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Steve Fesenmaier points us to the NYTimes The Year in Ideas.
Each December, The New York Times Magazine looks back at the year through an unusual lens: ideas. This issue is not just a compilation of the year's most significant and thought-provoking ideas. It's also a salute to the schemers, oddballs and other unorthodox geniuses toiling away in their labs and libraries, bent on changing the world armed with nothing but a brand-new big idea.
So what were the big ideas in Library & Information Science?
This is a great article about information literacy. Please read the entire thing and then think about it. Here's the first paragraph.
Despite having more information at our fingertips than any generation before, there is little evidence that our ability to make
good, timely decisions has improved. A musician is not someone with an instrument and a songbook. Similarly, to be "information
literate" - able to extract knowledge from the welter of choice - we need to know how to orchestrate the technologies and "listen"
for the results. As a society we are computer and internet literate yet information literacy lags. We have computer hardware and
software but often ignore "wetware" - the first, most important, cog in the information seeking machine is ourselves.
The article also provides a great definition of information literate seeker:
The information-literate seeker "understands cultural, ethical, legal and socioeconomic issues surrounding" IT and "follows laws, regulations, institutional policies and etiquette related to the access and use of information resources".
" Using the internet at school can lead to teenagers losing their confidence and becoming frustrated, a new study by a North lecturer claims."
"Most teenagers lack the more complex information gathering skills necessary for internet searching, ultimately using the internet inefficiently, says Dr Alison Pickard of Northumbria University."
"Dr Pickard has just completed a four-year research study into the subject and will present her findings at the fifth International Northumbria Conference on Performance Measurement in Libraries and Information Services next week." (from Newcastle)
SomeOne writes "Excess of Virtue, By Lowry Bowman, says the emergence of the Christian Right, the national tumult over abortion, creationism versus evolution, the Coalition for Better Television, library censorship, prayer in public schools- all such matters-can be seen in microcosm by looking at what happened in a small, rural community in the mountains of southwestern Virginia. They led to political chaos with neighbor against neighbor, clergy against clergy, and to fist-fights over such secular matters as land use planning. And payment of real estate taxes, too. It began over a profound morality play.
Here\'s A Short One [NOT Free] from The Chronicle of Higher Education on a recent essay contest sponsored by Fairleigh Dickinson University and the New Jersey Association of Colleges and Research Libraries spawned such visions by asking what college libraries will be like in 2012.
Steven Bell, the library director at Philadelphia University, thinks some of the essays mistakenly disregarded the library building in favor of virtual spaces. \"I think in the future the building will play a more prominent role in how the library will reconfigure itself as a cultural center on campus,\" he says.
Lee Hadden writes " From Science News, "Scripted Brains: Learning to read evokes hemispheric trade-off." From
childhood through adolescence, the process of learning to read involves an
amplification of specific types of left-brain activity and a dampening of
right-brain responses, a new brain-imaging study finds.
The complexities of pediatric brain imaging have precluded studies
that trace the neural development of cognitive skills acquired during
childhood. Using a task that isolates reading-related brain activity and
minimizes confounding performance effects, we carried out a cross-sectional
functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study using subjects whose
ages ranged from 6 to 22 years. We found that learning to read is
associated with two patterns of change in brain activity: increased
activity in left-hemisphere middle temporal and inferior frontal gyri and
decreased activity in right inferotemporal cortical areas. Activity in the
left-posterior superior temporal sulcus of the youngest readers was
associated with the maturation of their phonological processing abilities.
These findings inform current reading models and provide strong support for
Orton's 1925 theory of reading development."
Martin Raish points to an Interesting One @ First Monday. Michael A. Keller, Victoria A. Reich, and Andrew C. Herkovic write about how libraries in the future will undertake local control, especially for long-term preservation and accessibility of digital as well as analog collections.
"We have observed a propensity for information technologists to predict
with complete confidence the imminent demise of libraries. The seeds of
this prognostication may date back to Vannevar Bush's seminal paper of
1945, but the forest of such predictions has grown thick in the past
decade. In our observation, the confidence with which such predictions
are made is inversely proportional to the predictor's professional
habitual use of published information. . . .
So to some extent the question of what is a library anymore could be one
about which, "if you have to ask the question, you wouldn't understand
the answer." Our intention is to attempt the answer anyway."
A librarian without a library: the role of the librarian in an electronic age?, by Carol Newton-Smith, and Sue White, takes a look forward, from August 1995, to see what the development of electronic networks will do to libraries.
This paper will examine the role of the librarian in an increasingly networked environment. Will librarians survive in the age of electronic information or will they become \'endangered species\'?
\"Electronic networks offer the opportunity for improved access to information. This will only happen if the enduser is empowered to use new technology to access information. Our clients no longer have to enter into the library to obtain the information that they need. Librarians are in an excellent position to act as to information facilitators, educators and collaborators.\"
Technology Review has An Interesting Story by Nicholas Negroponte, co-founder and back-page columnist for Wired magazine, who says expertise is overrated, and innovation is inefficient, because it is undisciplined, contrarian, and iconoclastic.
He tries to answer the questions what makes innovation happen, and just where do new ideas come from?
"Our biggest challenge in stimulating a creative culture is finding ways to encourage multiple points of views. Many engineering deadlocks have been broken by people who are not engineers at all. This is simply because perspective is more important than IQ."
There\'s a discussion going on at LIBREF-L about a reference department thinking about changing its name to something including the word \"information\". In one of the replies, Victor Lieberman of the University of North Dakota made a statement that I instantly fell in love with:
Think of somebody staring out at the night sky. A computer says that you have gazillions of pieces of information at your fingertips, all the stars in the heaven are there for you to see, nothing hidden. A librarian will be willing to point out to you that those particular stars, over there, are the big dipper.
That, I believe, in a nutshell, is the difference between \"information\" and \"knowledge.\"
To me, this speaks to the core of librarianship, and many of our current issues can be traced back to this concept. Why do we need more libraries, with more books, rather than just letting everyone do their own Internet searching? Because libraries are staffed by people with knowledge, people who know how to sift through the data and come up with value. Why do librarians need Master\'s degrees? Because surviving the rigors of a graduate program, regardless of what is taught, proves that a librarian has the skills necessary to find and organize information and synthesize knowledge. Why should a librarian be paid at an equal level with other professionals? Because, like engineers, we can take raw information and make it meaningful, manipulating it in unique ways and producing not just a collection of data, but something entirely new.
Read Victor\'s whole post.