Predicting The Future

Lee Hadden writes " There is an interesting article in the American Scientist that
discusses predictions made in 1986 about the future of science, and what
became true and what did not over the next 17 years. There is some
interesting speculation about publishing and libraries- it is seldom done
when some one makes predictions that they re-visit their ideas and show
what came true and what did not.
See: American Scientist, Volume 91, May-June 2003, pages 250-253.
"Science in 2006, Revisited: From grid computing to genomics, the science
fiction of 1986 is fast becoming science fact. There remains equal reward
in the signal and in the noise." By Lewis M. Branscomb
"On one point I was actually too pessimistic (although literally
accurate) in predicting that by 2006 automatic language translation would
"remain incompletely solved." Finally, I correctly predicted the confusion
that would engulf tenure and promotion committees in their attempt to
define publication so they could decide who should perish. Even in 1986 it
was clear that authors would become publishers, and scientists would not
wait to learn the latest research advances until the print materials
arrived in the snail mail."

Read more about it at:
And the original 1986 American Scientist article



Taking computer technology to the extreme

Steve Fesenmaier writes "GPS, satellite phones, and wearable computers have allowed explorers from the poles to transmit images of each step. Great picts and websites for extreme explorers.

NYTimes Has The Story "


All we need to digitize

Gary Deane sent over An interesting Article on A Swiss company called 4DigitalBooks. They make a high-quality, high-speed scanning system with a cradle that handles page turning and protects the book being scanned. The pages are displayed on a nearby screen, where they can be processed in all sorts of elegant ways, from enhancing their images or photographs to smoothing out the curvature caused by the book's shape.


Library Gets Unhooked

Cliff Urr writes "A brief but nice article on a wireless partnership between a library, a sandwich maker and ISP:

"Downtowners hanging out at Wooldridge Square Park, across from the Travis Co. Courthouse, no longer need to leave work behind when enjoying an alfresco lunch. The Austin Public Library has partnered with local Internet provider WiFi-Texas to turn Wooldridge Square -- along with the neighboring Austin History Center and John Henry Faulk Central Library -- into "hot spots" for free public wireless Internet access."

For rest of story see: "


Educators protest government plan to alter popular research database

"Academics are worried that a popular online database covering virtually every topic in the field of education could become much tougher to use under a Bush administration effort to restructure it."

"At issue is a Department of Education proposal to consolidate the Educational Resources Information Center."

"ERIC, as it is called, is a treasure trove of research material about education: It includes abstracts of more than 1 million journal articles, research reports and teaching guides, among other types of literature." (from AP)


Koha wins Trophée du Libre free-software award

According to Paul Poulain, the Free library automation system Koha has earned the Trophées du libre award for Best Application for Public Agencies. The competition site should have an official list of winners soon. Congratulations to the Koha team for this and for their upcoming version 2.0 release!


Far-Flung Artworks, Side by Side Online

"Gift shops and poster stores often claim to sell "museum-quality reproductions" of important artworks. But the Amico Library, an Internet archive with digital copies of more than 100,000 paintings, sculptures and photographs, can use the phrase without fear of contradiction. The online library is the result of an unusual collaboration of 39 museums, from goliaths like the Metropolitan Museum of Art to smaller institutions like the Newark Museum, that supply the library with images far more vivid and detailed than those typically found on the Web."

"As members of the Art Museum Image Consortium, or Amico, the museums are responsible for stocking the library with high-resolution digital duplicates of artworks from their permanent collections. Although anyone visiting the library's site ( can search a database of thumbnail-size images and brief catalog descriptions, only educational subscribers have access to larger, more detailed images and the most up-to-date curatorial documentation. Some images are even accompanied by explanatory audio or video clips." (from The New York Times)


Koha testing RSS feeds from Library catalog

Pat Eyler writes "Koha developers have produced a tool for creating RSS feeds from Koha library systems. Example feeds and more information are available from


The Evelyn Wood of Digitized Book Scanners

"Putting the world's most advanced scholarly and scientific knowledge on the Internet has been a long-held ambition for Michael Keller, head librarian at Stanford University. But achieving this goal means digitizing the texts of millions of books, journals and magazines — a slow process that involves turning each page, flattening it and scanning the words into a computer database."

"Mr. Keller, however, has recently added a tool to his crusade. On a recent afternoon, he unlocked an unmarked door in the basement of the Stanford library to demonstrate the newest agent in the march toward digitization. Inside the room a Swiss-designed robot about the size of a sport utility vehicle was rapidly turning the pages of an old book and scanning the text. The machine can turn the pages of both small and large books as well as bound newspaper volumes and scan at speeds of more than 1,000 pages an hour."(from The New York Times)


Treasures from Vesuvius

SomeOne writes "This Wired Story is quite interesting; especially for
those of us interested in libraries, information
management, books, technological innovations through
the ages, print culture, national libraries, archival
methods, conservation and preservation, the ancient
world and finally, philosophy/poetry/politics/history.
As an added bonus the author treats us to the word
"turd" as a descriptive device."



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