July 17, 2009    |   Vol. 2, No. 24    |   ISSN: 1943-1457
Above the Fold
A weekly newsletter for the changing world of libraries, archives and museums

In this issue:

To Re-Invent Your Company, Reinvent Yourself  (External site)

Innovation Tools   •   June 23, 2009

Split personality. The authors point out that to be successful in a hyper-competitive world, companies must build a "dual core" culture that focuses on excelling at the current business while at the same time incubating new ones. Few managers come equipped with this ability to handle paradox, but the article gives some pointers on how to begin the process of personal self-reinvention.

Some brief admonitions here about personal re-invention. Basically we should all be exposing ourselves to new things and experiences. I often wanted to insist that everybody with whom I worked should have to go to one conference per year that had nothing to do with libraries or information services. I was sure it would be cleansing, challenging and perhaps even refreshing. I never could fund it though. ( Michalko)

Architecture of Knowledge – Pim van den Berg  (External site)

Netherlands Architecture Institute   •  June 10, 2009

Libraries as the Big Connector. Dutch architect Pim van den Berg says libraries should transform themselves into urban meeting places and suggests looking to some of the more innovative bookstores for ideas on creating safe, accessible, living spaces for books, music, art, lectures, food and more. He suggests that the impending wave of department store bankruptcies and declining church membership could open up new possibilities for using the empty buildings as downtown Culture Houses, and that libraries could open kiosks in grocery stores for patrons who might not visit the local branch. The lecture lasts about an hour and the lighting is too dark to see much of his slide show, but van den Berg's talk is rich in ideas and entertaining. Watch — or listen — over lunch.

Full disclosure: I've only managed to see the first half of this lecture. I want to see the rest of it and the other lectures in this series (this is one of three). By the way, repurposing public spaces like department stores for library purposes was a great success for the National Library Board Singapore. ( Michalko)

The Library that Never Closes  (External site)

The Guardian     July 1, 2009

Libraries as a 24/7 information resource. The Internet Archive's Open Library project represents a different vision of the Library of the Future, offering online access to more than a million out-of-copyright titles and searchable information on millions more. And while Google Books and other contenders like the British Library have their own plans for putting archives and texts online, what differentiates the Open Library project is its attempt to treat books as "networked objects" — linked to information from retailers, reviewers, book clubs and bibliophile communities.

This was interesting to me just to see what kind of perspective the Guardian would want to convey to their intelligent readership. Lord knows, I don't need to read another rant by Brewster or Peter about GBS, etc. In this case most of the commentary is offered by George Oates' recently-installed project manager for Open Library but known to most of us from her work at Flickr and the Flickr Commons. ( Michalko)

Debunking Social Media Myths  (External site)

Harvard Business Publishing   •  June 29, 2009

Seeding, feeding, weeding. These activities are an essential component of any social media launch, and they generally require real, live people to do them. Make sure ahead of time you've allocated the manpower to accomplish them.

I'm sure a lot of libraries, museums and archives have already discovered that entering the social media arena takes a lot of effort by the right kind of people to be successful. In general we don't have the time and we don't have the right kind of people. (Or the right people aren't turned loose.) That's why Lorcan thinks a lot of the rhetoric here is "reminiscent of an advert for air freshener: spray it on and there will be a major improvement in the quality of life, or at least of your service." Wish I'd said that. ( Michalko)

Calling Bullshit on Social Media  (External site)

The Berkun Blog   •  June 30, 2009

What problem are we trying to solve? Faced with an over-hype of social media startups and wannabes, it's always good to take a step back and ask why we think we need to participate in another communications channel. Scott Berkun's rant is another take on the Emperor Has No Clothes theme, but read it for fun.

It is a good rant and it goes beyond just fun. It precipitated a thoughtful response from one of his colleagues at O'Reilly Radar which you ought to follow. ( Michalko)

The Evolving Web in 2009: Web Squared Emerges to Refine Web 2.0 Literacy  (External site)

Social Computing Journal   •  June 26, 2009

The maturing of Web 2.0. Blogger Dion Hinchcliffe offers some ideas on what the next phase of the Web may be, based on the idea that "the Web is becoming more autonomic, reflective, real-time, generative, and open while at the same time far more deeply embedded everywhere in the fabric of our environment." So while early Web 2.0 has been all about social computing and user-generated content, Web Squared will "inferentially" gather intelligence from the proliferating mass of sensors, networks and devices that collect data on everything we do.

And this post has some of the breathless evangelism that Berkun berates in his rant. The chart in this post with its references to "Implied Metadata" and "Information Shadows" almost made me click this off. Instead I clicked to the referenced Web 2.0 Summit posting by Tim O'Reilly and John Battelle. Worth visiting. I learned that "real world objects have 'information shadows' in cyberspace." If you don't want to read either of these you must at least watch the Infinite Images demonstration that's referenced in the O'Reilly and Battelle post. (Reader convenience: You can go to it directly on YouTube here.) ( Michalko)

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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