April 16, 2009    |   Vol. 2, No. 12    |   ISSN: 1943-1457
Above the Fold
A weekly newsletter for the changing world of libraries, archives and museums

In this issue:

Social Network Tools (From AlertThingy to Zemanta)  (External site)

Ed Batista: Executive Coaching and Change Management   •  March 27, 2009

A mixed bag of social media tricks. Scan this extensive list—you're sure to see something of interest.

This blog posting is more than just a listing of new social media tools. It shows the complexity of social networking tools, and reveals how the writer is grappling with tools that help manage social networks, link tracking and blogs, all in an attempt to more effectively manage many streams of communication. What's most interesting are the tools that work with one another or, better yet, enhance one another. I'm no longer interested in one-trick ponies. I want social media tools that can "friend" each other. ( Proffitt)

Cut-and-Paste Writing  (External site)

Prospect   •  March 2009

Organizing your thoughts. Author Steven Johnson touts the benefits of software such as Devonthink that organizes and links the many bits and pieces of information we collect. The systems accommodate text, images and Web pages and make research and writing just a little bit easier.

Nothing very surprising or controversial here, except maybe the tongue-in-cheek idea that Hemingway had it easy in the 1920's because "writing books [then]...involved little more than pen and ink." Johnson's message: tools that make for less manual labor are good. Templates that help organize thoughts or materials are helpful. (See: PowerPoint.) The hidden theme of the piece, for me, was that writers must understand their own psychology on some level and play tricks on themselves to get over the Inertia Hump each day and be productive. That's more interesting than whether Hemingway used a pen or a typewriter, or whether or not he would have enjoyed using Devonthink. (Besides, everyone knows that old Ernie wrote in pencil on legal pads while standing at his filing cabinet...) ( Massie)

New Metasearch Engines Leaves Google, Yahoo Crawling  (External site)

Binghamton University   •  March 26, 2009

Deep Web diving. Researchers at SUNY-Binghamton have developed a different kind of metasearch engine for scavenging information from the "hidden" Web. Built on multiple small search engines, Webscalers technology provides fresher results and better scalability. Check out one Webscalers product, AllinOneNews, which connects 1,800 news sources in 200 countries to create the largest metasearch engine in the world.

Yawn. Libraries have been implementing metasearch for years—seldom to their satisfaction. In the case of Webscaler, based on my unscientific testing, AllinOneNews, ironically, is not nearly as comprehensive nor as precise as Google News. But an interesting thing to ponder here is that in the Google approach and the Webscaler approach, there's no mention of fields or mapping one metadata scheme to another. Maybe that's the lesson libraries should take from this story. ( Erway)

What Drives People to Steal Precious Books  (External site)

Financial Times   •  March 6, 2009

On the front lines at the front desk. Read this article for tips on securing your collections from casual—and not so casual—theft or mutilation.

Momentum is building for transparency about "gentlemen thieves" and "trusted insider" theft. It's time to make a big media splash--as the British Library did recently--when valuable rare books, manuscripts and archives are stolen and mutilated. This article calls for a global security network, uniting those established by the ABA, LIBER and the Museum Security Group, among others. The RLG Partnership is working on what could be a step in the right direction: the " Missing Materials 'Beta' Procedure." ( Schaffner)

Greatest Loss of 2009: Social Capital  (External site)

A. Fine Blog   •  March 19, 2009

Finding a new business model for the arts. The president of America for the Arts estimates that 10,000 arts organizations will close their doors this year, 10% of the total number. Taking a lesson from the struggling newspaper industry, how do we redouble our efforts to remain relevant and viable parts of our communities?

I don't know about arts organizations in general, but on the museum front in particular, the news isn't all grim: while the financials are bad and lay-offs are a sad reality, visitors come through the doors like never before—see this article about the increase in US museum attendance and this article about syrocketting museum attendance in the UK for corroborating evidence. (The same goes for public libraries, by the way, and likely for similar reasons.) The silver lining for museums: while institutions certainly struggle to remain viable, at least they've got the popular vote in terms of relevance. ( Waibel)

MIT Faculty Open Access to Their Scholarly Articles  (External site)

MIT News   •  March 20, 2009

Score one for scholarship. MIT faculty voted to provide the general public free online access to all their scholarly articles. Authors may opt out on a case-by-case basis, but the vote signals a welcome move away from the tight controls imposed by academic publishers.

This is one to watch. The new MIT open access policy mandates compliance from all faculty members publishing research articles, placing a non-trivial burden on individual authors who must submit an addendum to all publishing contracts making MIT's claim to the content explicit. The MIT library has helpfully supplied a template for the addendum but this begs the question of whether publishers from the high-impact commercially published journals will accept the terms in order to get top flight research results from MIT scholars. Will junior faculty still concerned about tenure and promotion use the "escape clause" and opt out of the policy so that their work products are more easily accepted into the traditional publishing venues? Most important here is whether tenure and review committees will revisit the standard metrics of impact and endorse participation in open access regimes as a new scholarly (and professional) norm. ( Malpas)

OCLC Programs and Research advances exploration, innovation and community building for libraries, archives, and museums.

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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