Two threads this week: the first is an announcement from the major search engine on a way they agree to discover machine-processable information in web pages. The search engines want this so they can do a better job understanding the information web pages, but it stomps on the linked data work that has been a hot topic in libraries recently. The second is a red-letter day in the history of the internet as major services tried out a new way for machines to connect. The test was successful, and its success means a big hurdle has been crossed as the internet grows up.
School is out and the summer heat has started, but there is no signs yet that the threads of technology change are slowing down. This week’s threads include a healthy review of the Google Book Search lawsuit settlement, the downside of recommendation engines, and how academics are contributing to Wikipedia.
Feel free to send this to others you think might be interested in the topics. If you find these threads interesting and useful, you might want to add the Thursday Threads RSS Feed to your feed reader or subscribe to e-mail delivery using the form to the right. If you would like a more raw and immediate version of these types of stories, watch my FriendFeed stream (or subscribe to its feed in your feed reader). Comments and tips, as always, are welcome.
Threads this week without commentary. (It has been a long week that included only one flight of four that actually happened without a delay, cancellation, or redirection.) Big announcements are one from the Library of Congress to re-envision the way bibliographic information travels, one from Douglas County (Colorado) Library’s experiment with taking ownership of ebooks and applying its own digital rights management, and a study on the ecosystem of spam.
I recently started reading content from a tablet device and in doing so re-encountered a list of web pages stashed in a Read It Later queue that are over a year old. Not only were these pages interesting enough to read a year ago, but in light of a year’s worth of “internet time” of innovations some of them are down right fascinating. So the DLTJ Thursday Threads this week are weaved from new reflections on old stories. First is a 13-month-old view of what publishers can do to reverse the perceived decline of their relevance in a digital publishing era. 15 months ago was an outline for a new role for publishers to engage authors and readers. And a little over a year ago came the first explorations of the “internet operating system”.
Mind-expanding topics this week. The threads start with a potentially morbid, but definitely intriguing, topic: what is to become of our personal digital legacies? If that isn’t enough to blow your mind, the next topic is an accounting of the amount of information processed in 2008. Still hanging in there? Then think about what could become of the book if we take advantage of its digital nature. You might not have much room to think big thoughts after those threads, but if you do the last one explores what could become of how our machines talk to each other.
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.
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.
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).
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.
It is another e-books issue of DLTJ Thursday Threads with updates on three significant efforts: HarperCollins, Google Book Search Settlement, Digital Public Library of America. And, just for fun and to keep this from turning into purely a legal and blue-sky policy blog, we have a video of juggling robots.