Monday, March 12, 2007


In response to perceived liberal bias in Wikipedia, Andrew Schlafly started Conservapedia. The New York Times article, Conservapedia: The Word Says It All, has more information on this "answer" to Wikipedia.

Conservapedia has a long list of Examples of Bias in Wikipedia, and the list has started me thinking. What is considered "liberal bias," really? And what do we do when the term is thrown as an accusation at people and places (like librarians and libraries) that try hard to remain neutral, especially in terms of what information we make available to the public? I'm doubtful that the average library would be considered less biased, according to Schlafly, than Wikipedia, and think it will be a sad day when we have liberal and conservative libraries (one for Al Franken and one for Ann Coulter?) rather than places where opposing viewpoints can be found side by side.

I spend considerable effort identifying my own biases so that they don't affect my collections or patron interactions, and I try very hard not to privilege one point of view over another in my work. I know this doesn't make me conservative. I worry that, in a world where anything that isn't conservative is liberal, my attempts at objectivity make me and the library where I work liberal by default. And libraries can't be liberal (or conservative) by default or we all lose out.

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