Jim Michalko retired from OCLC in February 2016. He'll be greatly missed, but Above the Fold will continue on. Over the next few weeks we'll bring you Jim's concluding selections and thoughts. From there several of our colleagues will continue to select new articles offering views and insights that can help our work evolve and have impact.
Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR) • 4 January 2016
Why are we reluctant to measure what matters most? The authors say that "The very real need to determine how best to allocate foundations' limited resources requires generating robust performance measures that drive accountability, learning, and impact—for each and every grant." They provide five grant performance measurement traps and describe how to avoid them.
This is interesting because most of us are on the opposite side of this concern. We are the potential grantees seeking to succeed at getting our proposed work funded. It's good to see this process through the eyes of the foundation officer and the grant-making agency. Understanding their needs and success measurement should hone our proposals both for impact and for success. I have certainly fallen into "The At-Least-It's-Measurable Trap". (Michalko)
P.S. I think the SSIR is a very well-done magazine with thoughtful complementary bloggers. It's worth subscribing to their newsletter.
blogs.scientificamerican.com • 7 February 2016
What does it take to be an optimal human being? In this review of Optimal Human Being by psychologist Ken Sheldon, Scott Barry Kaufman summarizes the arguments and provides science-informed suggestions to help you have greater health, growth, and happiness.
This is a RILR (review in lieu of reading) and a pretty good one. The book synthesizes the latest science at different levels of analysis (evolutionary, personality, goals/motives, self and identity construction, social relations, and cultural membership) and suggests how to achieve integration and harmony across the various aspects of your life. Kaufman nicely breaks this down into eight precepts that he briefly glosses. Some are clichés—"Take responsibility for your goals and choices"—that need to be unpacked to regain any power. Others are just baffling even with his explanation—"Listen to your 'organismic valuing process' and be prepared to change your goals if it seems necessary." I was glad to have the disclaimer at the very end: "To be clear, by 'optimal,' psychologists are not making a value judgment, or saying you should definitely live your life a certain way. It's up to you how you wish to live your life. Instead, what they are saying is that those who seem to have optimal health, growth, and happiness do tend to have certain characteristics, and therefore we have a lot we can learn from such individuals." (Michalko)
fastcoexist.com • 3 February 2016
Three trends that will reshape the world—maybe. The author focuses on three big consumer technology trends that will impact the way we do business in 2016 and beyond. They are:
- Millennials' spending power will hasten consumption shifts
- Crowdsourcing and reviews will become a two—way street
- Automation technology will replace—or at least transform—many jobs
You should still read this brief article (4 minutes) to see if you agree. Her assertions seem right to me although I am a bit skeptical about her expectation that truly effective automated personal assistants will emerge. We've been promised that for a long time. Jetpacks anyone? (Michalko)
P.S. Smithsonian Magazine has some nifty video and photos of jetpack pilots featured at the Super Bowl.
stratechery.com • 9 February 2016
Digital advertising and aggregation theory. In this post Ben Thompson provides a brief history of analog advertising, digital advertising 1.0 and 2.0 concluding with the implications of Winner-Takes-All. He nicely parses how the awareness-consideration-conversion-loyalty cycle was impacted differently during these three evolutionary stages of advertising.
Have you ever wondered why retailers thought it was a good idea to have that item you looked at on the web follow you around from site to site? This piece will explain. And he is very articulate about why in this environment there is a tendency towards monopoly positions. This piece led me to another post he titled Aggregation Theory in which he observes "the Internet has made transaction costs zero, making it viable for a distributor to integrate forward with end users/consumers at scale." This shift in transaction costs is one of the major drivers that has changed the value proposition of the library and shaped future library development. This is nicely explored in the piece Collection Directions: The Evolution of Library Collections and Collecting by my colleagues Lorcan Dempsey, Constance Malpas and Brian Lavoie. (Michalko)
Also Turning 20 Years Old Today: John Perry Barlow's Declaration Of The Independence Of Cyberspace
Techdirt • 8 February 2016
How Arthur Rackham's 1907 Drawings for Alice in Wonderland Revolutionized the Carroll Classic, the Technology of Book Art, and the Economics of Illustration
Brain Pickings • 1 February 2016
Should You Literally Pick the Low-Hanging Fruit?
priceonomics • 5 February 2016
The first because if you haven't read it recently you should. It is of the same vintage as the Stewart Brand aphorisim ("Information wants to be free"). Both are more nuanced than the small quoted bits that float around the interwebs.
The second because I love Alice and this is a fascinating back story.
The third because it explores the metaphorical origins and then unpacks its literal meaning. (Michalko)
Above the Fold Quiz
According to an item in this week's News and Views section, what is one key way to distinguish authors and researchers with identical names?
Get the answer.