I was surfing the blogosphere yesterday and came across an article discussing copyright issues and some of the false hurdles it creates in creativity.

Although the article was very good, it was the use of this Plato quote from Phaedrus that caught my imagination. Plato was discussing the discovery of the alphabet and writing:
“…for this discovery of yours [writing] will create forgetfulness in the learners’ souls, because they will not use their memories; they will trust to the external written characters and not remember of themselves. The specific which you have discovered is an aid not to memory, but to reminiscence, and you give your disciples not truth, but only the semblance of truth; they will be hearers of many things and will have learned nothing; they will appear to be omniscient and will generally know nothing; they will be tiresome company, having the show of wisdom without the reality.”

I thought how much this is related to what we as librarians are fighting today. I thought I’d modify Plato’s words and have it be from a “Librarians” or “Researchers” point of view when talking an attorney using Google to do their legal research:

“… for this discovery of yours [Google] will create a laziness in the attorneys’ souls, because they will no longer desire to use their research skills; they will trust to the external Wikis and Blogs rather than remember their training. The results that the search engine returns through the use of a few keywords is not adding to their skills, but rather diminishes their abilities, and the answers they receive are not authoritative, but only attempt to give the appearance of authority; they will achieve millions of results and will skim the top few; they will think they are searching all of mankind’s knowledge, but in truth will barely scratch the surface; they will tire of the true researcher, as they believe the wisdom of Google is the new reality.”