January 14, 2010

Living Digital Symposium (part 1)

Filed under: blog,Blogroll — Tags: , — tsladmin @ 9:03 am

ALCTS Symposium, ALA Midwinter Meeting, January 14, 2010
Margaret Ashida – Going Global in the Knowledge Economy
the global economy is a knowledge economy
agriculture –> goods –> services (shifting economices over time, now it’s services)
(one person raised her hand when asked if there were any digital natives in the room – yay!)
today’s students are very different and are not the ones our education system is designed to teach
today’s social networks and tools are important for recruiting and engaging with prospective employees now
there’s no expectation anymore that you’ll stay at the same company for 30 years
have to give employees the feeling that their work matters
IBM let all employees chat online with the CEO
(there have been so many studies about this stuff now that there are studies saying, please – no more studies
mastery of science, technology, math is vitally important for all of our kids
“the opportunity equation” – took a lot of these studies to another level (Carnegie Corporation)
– aligned the recommendations by stakeholder groups
first STEM students will come out of the program in 2011 – 166,000 of them
momentum is building around the country around STEM
more than 150 schools now
teaching innovation is a major focus
more than 500 stakeholders in the Rochester STEM program
“need to embed STEM learning from twinkle to wrinkle”
North Carolina’s design principles:
1. make STEM literacy & economic opportunity attainable for ALL NC students as soon as possible
2. drive scalable and sustainable innovations for continuous improvement
3. focus on success at a higher level & empower communities along with their educators to innovate
4. empower & support a culture that nurtures the creation of innovative STEM professionals
5. incubate supports collaboration & network behavior for STEM excellence through knowledge capture
“think globally and act locally”
Kevin Guthrie – When Books are Bytes, What Adds Value?
Ithaka is a not-for-profit org dedicated to helping the academic community (JSTOR, PORTICO,Ithaka S+R)
universities become dramatically more accessible and will be drawn more into commerce
commerce is drawn into the world of the academy; it’s never impacted the academy in these ways before (especially scholarly communication)
systems were oriented towards serving scholars, but now that the knowledge is digital and uses a common network, the scholar uses Amazon to search for a book, not the library – that’s new
scholars used tools designed for them – the lines are blurring now
the network is now ubiquitous
the pace of innovation is on internet time
today’s value added is tomorrow’s commodity – anybody can hire a vendor to do something
content is moving to the wire
compared Blockbuster (physical infrastructure) and NetFlix (distribution network, customer service focus)
analogy to libraries
libraries can’t depend on the centrality of their building as a source of value in the provision of information
it’s still very valuable, but by itself it’s not value for disseminating knowledge
it has to have service layers on top of it & libraries have to compete to serve their natural constituencies
journals have made the transition to the electronic environment
evolutionary innovation, not transformative innovation
libraries are doing this, too
what about books, though?
the transition from the objects to the bits
the value in moving physical objects is going down
journals are very specialized; books are not specialized to the academy like journals
the tools and capabilities provided are likely to be optimized for a non-academic audience
in this environment, the advantage goes to scale
what needs to be a specialized resource? we keep thinking some things need to be specialized, but then we watch Google come in and do it “good enough”
there is a tension to be managed between serving your institution or a broader audience
how do you justify the local bills when offering digital collections globally? how do you match the constituencies who pay with those you serve?
pressures on costs make this a more challenging question
can the university really say our mission is to serve the world?
great evolutionary change, but haven’t seen transformative change yet (will come with ubiquitous network, when users use the network to do scholarship in creative ways – not just a better way of doing what we always did)
a race to providing many-to-many ineractions, sharing, and research support tools that assist the knowledge creation process (in contrast to approaches focused primarily on knowledge dissemination)
as more content & knowledge go digital, pressure on libraries & publishers to add value through the specialized services they provide to researchers & students (as opposed to assistance in the use of physical objects)
question from audience: when will books really become digital?
answer: there are likely to be two phases. google book search said, hey this is possible. before that, most people said all of the content would never be digitized. we don’t have to wait until it’s all there, so the pressure will come when the readers are good enough. that market is growing, so the commercial pressures will wash over us at that point. that’s maybe 3 years away. the upper demographic is using the readers, and the younger ones are using the iphone. but it won’t be because every book is available digitally and freely
question: what about the role we play in contextualizing resources? do people value the JSTOR classification scheme?
answer: there’s too much information already, and there’s only going to be more. the quesiton kevin doesn’t know how to answer right now is tools – at some level, tools want to go to the cloud/network level; believes in the value of the face-to-face interaction and understanding needs; contextualizing locally will have value, but you have to make investments to understand the needs of that community. how do I understand what I can do for my local constituents because I’m here physically in this area – that’s where nobody can compete with me.
See Also: Ithaka’s Case Studies in Sustainability


  1. Great summary of these talks. Felt like I was there in person because of how well you captured the essence of what was said!

    Comment by Rob Darrow — January 14, 2010 @ 9:41 pm

  2. There are many important and relevant questions here pertaining to the shift from atoms to bits, dominant centers to open networks. I believe your mention of JSTOR at the end misses another significant factor: the paywall that preempts, or displaces, questions of network from general concerns to the specialized world of institutional garden walls. It continually astonishes me that celebrants of networked, open systems placidly allow JSTOR (and its partner academic journal publishers) to use digitization to design and protect intentional artificial scarcity. When the scarcity is scarcity of knowledge – knowledge produced by scholars supported by taxpayers – the logic of the model becomes simply laughable.

    Comment by tom matrullo — January 15, 2010 @ 6:55 am

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