NYPL and Chicago PL to Loan Out Wi-Fi Hotspots

Via CityLab.

The NYPL’s “Check Out the Internet” project will lend WiFi hotspots for up to one year at a time and plans to distribute the service through various educational initiatives already running across its neighborhood library branches—for example, Out of School Time programs, technology training classes, and courses in English for speakers of other languages.

The NYPL actually launched a mini version of the program last month, distributing 100 devices across four library branches. According to NYPL president Tony Marx, it’s still too early to draw any conclusions from the 100-household pilot, but they’ve already begun collecting data like how much time participants are spending online and whether they’re using the devices at home or elsewhere. This information will guide the larger roll-out aimed at 10,000 households with an anticipated cost of $1 million. The Knight Foundation grant will get the NYPL half of the way there, and the library is currently trying to fundraise for the rest.

More on the Chicago program and future endeavors in the article.

Wikipedia Is NOT A Doctor -- And A Study Confirms It

For the study, researchers identified the "10 costliest conditions in terms of public and private expenditure" -- which included diabetes, back pain, lung cancer and major depressive disorder -- and compared the content of Wikipedia articles about those conditions to peer-reviewed medical literature. Two randomly assigned investigators found that 90 percent of the articles contained false information, which could affect the diagnosis and treatment of diseases.

Now for those of you who are saying that it's not the doctors themselves checking Wikipedia, you'd be wrong. According to a pair of studies from 2009 and 2010, "70% of junior physicians use Wikipedia in a given week, while nearly 50% to 70% of practicing physicians use it as an information source in providing medical care."
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Free to Forget

Europe's highest court recently ruled that EU citizens have the right to be forgotten—by Google's search engines. Bob talks with Emily Bell, Director of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University, about the impact of this decision on freedom of information and internet privacy.

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Individual page for story.

Why the death of net neutrality would be a disaster for libraries

The Internet's eyes turned to the Federal Communications Commission on Thursday, as the panel approved a plan to consider allowing Internet service providers to charge Web sites like Netflix for higher-quality delivery of their content to consumers. In the lead-up to the vote, tech companies, venture capitalists and even celebrities all expressed opposition to the proposal, arguing that it would effectively end the open Internet.

But another group who cares deeply about this issue is the library community. The Switch spoke to Lynne Bradley, the director of government relations at the American Library Association's Washington office, about how net neutrality affects libraries, the people who rely on them and public institutions at large. This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.


Library Websites: Three Truths

Laura Solomon, a creator of library websites passes along what she believes to be the three major rules in creating a website for your library.

People primarily visit library websites for the following reasons:
Access to their account
Search the catalog
Phone number and address
Program information

But there are always other reasons.

Opting Out Is Nearly Impossible

The myth that users will “vote with their feet” is simply wrong if opting out comes at such a high price. With social, financial and even potentially legal repercussions involved, the barriers for exit are high. This leaves users and consumers with no real choice nor voice to express our concerns.

The Price War Over The Cloud Has High Stakes For The Internet

Amazon, Google, Microsoft and others are competing to dominate the cloud. The winner or winners will have a lot of control over the Internet. Their choices affect issues like data privacy, and as virtual landlords, their terms and prices could control who gets to build what on the Internet, and for how much.

The Price War Over The Cloud Has High Stakes For The Internet


I Wish I Could Read Wikipedia Like This
"It often takes more than a few clicks to reach understanding. You dive down, deeper and deeper with each click, then navigate back up and continue reading. It's very easy to get lost and to lose your context. Don't get me wrong, I realize it's an encyclopedia and not a textbook, and every article can't possibly explain every sub-article it links to. Yet this level of normalization yields a terse, unfriendly tone, which can be frustrating if you're new to the subject and don't understand many of the terms used."



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