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Above the Fold

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

July 9, 2010
Vol. 3, No. 23
ISSN: 1943-1457

In this issue:


The Internet: Everything You Ever Need to Know  (External site)

The Guardian   •  June 20, 2010

Perspective is everything. Open University professor John Naughton freely admits that this is not really everything you need to know about the Internet, but he makes a useful point about taking the long view of this game-changing technology. As Zhou Enlai observed when asked about the significance of the French Revolution, "It's too early to say."

I'm sure you know John Naughton. If not you should familiarize yourself. He's an always-interesting commentator on the Internet, technology and the World Wide Web. His news and magazine columns are always worth the time and his blog (online diary) Memex 1.1 is personal and wide-ranging. This piece is a nice reminder of some important things we forget (or didn't really see clearly) about the Internet. ( Michalko)


The Curator and the Docent  (External site)

Personanondata   •  June 22, 2010

Knowledge docents. Digital content entrepreneur Michael Cairns uses the metaphor of the Internet as a vast museum of knowledge requiring not only curation to separate expert opinion from drivel, but friendly docents to guide users through the maze. Cairns predicts optimistically that at some point users will pay for those functions as a sustainable business model.

If as Naughton thinks the Web is an ecosystem, then my friend Michael makes a good case that there will be need for paid gardeners. He picks the "curation" meme up but uses it properly. Can librarians become the docents he imagines? Maybe those with real domain expertise . . . ( Michalko)


Pew Contrasts Blogger/Journalist Priorities  (External site)

Newspaper Death Watch   •  June 11, 2010

Not ready for primetime. A recent Pew report notes that during the week of May 24-28, traditional media were riveted by the Gulf oil disaster, while bloggers focused on Facebook privacy and twitterers tweeted about Apple outpacing Microsoft in size. Check out Pew's analysis of which media cover which types of news stories and contemplate what our world would be like without traditional media.

If as Naughton thinks disruption is a feature, not a bug, then we need to pay particular attention to the consequences of the perturbations. This is an interesting next-level down analysis of what you can expect to get from the emerging social "news" channels. ( Michalko)


The Seven Digital Sins of Online Collaboration  (External site)

Johnny Holland Magazine   •  June 25, 2010

Go and sin no more. We've all experienced the frustration of dealing with at least some of these digital no-nos in our professional online activities. The author has put together a good checklist of things to avoid in our own collaborative environments.

If as Naughton says the Web is no longer a publication medium, then we should be paying attention to the things that optimize its other characteristics. As I read this litany of errors I just nodded. You will as well. ( Michalko)


On Air and On Error: This American Life's Ira Glass on Being Wrong  (External site)

Slate   •  June 7, 2010

The right side of wrong. Kathryn Schultz's series of interviews on being wrong is fascinating. Read Ira Glass, and then move on to Anthony Bourdain, Joe Posnanski, Diane Ravitch and Alan Dershowitz.

Ira makes a good and amusing case for why being wrong is a strong narrative spine to carry along a good story. This piece is fun and leads you to some equally interesting and complementary interviews. ( 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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