Friday, September 18, 2009
Thursday, September 17, 2009
The Center for Research Libraries (CRL) is conducting a series of case studies, funded by the National Science Foundation, to examine the longevity of digital resources. To obtain scholarly input on these studies, CRL is hosting a series of brief (22.5 minute) online forums for researchers in the fields of history, social sciences, and chemistry. These micro-webcasts are free and open to interested researchers and scholars, and cover the following topics: The Historical Record in the Post-Newspaper Age; Political Science, Sociology, and Economics; and Chemistry.
Digital technology has revolutionized the very nature of scientific and historical evidence. Today’s research data exist in many electronic forms, such as news Web sites, computer models of chemical compounds, and public opinion data sets. These new types of evidence defy the traditional ways libraries and archives have preserved information--putting much historical and scientific evidence at risk.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
History shows us that one medium does not necessarily displace another—at least not in the short run. … Every age has been an age of information, each in its own way. In my new book, The Case for Books: Past, Present, and Future [PublicAffairs], I make that very point, because I believe we cannot envisage the future—or make sense of the present—unless we study the past. Not necessarily because history repeats itself or teaches us lessons, but because it can help to orient us when faced with the challenges of new technologies.And now for something completely different ...
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
the timely establishment of durable mechanisms for underwriting reasonable publication charges for articles written by its faculty and published in open access journals and for which other institutions would not be expected to provide funds.
Friday, September 11, 2009
A couple of interesting points from the Nature editorial:
- “Agencies and the research community together need to create the digital equivalent of libraries: institutions that can take responsibility for preserving digital data and making them accessible over the long term. The university research libraries themselves are obvious candidates to assume this role.” Let libraries be libraries!
- Students should be taught “information management—a discipline that encompasses the entire life cycle of data … data management should be woven into every course in science, as one of the foundations of knowledge.”
Related to the second point, see Gardner Campbell, “A Personal Cyberinfrastructure,” in the latest issue of EDUCAUSE Review:
At the turn of the century, higher education looked in the mirror and, seeing its portals, its easy-to-use LMSs, and its "digital campuses," admired itself as sleek, youthful, attractive. But the mirror lied.
Then the web changed again: Google, Blogger, Wikipedia, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter. The medium is the message. Higher education almost completely ignored Marshall McLuhan's central insight: new modes of communication change what can be imagined and expressed. "Any technology gradually creates a totally new human environment. Environments are not passive wrappings but active processes. . . . The 'message' of any medium or technology is the change of scale or pace or pattern that it introduces into human affairs."
And far away Trogool upon the utter Rim turned a page that was numbered six in a cipher that none might read.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
No news for or about tomorrow, either. There is one Wikipedia article for this month in 1909 (old news?), but nothing for the year 1009. And 909 “is not a valid date.”
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
And the image below links to an Economist interview with Paul Courant on the Google settlement:
Friday, September 4, 2009
This week Harvard announced the public launch of its scholarly repository, DASH, which supports the school’s open access policy. In the repository I found an interesting article by Robert Darnton, “Collecting and Researching in the History of Books.”
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Google's five-year head start and its relationships with libraries and publishers give it an effective monopoly: No competitor will be able to come after it on the same scale. Nor is technology going to lower the cost of entry. Scanning will always be an expensive, labor-intensive project. Of course, 50 or 100 years from now control of the collection may pass from Google to somebody else—Elsevier, Unesco, Wal-Mart. But it's safe to assume that the digitized books that scholars will be working with then will be the very same ones that are sitting on Google's servers today, augmented by the millions of titles published in the interim.
Another concern about this project has to do with preservation: I wonder to what extent digital preservation is covered in the settlement. Will this collection exist 50 or 100 years from now?
Later, looking at the above image, I was reminded of the ending of Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal, which reminded me of the ending of the “I am death” bit in Monty Python's The Meaning of Life.
This special resources site offers a snapshot of how historians and digital humanists have helped to build a new understanding of Abraham Lincoln with a series of innovative and powerful Web-based tools.
IMLS has just released Museums, Libraries, and 21st Century Skills. The booklet outlines a vision for the role of libraries and museums in the national dialogue around learning and such 21st century skills as technology literacy, problem solving, creativity, and global awareness. It also provides a self-assessment tool that enables museums and libraries to determine where they fit on the continuum of 21st century skills.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Into the lives of most men comes at some time an urge—
An impulse to journey out and see what lies beyond the local horizon, to prospect other, newer lands.
The story of many a man’s success is a record of that impulse acted upon—of a fortune found in the “land beyond.”