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Candy-Coated Electronics

Lee Hadden writes " There is an interesting article on applying library and information
science concepts to the computer field. See the article in the April
15th Wall Street Journal, "Candy-Coated Electronics,"

By DAVID GELERNTER.

on the editorial page.

"...Today's standard
file system was born in
the '70s -- never
intended for
21st-century demands.
Nowadays it is
hopelessly outclassed.
The desktop interface
(that pint-sized parking
lot for icons) is in
tough shape too. So we
have search engines and
finder programs and
document managers and
other specialized
applications, operating
like counter clerks at
an ancient library where
the books are all hidden
on collapsing shelves in
the back. But counter
clerks are no answer.
All the important design
requirements apply to
the bookshelf itself --
to the basic
architecture of
information storage. We
need unity and
simplicity."

Read more about it at WSJ.com

(subscription required)

"

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Are we doomed yet?

Sheldon Pacotti makes the case in Salon that a completely open society, rather than a government crackdown, may be the best chance for surviving terrorism by means of nanobots, engineered biological viruses, or other self-replicating technology.

"What happens, in a police bureaucracy, if someone releases a nanotech plague into the environment? If the police can suppress information on the structure of the nanobots, then only a handful of government bureaus and hand-picked researchers may be allowed to work on a cure. Millions could die waiting for the bureaucracy to solve the problem. On the other hand, if the molecular structure of the pest is published worldwide, anyone with the expertise could help design defensive technology."

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Cambridge University Library in Joint Repository Project

"Cambridge University Library and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Libraries have embarked on a joint project to establish a digital repository for Cambridge University. The two libraries, working with Cambridge University Computing Service, will jointly receive £1.7 million over two years from the Cambridge-MIT Institute (CMI) in order to install an open source computer system called 'DSpaceTM'. The project will be led in Cambridge by the University Librarian, Peter Fox, and at MIT by the Director of MIT Libraries, Ann Wolpert."

"For some time we in the University Library have been concerned about the amount of digital material being created in the University apparently without any provision being made for its long-term preservation and access. DSpace now provides us with the opportunity to offer such a service to our academic colleagues, and we are delighted to have the opportunity of developing it in collaboration with MIT Libraries", said Peter Fox." (from Managing Information)

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DRM Primer

\"You start up a DVD movie and before the film starts, you encounter an annoying advertisement. But when you try to fast-forward past the commercial, your player doesn\'t respond.\"
\"You can play your new audio CD on your stereo system, but when you insert it into the CD drive on your Macintosh computer [or PC for that matter], the CD doesn\'t work.\"
DRM. Have so few letters ever inspired such fear in the hearts of librarians?

On the desk, I was flipping though the April 8, 2003 PC Magazine that was patiently waiting to be processed. Inside I found a good little article on DRM. If you don\'t know about DRM you might want to learn about it. For starters it is an acronym for Digital Rights Management. But I don\'t need to sit here insulting your intelligence. Read the article, which happens to have a nice DRM webliography.

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The wide, wild world of ibiblio

Anne writes "The ever knowledgeable Gary Price has a link to an article about the ibiblio project at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Here's the article, and, ibiblio; and to Gary's Resource Shelf. "

From the article:

"Surfing the ibiblio Web site is like having a conversation with an eccentric intellectual with good intentions to enlighten but little tact or organization."

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Let\'s Hurry Up with the WiFi, Borders Is!

Alleged menace to public (and academic?) libraries, Borders Group, has teamed with Intel to provide \"high-speed wireless Internet access to customers at more than 400 Borders Books & Music® locations nationwide.\" Nowhere in full article does it state if this access will be available to the public for free of for a cost. Borders has hooked up with Intel® for this venture. Intel® is promoting their Intel® Centrino(TM) mobile technology not only in these outlets, but also Hilton hotels and resorts. [link goes to article and list of hotels] and McDonald\'s.If libraries can\'t be on the cutting edge of this technology, we at least need to be ready and implement it before it gets totally mainstream. While I wish libraries could introduce this technology to everyone, it isn\'t happening that way. The news about Intel® promoting their product is heartening, though, becasue I\'m ready to be connected all of the time. See Wireless Librarian for articles and a list of libraries implementing wireless technology.

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Preparing for Computer Disasters

A Chronicle Of Higher Ed. Article on planning for the worst.
They say for every story of how an institution was able to save its data, a professor somewhere has a horror story about losing years of research after a fire, natural disaster, or a server crash. And while most large universities religiously back up their main computer servers every night, some only save data on smaller servers once a week.

""The scary part is if you're planning for this disaster, and it fails in the calm moment, what's going to happen in a real disaster?" Mr. Ellis says. "Everybody talks about backup, but the really important part is how long it takes to do a restore."

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A Kfsource Interview with Mark Webbink, General Counsel

David Goldman writes "Kfsource.com recently talked with with Mark Webbink, General Counsel for Red Hat Inc. Red Hat is the largest and arguably the most recognized provider of open source technology in the United States. We asked Mr. Webbink about why open source software is important to librarians and legal professionals, wheter the GPL (GNU Public License) is truly anti-competitive as some have maintained as well as the issues surrounding the controversial DMCA. Mr. Webbink also responds critics who claim, open source software is by nature "viral"..."

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Public Floods Copyright Office With Fair Use Requests

"The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) says it helped 245 consumers submit comments to the Librarian of Congress and the U.S. Copyright Office requesting protection for certain ordinary uses of CDs and DVDs. The consumer comments support the EFF's Dec. 18 request to the government to grant four exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) in order to permit bypassing of certain technological protection measures for copyrighted works."

"Currently, the DMCA prevents users from making the following four uses of some digital media: listening to copy-protected music CDs on certain stereos and personal computers; viewing foreign movies on DVDs on U.S. players due to region-coding restrictions; skipping through commercials on some movie DVDs; and viewing and making fair uses of movies that are in the public domain and released on encrypted DVDs." (from Internet.com)

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Study lauds open-source code quality

CNET Says a consulting group that scrutinizes the source code underlying several operating systems has found that a key networking component of Linux is of higher quality in several ways than that of competing closed-source software.
I'd love to see this repeated in other areas.

"Open-source applications...allow anyone to look at the source code. For major open-source applications, such as the Linux kernel, the Apache Web server, etc., dozens or hundreds of people will read the source code either to learn how it works, make modifications or look for mistakes," Trappe said. "Because the development process is also open, these independent reviewers can report the defects they find and even suggest appropriate fixes."

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