Lawyers have been cautious about using social networking but are gradually embracing the use of social sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Web 2.0 continues to challenge lawyers as they realize that opting out of this new system of connection may equal opting out of business
Monday, December 28, 2009
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Book Wish Foundation's holiday campaign for 2009 asks book lovers everywhere to contribute one of the 5000 bricks we need to build a library for Darfuri refugees in eastern Chad. Since Dec. 5, it has raised raised 821 bricks, 16% of its goal. Please join the effort, even with a single brick, by visiting: http://bookwish.org/library-builder
Please share with your friends and, especially, on Twitter. Book Wish can easily reach its goal if many people each give a little, so please spread the word if you have a moment during this holiday season. To make your donation a gift, make sure you fill in your honoree's email address in the donation form. Book Wish will then notify him/her, sending details about the project and a link to videos from the refugee camps where Book Wish works (you will receive a copy of the email).
Books for Darfur Refugees certainly appreciate your helping to spread the word, too. It is a 100% volunteer staffed; 100% of funds raised by this campaign for direct book related aid for Darfur refugees. The good news story here is the inspiration of Darfuris who self-organized their own English classes in refugee camps. For example, they view learning English as their "road to freedom."
Sunday, December 06, 2009
I recently presented on social media in academic libraries at the SLA Western Chapter's Annual General Meeting on a panel with social media expert Rob Cottingham. (See above for a preview of Rob in action). Personally, this was one of the most rewarding panels I've been one as it bridged the two worlds of academic and corporate libraries. We touched on issues that are relevant to both types of settings: how is social media faring in the world of information professionals? Here are some thoughts of the evening:
(1) Librarians Are Only Using Social Media Among Themselves - A common argument is that only librarians care about these social media tools. Can librarians ever measure the ROI on social media? If the average Twitter user is 31 years old, then why would it be used for outreach with a non-Twitter using college audience? Are social media tools used among librarians for their own amusement? There are two parallel themes here: librarians are even better connected to each other in the social web - so wouldn't that mean social media offers distinct advantages? Second, if statistics show that social media (like Youtube, Facebook, and Flickr) is heavily used, then why wouldn't librarians use them for outreach? Wouldn't it be an opportunity otherwise missed if unexplored?
(2) Small Special Libraries Are Understaffed - It's easy for large libraries and institutions to implement Web 2.0 technologies and policies, but many smaller institutions can't afford the manpower to consistently adopt such standards. It's important not to spread ourselves thin. However, great challenges offer greater opportunities. Social media flattens the information landscape, and outreach tools such as Twitter and Facebook bring branding where none exists before. It's a matter of how one uses such technologies that maximizes their exposure.
(3) Generation Y Is Important - Much has been written about this generation born post-1980's. It's crucial to note that our upcoming wave of students, colleagues, and staff will be from this generation. Technologically sophisticated, well-connected on the social web, entrepreneurial, and oftentimes, impatient. It's these qualities which will define how information professionals will align their programs and services. This is important for all librarians: academic, public, and special.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
As Nicholas Carr believes, we’re simply decoding information as we scan text on the web. For probably many of us like him, deep reading of densely formulated text has become a struggle. But here’s another worry that Carr ponders: the web’s simplification of information decoding has ultimately reduced our ability to think deeply as well. Our brains are so used to reading short blog posts or text messages under 140 characters that we’ve no longer the time nor patience to thoughtfully carry out our thoughts cogently. As Carr puts it:
Our ability to interpret text, to make the rich mental connections that form when we read deeply and without distraction, remains largely disengaged.
However, we’ve been paralyzed with fear about technological advancements since the earliest days of thought: Plato feared that writing would cause our memorization capacities to fade; Gutenberg’s press would lead to intellectual laziness; and thinking changed as Nietzsche’s words morphed from rhetoric to telegram style.
On other extreme end is futurist Jamais Cascio, who argues that “Google isn’t the problem; it’s the beginning of a solution.” Indeed, with intelligence augmentation, new technologies would be able to “filter” what we are interested in; and seamlessly tailor our information absorption according to our needs. This opposite end of the spectrum argues that civilization requires diversity and innovation – and technology is a means to that end. Information professionals must be aware of this dichotomy: when much information is too much information? As Herbert Simon once said, "wealth of information creates a poverty of attention." How can we scan when we must interpret and decode?
Saturday, November 21, 2009
1. Sensory Input - We're not searching via keyboard and search grammar; we're talking to and with the Web. With new search applications such as Google's Mobile App for the iPhone, speech recognition is detected as soon as the application detects movement of the phone to the ear. The Web is growing, and is to the point of getting smart enough to understand things without us having to tell it explicity.today we see that applications are being driven by sensors, not just by people typing on keyboards. They are becoming platforms for collective action, not just collective intelligence. The "data shadows" that people and things leave in cyberspace are becoming richer and deeper, and are being exploited in new ways. All this is adding up to something profound and different. When web meets world, we get Web Squared.
2. Implied Metadata - Because the Web is "learning," meaning is being learned "inferentially" from the body of data each day, and speech recognition and computer vision are examples of this kind of machine learning. The Web 2.0 era is about discovering such implied metadata, and then building a database to capture that metadata and fostering an ecosystem around it.
3. Information Shadows - Real world objects have "information shadows" in cyberspace. Because of sensor applications like the iPhone's, a book that has information shadows on Amazon, Google Book Search, LibraryThing, eBay, Twitter, and in a thousand blogs.
4. Digital Returns to the Physical - As a result, these shadows are linked with their real world analogues by unique identifiers: an ISBN, a serial number, etc. Real-world objects can be "tagged" and its metadata on the Web. Libraries have long been innovators in this field (as information managers), with some cataloguing systems based on the idea of FRBR, which represents a holistic approach to retrieval and access as the relationships between the entities provide links to navigate through the hierarchy of relationships.
5. Rise of the Real-Time - The Web has become a conversation - meaning, search has gotten faster. Microblogging (such as Twitter) has required instantaneous updating -- a significant shift in both infrastructure and approach. Search has become real-time and human participation has added a layer of structure (and metadata). This new information layer being built around Twitter could rival existing services such as search, analytics, and social networks. Moreover, real-time is not limited to social media or mobile. As the authors point out, Walmart has been doing such instantaneous information cascading for many years: real-time feedback (from customers) drive inventory. As a "Web Squared" company, its operations are infused with IT, and innately driven by data from their customers -- the physical being driven by the digital and vice-versa.
What does this all mean? Librarians have a role to play. We've been doing it for years with FRBR and RFID. It's time we turn the page and write the first sentence for this new Web.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Clara Shih is a rising star in the social media world. The Facebook Era is a new technology model, way of thinking, and cultural phenomenon. Whereas the last decade was about the World Wide Web of information and the power of linking web pages, today, we are seeing a World Wide Web of people emerge. I think Shih introduces some interesting concepts to the social media hemisphere:
1. The Social Graph -- Called the fourth revolution of "social computing", the social networking movement has blurred the lines of the private and the public, a movement that afffects us all personally first, professionally second -- it ultimately blends the old dichotomies of the personal and the professional.
2. Social Sales -- The social web has become one large Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. Social networking businesses and organizations to view profiles of their accounts, capture deal information, track performance, communicate with contacts, and share information internally. As a result the social CRM becomes a bidirectional relationship between vendor and customer.
3. Social Capital -- the social graph reaches far beyond technology and media. It is one of the most signficant sociocultural phenomena of this decade. Weak ties used to require a lot of effort to sustain; however, with the social web, people now are accustomed to accumulating and never losing contacts throughout the rest of their lives
Clara Shih became an important name in corporate social networking when she developed Faceconnector (initially named Faceforce) in 2007, which was the first business application on Facebook. The application integrates Facebook and Salesforce CRM, pulling Facebook profiles and friend information into Salesforce account, lead, and contact records. Although the book is aimed at the business and technology, it is also has an intellectual premise about a sociocultural transformation that requires a change in our thinking and a new language to articulate our strategies and observations.
It will be interesting to see the continued impact of the The Facebook Era in the upcoming years as social media is still ever-evolving. Although it is a required textbook for the Global Entrepreneurial Marketing course at Stanford and social media course at Harvard Business School, there's no gurantee that these tools will continue to dominate.
Monday, November 09, 2009
On Day 2 of the The American Society for Information Science & Technology (ASIS&T) in Vancouver, BC (Thriving on Diversity - Information Opportunities in a Pluralistic World),I attended the panel, New Directions in Information History which included Haigh, Geoffrey Bowker, William Aspray, and Robert Williams. Haigh caught my attention the most as he challenged (often to an uncomfortable audience of LIS practitioners) thesocial and philosophical issues around technology, and in the relationship between the world of code and world of people. Haigh was trained in the History and Sociology of Science department at the University of Pennsylvania where he eventually became an historian specializing in 20th Century America, in the history of technology and in the social history of work and business.
Haigh is currently delving into the social history of the personal computer, where he argues that despite the shelves of books on the history of the PC, there has been "no serious historical study" of how people used their computers or why they brought them. In my session, Haigh was confronted heatedly about his argument that the history of information science is often weak and incomplete as information technology experts and scientists fail to capture the historical, social, and cultural contexts of proper history writing. Haigh touches on this briefly in his article, Sources for ACM History: What, Where, Why. It was very interesting seeing the giants of LIS such as Michael Buckland and Marcia Bates in the room debating with Haigh's externalist vision for historical inquiry of information science -- and is perhaps a microcosm of the state of the field today. Alas, the debate rages on.
Friday, November 06, 2009
Get Your Career On The Move
Are you looking for a career where you can make a difference? As a MTR Corporation team member, you can.
In MTR Corporation, we have expanded our business from beyond the construction and operations of a mass transit railway system. We have prided ourselves in growing the communities and enhancing the quality of life of Hong Kong people. Today, MTR Corporation is a diversified company with interests in transportation, property management, many other commercial activities, investment projects and consultancy services worldwide.
We would like to invite applications for the positions of:
Reporting to the Manager-Knowledge and Information, you will perform the role of a Technical Librarian by maintaining a library of essential records for the Projects Division. You will maintain key aspects of the Intranet Portal including smart interactive organisation charts, on-line reference libraries, etc. using the SharePoint 2007 platform. You will also be a centralised resource to respond to hotline requests and support staff in the use of knowledge management tools through the new Intranet Portal.
You should have a Higher Diploma in Management Studies or equivalent and 3 years' relevant working experience.
You are invited to apply online at http://www.mtr.com.hk/careers or send in your application stating the position you are applying for and relevant reference number either by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail to the following address on or before 27 February 2009:
Human Resource Management Department
G.P.O. Box 9916
Sunday, November 01, 2009
Although he has sometimes been mocked for his unusual communication style, Tim Berners-Lee is still one of the most fascinating personalities of the 21st (and 20th) century - and definitely someone whom you would sit down and listen to when he talks. Almost twenty years ago, Tim Berners-Lee helped create the World Wide Web. He continues to lead the World Wide Web Consortium, overseeing the Web's standards and development.
However, his vision never ended with the the current day form of the Web. Rather, he's building a web for open, linked data that could do for numbers what the Web did for words, pictures, video: unlock our data and reframe the way we use it together. A Semantic Web, in other words.
About Tim Berners-Lee
Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web. He
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
However, the LIS cognitive schools of thought assume universal concepts, and are often devoid of ethnological methodology or cultural comparisons. Unfortunately, this resonates to the library and information professions as users are often painted with the same generalist brush. Multicultural librarianship is often limited to market segmentation and specialized reading lists. What about cultural user behaviours? Cultural information retrieval studies? LIS often does not cross into the realm of cultural studies, despite the fact that there is much to examine.
Larissa Hjorth's The Game of Being Mobile: One Media History of Gaming and Mobile Technologies in Asia-Pacific is an interesting microanalysis of social media behaviourial differences between Korea and Japan. It offers much food for thought for LIS professionals, particularly for those who overgeneralize their user groups and standardize one-size-fits-all attitudes in designing information systems. Hjorth highlights some interesting points:
(1) Asia-Pacific Region - Marked by diverse penetration rates of gaming, mobile and broadband technologies, which are subject to local cultural and socio-economic nuances. One of the dominant modes of socializing the consumption of new technologies is through the role of cute culture (also known as kawaii).
(2) Rise in mobile media - Marked by the rise in particular modes of gaming in these regions. South Korea and Japan represent two opposing directions for gaming - Korea emphasizes MMOGs played on stationary PCs in social spaces while Japan pioneers the mobile (privatized) convergent platforms and devices such as the handhelf PSP2 and Nintendo DS.
(3) Public and Private Spaces - Previous domestic technologies such as TV and radio reconfigures public and private spaces. 19th and 20th century technologies therefore have always been part of the way in which space is redefined.
(4) Imagined Communities - Through mobile media and media communities such as gaming, we are seeing emerging unofficial imaging communities that will impact on official imagined and transnational synergies.
(5) Remediating Technology - Customizing invites uers to conceive of technology as remediated. Through cute customization of mobile media and games in the region, new technologies are linked into earlier cultural histories and media archaeologies that are distinctive from European or American models.
(6) Cute Technology - Cute is fundamentally linked to the adaptation of new technologies, such as mobile media and SNS. This phenomenon distinctively differs from Western modes of user customization modes and demonstrates that technologies are much socio-cultural as they are industrial.
(7) SNS in Asia - Unlike Western or European social networking systems (SNS) that are consumed by children and teenagers, in Korea's Cyworld both young and old engage in the politics of cute representation online as a reflection of offline identity. Because of such localized features of not only the SNS, but its specific geographical and cultural audience, its success outside of Korea (and the Korean diaspora) is far from assured.
Monday, October 19, 2009
Online, it would be the same thing; the thing that would drive this social network was the same thing that drove life at college -- sex. Even at
Harvard, the most exclusive school in the world, it was all really about
sex. Getting it, or not getting it. That's why people joined Final Clubs.
That's why they chose certain classes over other ones, sat in certain seats
at the dining hall. It was all about sex. And deep down, at its heart,
that's what [Facebook] would be about, in the beginning. An undercurrent of
If you don't have much time for reading, then perhaps waiting for the movie Hollywood version could be another option. It's coming out later this year.
Monday, October 12, 2009
. . . said Douglas Coupland in a recent interview he had in Toronto after a reading when he took a potshot at libraries across the world with his apparently innocent quip about the demise of the gates of bricks and books. Much has been said in not only library literature, but in popular writing, too, about the value of public institutions such as libraries. The same goes for academic libraries, where Daniel Greenstein, vice provost for academic planning and programs at the University of California System, told a room full of university librarians that "the university library of the future will be sparsely staffed, highly decentralized, and have a physical plant consisting of little more than special collections and study areas."
It's unnerving to imagine the library of the future as differently as it is from the current day library. But perhaps this is innovation, a reinvention of the model of librarianship as technology transforms society and culture. Librarians need to continually inject fresh ideas to the profession; although, easier said than done with institutional bureaucracies and hierarchies which often overshadow creativity. Decentralization is necessary; and it's about time, too. In my opinion, librarians need to focus on their specialties, and here are some ideas:
1. Research - Librarians need to specialize, and focus on information retrieval. Reference should be conducted by front-line staff; librarians, on the other hand, should do in-depth research which requires more than a duration of a few minutes of a reference transaction. These types of ibrarians should be rebranded as "social science researchers" or "business researchers" to reflect the high quality of work that they do behind the scenes. With the internet and such easy access to information in this connected world, quality reference is the only way to save not only the value, but the public perception of a librarian's work.
2. Collection Management - The literature and lingo says it all: libraries are moving from the physical to the digital. Some public libraries have adapted and increasingly take a proactive bookstore model. Some have even branded this as Library 2.0. But that doesn't seem to be enough. Libraries must start thinking of breaking down a century-old mindset of a Taylor-ist model of operations and to one which requires creativity and economy. Can libraries ever be purely digital online libraries? Can they merge with bookstores? Churches? Malls? Can academic libraries, one of the most traditional institutions of most universities, be ever able to merge with classrooms and student service centres into something extremely unique? We're not talking about learning commons; we're going beyond just the library. To something unthought of yet.
3. Marketing - Fundraising, advertising, communications. Librarians have not been successful yet in the translation of important issues like open access and digitization to a public mass audience. Yet, why is it that corporations like Sony do such a remarkable job at Bravia HDTV and makes masses salivate? Brand management is a niche that libraries must develop even though it's the least of the priorities of librarians. This must change - marketing, social media advertising, event promotions - are the saviours of a languid institution. Libraries are also public spaces; yet, it never attains the same prestige as art galleries or museums. If we expect to survive and achieve relevance, we must adapt.
4. Classifications & Technologies -What is a librarian without knowledge and information management skills? Librarians need to be innovators with not only socia cataloguing, but ultimately the future of the web. Katherine Adams has argued that library and information science and computer science have lots in common in the next version of the web, namely the Semantic Web. These types of librarians, rather than work in inhouse libraries, need to join R&D laboratories, research institutions, and teach in higher education. They need to join the ranks of the intellectual elite.
Tuesday, October 06, 2009
Archival programs in North America are few and far between. Only a handful of programs available, the majority of archive programs are narrowly focused on records management techniques. Unfortunately, for social and cultural historians, this narrow approach has its limitations. Although as a profession, archivists have worked side-by-side with historians through the ages, archival sciences is still a young academic field. As Alex Ben's Excluding Archival Silences: Oral History and Historical Absence Excluding Archival Silences: Oral History and Historical Absence argues,
archives remain, largely, material repositories of cultural memory. It is an accepted historical problematic, however, that culture is often resistant to material preservation. There exists an undeniable and profound tension between scholarly efforts to reconstruct history and interpret cultural traditions and the fragmentary, and often limited, material record. That is to say, scholarship is shaped by a sinuous negotiation around the historical silences that encompass all of material culture. Historical silences, however, can at times be marginalized (or at best excluded) by a sensitive configuration of material evidence with oral history.The new generation archivist should be motivated by the long term preservation of moving images and by the invention of new paradigms for access to celluloid, tape, bits and bytes. It should be rooted in historical, practical and theoretical study - and rather than limiting itself to one methodology, it needs to assign equal importance to heritage collections and emerging media types.
Interactive Video/Transcript Viewer (IVT) is a web-based tool that sychronizes a video with its transcript, so as users play the video, its transcript updates automatically. In addition to searching a video's transcript for key words and phrases, and then playing the video from that point, IVT includes a tool that allows users to create a playlist of clips from interviews for use in meetings. While it took historians thousands of hours of transcription work, IVT transcribes in real-time. These are the types of technologies archivists need to be aware of, in order for us to create active archives. And this is where information professionals need to be aware - to anticipate the needs of its users.
Sunday, October 04, 2009
This is a fascinating analysis, and one worthy of a closer look by all librarians who wish to use the trendiest technologies as outreach to their user populace. For a while, the Web 2.0 mantra encouraged most to try out new ideas, new concepts, cool technologies. But now that we've reached a plateau in the development of social media, concerns such as privacy, copyright, and best practices must be kept in mind by librarians information professionals who need a fine balance with the public and private space of their users.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
One of the preeminent historians of American copyright, Vaidhyanathan's arguments often examines how these issues go beyond simple arguments about digital “rights” to include consideration of the more subtle impacts of cost and access that have the potential for chilling effects on a “semiotic democracy” that is situated in “global flows of information.”
In many ways, Vaidhyanathan counters the utopian web which Henry Jenkins calls "participatory culture." Rather than accept utopian enthusiasms about "Web 2.0" uncritically, critical information studies exposes the potential vulnerabilities in democratic institutions posed by such issues as Digital Rights Management, tampering with electronic voting, and otherwise trusting private corporations with public information infrastructure. CIS looks at 'semiotic democracy' -- a big picture examination on just how digital and social media are affected by corporate producers.
CIS is an intellectual antidote to the the Web 2.0 social media phenomena, and offers the tools to analyze the Web more thoughtfully and carefully. But CIS is an exciting field, just as it is beginning to take shape and gain its own sense of identity. Afterward: Critical Information Studies - A Bibliographic Manifesto is required reading for those interested in CIS as it provides a detailed "taxonomy" of disparate disciplines which comprises the CIS. These disciplines include American Studies, Anthropology, Communication, Computer Science, Cultural Studies, Ethnic Studies, Legal Studies, Library and Information Science, Literary Studies, Media Studies, Musicology, Political Science, and Sociology. Interestingly, since Critical Information Studies cuts across these and other more traditional academic domains, Vaidhyanathan describes this as being a "transfield."