National Explainer: A Job for [Librarians] on the Demand Side of [Life]

This Post Over At PressThink got me to wondering about how "we" could work as "National Explainers." Who is "we"? Librarians? Bloggers? Both.

This American Life's great mortgage crisis explainer, The Giant Pool of Money, suggests that "information" and "explanation" ought to be reversed in our order of thought. Especially as we contemplate new news systems.
1. The Giant Pool of Money: Greatest Explainer Ever Heard
2. Explanation leads to information, not the other way around
3. A case of demand without supply?
4. Start with clueless journalists!

Invisibility Cloak Metamaterial Could Speed Up The Net

One of the big stories circulating around the web is that scientists are working on an invisibility cloak that bends light around it kinda like the Predator.

Turns out that the metamaterial used for this cloak might also have implications for the future of the online world. Tonnes of data is transmitted every second by light waves in fibre optic cables. When these light waves get where they're going, they have to be spread out and processed by bulky equipment. In the grand scheme of computing, this is a fairly slow process.

It could be sped up. Now if only there were something capable of spreading large amounts of light around it, kind of like the materials you'd need to make an invisibility cloak.

More from the Beeb.

Can the Elliott Wave Predict Library Usage Patterns?

Eric Schnell Wonders Can the Elliott Wave Predict Library Usage Patterns?

Assuming that there is something to the principle, I wonder if one looks at circulation, gate count, interlibrary loan, reference transactions if the Elliott Wave will show itself.

Would tenure pressures in public libraries make good changes?

rudibrarian Wonders Would tenure pressures in public libraries make good changes?

To make clear my assumption here: since public librarians are not pushed to produce in the same ways that tenure track academic librarians are pushed, little time, space, resources are provided to resolving thorny issues in public librarianship. Or so it seems?

LISTen: The Podcast -- Episode #31

Interviews! Yes, there are interviews this week. We rarely are able to fit in three but we did this week. First up was author David Michael Slater who discussed his writing career. Following Slater was the CEO of search engine Mahalo, Jason Calacanis. Calacanis talked about his company as well as the search engine field. Rounding out our session of interviews was Tim Darlington, Digital Services Manager at the library of Massey University. Darlington spoke about Massey University being the first of the academic institutions in New Zealand to have its library adopt a discovery layer such as Encore from Innovative Interfaces. The close to the podcast notes that further answers to the question about choosing librarianship are no being sought. The answers received will be presented by the program's engineer next week. The new question posed was: "Why do you stick with Twitter?" Replies are needed by 0700 UTC on Sunday, August 10, 2008. Folks outside the United States wishing to provide an MP3 recorded answer can use the powered tool below: simple private sharing
Folks within the United States can also use that tool in addition to being able to call 646-495-9201 and entering when prompted extension 61340. Materials can also be sent as an attachment via e-mail to [email protected]. A link to Blake's post about how the process of replying to the question is shown below. Referenced links: Blake's HOWTO Mahalo, the human-powered search engine The personal website of Jason Calacanis The new Encore interface to the catalog at Massey University A sampling of books by David Michael Slater shown in Website of David Michael Slater

The answer could determine your library's future

Don sent over a link to The answer could determine your library's future: As libraries battle popular search engines and Internet research services for users, the new book The Ultimate Question by Fred Reichheld says that one simple question determines an organization’s future: Would you recommend us to a friend? Learn more about this one-question survey and the latest efforts in library customer service and assessment.

Will the Next Generation of Library Systems be Customer Generated?

Eric Schnell Wonders Will the Next Generation of Library Systems be Customer Generated?

It's no wonder that library systems of tomorrow are really just library systems of yesterday. It seems to me that as a profession we are stuck in a bad relationship with our systems and vendors. We just can't figure out a way to get out of it. Are we happy that III will not give us APIs? Are we so insecure with our relationship with them that we are content to take what they give us? Do we feel we are that powerless?

Does the Medici Effect Work for Libraries?

Eric Schnell asks Does the Medici Effect Work for Libraries? "Libraries looking to become more innovative can do so by intentionally creating an environment/organization in the Medici Effect can occur. This can be accomplished very simply by strategic reassignment of staff in key areas as the candidate did."

Where has imagination gone?

Is librarianship a profession that nurtures creativity? Lately I am not so sure. Reaction to the recent do-it-yourself project released about modifying a talking teddy bear to speak your RSS feed of your tweets as well as your friends brings something to mind.

Taxonomy upgrade extras: 

The Web Time Forgot

On a fog-drizzled Monday afternoon, this fading medieval city feels like a forgotten place. Apart from the obligatory Gothic cathedral, there is not much to see here except for a tiny storefront museum called the Mundaneum, tucked down a narrow street in the northeast corner of town. It feels like a fittingly secluded home for the legacy of one of technology’s lost pioneers: Paul Otlet.

In 1934, Otlet sketched out plans for a global network of computers (or “electric telescopes,” as he called them) that would allow people to search and browse through millions of interlinked documents, images, audio and video files. He described how people would use the devices to send messages to one another, share files and even congregate in online social networks. He called the whole thing a “réseau,” which might be translated as “network” — or arguably, “web.”

Full story here.


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