In this issue:
Edge.org • August 11, 2009
Question everything. Media analyst Douglas Rushkoff's insightful essay on the history of markets prompts us to rethink our assumptions about economic forces and our place as nonprofits within them. Rushkoff notes, "We must stop perpetuating the fiction that existence itself is dictated by the immutable laws of economics. These so-called laws are, in actuality, the economic mechanisms of 13th Century monarchs."
Fast Company • August 26, 2009
Try being one thing to one person. Business reinvention specialist Dev Patnaik points out that a scattershot approach to innovation is a recipe for failure. He poses the examples of Target and Apple: Target's ideal customer is a 35-year-old mother of two who's focused on value but mindful of quality as well. By catering to this "persona," the retailer manages to please a wide swath of customers as well. And when Steve Jobs came back to Apple, he killed off the printer, server and game console businesses, paving the way for innovative products like the iPod and the iPhone. The key is to focus on your best customer with your best effort.
The Boston Globe • September 4, 2009
The future is now. Cushing Academy is doing away with its 20,000 volume hardcopy collection and building a "learning center" with large flat-screen displays, laptop-friendly carrels and a coffee shop. This will definitely be one experiment to watch.
Language Log • August 29, 2009
Spelling counts. Berkeley linguistics prof Geoff Nunberg enumerates a multitude of errors embedded in Google Books' metadata tagging — from dates to classifications. They should be fixed, but who's responsible? In the meantime, what can Google do to avoid future tagging mistakes?
The New York Times • September 3, 2009
Smarter answers. Blogger/journalist David Pogue touts the virtues of Vark.com, which combines social networking with subject matter expertise to provide what he describes as a surprisingly reliable information resource.
MIT Technology Review • September 4, 2009
Trust, but verify. Researchers at UC Santa Cruz have developed new tool called WikiTrust that uses a color-coded system to help users evaluate the veracity of information on Wikipedia. The system is part of a larger movement to facilitate building trust online, although it's unclear if the average user is motivated to take advantage of them.
Computers Decipher Ancient Texts for a Google-Like Database
Wired.com/Reuters • September 2, 2009
Beyond keywords. Researchers in Israel have developed software that uses pattern recognition algorithms to identify letters, words and even writing styles in ancient texts. Similar to fingerprint-matching software, the program could be used to drive a search engine for digitized handwritten documents, and because it learns on the go, it is also able to "fill in the blanks" in documents with missing or illegible text. "When enough texts have been digitized, it will manage to combine fragments of books that have been scattered all over the world," predicts Uri Ehrlich, an expert in ancient prayer texts.
- OCLC Research Annual Highlights: Progress in Support of the RLG Partnership, July 2008-June 2009 Report Now Available
- Edinburgh University Library Comes Full Circle
- More Ships in WorldCat Identities
- OCLC Distinguished Seminar Series Presentation—Anne R. Kenney to Speak on Approaching an Entity Crisis: Re-conceiving Research Libraries in a Multi-institutional Context
23 September 2009
- OCLC Distinguished Seminar Series Presentation—Helene Blowers to Speak on Finding the Phoenix: Feathers, Flight and the Future of Libraries
9 October 2009
- 2010 RLG Partnership Annual Meeting and Symposium
9-11 June 2010 in Chicago