January 14, 2009    |   Vol. 2, No. 2    |   ISSN: 1943-1457
Above the Fold
A weekly newsletter for the changing world of libraries, archives and museums

In this issue:

Creating a Transparent Culture  (External site)

Leader to Leader Journal   •  Fall 2008

Transparency is harder than it looks. The authors point out that, while many organizations pay lip service to the value of transparency, achieving a truly free flow of information is more difficult. But in the hypercritical culture of today's blogosphere, hoarding information can—and does—often backfire.

There's internal transparency and external transparency—both difficult to achieve and both critical to success. Internal transparency puts the right information together with the right person at the right time. External transparency demonstrates your values to your clients and consumers. Recently, blogs have been important vehicles in both dimensions. ( Michalko)

Discontent Leads to Success  (External site)

Fast Company   •  January 6, 2009

Embracing disruption. Educational entrepreneur Arthur Keiser has built a successful for-profit university by focusing on the educational needs of working adults rather than kids straight out of high school. The article points out that employing an "outthinker" approach to answering the typical "who," "what" and "how" questions opens up thousands of disruptive choices that your competition will choose not to copy.

This is brief and is going to be followed by a series highlighting the differences between this for-profit and traditional colleges. I wonder if the differences are going to get smaller given the economy-driven re-examinations that are underway. ( Michalko)

Who the Hell Writes Wikipedia, Anyway?  (External site)

Silicon Alley Insider   •  January 3, 2009

Chronic tweakers, that's who. It turns out that, although most articles on Wikipedia are written by "outsiders," editorial control is maintained by a small group (somewhere between 500 and 1,400) of inside volunteers who delete erroneous additions, change formatting, correct typos and generally make the articles more readable.

Written by Henry Blodget (yes, that Henry Blodget) and quoting at length a blog post by someone recently quite active and critical in the library blogosphere, Aaron Swartz. ( Michalko)

Will Work for Praise: The Web's Free-Labor Economy  (External site)

Business Week   •  December 28, 2008

Leveraging labors of love. Wikipedia is not unique in its ability to thrive on volunteer labor. Talented people work for all sorts of reasons, most of them totally unrelated to financial reward. Harnessing this energy for reviews, blogs and other contributions is a smart way to inject fresh enthusiasm into your organization.

The notion of working for praise, prestige and acknowledgement isn't strange in the academic world. This is a good overview of those same dynamics in the network. ( Michalko)

How the Lowly Text Message May Save Languages that Could Otherwise Fade  (External site)

The Wall Street Journal   •  January 2, 2009

The power of predictive text. Of the world's nearly 7,000 languages, only 80 can be used for text messaging, greatly aided by technology that "predicts" the word a user is typing and fills it in. Expanding the number of languages with predictive text could help preserve them by encouraging younger people to communicate in their native tongues and allowing non-English speaking populations to benefit from new technologies.

A robust printed literature was the marker for a language's cultural vitality in the not-so-long-ago—now it's the ability to be predicted from the pressing of the 12-20 keys on a smartphone. That and a critical mass of speakers/texters. ( Michalko)

Comparing Six Ways to Identify Top Blogs in Any Niche  (External site)

ReadWriteWeb   •  January 1, 2009

Blogging is here to stay. So we may as well have the tools to find which ones are valuable. And although the Technorati Index is useful, this article offers ideas on other ways to track down the top blogs in any niche.

This is still a mainstream opinion, although a contrarian strain has emerged. A recent article in Wired magazine declared blogs so 2004, calling them "mostly for long-form writing." I suspect most ATF readers would define long-form writing differently. ( Michalko)

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Above the Fold is a Web-based newsletter published by OCLC Programs and Research. It has been developed to serve a broad international readership from libraries, archives and museums. News items are supplied weekly under contract by Suzanne Douglas, Ibis Communications Inc. Programs and Research items are supplied by staff in RLG Programs and OCLC Research. Please send comments and questions about this or other issues to rlg@oclc.org.
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