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October 8, 2014

A dumb idea for opening up library usage data

A dumb idea, but its dumbness is its virtue.

The idea is that libraries that want to make data about how relevant items are to their communities could algorithmically assign a number between 1-100 to those items. This number would present a very low risk of re-identification, would be easily compared across libraries, and would give local libraries control over how they interpret relevance.

I explain this idea in a post at The Chronicle of Higher Ed

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November 19, 2009

Two long posts well worth reading

Ethan Zuckerman ponders what good is knowing if it doesn’t lead to effective action…and he isn’t asking this rhetorically. You want to read this because Ethan himself is an extreme knower, an extreme care-er, and a full time agent of change. I found that this post caused me to have an internal dialogue in which I kept interrupting myself. The world is just so hard to change, even when the need is so obvious and urgent, and yet we can’t let ourselves believe that knowing and caring can make no difference at all. What’s at issue here (at least in my internal dialogue) is that the model of knowing, caring, and acting isn’t explaining our experience. Or our hope.

Then there’s Evgeny Morozov’s review of Andrew Lih’s The Wikipedia Revolution in the Boston Review. Evgeny likes Andrew’s book although he thinks it doesn’t explain enough about why Wikipedians wikipede. The comment thread is also well worth reading.

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