Theory

When was the age of information?

My principal connection to the field of history is through an undergraduate course I co-teach called “History of Information.” It’s a course that seeks to take students from Lascaux to WhatsApp and beyond in fifteen weeks: its key transitional phrase, as my colleague notes, is “moving right along.” The naivety of such an enterprise probably reveals to the audience of this blog that neither of the teachers is a historian.

From When was the age of information? | JHIBlog

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Why science is so hard to believe

It’s their very detachment, what you might call the cold-bloodedness of science, that makes science the killer app. It’s the way science tells us the truth rather than what we’d like the truth to be. Scientists can be as dogmatic as anyone else — but their dogma is always wilting in the hot glare of new research. In science it’s not a sin to change your mind when the evidence demands it. For some people, the tribe is more important than the truth; for the best scientists, the truth is more important than the tribe.

From Why science is so hard to believe - The Washington Post

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The digital is a place to hide

The worlds that went paperless first were not, it turns out, those designed to make a more open world. Rather, they were, without exception, communities deeply invested in the control of information. They wanted information to be under their control more than they cared about its circulation on your behalf. Amid all our optimism about what digitization can do, this seems like an origin story to remember.

http://blogs.ssrc.org/tif/2015/01/07/the-digital-is-a-place-to-hide/

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The Stupidity of Computers

The Stupidity of Computers
The good news is that, because computers cannot and will not “understand” us the way we understand each other, they will not be able to take over the world and enslave us (at least not for a while). The bad news is that, because computers cannot come to us and meet us in our world, we must continue to adjust our world and bring ourselves to them. We will define and regiment our lives, including our social lives and our perceptions of our selves, in ways that are conducive to what a computer can “understand.” Their dumbness will become ours.

http://nplusonemag.com/the-stupidity-of-computers

David Lankes on Nerd Absurd

This week’s episode is super cool. We got David Lankes, a professor of information studies at Syracuse University (also known as the world’s best public speaker), to talk to us about libraries. We thought we’d have a grand debate on the topic of libraries and electronic media, but what we actually had was a wide-ranging discussion about knowledge and access to knowledge. We’re wicked happy that we got such a great guy on our show, and we’ll happily have him back on any time his little heart desires!

Listen to full piece here.

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Finding A "Grand Challenge" For Libraries

This grand challenge would require librarians, information scientists, telecommunication experts and specialists on space flight. The lessons learned could be applied to earth-bound libraries and could re-envision how libraries are connected to each other and to the resources that they use. It could also impact other industries and how they communicate or share information. The work could place libraries and librarians front and center in a number of communities because we would need to be involved in creating the solution.

The library in 2020...

The library in 2020 is the last bastion of truth. Sure, you can search yottabytes of free data by simply batting an eyelash. But it's dangerous to believe what you see through the iGlass lens. As you learned the hard way back in the Facebook era, if you're not paying for it, you are the product. That research study about the safety and efficacy of Lipitor Lollipops™ was sponsored by a subsidiary of a subsidiary of Pfizer. That consultant you almost hired wrote his own customer reviews. And while you can't tell for sure because the algorithms are opaque, it sure seems like the first page of web search is pay-to-play. You routinely skip past the top ten results.

What Things Are Interesting to Librarians AND Our Patrons

David Lee King with an interesting question, what do we think is important? Do our users agree?
Think about some of these things libraries have, for example:
-Library Catalog – interesting to our customers?
-Article Databases – interesting to our customers?
-Periodicals reading room …
-Reference desk …
I think our goal should be two-fold:
1.spend time, money, and expertise on stuff our customers care about
2.do stuff that our customers care about

Brainstorming the library of the future

Jill Hurst-Wahl: "At this lunch event, I would like to gather as many of this organization's employees as possible. Then I would like invite two students for each employee. (So twice as many students as employees.) Why? Students are used to thinking creatively and I want to "up" the creative thinking in the room, but not totally overwhelm this organization's employees."

MIT Economist: Here's How Copyright Laws Impoverish Wikipedia

What do copyright law, baseball, Wikipedia and Google have in common? Read on:

Everyone knows that the flow of information is complex and tangled in society today -- so thank goodness for copyright law! Truly, no part of our national policy is as coherent, in the interest of the public or as updated for the Internet age as that gleaming tome in the US Code.

Not.

But one MIT economist, who recently presented his work recently at Wikimania, has found a way to test how the copyright law affects one online community -- Wikipedia -- and how digitized, public domain works dramatically affect the quality of knowledge.

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