Knowledge Management

Knowledge Management

Librarian's Web Site About the Metropolitan Opera Taken Down

The tale sounded like Goliath raising his heel to crush a spunky David. The Metropolitan Opera, irked by regular disclosure of its programming, far into the future, on a Web site’s page, asked its operator to cease and desist.

The script might have called for a First Amendment battle, heels dug in, lawyers engaged, acid news releases. Instead, with nary a peep, the Web site’s author — Bradley E. Wilber, a college librarian in upstate New York, film buff and crossword puzzle constructor — graciously agreed to discontinue that page. The Met offered inducements, but he accepted only the promise of opera tickets for his next trip to the city.

“I didn’t want to get into trading a lot of stuff for my compliance,” Mr. Wilber said in a telephone interview on Wednesday. “It’s really just a nice gesture.” Mr. Wilber’s opera page on his Web site was called Met Futures and dealt with subject matter that was seemingly obscure to much of the world but to opera fans was like red meat for hungry tigers. Mr. Wilber, 41, managed to sketch out the operas being planned by the Met, their casts and conductors often five or six years into the future. The subject is of passionate interest to opera buffs, who want to know whether their favorite singers are coming back, who is out of favor, what works are being revived from long ago and which operas are receiving new productions.

Mendeley Offers $10,001 for Best New Research Tool

From the Chronicle of Higher Ed
March 8, 2011, 4:32 pm
By Ben Wieder

The developers of Mendeley, a research-management tool that has more than a million users, want to put more than 70 million academic papers, reader recommendations, and social-networking tags to new and innovative uses. The company announced Tuesday its “Binary Battle,” a contest for outside developers to build applications drawing from Mendeley’s collected information, with a $10,001 grand prize for the best new application.

Wikipedia Storm Watch

Taxonomy upgrade extras

I've been reading Alex Wright's Glut: Mastering Information Through the Ages, and the following quote (page 151) struck me:

[T]he Wikipedia is stirring tensions between established interests - academic scholars and publishers - and a rising populist sentiment. While Wikipedia is unlikely to spell the demise of traditional scholarship, it serves as a telling example of the power of "books about books" to challenge existing institutional systems. The Web, like the printing press, seems poised to augur long-term social and political transformations whose effects we are only beginning to anticipate. And once again, the humble encyclopedia may prove the most revolutionary "book" of all.

I remember an exercise in my Art Librarianship class where we had to compare Wikipedia with Grove Art Online. General consensus was, Wikipedia won over time for currency and accuracy. The David of reference work hath slain the Goliath of reference, at least in this case. (And Library Journal found similar results!)

Libtypos forum now in a new location

After losing its hosting due to organizational changes in NELINET, the Libtypos forum has regrouped in a new location at Google Groups. The forum is now found at The project, now more than 10 years old, tracks typographical errors found in library catalogs and encourages other librarians to maintain clean databases. Daily postings of the Typo of the Day for Librarians were not affected by this down time.

Emerging Trends and Technologies in Libraries and Information Services Blog

The aim of the International Symposium on Emerging Trends and Technologies in Libraries and Information Services (ETTLIS-2010) is, once again, to bring researchers, academicians, business community and research scholars on a common platform to share their experiences, innovative ideas and research findings about the aspects of emerging trends and technologies in the field of knowledge resource centres and information services.

Access blog at: ETTLIS 2010

Registry of Open Access Repositories (ROAR)

The aim of ROAR is to promote the development of open access by providing timely information about the growth and status of repositories throughout the world. Open access to research maximises research access and thereby also research impact, making research more productive and effective.

See also: ROAR Registry of Open Access Repositories Upgraded to Power of EPrints Functionality.

Quick Net Neutrality Column

Internet: Concept Not A Thing

By Stephen Michael Kellat, MSLS
Head Writer, Erie Looking Productions

The District of Columbia circuit is interesting among the federal courts of appeal. This is the main circuit in which the decisions and orders of federal regulatory agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency and Consumer Product Safety Commission can be appealed. As might be imagined, the Federal Communications Commission does wind up there at times too.

Wired recently reported that a panel of the circuit has questioned whether or not the FCC actually has the authority to enforce net neutrality. Marguerite Reardon of CNET reported that the Chief Judge of that circuit does not want any regulatory agency acting on its own without proper statutory authority. Tony Bradley of PC World stated that Comcast claimed there was no federal law for the Commission to interpret let alone apply or enforce in the case and that the author thought Comcast had a valid point. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski issued a statement reaffirming his belief that the Commission has the statutory authority to do what it is trying to do.

The Commission presently has a proceeding underway to codify net neutrality within the Commission's rules. If the appeals court rules against the FCC, all current efforts to codify net neutrality fail. Stretching interpretation and implication to the limits to reach desired policy outcomes may backfire when it comes to the Commission's goal of preserving an open Internet.

In the midst of all this action from above it is almost totally discounted that action can also come from below. Breaking free of the notion of the Internet being an agglomerated whole is the first step. The Internet is merely a collection of autonomous systems that interact with each other. That terminology may sound rooted in the Internet's early days in the late 1970's but age does not mean it is not still true.

The time seems to have come to start changing the Internet's topology from below. If communications companies have problems with what traffic is being carried, alternative methods of data transport should be explored. While the companies like Comcast and Time Warner Cable have complications with file downloading and a rich media world, older technology remains quite mature to handle less intense datagrams.

Bulletin Board Systems, UUCP (Unix-to-Unix Copy), Freenets, FidoNet, and the rest remain mature technology. Even though they are old, they do work. Before there was Hotmail or Yahoo! Mail, Internet e-mail was possible through a Freenet or even through a FidoNet-based gateway. The author's very first e-mail address from days gone by seemed a mile long and was from a Bulletin Board System that participated in FidoNet and passed traffic over the FidoNet to Internet gateway.

Removing the more "mundane" traffic from what is called the Internet today would help deflate the calls for much of these fairly aggressive network management practices. Letting the Internet become a place where only intense video game traffic and NetFlix streaming video happens would take the wind out of the sails of those broadband providers waiting to aggressively manage their networks. That such would also create an incentive to compete with their own video-on-demand offerings against NetFlix would also potentially help drive prices down. Those companies know how to provide content on-demand and would have a more level playing field upon which they could compete.

To remove the "mundane" traffic would require shifting towards different access topologies. Shifting things back to dial-up modems would mean a change for some while for others nothing would change. After all, there are still dial-up users of the Internet out there connecting to Earthlink and AOL through dial-up modems. For businesses clearing credit card transactions dial-up modems are still out there in use as backup systems in the event of the main connectivity tool's failure. There is one text published by O'Reilly detailing how community wireless networks using WiFi backbones could be created. The current access paradigm is neither inevitable nor desirable in today's world.

The easiest thing to do in this case is to throw hands in the air and claim that net neutrality is a lost cause. Libraries have long been centers of public access computing. Some even hosted Freenets back in the day. Since the imposition from above of net neutrality seems assuredly in danger of not happening it seems subversion from below is now the order of the day.

Older yet more mature tools remain viable ways to carry out the subversion. The question now, though, is whether or not there is will to carry such through. Using UUCP over an Iridium satellite telephone is just a somewhat costlier way of carrying the theme above. Worrying about the means now is far less important than simply starting to take action.

Where do you stand?

Creative Commons License
Internet: Concept Not A Thing by Stephen Michael Kellat is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.

Code for America

Code for America is a new idea that’s in the process of becoming a program and a non-profit organization.

Cities are under greater pressure than ever, struggling with budget cuts and outdated technology. What if, instead of cutting services or raising taxes, cities could leverage the power of the web to become more efficient and effective? What if interacting with your local government was more like using Facebook or Yelp? What if, instead of reinventing the wheel every time, cities shared technology resources?