Joho the BlogOctober 2011 - Page 3 of 3 - Joho the Blog

October 9, 2011

Library: Future.0

I put this video together as the opener of the first in a series of public conversations Harvard is holding about the future of libraries and of the Harvard Library system.

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Berkman Buzz

This week’s Berkman Buzz:

  • Dan Gillmor writes about Steve Jobs’ legacy:
    link

  • CMLP posts a guide to citizen journalism from #OccupyWallStreet:
    link

  • Ethan Zuckerman recaps Ramesh Srinivasan’s talk on Digital Diversity:
    link

  • Herdict discovers an interview with an Internet censor:
    link

  • Wendy Seltzer discusses how to keep Android open:
    link

  • Weekly Global Voices: “Slovakia: New Draft Law Threatens Internet Freedom”
    link

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October 8, 2011

The font game

Mark MacKay has created a kerning game that is simplicity itself. Actually, it’s more like a quiz. You’re shown a word in a chosen font and are asked to slide the characters so that it is properly kerned.

It turns out that this is a more complex aesthetic decision than it seems, since it depends on properties such as the weight of the characters and the peculiarities of each face’s design. But you font people knew that already!

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October 7, 2011

[2b2k] How we assess credibility

Soo Young Rieh is an associate professor at the University of Michigan School of Information. She recently finished a study (funded in part by MacArthur) on how people assess the credibility of sources when they are just searching for information and when they are actually posting information. Her study didn’t focus on a particular age or gender, and found [SPOILER] that we don’t take extra steps to assess the credibility of information when we are publishing it.

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October 6, 2011

Open Education Resources bill in Brazil

Carolina Rossini passes along the following:

Today, the Sao Paulo State Legislature Representative, Mr. Simao Pedro, assisted by his team, specially Lucia F. Pinto, and the OER-Brazil Project, has introduced an OER bill to regulate the educational resources developed directly and indirectly (contracts for products or services or public purchases) by that state, and determine that an open license should be applied (CC-BY-NC-SA). It also deals with repositories for such OERs.

Soon the text of the bill will be available from the ALESP website http://www.al.sp.gov.br/portal/site/Internet/.

You can follow the www.rea.net.br (in Portuguese) for more information and analysis, including the recent analysis on the Sao Paulo city OER Decree.

Well done, Sao Paulo!

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October 5, 2011

Respect the Internet

With Douglas Rushkoff I’m keynoting a Ketchum event called “Respect the Internet” [more here] tomorrow. The subtitle of the day is “Is marketing ruining the Net?” Sounds like it should be fun. (It’s being webcast, starting at 10am.)

I have a 20-30 min slot in which I’m planning on saying something like the following:

Yes, markets are conversations, as Doc once said. That shifts power from vendors to customers. It also turns markets as demographic abstractions into real social entities. But markets are conversations now because they are networked, and thus are taking on the properties of networks: evanescent, light-weight group formation, and, most of all connected via shared interests. For example, the people on the Web right now talking about which bike to buy constitute a networked market of bike purchasers. The bad news for traditional businesses is that hierarchical businesses (i.e., businesses) do not fit well architecturally on the Net. E.g., who gets to talk for the business, for businesses do not actually have mouths?

I then plan on talking about two properties of networks being expressed by markets now.

1. The fact that the Net is composed of interests has exposed what we always knew: there is usually a lack of alignment between markets and businesses. Markets talk about bikes because they have the usual range of interests in bikes: to be green, to save money, to get exercise, to recapture one’s youth, etc. But bike companies as businesses are interested in having us pay them money. Same objects of discussion (bikes) but very different interests. Businesses have tried to rationalize their lack of alignment by talking about “authenticity,” a term that I think does not apply very meaningfully to companies. Nor do I think that Michael Porter’s “shared value” idea addresses the real misalignment of interests.

2. Networks tend toward transparency. I will quickly mention four types of relevant transparency: of self (you are who you say you are), of sources, of humanity (you and your products are fallible), and of interests. (I may drop this section. I think the line of thought would be clearer if I do.)

Finally, I want to ask why the Net is such a weird and different medium. Answer: The Internet is not a medium. We are the medium. Because the Net is interest based, messages (memes, links, poems, whatever) move through us: I send you that link because I think you’ll like it, and I have something invested in your liking it when I pass it along. We are literally the medium.

So, that’s why marketers should respect the Internet. The Internet is ours. No, we don’t own Verizon’s wires. But that’s not the Internet. The Net is its open protocol and the social products and life it has engendered. So, mess with the Net with intrusive marketing and you are messing with us. We won’t like it.

That’s roughly it.

(By the way, I rarely mention where I’m talking because I’m a little shy, in weird ways. I’m thinking I ought to bite the bullet and just blurt out my scheduled talks. Why? Marketing! E.g., would you like to know that this morning I keynoted the Canadian Research Knowledge Network meeting outside of Ottawa, and that on Monday I gave the John Seely Brown lecture at the University of Michigan School of Information? Or is it just boastful noise, which is how it sounds to me?)

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October 4, 2011

ShelfLife and LibraryCloud: What we did all summer

We’re really really really pleased that the Digital Public Library of America has chosen two of our projects to be considered (at an Oct. 21 open plenary meeting) for implementation as part of the DPLA’s beta sprint. The Harvard Library Innovation Lab (Annie Cain, Paul Deschner, Jeff Goldenson, Matt Phillips, and Andy Silva), which I co-direct (along with Kim Dulin) worked insanely hard all summer to turn our prototypes for Harvard into services suitable for a national public library. I have to say I’m very proud of what our team accomplished, and below is a link that will let you try out what we came up with.

Upon the announcement of the beta sprint in May, we partnered up with folks at thirteen other institutions…an amazing group of people. Our small team at Harvard , with generous internal support, built ShelfLife and LibraryCloud on top of the integrated catalogs of five libraries, public and university, with a combined count of almost 15 million items, plus circulation data. We also pulled in some choice items from the Web, including metadata about every TED talk, open courseware, and Wikipedia pages about books. (Finding all or even most of the Wikipedia pages about books required real ingenuity on the part of our team, and was a fun project that we’re in the process of writing up.)

The metadata about those items goes into LibraryCloud, which collects and openly publishes that metadata via APIs and as linked open data. We’re proposing LibraryCloud to DPLA as a metadata server for the data DPLA collects, so that people can write library analytics programs, integrate library item information into other sites and apps, build recommendation and navigation systems, etc. We see this as an important way what libraries know can become fully a part of the Web ecosystem.

ShelfLife is one of those possible recommendation and navigation systems. It is based on a few basic principles hypotheses:

– The DPLA should be not only a service but a place where people can not only read/view items, but can engage with other users.

– Library items do not exist on their own, but are always part of various webs. It’s helpful to be able to switch webs and contexts with minimal disruption.

– The behavior of the users of a collection of items can be a good guide to those items; we think of this as “community relevance,” and calculate it as “shelfRank.”

– The system should be easy to use but enable users to drill down or pop back up easily.

– Libraries are social systems. Library items are social objects. A library navigation system should be social as well.

Apparently the DPLA agreed enough to select ShelfLife and LibraryCloud along with five other projects out of 38 submitted proposals. The other five projects — along with another three in a “lightning round” (where the stakes are doubled and anything can happen??) — are very strong contenders and in some cases quite amazing. It seems clear to our team that there are synergies among them that we hope and assume the DPLA also recognizes. In any case, we’re honored to be in this group, and look forward to collaborating no matter what the outcome.

You can try the prototype of ShelfLife and LibraryCloud here. Keep in mind please that this is live code running on top of a database of 15M items in real time, and that it is a prototype (and in certain noted areas merely a demo or sketch). I urge you to talk the tour first; there’s a lot in these two projects that you’ll miss if you don’t.

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October 2, 2011

Berkman Buzz

This week’s Berkman Buzz:

  • Andrés Monroy-Hernández explores the link between information technology and economic growth:
    link

  • Doc Searls explains the needs for cars on the Net:
    link

  • Dan Gillmor reviews Amazon’s new Kindle Fire:
    link

  • The Citizen Media Law Project praises Al Jazeera’s embrace of Creative Commons:
    link

  • Benjamin Mako Hill on science as dance:
    link

  • Weekly Global Voices: “Zambia: Netizens Start Countdown to 90 Day Change Promise”
    link

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October 1, 2011

[2b2k] Open access to a life of work

From Kattallus, via metafilter:

Humanities and the Liberal Arts is the personal website of former Middlebury classics professor William Harris who passed away in 2009. In his retirement he crafted a wonderful site full of essays, music, sculpture, poetry and his thoughts on anything from education to technology. But the heart of the website for me is, unsurprisingly, his essays on ancient Latin and Greek literature some of whom are book-length works. Here are a few examples: Purple color in Homer, complete fragments of Heraclitus, how to read Homer and Vergil, a discussion of a recently unearthed poem by Sappho, Plato and mathematics, Propertius’ war poems, and finally, especially close to my heart, his commentaries on the poetry of Catullus, for example on Ipsithilla, Odi et amo, Attis poem as dramatic dance performance and a couple of very dirty poems (even by Catullus’ standard). That’s just a taste of the riches found on Harris’ site, which has been around nearly as long as the world wide web has existed.

There are months of serious browsing in the world of Prof. Miller’s thought. It is a particularly wonderful illustration of the boon of having worldwide access to unlimited worlds of thought.

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