Information Architecture

Information Architecture

Tweaking the Cable Model, to Avoid Newspapers’ Fate

Story in the New York Times

Ever since the rise of Napster, discussions among movie and television executives have included a vow not to let happen to Hollywood what happened to the music industry. After spending a few days last week at the Cable Show in Washington, I’m starting to hear a new worst-case scenario: that Hollywood goes the way of newspapers.

“The biggest risk is so much stuff gets on the Internet for free that we turn into the newspaper business,” Stephen B. Burke, Comcast’s chief operating officer, said in an interview last week.

Taxonomy upgrade extras: 

Data Rot




Computer formats come and go leaving some users with data no longer compatible with software or hardware. As David Pogue reports, this is called data rot.

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.

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:

A Tool to Verify Digital Records, Even as Technology Shifts

Simple-to-use digital technology will make it more difficult to distort history in the future.

On Tuesday a group of researchers at the University of Washington are releasing the initial component of a public system to provide authentication for an archive of video interviews with the prosecutors and other members of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Rwandan genocide. The group will also release the first portion of the Rwandan archive.

This system is intended to be available for future use in digitally preserving and authenticating first-hand accounts of war crimes, atrocities and genocide.

Such tools are of vital importance because it has become possible to alter digital text, video and audio in ways that are virtually undetectable to the unaided human eye and ear.

Full story here.

LibraryThing Calls for New Cataloguing Scheme

With all the talk of Dewey or Don't We...

Gawd I'm getting tired of that phrase.

Anyway, with all the talk of whether or not libraries should use DDC, LCCN, BISAC, or something else for their collections and then the possibility of using open databases instead of OCLC, it seems like cataloguing is on everybody's mind.

It is over at LibraryThing too, where they've issued a call for the creation of OSC, or the Open Shelves Classification. They're looking for a few librarians who are of a mind to create a system that's free, "humble," modern, open source, and crowd sourced. Indeed, they want something that the library profession has needed for a long time - a modern system capable of changing, and changing easily.

So if you're of the cataloguing bent, check it out.

Happy Holidays: FBI Gives Web Site Attack Preventative Measures

The FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center puts out press releases from time to time relative to online security. The one released today contains 12 recommendations for hardening online presences against attack. With some vacation periods coming up, the vulnerability of library systems may be higher than usual which would necessitate at least some action.

LISTen: The LISNews.org Podcast -- Episode #51

This week's episode is characterized by variety. The episode kicks off with a recap of stories that might have flown below the radar. After that the program talks to Evan Prodromou, the creator of the Laconica software that operates sites site as TWiT Army and Identi.ca. From there the podcast took a look at a musical program at the West Charleston branch of Las Vegas-Clark County Library District.

Social network site Pownce to close on December 15th

Leah Culver wrote at the Pownce blog that the Pownce service will be shut down on December 15th. Prior to that date users will be able to export their data from Pownce to another system like Wordpress by visiting http://pownce.com/settings/export/. The blog of services provider Six Apart notes that two of the developers of Pownce will be joining the team there on Vox and that Kevin Rose as well as Daniel Burka will be advisers to Six Apart. {[email protected]: The developer behind Identi.ca has a blog post up mentioning migration possibilities and Identi.ca possibly accelerating its growth in response. RSS inventor Dave Winer also has some thoughts}

The Online Search Party: A Way to Share the Load

OPPORTUNITIES for social networking abound on the Internet, but not when it comes to one standard job: using a browser and search engine to comb the Web for information. That task is still typically done solo, because browser displays and search procedures have traditionally been designed for a single user.

Now tools are being developed by Microsoft and other companies that let people at different computers search as a team, dividing responsibilities and pooling results and recommendations in a shared Web space on the browser display as they plan a family vacation, for instance, or research a medical problem.

Full story here.

Also in article: SearchTogether, by contrast, actively supports a group search, said Michael Twidale, an associate professor at the graduate school of library and information science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, who studies people’s strategies for conducting research jointly.

“SearchTogether addresses a real need,” he said. “People searching for information often want to interact with other people. But most of our information retrieval systems fail to recognize this.”

OCLC Claims Ownership of Data In OPACs

OCLC may be trying to pull something sneaky with its new policy of claiming contractual rights over the subsequent use of data created by OCLC. In other words, the data in library catalogues couldn't be used to make anything which competes with OCLC in any way.

Needless to say, this would have a hash chilling effect on the creation of open databases of library content.

As you might expect, the library blogosphere is on fire with the news. The podcast presenter at LISNews gave a commentary in the matter during LISTen #47.

Story from Slashdot.

Greenstone 2.81 Released

David Bainbridge from the Greenstone team posted a release noting that a new version of the package was released. Greenstone originates from New Zealand at the University of Waikato. Relative to the changes in the new release, Bainbridge wrote:
The main focus has been on multilingual support. Improvements include handling filenames that include non-ASCII characters, accent folding switched on by default for Lucene, and character based segmentation for CJK languages. This release also features our new installer, which is 100% open source. Previously we had relied on a commercial program for this, which incurred a significant cost in keeping up to date; consequently we decided to develop our own installer, based on the excellent open source installer toolkits already available. There are many other significant additions in this release, such as the Fedora Librarian Interface (analogous to GLI, but working with a Fedora repository). See the release notes for the complete details.
The post gives details on downloading the release as well as daily builds.

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