Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Silent, upon a peak

Take my trousers. They have a hole in the knee that started forming just after the Large Hadron Collider was switched on. Soon it will take my leg. Then the universe. Such is change.

Consider.. since this course started how the 'things' have changed: Blogger has had a facelift, Facebook a makeover, Delicious and Bloglines upgraded their software, billions of videos have been viewed on YouTube, hundreds and hundreds of thousands of photos have been uploaded to Flickr. Over fifty thousand articles have been written for Wikipedia..

The content has changed and the underlying software has changed, and the possibilities these open up have changed. Forget trouser-devouring blackholes, this is the real dilemma: the relevance of public libraries shrinking in realtime.

One good way to appreciate how much each 'thing' has changed, and how these changes ramify, is to look at the developers' blogs. Take FlickrBlog for example. Reading through it over the course of the last ten weeks it's clear it's about more than just promoting new software developments like layouts for the photostreams, or slideshow features.

These are important, but it's also about new projects and new groups, and encouraging usage, and innovation, and drawing out what photographers have done. Check out these squirrels.. And then there's all those APIs. All in all, an extraordinary buzz of energy and feedback. Not just PR puffery, but useful, inclusive.

And I haven't even started talking about wiki yet.

Meanwhile, the library.

Sure, we've not got anything like the resources of a Google or a Flickr. But we do have possibilities and given a reasonable committment over time..

The problem, as I think this course makes clear, is not technological. In fact, that might be the acutest revelation of the course. Despite the anxious mutterings, I've seen nothing in any of the course blogs that make me think any individual's grasp of the technology is the limitation. Be reassured, more than ever it comes down to how clever we are as librarians.

Oh, and politics.

Whatever, I know what I'm doing in the future. Hopefully the library is doing it too.

Yup. This is the last post.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Netplaying: or social networking

The AP and RP bebo sites.. a weird stew of personal and professional. And it's hard to figure how much each is meant to be an individual or the institution.

I guess this is what Evans means by "the special kind of sophistication" necessary in "an environment that, while ideal for information exchange, is designed for casual interaction."

KaleidoscopicWorld points up the same tensions with lots of curly questions, trying to get at the right balance.

To me it seems social network websites are better suited to individuals. If an institution has two or three or more librarians involved they could set up separately, but still be well and obviously linked. Their interactions would be transparent and part of the thing that draws others in, drives the "net-working," and spins the wheel on the tail of the donkey right between the eyes. So to speak.

Whatever, Evans is right with the "paralysis by analysis."

An ebook in every hand?

Downloaded The Devil's Dictionary. To get it onto cellphone had to use txt format not plucker. Result? Well imagine if every entry in your dictionary was on a separate page, and you could only go back or forward sequentially.

O kay. Explains why there's still a reason for specialist ebook-readers or playaway devices. Average cellphones can do it all, but only barely - the convergence isn't quite there, yet. Neither is that great facilitator, the mobile network.

However a conjunction of device and network is surely approaching, even in nz. It won't be a book in every hand; but a library. In your head.