OCLC Research  

Above the Fold

A weekly newsletter for the changing world of libraries, archives and museums

June 11, 2010
Vol. 3, No. 20
ISSN: 1943-1457

In this issue:


Sir Ken Robinson: Bring On the Learning Revolution  (External site)

TED Talks   •  May 2010

Organic learning. We've heard much of this before—education is not a cloning process; it's a nurturing process—but Sir Ken presents the argument with humor and style. And the Yeats quote alone is worth the time it takes to watch this. For those who'd rather read than watch, click on "open interactive transcript" at the top of the right-hand column.

It's a TED talk. That might be enough said. But let me confirm it is worth the sixteen minutes. I think his admonition to change the metaphor of education from industrial production to one based on agricultural processes (or at least the romanticized notion of agriculture held by those of us who are unfamiliar with the realities of agribusiness) is correct, but our institutions are not built to deliver those nurturing processes. ( Michalko)


Author Nicholas Carr: The Web Shatters Focus, Rewires Brains  (External site)

Wired   •  May 24, 2010

Worth skimming. This followup to Carr's earlier "Is Google Making Us Stupid?" article cites a selection of scientific studies supporting his theory that our brains are rapidly rewiring to accommodate the Internet's scattershot approach toward information presentation. The essay makes some good points about attention deficit and the hazards of over-clicking, but Carr's conclusion is unnecessarily alarmist and simplistic.

I'm a fan but he is in danger of turning his skill at essays into a string of more and more easily dismissed jeremiads. And if that happens he'd probably point out that it's just more evidence of the ways in which our circuits for close reading and critical thinking have been eroded. ( Michalko)


Less is More: A Different Approach to L&D in a World Awash with Information  (External site)

Charles Jennings Blogspot   •  May 9, 2010

Teaching people to fish. In a world where "facts" are constantly changing, our most important function is helping people find the right information at the right time in the right context. Learning and development expert Charles Jennings suggests a short list of critical skills needed for the Information Era. We've seen this before, but how are we actually incorporating this philosophy into our programs?

And here is a learning and development professional that says metadata and search skills trump detailed information. Actually his list of skills that ought to be taught rather than information to be imparted is a pretty standard but pretty good one. ( Michalko)


Bookstore of the Future: Books Plus?  (External site)

TeleRead: Bring the E-Books Home   •  May 25, 2010

Libraries plus? Skim this brief essay on the future of bookstores to spark your own ideas on ways libraries can adapt to the changing expectations of patrons. Cooking lessons? Yoga classes? Think about it.

All the energy and discussion put into the "library as place" connects to these bookstore experiments. Maybe not yoga but graduate student study spaces, etc. ( Michalko)


Trade Publishing and Ebooks: W(h)ither the Supply Chain?  (External site)

The Scholarly Kitchen   •  May 27, 2010

The weakest link. Publishers used to control the critical connection between authors, their agents and booksellers, but recent changes have eroded much of that clout. With the advent of e-publishing, traditional publishers are scrambling to find a new niche and publisher Michael Clarke suggests some ways they can continue to make themselves useful.

It's a useful thought experiment to apply this kind of supply chain analysis to library services. One product of that experiment for me is to acknowledge the extent to which library services have been contiguous with collections. In that sense we face challenges that appear to be very like those of brick and mortar bookstores. Are their responses suitable for libraries? P.S. if you haven't read the Ken Auletta New Yorker piece referred to in this article it is worth your time. ( Michalko)


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Above the Fold is a Web-based newsletter published by OCLC 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. Research items are supplied by staff in OCLC Research. Please send comments and questions about this or other issues to rlg@oclc.org.
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