It might have been the week of the annual American Library Association meeting with all the news and announcements and programming that came from it — as well as getting into the dog days of summer — but interesting news at the intersection of technology and libraries did not take a pause. Google made a big splash this week with tantalizing tidbits about its new social media project; it is at a look-but-don’t-touch stage, but the look is enticing. Then there were two articles about really big data — what is produced in the high energy physics supercolider at CERN and what we produce as a society. And to go along with that data we produce as a society is another warning that much of it isn’t safe from the prying eyes of the USA PATRIOT Act. Finally, we revisit the Georgia State University copyright case with a comment on the potential chilling impacts on free speech.
This week’s list of threads starts with a pointer a statement by the International Coalition of Library Consortia on the growing pressure between publishers and libraries over the appropriate rights and permissions for scholarly material. In that same vein, Joe Lucia writes about his vision for libraries and the cultural commons to the Digital Public Library of America mailing list. On the more geeker side is a third link to an article with the experience of content producers creating HTML5-enabled web apps. And finally, on the far geeky side, is a view of what happens when a whole lot of new wireless devices — smartphones, tablets, and the like — show up on a wifi network.
This week we got the long-awaited report from the group testing RDA to see if its use would be approved for the major U.S. national libraries. And the answer? An unsatisfying, if predictable, maybe-but-not-yet. This week also brought new examples of the tensions between authors and publishers and libraries. The first example is an author’s story of an attempt to navigate an author’s rights agreement and coming to an insurmountable barrier. The second example tries to look in to the future of teaching and learning in a world where fair use has been dramatically scaled back from the existing status quo, and it is a frightening one.
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.
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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.