Theory

Knowledge is actually hard to lose nowadays

A Point of View: Why didn't Harry Potter just use Google?
In a world that is overwhelmed with ways of accessing information, we must decide what to remember and what to forget, says historian Lisa Jardine.

The danger today is rather that we are reluctant to let go of any information garnered from however recondite a source. Every historian knows that no narrative will be intelligible to a reader if it includes all the detail the author amassed in the course of their research. A clear thread has to be teased from the mass of available evidence, to focus, direct and ultimately give meaning to what has been assembled for analysis. Daring to discard is as crucial as safe-guarding, for effective knowledge management and transmission today.

David Weinberger on Science and Big Data

David Weinberger on Science and Big Data

There are three basic reasons scientific data has increased to the point that the brickyard metaphor now looks 19th century. First, the economics of deletion have changed. Second, the economics of sharing have changed. The Library of Congress has tens of millions of items in storage because physics makes it hard to display and preserve, much less to share, physical objects. Third, computers have become exponentially smarter. John Wilbanks, vice president for Science at Creative Commons (formerly called Science Commons), notes that "[i]t used to take a year to map a gene. Now you can do thirty thousand on your desktop computer in a day. A $2,000 machine -- a microarray -- now lets you look at the human genome reacting over time."

The Future of Information Access

The future of information access, part 1 and The future of information access, part 2... from Jill Hurst-Wahl. Earlier this month, Sean Branagan, who is the director of the Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship in the Newhouse School of Public Communications, asked that she guest lecture in his class on the topic of the future of information access. The class is seeking input from a wide variety of industries on what the future may hold and its impact on communications (e.g., news). In her 1.5 hour lecture, she spoke about the following ideas, some of which are evident in today's environment...

Keyword searching is not organized knowledge

Organizing knowledge

At the LITA forum Karen Coyle stated that classification and knowledge organization seem to have fallen off the library profession's radar. She says we have spent considerable amounts of time and money on making modifications to our cataloging rules (four times in about fifty years), but the discussion of how we organize information for our users has waned. She illustrates what is at least her impression of this through some searches done against Google Books using its nGram service.

The End of Big Ideas?

to The Elusive Big Idea, from the NYTimes.

Lankes adds...

"People think the Internet is the enemy of libraries. It is in fact a great boon. Not only can librarians do their jobs better, the abundant information on the web makes people curious – a prime motivator of library use. No the enemies of libraries is the twin dilemma posed by anti-intellectuals on one hand, and the small thinking hipster on the other."

Topic: 

Codebook Shows an Encryption Form Dates Back to Telegraphs

If not for a computer scientist’s hobby of collecting old telegraph codebooks, a crucial chapter in modern cryptography might have been lost to history.

The collector is Steven M. Bellovin, a professor of computer science at the Columbia University School of Engineering and a former computer security researcher at AT&T Bell Laboratories. On a recent trip to Washington he found himself with a free afternoon and decided to spend it at the Library of Congress, looking for codebooks that weren’t in his collection.

Full article:
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/26/science/26code.html?_r=1&ref=technology

Topic: 

Librarians are Revolutionaries and Society Needs Us

Amy Buckland: the talk i meant to give:
"Believing in access to information as a human right means fighting for our communities. fighting to make sure the digital divide continues to shrink. fighting for privacy for our users. fighting against the entire concept of censorship. and lately, fighting for libraries. so this is my call to arms. librarians are revolutionaries, and society needs us. and no i don’t mean killing all the things with fire. true thought leaders, true revolutionaries, are willing to overthrow the system, or join it, if that’s what works best for their community."

Confronting the Future: Strategic Visions for the 21st Century Public Library

Confronting the Future: Strategic Visions for the 21st Century Public Library [PDF]
The report explores how emerging technologies combined with challenges, such as financial constraints as well as shifts in the nature and needs of library users, require libraries to evolve rapidly and make strategic decisions today that will influence their future for decades to come.

ALA President Roberta Stevens said OITP’s brief clearly lays out why public libraries are in the midst of a true revolution.

“The most recent development – the rapid growth in e-book usage – is another example of the fundamental changes affecting libraries. Such changes present many new opportunities for serving the public as well as challenges in how to best serve them,” Stevens said.

Avoiding The future of libraries and research being decided by Google

Great Post from Karen Coyle:
"It's not enough for libraries to gather, store and preserve huge masses of information resources. We have to be actively engaged with users and potential users, and that engagement includes providing ways for them to find and to use the resources libraries have. We must provide the entry point that brings users to information materials without that access being mediated through a commercial revenue model."

Topic: 

Why Don't More Authors and Publishers 'Get' Libraries?

If you're on twitter and you're a book person, you probably follow @glecharles, aka Guy LeCharles Gonzalez, the LoudPoet. If not, you should.

Here's a bit from a recent post from his blog:

Beyond all of the philosophical reasons to support libraries, there are three very concrete reasons I can think of:

  • Discoverability: With the volume of books being published each year growing exponentially, it’s increasingly difficult for any book to rise above the noise and connect with its audience. While “curation” is the buzzword du jour, librarians have been curating books forever, and there are far more libraries than bookstores in this country. Most library websites are better than your average independent booksellers’, too, and as ebooks become increasingly popular, being visible on more than Amazon, B&N and Goodreads will be a critical advantage. As ebook business models evolve, direct partnerships with libraries become an option, too, like the recent innovative deal between the Colorado Independent Publishers Association and Douglas County Libraries.
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