Information Architecture

Information Architecture

How is Google different from traditional Library OPACs & databases?

How is Google different from traditional Library OPACs & databases?
In short, the further away your library search is from these characteristics , the more difficult your users will find the search to use due to different expectations. Trained by Google, their searches are created based on the expectations such features are built-in , lacking any one of them will result in difficulties and poor quality results.

Of course implementing these features means losing control and predictability of searches, librarians don't want to be surprised and for sure they don't want to see a result they can't explain. Being able to do a precise controlled search would enable a searcher to be *sure* he has done a exhaustive search that he wants.

LISTen: An LISNews.org Program -- Episode #196

What If You Have A Digital Divide And Nobody Cared?

CNN's online presence is carrying a piece by Amy Gahran that comments on a recent Pew Internet and American Life Project report that notes a lack of interest in the Internet itself by that 20% of the population among other findings.

The full report is available PDF download.

The question that does arise is how the Internet can be irrelevant to a particular part of the American population and why.

LISTen: An LISNews.org Program -- Episode #193

LISTen: An LISNews.org Program -- Episode #191

Bombing Bridges

CNET's Greg Sandoval reported last year that top Internet Service Providers came to an agreement with the RIAA and MPAA to engage in copyright enforcement. Ryan Whitwam noted at ExtremeTech that the agreement is set to kick in during Summer 2012 and would entail a graduated response system. The Electronic Frontier Foundation reported that this was not founded by governmental action but instead a Memorandum of Understanding among multiple companies that remains open for other companies to sign on.

By this summer we will see a graduated response system for copyright enforcement arise in the United States. There won't be a firm procedure in place but the general structure calls for six strikes. During later strikes there is the possibility to utilize captive landing pages that would effectively terminate a user's Internet access until they carry out whatever mitigation measure the Internet Service Provider deems appropriate. While there is the possibility of arbitration, there is not generally recourse to governmental involvement in the matter. Contractual obligations and the use of Terms of Service as private legislation come into play.

As seen at Harbor-Topky Memorial Library in the Ashtabula harbor today, signs are posted warning users of library WiFi that using file-sharing applications and peer-to-peer applications on their network may result in the termination of access privileges. That perhaps highlights the danger shared Internet connections present in light of the Memorandum of Understanding entering into force in Summer 2012. If a copyright violation is found, all that can be seen is the account's access point to the ISP's network. There is not necessarily a way to differentiate which particular user committed the infringement, though.

It is regrettably possible that six infringements by six separate users on a shared network access point could result in the termination of service. In an unprotected wireless network it is possible to have parties unknown usurp a connection and cause infringement without the knowledge of the actual account holder. Unless WPA2 and other security measures are employed, an innocent account holder could be blamed for the foul action of a third party. This has already happened which is why normal advice in establishing a wireless network is to engage WPA2 encryption as soon as possible and to keep your network passphrase secret.

A degree of sophistication is required to avoid the very possible nightmare scenarios above. This unfortunately means, though, that networking hardware marketed to consumers needs to be treated as more than "set and forget" devices. With the greater push to frictionless sharing online and reducing burdens in accessing the Internet the possibility of the digital divide widening grows.

In light of an online environment that continues to deteriorate, fallback options are always necessary. For content producers it is very difficult when potential readers/listeners/viewers cannot access the producer's goods. While it can be said by users that the Internet treats censorship and is built to route around it, that notion assumes that routing can continue without interference or disruption. As we now see, the routing of traffic is now going to be subject to intentional interference and accepting that interference will be a condition of access. By private agreement of a group of companies, the trade in information can be restrained at least with regards to information fixed in electronic form.

When it comes to LISNews let alone the rest of the LISHost galaxy this is not an insignificant concern. When the actual means of routing traffic are effectively compromised, relying on a compromised network can result in the effective disappearance of sites. Who needs to burn books when you can just put the functional equivalent of a minefield around content repositories?

Depending upon how this sort of change impacts the Internet at-large, we have looked at workarounds. Since 2009 there have been two proof-of-concept exercises to continue LISNews and other parts of the LISHost galaxy through alternative means. A print edition of LISNews was piloted after being created using tools provided by FedEx Office. Since then we have seen the creation of HP MagCloud which would more easily do what we attempted. On New Year's Eve 2011 we heard LISTen make its debut on shortwave radio through the broadcast resources of WBCQ in Maine.

In both exercises, the general content remained the same while the manifestation differed. This has been a concept seen often in modern librarianship where books have large print editions and unabridged books-on-tape. As an adaptation tactic in terms of content creation, it may soon become quite critical.

It is not necessarily time to begin fundraising to incarnate alternative manifestations of content online perhaps. A few months remain before the private enforcement regime begins. Keeping the thought in the back of one's mind is prduent, though.

Creative Commons License
Bombing Bridges by Stephen Michael Kellat is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

Pay walls keep tightening

More and more content on the web has been going behind pay walls. The NYT implemented a porous pay wall this year. Non-subscribers could access up to 20 articles a month. This number has been reduced to 10.

Burning Circle Episode 59

This program is double counted as LISTen: An LISNews.org Program -- Episode #186 This week's program provides a bit of a news recap. Links to the issues mentioned and more can be found at the Erie Looking Productions blog. Download here (MP3) (Ogg) or subscribe to the podcast MP3 to have episodes delivered to your media player. Although we suggest subscribing by way of a service like my.gpodder.org, you can also subscribe to the Burning Circle via FeedBurner's email tool to receive show posts in your inbox with links to episode audio.

Creative Commons License
Burning Circle Episode 59 by The Air Staff of Erie Looking Productions is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

LISTen: An LISNews.org Program -- Episode #185

LISTen: An LISNews.org Program -- Episode #183

This week's episode looks at the aftermath of the SOPA battle and the take-down of MegaUpload while looking at some consequences thereupon for the knowledge ecology. A draft resolution for any upcoming ALA meeting is also presented. Direct download link: MP3

Creative Commons License
LISTen: An LISNews.org Program -- Episode #183 by The Air Staff of Erie Looking Productions is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

SOPA & Protect IP Act Tabled...For Now...

Multiple outlets are reporting that the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP Act proposals are currently tabled. British tech publication The Register notes that this does not mean the bills are dead. The Editor-in-Chief of Mashable, Lance Ulanoff, tweeted asking what ideas people had about copyright protection, intellectual property, and piracy. Todd Wasserman of Mashable calls SOPA dead instead of tabled. A statement issued by the office of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid notes his belief that the issues raised over the Protect IP Act can be resolved. CNET blogger Don Reisinger notes that the bills are hardly dead and that while a battle was lost a war continues. Nate Anderson at Ars Technica reports that Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, a major opponent of the Protect IP Act, claiming that Internet policy should not be made on the fly.

Decentralize, he said

Killing It With Legislation, Not Force

Rik Myslewski reports in The Register that Wikipedia is looking at a possible upcoming blackout. Declan McCullagh at CNET notes that this is part of a possible protest response to the proposed Stop Online Piracy Act being debated by the United States Congress that has potential extraterritorial effects. Meanwhile, The Hill reports that Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt characterizes SOPA as criminalizing the fundamental structure of the Web and all its interlinked nature.

"It’s not law — it’s a kind of thuggery"

David Post over at the lawprof blog The Volokh Conspiracy writes about the Stop Online Piracy Act and some of the disturbing consequences if it were enacted in the United States. Any library, and if appropriate their parent organization, should consider the consequences Post outlines if that library provides Internet to users let alone staff.

How the Internet is Ruining Everything

(Books by David Weinberger)

The ongoing argument about whether the Internet is a boon or a bust to civilization usually centers on the Web’s abundance. With so much data and so many voices, we each have knowledge formerly hard-won by decades of specialization. With some new fact or temptation perpetually beckoning, we may be the superficial avatars of an A.D.D. culture.

David Weinberger, one of the earliest and most perceptive analysts of the Internet, thinks we are looking at the wrong thing. It is not the content itself, but the structure of the Internet, that is the important thing. At least, as far as the destruction of a millennia-long human project is concerned.

Full article

RIP Steve Jobs

From Scroll to Screen

Wikipedia Editathon

Talk story by Lauren Collins about a Wikipedia “editathon” sponsored by the British Library.

(if you're a New Yorker Magazine subscriber) "Wikipedia has many cool features, but the coolest of them may be WikipediaVision, which László Kozma, the Romanian grad student who invented it, describes as a “visualization of edits” to Wikipedia at “almost the same time as they happen.” So: there’s . . . "(Subscription required.) Read more here (from the August 29, 2011 issue).

or

for more information on the event, check out the Wikimedia UK entry or the British Library press release.

A Bookshelf the Size of the World

From the Boston Globe:

As the digitization of human culture accelerates, publishers and academics have had to begin addressing a basic question: Who will control knowledge in the future?

So far, the most likely answer to that question has been a private company: Google. Since 2004 Google Books has been scanning books and putting them online; the company says it has already scanned more than 15 million. Google estimates there are about 130 million books in the world, and by 2020, it plans to have scanned them all.

Now, however, a competitor may be emerging. Last year, Robert Darnton, a cultural historian and director of Harvard University’s library system, began to raise the prospect of creating a public digital library. This library would include the digitized collections of the country’s great research institutions, but it would also bring in other media - video, music, film - as well as the collection of Web pages maintained by the Internet Archive.

Violate Terms & Conditions, Get Indicted

The Bits Blog online with The New York Times reports that programmer Aaron Swartz was indicted for allegedly stealing 4 million documents from MIT and JSTOR. According to documents posted to Scribd, the arrest warrant cites alleged violation of 18 USC 1343, 18 USC 1003(a)(4), 18 USC 1003(a)(2), 18 USC 1003(a)(5)(B), and 18 USC 2. The Boston Globe summed up the charges stating:
Aaron Swartz, 24, was charged with wire fraud, computer fraud, unlawfully obtaining information from a protected computer, and recklessly damaging a protected computer. He faces up to 35 years in prison and a $1 million fine.
Activist group Demand Progress, of which Swartz previously served as Executive Director, has a statement posted. Internet luminary Dave Winer also has a thought posted as to the indictment. Wired's report cites the current Executive Director of Demand Progress as likening the matter to checking too many books out of a library. (h/t Evan Prodromou and Dave Winer) (Update at 1641 Eastern: The Register has reporting here)

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