Saturday, 19 July 2008

A Vision of Students Today

A short video summarizing some of the most important characteristics of students today

Use of social software - flickr

North Carolina State University Libraries using flickr on their special collections

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Experiments with NetVibes

I'm wondering if NetVibes might be a useful tool and have mocked up a sample. Comments welcome.

Michael Wesch's Manitoba Lecture

Most people have probably seen Michael Wesch's YouTube videos about Web 2.0, but this is the first full-length exposition of his work that I've seen. It's over an hour in length, so you need to make some time (and maybe coffee) for it. But it's worth it IMHO, especially the first 30 mins in which he explains why the current pedagogical model of most universities is broken.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Critical article on Google Books project


The Google Books Project has drawn a great deal of attention, offering the prospect of the library of the future and rendering many other library and digitizing projects apparently superfluous. To grasp the value of Google’s endeavor, we need among other things, to assess its quality. On such a vast and undocumented project, the task is challenging. In this essay, I attempt an initial assessment in two steps. First, I argue that most quality assurance on the Web is provided either through innovation or through “inheritance.” In the later case, Web sites rely heavily on institutional authority and quality assurance techniques that antedate the Web, assuming that they will carry across unproblematically into the digital world. I suggest that quality assurance in the Google’s Book Search and Google Books Library Project primarily comes through inheritance, drawing on the reputation of the libraries, and before them publishers involved. Then I chose one book to sample the Google’s Project, Lawrence Sterne’s Tristram Shandy. This book proved a difficult challenge for Project Gutenberg, but more surprisingly, it evidently challenged Google’s approach, suggesting that quality is not automatically inherited. In conclusion, I suggest that a strain of romanticism may limit Google’s ability to deal with that very awkward object, the book.


Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Another way of shortening long URLs

A new web-service -- Brief explanation (for programmers) of why it's smarter than TinyURL here.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

And another image!

Everything is Miscellaneous - podcast

I've been reading David Weinberger's book Everything is Miscellaneous and enjoying it a lot. Some time ago he was interviewed by Phil Windley of IT Conversations and they talked for over an hour. Well worth listening to if you have the time. Click here to listen.

How users view librarians?

Following on from John's comments I thought this was an apt representation of how library users see us -- the 'librarian action figure':

I, sadly, have one...

More relevant is that according to a 2006 report 'College Students’ Perceptions of the Libraries and Information Resources:A Report to the OCLC Membership'. Dublin, OH: OCLC, 2006 , only 2% of students start a search for electronic resources from a library website...and I guess that this figure has decreased even further over the last 2 years!

Saturday, 5 July 2008

2b or not 2b? The anatomy of texting

Fascinating essay by Professor David Crystal (who just happens to have an Honorary Degree from Cambridge).

Review of Zittrain: Future of the Internet

My review of Jonathan Zittrain's book is out in Management Today.

How do students visualise libraries?

Following on from the photograph I took in another university's library, I'm wondering if there are other images -- photographs, drawings, cartoons -- on the Web which give us an insight into how students see providers of library services.

Friday, 4 July 2008

Is the iPhone making us stupid?

Hmmm... This is beginning to turn into a meme.

That's one of the topics Walter Mossberg gestured at this afternoon in a talk on "the Future of the Internet and Rise of the Cell Phone," in which he declared that the PC has peaked, and that the future of the internet belongs to pocket computers like the iPhone. The future of the internet, and the future of us: "The internet is a grid," he remarked, "and we're all going to be living on it, and carrying it in our pocket all day long." Mossberg delivered this assessment with a strong note of techno-pessimism woven in: A lot of his talk had to do with the issues constant connectivity raises for deep knowledge ("people hate iPhone users," he remarked, "because you can never have an argument about facts without them whipping out the phone and looking up the answer" - a description that I'm afraid I resemble, even though I have a Blackberry and not an iPhone) and deep reflection (in the future, Mossberg noted, we may never be free of "that subtle feeling that maybe you need to check Slate, or Facebook")...

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Voice the content with Odiogo

Odiogo is a web based podcasting service. Any 'registered' user can create a podcast from any RSS feed in no time. Quality? acceptable... (it pronounces 'wikis' weird) The idea is that we can save time by listening to the posts rather than reading.

interesting people in the library world

I've just returned from a conference of european health librarian in Helsinki (hurrah!!) and was really impressed at the Dutch librarians who are using web2.0 - personal homepages, of the like of pageflakes, igoogle and netvibes - to deliver tailored services to their users, and themselves.

eg their talk

Space up your library: social networks and libraries
A.J.P. van den Brekel (Guus) (The Netherlands)

How to use Web 2.0 technologies in you library instructions
Dorine Kieft-Wondergem (The Netherlands)

is this stuff that is widely known in Cambridge? it does seem a very interesting way to go. (see for my own small foray into the new world)

Flash pages to be searchable

From Technology Review...

The Web would be useless without search engines. But as good as Google and Yahoo are at finding online information, much on it remains hidden, or difficult to rank in search results. On Tuesday, however, Adobe took a major step toward opening up tens of millions of pages to Google and Yahoo. The company has provided the search engines with a specialized version of its Flash animation player that reveals information about text and links in Flash files. It's a move that could be a boon to advertisers, in particular, who have traditionally had to choose between building a site that's aesthetically pleasing and one that can be ranked in a Web search.

The new software is required only to index Flash files, not to play them, says Justin Everett-Church, senior product manager for Adobe Flash Player. Web surfers don't need to download a new Flash player, and content providers don't have to change the way they write applications. "For end users, they're going to see a lot more results and a lot better results," says Everett-Church. "The perfect result may have been out there but trapped in a SWF [Shockwave Flash file]. But now they can find it."

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Interesting thinkers on libraries and the future

I'd like to compile a list of people who are regarded as interesting thinkers about the future of libraries. People like Lorcan Dempsey, for example. Apart from anything else, I'd like to invite some of them to Cambridge to give talks, seminars etc.

Who are your favourites?

What's the difference between Web 1.0 and Web 2.0?

Interesting article in First Monday by Graham Cormode and Balachander Krishnamurthy of AT&T. Abstract reads:

Web 2.0 is a buzzword introduced in 2003–04 which is commonly used to encompass various novel phenomena on the World Wide Web. Although largely a marketing term, some of the key attributes associated with Web 2.0 include the growth of social networks, bi–directional communication, various ‘glue’ technologies, and significant diversity in content types. We are not aware of a technical comparison between Web 1.0 and 2.0. While most of Web 2.0 runs on the same substrate as 1.0, there are some key differences. We capture those differences and their implications for technical work in this paper. Our goal is to identify the primary differences leading to the properties of interest in 2.0 to be characterized. We identify novel challenges due to the different structures of Web 2.0 sites, richer methods of user interaction, new technologies, and fundamentally different philosophy. Although a significant amount of past work can be reapplied, some critical thinking is needed for the networking community to analyze the challenges of this new and rapidly evolving environment.