Bloggers and Accuracy

In today’s fast paced world of constant information, bloggers can provide a great service by exposing news stories and disseminating information that has not yet been picked up by the mainstream media. People witnessing an event or talking to someone with unique insight can immediately blog about it to quickly provide this information to readers around the world.

However, as consumers of this content, we need to be wary of the source. This recent article on Digg reminded me of the accuracy issues that can occur in the blogosphere and with other user created content. The headline reads, “Open Source Not Ready For Academic Prime Time, Study Reveals”, and it links to a blog, which provides more “details” about the study. As an open source expert and someone who likes to dig into the story behind the story, I decided to read more about this study, since it did not fit with my experiences in the industry.

The study was published by the Alliance for Higher Education Competitiveness (A-HEC), and they have already posted several clarifications on their website. Here are the first 2 of 8 points that were clarified:

“There have been several erroneous blogs on the Internet that were created by folks that have not read this study nor understand its focus. Here are a few clarifications:

1. The study is only about higher education use of open source. It does not apply to schools or K-12.

2. The study is not negative on open source. Use of open source infrastructure (Linux, Apache, MySQL) is proceeding quite nicely in higher ed as in the commercial space. The study quantifies that progress. The also study points out that Higher Ed specific open source applications (course management systems, portals, student portfolios) have enormous interest right now. However, the average institution seems to be a long way from adopting these. The study details exactly where we are and why. This information is helpful in addressing these issues.” (A-HEC).

As an active blogger, I believe that blogging is a great way to quickly disseminate information without relying on the mainstream media to report on it; however, the consumer should consider the source of the information carefully and maybe do some additional research before drawing too many conclusions.