Information Architecture

More Security Holes Found In Google Docs

The cloud computing concept takes another hit. Techcrunch dropped a story this morning on more holes found in the popular online application Google Docs. This news arrives right on the heels of another security problem discovered earlier this month.

In short, images embedded in Google Docs could be accessed outside Google Docs itself because the images are uploaded to another server. I've seen something like this myself because if you use Blogger, your uploaded images show up in your Picassa account.

If you share a document carrying a diagram, the person will be able to view previous versions of that diagram whether you want them to or not.

Finally, removing another user's access to a document doesn't always ensure that they can't access that document again later.

These flaws seem serious enough to put at risk the ability of libraries to comply with relevant privacy rules as to patrons if Google Docs is in the mix. Free (as in freedom and as in beer) alternatives like Citadel may prove profitable for libraries to evaluate.

At ACRL, One Librarian Looks to the Very, Very, Distant Future

In a session at last weekend's Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) conference billed as “not for the faint of heart,” University of Guelph (Ontario, Canada) librarian and chief information officer Michael Ridley challenged librarians to imagine the library of the future—the very, very distant future.

In a talk that had Star Trek fans among the audience brimming with enthusiasm, Ridley spoke of a “post-literate” future in which man and machine meld seamlessly together. Ridley got right to the point. “What we do is toast,” he told the audience. “Are reading and writing doomed? The answer is an unequivocal yes.”

Ridley entertained his audience with a James Cameron-like vision of the future, where borgs, bio-computing, advances in brain research, the “hive mind,” and advances in pharmacology would one day—although not one day soon—undo the need to read, write, manage, or organize information as we now know it. Want to learn French? One day you will just take a pill, he suggested.

Full article here.

Officials Hoard Valuable Databases Funded by Taxpayers

Government agencies across the country are sitting on gigabytes of valuable digital data that could be mashed, mixed and re-organized in crafty ways by Web 2.0 entrepreneurs and public interest groups engaged in everything from government oversight, to providing practical information to Americans.

Yet, despite federal and state public records laws designed to make the data accessible, many agencies are fighting more ferociously than ever to keep data created with public funds out of public hands. In their battles to withhold information, bureaucrats are citing everything from copyright and trade secret privileges to privacy and national security concerns. And when they do provide data, some agencies charge exorbitant prices for it, ensuring it's only available to those with deep pockets.

Full story here.

Mobile Q&A Service ChaCha Lays Off Some Staff

TechCrunch reports that mobile Q&A service ChaCha laid off one third of its employees while cutting the pay of the rest. ChaCha is a service that allows people to ask questions via text message although carrier charges still apply.

(h/t Jason Calacanis)

Complete Beginner’s Guide to Information Architecture

Information architecture is an often misunderstood job title. Are they Designers? Developers? Managers? All of the above? In this article we’ll discuss what information architecture is, why it’s related to usability, and what are the common tools/programs used in information architecture.

In Search of a Better Search Engine

As college sites grow to millions of documents and balloon in complexity, officials turn to Google and other vendors for help

Early this decade, the number of Web-based documents stored on the servers of the University of Florida hovered near 300,000. By the end of 2006, that number had leapt to four million. Now, the university hosts close to eight million Web documents.

"We have approximately 20,000 employees, all producing stuff, and an increasing amount of that goes on the Web," said Christine L. Schoaff, Florida's director of Web administration. "The Web has become the locus of institutional memory."

Full article in the Chronicle of Higher Education

The Cellphone, Navigating Our Lives

The cellphone is the world’s most ubiquitous computer. The four billion cellphones in use around the globe carry personal information, provide access to the Web and are being used more and more to navigate the real world. And as cellphones change how we live, computer scientists say, they are also changing how we think about information.

Full article here.

LAW-LIB: hybrid listserv proposal

LAW-LIB is a listserv where law librarians ask and answer legal questions and help each other find legal resources and trouble shoot unique legal reference questions. Currently the list administrator has raised the issue of whether a specific person should be banned from the list and great debate has ensued. What is problematic is that when a debate on a listserv happens it happens in your inbox. A typically amount of emails from LAW-LIB might be 6-12 in a day. The current debate has thrown this number into the range of 50-75 emails.

I wanted to raise a listserv idea that could be debated on a forum that is more conducive to discussion. The power of listservs is that they have a very strong connection with people because the email goes directly to them. The listserv participants are dealing with a "push" information system. My idea is to have a listserv that operates something like the game show Jeopardy in that things would have to be in the form of a question. The listserv would only be for questions. All answers to questions and discussion would be on a corresponding website. Each question sent to the mailing list would automatically be posted to the website. If you wanted to see the answer to a question or provide an answer you would go to the the website. -- Read More

Digital Archivists, Now in Demand

WHEN the world entered the digital age, a great majority of human historical records did not immediately make the trip.

Literature, film, scientific journals, newspapers, court records, corporate documents and other material, accumulated over centuries, needed to be adapted for computer databases. Once there, it had to be arranged — along with newer, born-digital material — in a way that would let people find what they needed and keep finding it well into the future.

The people entrusted to find a place for this wealth of information are known as digital asset managers, or sometimes as digital archivists and digital preservation officers. Whatever they are called, demand for them is expanding.

Full story in the New York Times

EVERYTHING Is Harmful To Your Computer - Google Cites Human Error

Between 6:30 and 7:25 am PST, every single search result on Google was met with their dire warning that "This site may harm your computer!".

So what happened?

Most programmers will nod and smile when they hear that the value "/" was listed as being a site containing malware. For the uninitiated, a / is basically added to the end of every site's URL and it expands to all URLs. So all those Google links got tagged as bad when they were, in fact, just websites.

The Google Blog has the full deal. But really, from the perspective of someone who's done web design and programming, it's nice to see the big guys screw up every now and again.

Additional reporting by Cali Lewis of GeekBrief TV:

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