Thursday Threads: Cloud Computing and Data Centers — Amazon, Facebook, and Google

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This week’s DLTJ Thursday Threads is about data centers — those dark rooms with all of the blinking lights of computers doing our bidding. Data centers hit the mainstream news this week with the outage at one of Amazon’s cloud computing clusters. And since computers and their associated peripherals consume a lot of energy, researchers are proposing to run data centers on renewable energy. And finally Facebook and Google release separate videos that give glimpses into how large data centers are run.

JPEG2000 Summit at Library of Congress, May 12-13, 2011

It has been years since I’ve done meaningful work with JPEG2000, but I still try to keep tabs on what is happening in that community. In that vein, Rob Buckley — formerly of Xerox Research and now on his own with a consulting business — pointed me to an announcement about a JPEG2000 Summit happening at the Library of Congress next month.

What To Do With ISO 2709:2008?

My employer recently became a member of NISO and I was made the primary representative. This is my first formal interaction with the standards organization heirarchy (NISOANSIISO) and as one of the side effects I’m being asked to provide advice to NISO on how its vote should be cast on relevant ISO ballots. Much of it has been pretty routine so far, but today one jumped out at me — the systematic review for the standard ISO 2709:2008, otherwise blandly known as Information and documentation — Format for information exchange. You might know it as the underlying structure of MARC. (Though, to describe it accurately, MARC is a subset or profile of ISO 2709.) And the voting options are: Confirm (as is), Revise/Amend, Withdraw (the standard), or Abstain (from the vote).

Thursday Threads: Kindle Library Lending, Ebooks #1 in Sales, Recommendation Engines

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I tried to stay away from ebooks again, in this edition of DLTJ Thursday Threads (I managed to do so last week), but the threads of announcements and conversations are too crucial to ignore. Just yesterday Amazon and OverDrive announced plans to lend library ebooks to Kindle users. The press release and subsequent discussion is full of ambiguity and missing details, but what was officially said is enough to be tantalizing. And why not? The Association of American Publishers said that ebooks are the leading format among all trade categories in the month of Febrary. At least by sales volume, not by total revenue. The last thread this week is how recommendation engines are finding their way into another corner of the lives of undergraduates — helping you pick your course schedule.

Thursday Threads: Teaching Search, OCLC Research Library Partnership, Shelvar App

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Another week, another set of threads of library and library-related topics. (Who ever said this profession was boring? Well, I once did, but that is a thread for another day.) Information literacy hit the mainstream this week with noted usability analyst Jakob Nielson noting that internet users need to learn better search skills and Google giving us a tool (in the form of a daily puzzle) that might do just that. Next is an announcement from OCLC about a re-energizing and re-forming of the research library partner program. Lastly, a computer scientist at Miami University creates a mobile app that will be a godsend for library shelvers everywhere (perhaps after you relabel your spines).

Iron Mountain to Close its Virtual File Store Service

About two years ago I wrote a blog post wondering if we could outsource the preservation of digital bits. What prompted that blog post was an announcement from Iron Mountain of a Cloud-Based File Archiving service. Since then there have been a number of other services that have sprung up that are more attuned to the needs of cultural heritage communities (DuraCloud and Chronopolis come to mind), but I have wondered if the commercial sector had a way to do this cheaply and efficiently. The answer to that question is “maybe not” as Iron Mountain has told Gartner Group (PDF archive) that it is closing its Virtual File Store services and its Archive Service Platform.

Thursday Threads: HarperCollins/OverDrive (still), Wikimedia Survey, Microsoft Academic Search

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We can’t leave the hot topic of ebooks behind in this edition of DLTJ Thursday Threads, but at least it is only the lead thread and not the entire focus of this post. HarperCollins made news when one of its executives appeared at a symposium in Connecticut and said that the new digital circulation policy was a “work in progress”. Leaving that aside, Wikimedia is seeking responses to a survey to find out what barriers exist to expert contributions. Lastly is a call to keep Microsoft Research’s Academic Search on your radar screen; some interesting updates are coming out that rival Google Scholar and perhaps even some subscription services.