http://winksplay.ru/

February 16, 2009

Thomas Frey at TSCPL #staffday

Library of the Future:Nerve Center of the Community – Thomas Frey, Senior Futurist at The DaVinci Institute, presented at the Topeka Shawnee County Public Library

we spend most of our time thinking about the past
– we know about it and have experienced it
but we’re going to spend the rest of our lives in the future
it’s like we’re walking backwards into the future

epiphanies are one of the things that separate humans from animals
every great new business is an epiphany

Frey had “a full category 5 epiphany”
“the life of an idea junkie”
Frey described a time he and his wife were sitting in a sidewalk cafe when he heard a song and used “Shazam” on his phone to find out the name of a song, which he then immediately downloaded
realized that his phone has a camera, too
the future of retail – when you see someone wearing a jacket you like, just take a picture of it to purchase it (just point and click at it)
in the future, all of our body info will be scanned in so that clothes fit the first time
no longer restricted to just what’s in stores
instead of owning a store, owners could hire models to walk up and down the street (not just clothing, but small appliances, too)
any product, anywhere, anytime

showed a slideshow of modern libraries

what form of payment will you put in a vending machine in 2059?
Frey thinks the vending machine of the future will be mobile and will come to you
will know what you want
might even fly

what music that we listen to today, will people still be listening to 100 years from now in 2109?
more importantly, how will we be listening to music 100 years from now?
will it just appear in our heads? will it still come from speakers?
the ultimate music player will have the ability to assess our reaction to the music and will only serve up music tha we react positively to

ultimate drink dispenser will have the ability to assess what kind of liquids our body needs and will only serve up a liquid that we react positively to
knows exactly how much sugar or cream should go in your coffee

the idea of “perfect water”
we all know polluted water is bad for us
if we take everything out of it, it’s less than optimal
somewhere in between is perfect water for each person in the world (6 billion different combinations)
somewhere in this line of thinking is the interface of the future

system thinking
no famous Roman mathemticians – they weren’t famous because they used Roman Numerals, which was a stupid number system
every number was an equation, which prevented them from doing any higher math with numerals
– no placeholder numbers
–> what systems are we employing today that are the equivalent of Roman Numberals?
– Dewey Decimal System, income tax code, “quart of oil”
is there a better system we could be using? invariably there is

Rick Wakeman video, keyboard player for the rock band Yes
he writes music with 64th and 128th notes
the piece he played in the video could never have been played on a traditional piano – needed a modern keyboard

Frey took a class about how to use a slide rule because he was told he had to
end of the slide rule era, beginning of the calculator era
he named the space between the bottom intersection the “Maximum Freud”
a time of lots of chaos but also of lots of opportunity
what technologies are at Maximum Freud anymore?
– fax machines
– checks
– keyboards
– computer monitors and hardware
– traditional television
– sign language
– invasive surgery
– AM/FM radio
– drill & fill dentistry
– the end of wires (telephone lines, cable TV lines, internet lines, and even power lines – within our lifetime)

the evolution of books
in what year will the last printed book be published?
Gutenberg Press – by 1500, there were more than 5,000 books in print across Europe
through the Espresso Book Machine
something like the Kindle may be as cheap as $5 in 5 years
at what point, is it too expensive for libraries to circulate print books?
when do ebook readers become so ubiquitous that it no longer makes sense to print ink on paper?
when does publishing become downloading titles
small projectors built into devices
information displays built into things
what does a book look like in the future?

every forum now is akin to an online forum, with authors, experts and other readers available to discuss and answer questions on almost every important book ever written
books are now conversations?

10 Global Trends
—————-
1. more people live in urban areas than rural areas (200,000 people a day migrate)
2. 840 million people crossed national borders, more mobile society (as opposed to 50 million in 1950)
3. number of new product launches (300 per day)
4. 550,000 new businesses were launched every month in 2007
5. more than 50% of all women reported being single in 2005
– more than 50% increase in the number of people living alone in the last 20 years
– counter trend of parents living with adult children – grew 67%
6. the number of people working through retirement has doubled
7. minorities will become the majority in 2042 (30% Latinos, 15% Blacks, 9% Asian)
– interracial families, 1000% increase in the past 30 years
– will stop talking about races in the future because they’ll be so undefined
– rises in the percentage of populations that are foreign-born
8. smaller families, bigger houses (700 sq. ft. in 1900)
9. coming boom in data centers (will consume 3% of global electricity supply by 2010; sometime before 2020 power consumption will double)
10. only 14% of all college graduates live in the U.S.

how long will it be before people can get a Ph.D without being literate?
the first time Frey listened to an audiobook, he thought he was cheating
reading is the process of translating the characters (text) on the page
still do it with sound when listening to books
method doesn’t really matter – it still counts
Socrates was not literate – never wrote anything
wouldn’t know anything about him if Plato hadn’t written about him

is reading the ultimate information experience?
are books a technology equivalent to roman numerals?

future of education
——————
did an 18-month study on this topic
organically generated content (courses) going to a global distributed system
an iTunes-like approach to education
teaching requires experts
we can’t train experts fast enough as information expands exponentially
teachers become a chokepoint

overlay a trend line of courses over YouTube, Wikipedia, and Google, it’s flat versus the amount of information being generated – courseware vacuum
MIT OpenCourseWare (1,400 courses) trying to fill that gap
– 12 universities have joined the OpenCourseWare Consotrium (1,800 courses total available)

what is the most important thing I should be learning today?
kids today aren’t being taught what they want to learn
what’s the primary inflection point for change?
– specially architected rapid courseware building, which doesn’t exist yet

12 dimensions of the future courseware architecture
————————————————–
60-minute learning units
modality and language agnostic (not just computer-based, get credit for experience); courses from everywhere but managed online
smart profiler & recommendation engine (what person is most interested in and what they should take next)
truth & accuracy – a high percentage of what’s being taught in classroom today is theoretical; every aspect of society has its own version of the truth
– need a truth authority? won’t work
– need a checks & balances system where any group could put their stamp of approval or disapproval on these courses
certification inputs – early adopters for this will be professional associations (what constitutes sufficient learning); home schoolers will also adopt this
official record-keeping system
global distribution system

available on demand 24/7, anytime, anywhere
less dependent on teachers and schools, more individual control
general study courses will be priced at $1/course
many schools will use these courses to plan their curricula
teachers will go freelance to create their own courses
students who graduate from the equivalent of high school in the future will be 10 times smarter than students today
the idea of taking K-12 education in one year, which will give rise to celebrity teachers
we’ll know when we get the right system put in place because a million new courses will be created
libraries will become the working laboratories for the creation of innovative new courses
libraries are central to his vision

commodity level – Starbucks
product level – a cup of coffee
experience level is what they concentrate on, though

how do we create the ultimate information experience in libraries?
people are using their own PageRank testing to figure out how relevant the library is to them individually

library as place, as opposed to library as service
———————————————-
building is a gathering place

8 reccs for libraries of the future
——————————–
to improve relevance in the minds of the community

1. create a search command center in your library; make it easy to people find information
– can look like a lot of different things, but have to help them conduct searches
– really only doing text searching right now, but need to prepare for other search attributes beyond just audio and video (taste, smell, texture, reflectivity, etc.)
when everyone records what their glasses see, we’re spidering the physical world

2. remote office space
– for every 100 people who get laid off, 7 will start a new business (not that they’ll succeed), so will see a new era of entrepreneurship
– “empire of one”
– cloud computing trend = consumer-driven innovation, rise of the power collaborator, economics of IT are changing, barriers to entry are falling (connectivity, reliability, a quality user experience, and security can now all be assumed)
– business colonies – groupings of “project people” working together as projects form, complete, and disappear
—> at the heart of every business colony will be a library
– people who work from home suffer from either isolation or distractions
—> they need another place to go (proverbial “third place”)
if you were to design a library for these people, what would it look like? what features would it include?
remote office space? a telepresence room?

3. production studios
“when the tools of production are available to everyone, everyone becomes a producer” – The Long Tail
transition from consumers to producers
they want to take ownership of what they create
– blogging stations in the library, podcast studios, one-way mirror glass so that others can watch the production of content
—> passive learning to active producing centers

4. band practice studios
there are 2.2 million bands on MySpace right now, and everyone needs a space to practice
if you put in soundproof rooms, they’ll get used non-stop, all the time

5. entertainment studios
gaming now touches 75% of all US households
Second Life and virtual world stations (creating different communication vehicles)
mini-theaters, mini-planetariums that people can use to create content and post it
art studios to make a cultural hub
exercise studios that combine learning and recreation

6. expert series
so many people are uncomfortable with technology, so once a month, could put some tech experts at the front of the room and let the audience ask questions; let the conversation go where it may
social learning
figure out what’s of interest to the community while raising the tech IQ of the community

7. time capsule room
archiving the history of the community
what did it sound like to drive down Main Street? what did it smell like?
create the room but let the public decide what it turns into
many local companies will probably want their organizations archived there

8. poetry park
public placing inscriptions on large rocks set out around a park

electronic outposts/branches
—————————-
– magazines & periodicals
– reading area
– search command center
– studios
– no books
– efficient operation 1-2 people staffing it

extending influence
——————-
very few library haters out there
very little outbound communication – need to change that; weekly online newsletter?

how do we capitalize on epiphanies?
make your library an epiphany center where people can have ideas and then have the tools to act on them


11:29 am Comments (1)

January 24, 2009

ProQuest “Libraries and the Net Gen” – Introducing Summon

Joan Lippincott started out by speaking about net gens – “If we were creating academic libraries today, what would they look like?”

Oxford, San Jose State University?
would they only have print collections, special collections?

or would we create learning commons?
would they look like Google Book Search or iTunes University where the librarian mostly deals with licensing, totally online?

can we create libraries with content, tools, and services for today’s students?

looked up “what’s in my bag” pool on Flickr to see what today’s students carry (not books)

net gens – born between 1982-1991 who grew up with computers and other media at home and in school from earliest ages
Joan has two NetGen daughters, although their friends are better informants
also calls them millennials, digital natives, gen y, next gen, DotNets
when asked what comes next, she uses the term “screenagers” :-p
– the generation that will have had computers and mobile devices since birth

characteristics of NetGens (a population, not a generation)
using “Born Digital” definition, a highly educated subgroup has the following characteristics
– always connected, multi-tasking
– oriented to working in groups (doesn’t mean they love “groupwork,” but they like hanging out with their friends and socializing while working; you used to go to the library, do your work, & go back to the dorm to socialize. now they socialize at the library with friends who are there and who aren’t there)
– experiential learners (like the shift to hands-on learning from lecture)
– visual (oriented towards visual cues, although they do still read; when they’re doing a history paper, they may embed a map or create a video – they don’t just use text)
– producers as well as consumers (they create something of their own)

even if you have 50% adult learners at your campus, many of these characteristics still apply
(kids today call them “cameras,” not “digital cameras”)
anyone working in digital humanities is working in groups
adults are active learners – they want hands-on
think of any profession – they are all producing websites, word documents, or producing some form of digital information

so our tools need to be oriented towards these characteristics because they’ll need the skills using them going forward

characteristics of “deeper learning” (educause)
– social
– active
– contextual
– engaging
– student-owned

libraries are perfectly positioned to take advantage of this
it’s the projects they do outside of class that gives them the skills in class
– gives them context, they own their product, and engages them

it’s not just hype and it has relevance to learning
have to think about how we do this in our own institutions

are all students really tech-savvy?
students are connected
98.5% of respondents own a computer, 82.2% own a laptop (doesn’t mean they are new computers or that they bring them to class)
spend 19.6 hours a week doing work online (Joan thinks that’s low)
almost all are using social networks

harvard medical school survey of students in 2007 found 52% own a PDA
app with most use is reference!
have to think about the next generation of professionals and how we serve them

they love the internet and would give up TV & radio before internet (because they’re doing those things on the web)
college kids increasingly live in the online and offline worlds at the same time
has important implications for how we structure services

JISC study found that learners who are effective in online environment also create content, seek peer support using informal networks & social tools – an underground world of networking that is invisible to institutions

they may know how to build a website, but “we’re more interested in the art and flow of argument”
have to teach them how to use these tools in their disciplines, not their personal lives
we want students to connect better to library collections and services

Henry Jenkins’ “selected core skills”
– collective intelligence
– judgment – the ability to evaluate the reliability and credibility of different information resources
– networking – the ability to search for, synthesize information
– simulation – ability to interpret & *constuct& dynamic models of real world processes
– appropriation
– multtasking – a positive thing when can shift focus to salient details

MIT Photo Diary study

there will be an increasing emphasis on data for visualization (how do we represent this in our finding aids)
content optimized for mobile devices

Cornell has put images from their digital collections on their computers as screensavers so that when students ask where the images came from, the librarians can tell them

Seattle PL visualization of books being checked out

need to think about embedded content and transforming text data into more visual formats

– adopt and adapt
– assess
– hiring new types of staff
– train existing staff
– let go of things you don’t need to do

these students are our future and it’s our role to recreate academic libraries


9:16 am Comments (1)

December 2, 2008

Karolien Selhorst – Online Information Presentation

Setting Up a Tool for Knowledge Sharing in a Public Library
December 2, 2008

works on knowledge management at the Public Library of Vlissingen in the Netherlands
the Library also provide service for the local hospital and have opened services in elementary schools
they want to be a two-way library where their users are, adapted to the needs and wishes of their users
digital library is becoming more important because fewer people are coming in for books

have to share knowledge efficiently, making use of hidden staff talent
did a “knowledge scan”
found that the intranet wasn’t meeting staff needs
their wiki is internal only because they want to excel internally before they might open it up for users

six steps to implementing a wiki
1 – planning the wiki
actually the most important phase of all
many important questions need to be answered, including is your internal culture ready for something like this
are people stimulated to share their knowledge or are they prevented from sharing it?
what do you want to get out of it?
which users do you want to contribute to it? what will the scope be?
they decided to involve all of their users because sharing knowledge is important to everyone
early involvement of future users is important – involve them as soon as possible
also gets you feedback
use wikitmatrix.org to find appropriate software for your project
decide hosted vs on your own server
they started out on their own server but went to a hosted service when they realized they didn’t have the in-house technical knowledge they needed

2 – designing the wiki
used an external visual designer to make the wiki use their current brand (he happened to be the son of a staff member)
created the initial structure of the wiki but let it grow organically
seeded it with initial content (no “empty box”)
created documentation and policy rules for the wiki (“wikiquette”) but don’t focus on the rules
created a sandbox area where people could experiment and play without feeling like they could mess things up

3 – Testing the wiki
used early adopters who were already familiar with wikis
test basic functions, proofreading initial content, test links and wiki usability
let future users test the wiki

4 – Launching the wiki and training users
found it important to do this officially so need to communicate it to everyone in an official way
have lots of “communication moments”
tell people what the wiki can do for them and integrate it into daily work practices
pay more attention to “slow adopters”
create a good handbook

5 – Managing & maintaining the wiki
appointed a “wiki gardener” to be responsible for moderating discussions, reviewing content, reviewing wiki structure to makke content easily accessible by everyone
important distinction that she has no effect on actual content – she isn’t a “wiki dictator”
technical support is maintained by the hosting company in their case

6 – Wiki evaluation
they’re in this stage now
using statistics and user surveys

showed a screenshot – it’s simple because it’s focused on the content
“teams & clusters”
“information”

they are now developing new software that will complement the wiki by handling reference inquiries from the public
answering questions will become based on team expertise, not individuals
this is a revolutionary new way of working in a Dutch public library
they will see the first demo of the system next week, so just in the initial phase

wiki lessons learned (practical tips)
– the success of a wiki depends on user contribution and enthusiasm
– involve your end-users from the beginning
– reward people for contributing to the wiki, acknowledge experts who share
– a wiki complements, but does not replace, face-to-face sharing; it’s not about the technology or the tool, but the people
– seed the wiki
– integrate the wiki in daily working practices

q: which software did you use?
a: moin moin was their first choice, but installing and configuring it required more technical skills than they had, so they moved to Plone; users don’t need any technical knowledge

q: was the goal to replace or complement the intranet? and can you give examples of making the wiki practical for staff when explaining it?
a: the Library has different geographical locations, so it can be difficult for teams to meet physically, so they are also implementing a chat function within the wiki


7:46 am Comments (6)

Clay Shirky – Online Information Keynote

Every Piece of Information Is a Latent Community
December 2, 2008

Clay Shirky’s keynote talk to open the 2008 Online Information Conference

“group action just got easier” = 5-word summary of his book Here Comes Everybody

the ways the media environment is being transformed now that consumers are first-class participants
the overlap of all of the patterns in one environment is the big transition we’re all living through and trying to figure out

showed a picture of a truck in a parking lot at sunset on Flickr – HDR photography (technique, not just software)
don’t need to see what’s going on in the comments to understand what’s going on there
people start inserting photographs into the comments, which turn to a technical discussion
a user group is assembled on the fly
used to be gather then share – used to have to identify the people who would be interested first and then organize/share
Flickr reversed the pattern – share and then gather
they didn’t identify themselves before they saw this page
Flickr had the infrastructure to let these people create a community on the fly
once the users created this, it wasn’t evanescent anymore – it was permanent now

shows that every URL is a latent community – potential value that people looking at it might find value in it
not all will see community grow, but the potential is there
can have many more communities of practice at much lower cost because the old distinction between conversation and publication is no longer true
why pick? Flickr gets more value out of not having to decide in advance what a piece of information might be used for
even on the Flickr picture, other conversations can take place in parallel

Flickr gives users the tools to add value

there are large patterns we see (not every service on the internet has these, but some large ones do)
– share
– collaboration
– collective action
in this order, because how much does the individual have to give up to get value?
takes more effort the higher you go on the ladder

showed Bronze Beta – the Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan club site
back when WB sold the rights to Buffy to UPN, UPN didn’t want the community group online, so they shut down the server (UPN: we don’t want it because we’re in the television business)
the users, however, wanted the community to continue, so they raised money and commissioned a new service to move to
they explicitly decided they didn’t want any “features” – no ratings, rankings, etc.
they just wanted to type in text, and now it’s just a giant scroll of conversation
the community is still going

these new social technologies are the first time where later generations of technology have fewer features than older versions
the simplicity in the tools has to do with a mindshift of the computer as a box to a door
for individually-oriented software, a long list of features is good (Photoshop, Word, etc.)
but when we want to collaborate, fewer features is better; we need the same mental model of what’s going on
the complexity is in the user, not the software
in Bronze Beta, the complexity is in the very long list of rules created by the users (“no colored fonts”)

showed the Wikipedia entry for Doctor Who – it’s been edited almost 9,000 times by more than 3,000 people
the breadth and depth of participation is quite extraordinary

“hive mind” – people that use this term almost always don’t understand what’s happening
these folks aren’t part of a community in any sense because most have only edited it once or twice
someone, though, has edited it thousands of times; every article he’s touched on Wikipedia is about Doctor Who
there is no coherent average behavior, although the commonest behavior is one edit, one user
we’re used to counting noses – how many people watched my TV show, read my book, etc.
but here, there is no one common user behavior; instead, there’s this tiny group of fantastically engaged users
imagine going to your boss and trying to convince them to plan this
it’s not everybody pitching in like a barn-raising; it’s not collaboration
it’s like a small, self-appointed editorial board

collaboration involves real synchronization
it’s not just you share and I share
collective action is the most difficult pattern to get going because the whole group has to commit to it and either stand or fall together

two examples – HSBC

they recruited college students with penalty-free checking accounts
proved to be popular, but then they changed their minds and added a penalty
gave users 30 days to get their money out
thought they had the information and coordination advantage
in the summer, the students should have been outclassed by HSBC’s tools
but they didn’t count on Facebook
a user starts a page, which goes viral
for the first time, college students are dispersed but active
they started sharing documentation – good banks to move to and how
once one person solved the problem, the information was available to everyone
goodbye to HSBC’s information advantage
then they organized a real-world protest, but it never happened because by then HSBC had caved in
HSBC backed down because the students were upset AND coordinated

“thinking is for doing”
there is an analagous transformation that publishing for acting
the newspaper could only report HSBC had changed the deal, while Facebook could actually encourage users to do something
publishing and action is no longer a choice – can do both
now have a response without managerial control

example two – flash mobs
they were promoted in “emails by bill”
wanted to prove that hipsters would do anything you told them to
hits belarus – eating ice cream in Minsk Square
the police showed up – the group became a problem (not the group eating ice cream)
it had been made illegal to act in concert – to be a group
when they entered the square, they weren’t a group
the livejournal page led to action – it’s a full cycle; they didn’t just bring their ice cream – they also brought their cameras because they wanted to document the state’s response

in less than 3 years, flash mobs went from being something to mock a certain class to political protest
we tend to underestimate the potential of these tools because they tend to look frivolous
we don’t understand their potential
anything that allows group formation is political
so much of the meaning of the tool is in what the user does with it once it becomes social

what is all of this doing to the media landscape as a whole?
we’re living in the middle of the largest increase in the social expression of the human race

1 – printing press/movable type
2 – point-to-point communications (telegraph, telephone)
3 – capturing sound and video
4 – broadcasting spectrum (radio, television)

curious asymmetry to them – the ones that are good at creating conversations are not good at creating groups and vice versa
there was no medium for creating two-way conversation among groups (many-to-many) until now
there is no longer a distinction between consumer and producer
giving someone the ability to receive email means they can send email
the audience grows and becomes varied
the 5GB generated this year will be at the edges

the internet is also the mode of carriage for all previous media as it’s digitized
it’s also adding social dimensions to all existing media

to produce something for a lot of people to watch, read, etc., I have to take on a big burden for production costs
if I’m wrong, I lose a lot of money
in an era of gutenberg economics, I decide which books are good and I publish them
all following media have had the same economics problem
filter and then publish becomes the model – see what’s good and then publish it

now, anyone can publish to anyone with a marginal cost of zero
it’s the first medium we’ve had that works with post-gutenberg economics
anyone can say anything to anybody and they frequently do
it’s too much content to filter in advance, and there’s no economic reason to do so

the question for a 15-year old today is not “why publish” but “why not publish?”
many of the huge businesses built on the back of the internet have at the core of their business model a post-publication filter
get to the good stuff after the fact, not before

the users are now well and truly engaged in the publishing environment

the user as publisher model:
1- Gnarly Kitty
a fashion-obsessed Thai student who posted about a fishing game
why would anyone publish that?
because she’s not talking to us – she’s talking to her friends
we’re not used to seeing things that are public but not in the public
then a coup happens in Thailand, and the government tells the media not to report about it
but Gnarly Kitty publishes the first picture of tanks in front of the parliament house and she is now the go-to source
people are now flooding in and she becomes a global resource
then she posts about a phone she’d like to own
the users get upset and want more about the coup
she responds with a post that it’s *her* blog and it’s about her life

zuckerman: journalism has gone from being a profession to being an activity
she committed acts of journalism; she just did it while she was a concerned citizen
not connected to self-definition
this model is new
she doesn’t need the money to be a global publisher
she gets thousands of new readers and she tells them if you don’t like her content, then leave

2 – Howard Forums
early blog about cell phones
can”t answer people’s questions about their phones, so he says hey, you all talk to each other and he puts up a forum
is up to a billion pages this year because the expert users are solving problems for the new users
tech support reps from phone companies will refer callers to the Forums
they have access to “reality,” which the engineers don’t
the kinds of questions that can only be answered when A has part of the answer and B has the other part and they collaborate
users creating detailed technical documentation
it’s not all tech all the time, because users have gotten to know one another and they hang out here together (they post pictures of their pets)
as a publisher, it’s easy to see that you’d get rid of the pictures of cats
but that misunderstands what is going on here
that both of these things are coming from the same web
they’re not doing one in spite of the other, but rather because of it
it’s the fact that the users care about each other is what gets them to do all of this
communities have to be for the members
the satisfaction comes from membership and recognition from the communnity
hosting that isn’t amenable to crowdsourcing solutions
communities need to get to know each other and share all kinds of things in order to do the technical documentation

3- showed a still shot from Joss Whedon’s new show, Dollhouse
fan experience is that his shows get canceled, so they’ve already created a site to save it from cancellation before it even airs
in the past, they’ve organized protests
they don’t trust the marketing department to explain to people why they should watch it, so they do this themselves
there is no aspect of the information industry that users aren’t crawling into, including the marketing department
users don’t always do this well
the pattern is usually extract the signal after the fact
they do always do it differently, though
grappling with that difference is the big question we have to deal with now

one of the big changes is that anybody in any part of the information business is now part of the entire information business
no longer i work in television and you work movies – it doesn’t matter anymore
no longer that we produce the content and then the users go off and talk about it somewhere else
creating community and arranging action are now part of production
not every organization should get into every part of the business, but publishers can now be conveners of community
can allow amateurs in to extract value – that’s what we’re grappling with
it’s not a move from A to B but from one to many
the landscape itself is expanding

when the printing press came out, it wasn’t that people looked at it and said, oh now we need a printing industry and this is what it will look like
little things turn out to be big deals
making books smaller meant more people could carry them (creation of octavo size)
if it’s hard for a thief to get a book out the door, that’s a feature
that little intuition sparked a revolution

everybody is everywhere and all the walls have fallen
everybody can see each part of the business; it’s all horizen and no barriers
what’s the next good thing to do?
the answer is most certainly to explore
experimenting our way into the future is what will show us what works
there is no roadmap for the period we are entering

q: what is the role of the professional librarian
a: liz lawley says libraries are “happiness engines;” the whole of the world that deals with traditional publishing is now dealing with the split between lovers of the page and lovers of the book; it’s easy to see the role of librarians as hosts of books, but if you see sociable libraries as happiness engines, then the question becomes what set of things done in libraries now would increase the happiness; one of the obvious answers is “collaborative filtering” – helping the user find the next thing to read, watch, etc.; libraries have typically serviced users one-to-one, but there are groups of people coming together and talking with each other in the library; ideas make people happy, so what resources do we have to extend that; one of the big resources we have is that we have “convening power” – it’s unmatched in civil society; the cross-section that goes into a library is quite extraordinary; it doesn’t have to be one-to-one, and there is a great deal of potential in experimenting with many-to-many; even in the corporate world, libraries can join up people who should be talking with each other; IBM example – “DogEar” plus a one-way mirror; allowed researchers to tag URLs, although they’re not sharing the tags back to the world; two geographically-dispersed research groups there discovered each other because they were tagging the same resources, clearly with the same ideas; they actually called each other and then pooled their efforts; this would never have happened from the top-down; “research is a famously upside-down problem” so there’s no way one person at the top could have said these two groups in two different countries will work together; when the users can see what each other think (don’t apply the ontology in advance), people with similar world-views can be connected; connecting users because they’re looking at the same information

q: if we spent our lives organizing information as a community, how do we tackle all of the new information being created?
a: you can’t; you only have 2 chances to actively organize things – moment of creation and moment of use; at creation, can try to add metadata, but at use stage, you can involve the user and have them modify or verify the metadata; the problem becomes a little bit of effort gives you a high degree of leverage, so have to find the right point where this happens; there’s no way to apply the metaphor of the shelf to cyberspace; they have to do with automatic extraction, inviting users to upgrade metadata at the point of use

q: what does this tell us about human nature that we might apply to things we do?
a: that is THE question, in part because it’s the one we need to answer but can’t; used to think that the world was changing because technology was changing, but now thinks we’re just not used to explaining human behavior without being paid or other extrinsic motivation; we used to think the market was the public sphere and the household was the private one, but that’s changing; Wikipedia makes no sense at all; what critics have missed is that human nature contains an enormous amount of Gnarly Kitty motivation;public and private sphere are existing side by side, can’t be explained purely by the market

q: the idea of expertise as opposed to popularity
a: if your skull is going to be cut open, you want it to be done by a trained professional; the reverse is that you don’t need to buy music only in the presence of a record store professional;
the closer things to come to life and death and one-off decisions with no reversability, the more we want expertise; the places where there is an obvious right answer that is independent from the social view; changes here are coming about in the end of the spectrum where what people believe changes what is true; are SUVs a truck or a car? that decision was socialized, which got us to a better answer than letting Washington decide; there’s no general “get ouf jail free” card for experts; very often, the really interesting hybrids are where professionals and amateurs come together; in most but not all cases in the information industry, it’s headed to hybridization because it’s not the critical one-off decision; how many different strategies can we apply to see where the cost versus value curve is

q: should we be worried about efficiency? should we be worried about experts? one of the problems of community is that there are maturity issues that affect newbies (keep learning or does everyone become an “expert”)
a: the social origin of good ideas; putting experts and amateurs together improves both groups because when the expert has to teach, he learns; it’s the conversation between the two turns out to be more powerful than pure amateur aggregation or pure expert knowledge; these systems work not because they’re efficient because they’re effective after many fruitless tries at low cost; resources don’t get tied up in the failures because it’s easier to identify them; we’ve all been in that meeting where we realize we’ve expended more energy talking about the idea than we would have if we’d just implemented it; most Flickr pictures don’t have comments but it doesn’t cost Flickr anything; that’s why these new systems look so strange to us


7:44 am Comments (4)

November 13, 2008

John Palfrey: “Born Digital” Presentation

Notes from John Palfrey’s talk for the MacArthur Foundation at Google Chicago

point of the book Born Digital was to bust some of the myths and look at differences in behavior between digital natives and people like their grandparents

shouldn’t treat everybody the same way just because they have the same technology – may not use it the same way
how they define this specific group of kids (not all millennials) – born after 1980, access to the technology (only 1 billion people), skills to use it

5 characteristics

1. “I blog therefore I am”
express their identity online and offline – they don’t distinguish between the two
avatars as another version of identity
one difference is “subscribe to *me*”

2. multitaskers
a lot of debate over multitasking and what it is, but they’re doing multiple things at once
example of game in which boys tried to maintain as many IM conversations with as many girls as they could at once

3. consumers to creators
interact with digital format – seems self-evident, but presumption is immediate access because digital (eg, digital camera vs a disposable one); movie theater vs YouTube, print vs searchable text
presumption of media in digital form and that it’s social and shared

held a contest to design the logo for “Digital Natives” project at Harvard Law School – got 136 entries (32 from the kid who won), just for the glory (no prize)

4. mash up different media, putting different forms of media together

comes down to a series of technologies – RSS, Google Docs, lightweight collaborative tools

5. an international perspective
“couchsurfing” Google Maps mashup – 89,000 friendships created

(I think these were the five characteristics, but I wasn’t paying attention to numbering until later)

Issues: Security

security – Internet Safety Technical Task Force (Texas is the only state not participating in this!)
“stranger danger” is number one fear
data shows kids are not any less safe than they were 10 years ago (fewer incidents), although some kids do meet their attackers online (it’s become a public park in some ways)

bullying is borne out by the data, though – clearly an increase in this, although maybe it’s more that adults can see it now, as opposed to in the past (it’s asynchronous and persistent now)

social networks:
– unintended audience
– replicability
– persistence
– searchability
– unintentional contributions

adults on dating sites are just at bad as posting too much personal information as kids are on myspace, etc.

his big fear now is “digital dossiers,” which start as early as sonograms

sidebar: what is a book? why take digital information about digital behavior and put it in print?
didn’t write the book for kids, because they won’t read it
the book started as research posted in Basecamp
put chapters on a wiki

Issues: Privacy

kids like 3-5 minute videos, so this summer they gave some money to a few interns and had them remake each chapter into a video that they then put on YouTube
showed the video on “digital dossiers”

Issues: Intellectual Property

copyright piracy – notion of “sticking it to the man” still an excuse
kids that did get music from iTunes used gift certificates (often from parents), so they were actually kind of downloading it the same way – for free

remix issues – enormous confusion on this score
once a kid sees the artist, or once they become a creator, they start to think differently about piracy
but there’s an enormous range of understanding about this
played the video of the piracy chapter

Issues: Credibility

misinformation, cheating, hidden influencers, blogs, wikipedia
generally, kids don’t go to the library unless forced to go there
“I went to the library on a field trip once”
Harvard libraries are packed but with kids using laptops, not books

information overload – is it real? can you get addicted to this stuff?
thinks we have to take seriously the idea that you need filtering tools for all of this

Opportunities

there are corresponding benefits and opportunities in each of these problem areas
creativity, media literacy, social production, semiotic democracy

a world where people can remix culture and history – it’s much more powerful outside the US but still important for democracy here

knowledge creation, equity/democratic, participatory

empowering individuals, access to information, information creation

digitalnative.org
join the Facebook group

ended book on the chapter on activism – some young people are very involved with using these skills and tools to change the world and participate
Obama campaign as an example

have to choose how we embrace these things while fighting the worst of them

Questions

– what was the cutoff point for the upper age of kids since those born in 1980 would be in graduate school now
– older kids were actually more sophisticated and thoughtful about issues like privacy, showing that kids do learn; bigger concern might be the gap in the understanding of parents and teachers

– parents who didn’t go to college have less experience in this area for educating kids about this stuff or showing them how to be creative with these tools
if this is a crucial life skill, then we need to rethink this

– attitudes from the data about news?
– they asked a lot of questions, and kids don’t read the NYT cover to cover or watch the evening news (this is a big generational difference – everybody doesn’t get the same truth anymore); they graze for headlines (which might be through RSS, a Facebook feed, on a mobile device, etc.) – getting lots and lots of facts; a smaller number of them would “deep dive” and click on the link; fewer still engaged in a feedback cycle (post it, critique it, etc.); if the net effect is that we have everybody getting a shallow version of the news & the most sophisticated ones are doing the most with it (triangulating data, etc.), then that’s problematic; asked if anyone has ever edited a Wikipedia page – only a few had ever done edits, and they were usually to fix typos – didn’t find this recreation of the knowledge store

– did your research show what might happen when digital natives become old enough to change our IP law, fair use for example?
– copyright law used to matter only to map makers, etc., but now it matters to everyone; long way from being changed


12:17 am Comments (5)