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Google-Trained Minds Can't Deal with Terrible Research Database UI
"The librarians quoted here understand most of the key problems, and are especially sharp about "the myth of the digital native" -- about which see also this deeply sobering Metafilter thread -- but there's one vital issue they're neglecting: research databases have the worst user interfaces in the whole world."
But assessing the price of admission to join the super-networked, digital class is not so simple; even experts on the issue admit that they don't have a full picture of the way personal information is collected and used on the Internet. But here are some basic guidelines to keep in mind.
Commentary by David Pogue on the cost of cheap electronics.
If Libraries are More than Just Books, Then Where are All the Damn Technology Awards?
Somebody call Bill Gates. He’s a fan of libraries and seems to know a thing or two about the digital age. He might just like the sound of the “Bill Gates Library Technology Award” complete with his face in a bronze medallion. Traditions start somewhere and this one should begin with recognizing the people who make library technology and information retrieval possible at a national level. If libraries are more than just books, then this would be a start to acknowledging it as part of our own professional culture.
The Age of Big Data
The story is similar in fields as varied as science and sports, advertising and public health — a drift toward data-driven discovery and decision-making. “It’s a revolution,” says Gary King, director of Harvard’s Institute for Quantitative Social Science. “We’re really just getting under way. But the march of quantification, made possible by enormous new sources of data, will sweep through academia, business and government. There is no area that is going to be untouched.”
Ever wonder why libraries aren’t able to offer electronic content like e-books, music files and streaming multimedia as well as they offer print materials, CDs and DVDs? Library Renewal is trying to find a solution. They say it turns out, this is a surprisingly complex situation to understand, let alone improve. They do research, form strategic relationships, and create ways for you to get involved and let your voice be heard. If you believe the future of your library is tied to easy electronic content access, you have found your home base for those efforts.
Check them out at LibraryRenewal.org
The Great Disk Drive in the Sky: How Web giants store big—and we mean big—data
The impact of these distributed file systems extends far beyond the walls of the hyper-scale data centers they were built for— they have a direct impact on how those who use public cloud services such as Amazon's EC2, Google's AppEngine, and Microsoft's Azure develop and deploy applications. And companies, universities, and government agencies looking for a way to rapidly store and provide access to huge volumes of data are increasingly turning to a whole new class of data storage systems inspired by the systems built by cloud giants. So it's worth understanding the history of their development, and the engineering compromises that were made in the process.
The SOPA-PIPA Saga - Freedom of Speech vs. Net Neutrality
Allen Yu: "While I cheer on the defeat of SOPA-PIPA (copyright is really broken; many also consider SOPA-PIPA to be truly evil), I also have no false hopes that my interests on the Net can be best guaranteed by the likes of Google or Wikipedia or Facebook. For now, I am celebrating RELIEF not FREEDOM ."
Jon Stewart: SOPA Will Drive Us To Libraries "Like A Common Masturbator"
The Daily Show featured not one but two segments on SOPA last night, and with Wikipedia "dark," Jon Stewart had a dickens of a time figuring out just what the hell SOPA means. (What was he supposed to do to learn things, "go to the library like a common masturbator?") And so Stew-Beef reluctantly turned to the "notoriously unreliable news" for answers, discovering, to his horror, that this law could send violators to jail for up to five years for merely streaming copyrighted material.