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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.
Peter Murray writes: "The project that I was seeking feedback on over the fall is seeing the light of day. http://foss4lib.org/ is now open for use by the community. For the Code4Lib audience, this mostly means you can create an account, log in, and create content nodes for specific packages, releases, and events. Seehttp://foss4lib.org/content/adding-information-foss4lib for links on how to get started.
For people or organizations that provide support for open source software in libraries -- implementation consulting, hosting, custom code development, training, etc. -- we especially want to encourage you to sign up and post your availability on the site. One of the overarching goals is to promote an ecosystem of open source support providers for packages that are specific to libraries. So we want to make this registry a better place to go to find those support options over a scattershot Google search. Please note that there is one bit of functionality in the registry that is not done right now. Some software packages have well developed lists of providers and institutions that use the software, and we're not trying to reproduce those in the registry. There is a capability coming that will allow URLs to these community lists to override the provider/using-institution functionality of the registry. More on that soon.
Speaking of additional functionality, I am very interested in hearing ideas about how the registry can advance the goal of supporting open source software in libraries. If you have any, feel free to discuss them here or send me a direct e-mail. A press release about FOSS4LIB will be going out in the next couple of hours, and it will include information about one-hour introductory sessions at Midwinter and webinars later in January and February.
Here's the instructions: -- Read More
Is The Web Really Just Links Or Is It Evolving?
A web of links can be limiting when looking at applications. When looking at reading a news story, links make sense, but reading articles is only part of the web. By looking at the data available, we are starting to create a more interactive and informative web. Sarah Perez at TechCrunch thinks this could be moving towards a web of apps, but that post is more focused on mobile apps. As I said previously, mobile apps tend to be limiting in their own ways.