Shopping is a way of interacting with the world around us

Shopping is a way of interacting with the world around us: "This means searching becomes a way for us to interact with the world around us, an experiental horizon where certain aspects loom large in the foreground while others are pushed into the background," he explains.

In particular, his research focuses on what is actually going on when we are "window shopping", i.e. strolling round and "just looking" at things without having a clear idea of what we are looking for. The people he has been studying search patiently for certain things, but more than anything, they are searching for the feeling of having found something that is better and finer that they could have imagined. At this point they have stretched the boundaries of what would be reasonable to expect to find.

Thinking about the future of museums: fourteen key issues

Over at Trends in the Living Networks Ross Dawson participated in a Future Directions Forum at Sydney's Powerhouse Museum, which after 20 years in its current location is looking to the future. He says The session raised many interesting questions and thoughts. His points below represent his perspectives as well as reflections on issues raised by people at forum. While the issues below were raised in the context of museums in areas like science, technology, and design, I think you'll be able to connect some of them to libraries as well.

Doing Away With Visual Real Estate

Most of us deal with a computer every single day. Some of us enjoy the experience more than others but we all share one common need.

Visual real estate.

In other words, we have one or more monitors and using those we can look at a given number of things. After a certain number, depending on your setup, you hit a point of diminishing returns. In other words, if you open too many windows, you'll clutter up your screen(s) to the point that they're unreadable.

Well, this could fix that. It could also have fascinating implications for the storage and retrieval of data. Think of it as microfilm 2.0.

DailyLit and Wikipedia

DailyLit, which offers up chunks of books on a daily basis, is now offering information from Wikipedia on various topics and bits of information.

RFID Testbed Can Read Hundreds of Tags Simultaneously

As many libraries make the transition to RFID tags, the implications of processing high volumes of materials become larger. The greatest thing about RFID tags is that, with proper technology, you can read multiple tags at the same time. Barcodes still require a one at a time read.

Now a new technology allows not only the simultaneous reading of hundreds of RFID tags, but also the simultaneous reading of different types of RFID antennae with the ability to assess and acquire information on new tags previously unknown to the reader.

Hundreds of items at a time? Sign this circ jerk up!

The Guide To Optimised Thinking

When it comes to the gathering, coalescing, and analysis of data, most places can't compete with the United States CIA. I think a lot of library types would like to know some of their secrets, at least when it comes to data and information processing.

Well, now you can.

The CIA recently released a book titled Psychology of Intelligence Analysis. Obviously, the book is aimed more towards people working for or with the CIA, but there's some interesting bits in their for the information science nerd too. The book is available online in its full text glory if you've got the interest.

via Mind Hacks.

The rise of Literature?

Here's the argument: contemporary mainstream fiction is very different from the storytelling of the deep past because of a demand side shift. Women consume most fiction today, and their tastes differ, on average, from those of men. How do they differ? To be short about it men are into plot, while women are into character. This means that modern literary fiction emphasizes psychological complexity, subtly and finesse. In contrast, male-oriented action adventure or science fiction exhibits a tendency toward flat monochromatic characters and a reliance on interesting events and twists.

The History of TEMPEST

One never knows how and where information may be encoded.

Take the case of an Bell telephone engineer back in the early 40s. He noticed that an oscilliscope seemed to spike every time the brand new, fancy, and highly top secret encrypted teletype machine coded a letter. He figured out that, if one studies the spikes, they could read the plain text the machine was encrypting.

And thus was born TEMPEST, the US Government's top secret method of gathering information based solely on the electromagnetic waves that all electronic devices give off. Newly de-classified documents recount the history of this still highly confidential information gathering system.

Sitcoms Die, People Start Thinking Again

An interesting post over at Boing Boing about Clay Shirky and his book Here Comes Everybody. He postulates that the death of the sitcom and the lackluster shows on TV have driven people to other things, including the ability to think again.

Need proof? Look at Wikipedia.

So if you take Wikipedia as a kind of unit, all of Wikipedia, the whole project--every page, every edit, every talk page, every line of code, in every language that Wikipedia exists in--that represents something like the cumulation of 100 million hours of human thought.

Economic downturn could be uplifting for libraries

Alice Says the economic downturn could be uplifting for libraries....
The economic downturn could be just the thing for libraries to use as a springboard to make their case to the American public:
1. We are a vital city service--as important as electricity or clean water.
2. Use us in good times and in bad.
3. We welcome ALL the people of the community here for technology access.
4. Hope lives here, at the library. Hope for improvement.


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