August 7, 2009    |   Vol. 2, No. 26    |   ISSN: 1943-1457
Above the Fold
A weekly newsletter for the changing world of libraries, archives and museums
Readers, we didn't publish Above the Fold last week. We wanted to comment on the most relevant topics of previous weeks, so we've included some articles that would have appered in the missed issue.

In this issue:

Elsevier's Prototype: Is This The Scientific Article of the Future?  (External site)

The New York Times   •   July 24, 2009

Nice tabs. Elsevier's Article of the Future provides an easy-to-navigate tab interface for perusing scientific articles and includes some multimedia content, but whether it will stave off the challenge of Open Access is yet to be seen. Click through to check out the prototypes and follow the suggested links at the end for further reading on the future of science publishing.

Yes, look. I thought one of the quoted experts who reviewed the prototypes won the snarky comment award for this issue: "There doesn't seem to be much in the way of the 'future' in the 'Article of the Future'. Rather, it seems to me to be a collection of everything that it is possible to do now, but for which there is no commercial demand." ( Michalko)

An Easy Way to Increase Creativity  (External site)

Scientific American   •  July 21, 2009

Creativity catalyst. Studies show that "psychological distance" can help us think about problems differently and spark innovative solutions. If it works, this is a ridiculously easy way to jumpstart more creative thinking.

Now that I understand what's meant by psychological distancing, the question is how difficult it might be to enter the appropriate mindset. I need somebody to facilitate. See next article. ( Michalko)

Dan Pink at TEDGlobal 2009: Running Notes From Session 12, "Enquire Within"  (External site)

TEDBlog     July 24, 2009

Creativity killer. Business analyst Dan Pink talks about when incentives can help promote creative thinking, and when they're actually counterproductive. The link goes to notes taken during the presentation — the video is not yet posted on the TED site.

I didn't know Dan Pink before this entry about his TED appearance. I'm now subscribed to his blog feed. Amusing but serious enough. ( Michalko)

Digital Resources Need Ongoing Development, Says Study  (External site)

Research Information   •  July 23, 2009

Food for thought. This study by the JISC-led Strategic Content Alliance and Ithaka S+R profiles 12 different nonprofit projects and how they're funded. Click through to the report and browse the case studies for ideas on new funding sources and arrangements.

Given the sponsors of this report I expect it will get a lot of attention. I further expect that funding agencies and host institutions will inevitably want digital resource creators to demonstrate (with a rigor they haven't regularly demanded) how projects will honor the very sensible imperatives outlined here. By the way, these imperatives, while acknowledging the "for-benefit" character of non-profit providers are really versions of standard business planning and product development processes. "Create a resource that offers unique value and continue to add value to the resource based on an understanding of users' needs." Note: For some unintended irony, consider the side panel of news next to the announcement of the report — " Warwick repository adds 1000th item." ( Michalko)

Monetize the Audience, Not the Content  (External site)

A VC   •  July 25, 2009

More food for thought. This post touts the Financial Times' online content business model, which offers readers nine free visits per month and on the tenth, requests a payment. As nonprofits struggle to accommodate today's freemium mindset, perhaps some adaptation of this model could offer a way to expand services and get heavy users to pay for them.

There's a link embedded in this post that takes you to the New York Times outline of its potential paid subscriber model. I hadn't seen it before. As a long-time subscriber (paper, every day) I found it horribly off-the-mark. I hope they are still thinking. (Don't these companies get that offers of 'special access' to unnamed but supposedly wonderful exclusive events don't really motivate?) ( Michalko)

Bits of Destruction Hit the Book Publishing Business: Part 2  (External site)

The New York Times/ReadWriteWeb   •  July 16, 2009

Worth a read. ReadWriteWeb's Bernard Lunn focuses his crystal ball on the future of reading, writing, publishing and selling books. One note — his prediction of retail bookstores morphing into community hangouts sounds very much like a popular vision for bricks-and-mortar libraries.

Library professionals need to think really critically and openly about the future form of the book, its creation and distribution. With our brand so closely tied to the 'book' and our services created with the book at its center we need to align our future with the alternate forms that will survive. And serve coffee. ( Michalko)

Protecting the Public Domain and Sharing Our Cultural Heritage  (External site)

Wikimedia Blog   •   July 16, 2009

Copyright wars cont'd.The deputy director of the Wikimedia Foundation responds to the (London) National Portrait Gallery's protest over the inclusion of public domain paintings in the Wikimedia Commons repository. Read the blog, and then read the comments for an interesting exchange of views on US vs. UK copyright laws and more.

This is an important face-off for us to follow. The Wikimedia Foundation's post has a quite measured tone and strives to acknowledge a common purpose with other not-for-profits and cultural institutions. (Sidelong comment: I still can't figure out why Wikipedia makes it so difficult for libraries and others to provide links out to relevant resources in those cultural institutions.) ( Michalko)

Evaluating Value  (External site)

Smithsonian 2.0   •   July 16, 2009

The kids are alright. The Smithsonian used an alternate reality game to engage teenage visitors and then surveyed them to find out how much they'd learned and whether they'd had fun. Click through to the results for a well-produced survey results presentation.

Wish I could have played. The Hirshhorn is one of my favorites and I have the prerequisites — "You will need a cell phone with text messaging enabled, comfortable shoes, plenty of energy, and a sense of adventure." I'd like a better read on the meaning of 'plenty of energy.' ( 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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