, research
Companies: wall street journal


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  1. identicon
    Mike K, 12 Feb 2009 @ 6:47am

    I think the author of this article (and the editors of the WSJ) do not really understand how much better a Research Librarian is than your average person at researching a topic. A Research Librarian is an expert in finding all of the relevant information on a particular topic; knowing which reference materials and indexes to check before concluding a search. You cannot reasonable expect everyone to learn how to do in-depth research on their own. No more than a police station could lay-off all of the Squad Car mechanics and expect the officers to maintain their own squad cars.

    Most people simply Google or Wikipedia a topic and consider their research complete.

    Google, Wikipedia and other Internet based search tools are no better than the people who created the content. Most of whom are not experts in their field. Remember that most peer reviewed publications are not available electronically without very expensive subscriptions. Research Librarians (via their library) have access to those publications along with the multitudes of information that has never been published in an electronic form.

    Don't get me wrong, I love Wikipedia, and every Wiki out there, but when you are operating on a professional level, you need to conduct your research in a professional manner.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Make this the First Word or Last Word. No thanks. (get credits or sign in to see balance)    
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Discord

The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...

Loading...
Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it
Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.