The Problem with the web is…

Vinton CERF, a Google vice president and computer scientist, recently pointed out what those of us experienced in genealogy have known for a while: We don’t know if the information we find is accurate.

He added that knowing whether information is accurate didn’t start with the world wide web. ” The problem is,” he said, “this is true of books and every other medium” in an article in the July/August 2010 issue of the Smithsonian Magazine.

What we’ve got to do is what he suggested. We must learn to evaluate information. In genealogy, we talk about that in terms of the evidence we find usually evaluating the relative reliability of the source of the information. It’s something our hobby (addiction?) requires that we do.

It is also the use of such critical thinking, problem-solving skills which can keep our minds sharp as we grow more experienced (a nicer label for the aging process).

It’s the good life!

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