Good Enough?

What does “good enough” mean to you? Are you comfortable with experimentation at work and just seeing what happens? Or do you want your work to be perfect before you share it with the world? I think, obviously, I’m kind of in the first camp and happy with beta testing. This is the theme of today’s post: being “good enough” in various contexts.

So this article by Robert Capps, “The Good Enough Revolution: When Cheap and Simple is Just Fine” got me thinking about the concept of “good enough” and how it might relate to libraries. I especially like Capps’ point that accessibility will win out over quality when it comes to people choosing what products they want to buy and use. I think accessibility comes together with convenience. A lot of the time, it seems to me, that libraries wait to perfect a new service, news article or tool before implementing it under the belief that the library needs to be perceived as “perfect”. However, I would say that we need to follow the “good enough” revolution that is so prevalent in the technology sector with the release of Beta versions of software, products, etc. Perhaps if we become okay with being “good enough” and not perfect, we’ll actually be more responsive to users’ needs and more accessible for those in our communities. Just a thought.

Wikipedia is so ubiquitous that it seems almost pointless to talk about it, yet again. However the news from this article, “Wikipedia to Color Code Untrustworthy Text”, made me decide to talk about Wikipedia again. This will be a very interesting talking point in my classes this fall when we discuss evaluation of sources, especially with regard to crowdsourcing, reliability and authority. So is Wikipedia “good enough” to use in research? I think it depends on the research. Although I am still a little concerned about the thesis I picked up yesterday that had a Wikipedia article listed as the first reference in the works cited list.

I think with all the craziness in the economy (especially in California), uncertainty in employment and just general funk, it is difficult to maintain a hopeful and kind attitude to everyone we come into contact with at work and outside of work. But just because it is difficult does not give us an excuse to be rude. Check out this great article by Kate Sheehan, “On Kindness, Libraries & the Big Picture”. Very well-written and timely–I think it is a great reminder to be kind. I especially like her final line in looking at the big picture: “Ultimately, we’re running libraries. It’s not rocket surgery and our mistakes and problems are aggravating, but generally speaking, no kittens will die.” Being “good enough” in this instance is being kind–to yourself and others–and not killing kittens.

More later–have a great day.