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Above the Fold

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

September 3, 2010
Vol. 3, No. 30
ISSN: 1943-1457

In this issue:


Are There Second Acts in the Lives of Aging Internet Firms?  (External site)

Knowledge@Wharton   •  August 18, 2010

Resurrection, Act II. This article looks at three mature Internet pioneers—AOL, Yahoo and Microsoft—and rates the success (or failure) of their recent transformation efforts as they struggle to hang onto a tenuous foothold in a fast-moving market environment. AOL president Brad Garlinghouse dubs his firm a "startaround"—an established company that must think and operate like a startup as it undergoes a turnaround.

Only against the Internet's comprehensive re-engineering of our business landscape could these companies be dismissed as failures. The author properly points out that their biggest assets in seeking a second act are their audiences. They each have vast bases of unique users. Nevertheless, I'd argue that Clay Christensen's fourth principle of disruptive innovation works against them—"An organization's capabilities define its disabilities." ( Michalko)


Why Debates Over Copyright Get Bogged Down: Conflating Use With Payment  (External site)

Techdirt   •  August 20, 2010

Common sense on copyright. Read these excerpts from a Stanford professor's response to copyright holders' demands for recompense. One of his points bears repeating, and often: "So, although it may sound odd, it is not necessarily your right to get every possible penny from your work. Rather, our system is designed that you get enough to create, which promotes progress."

If you haven't encountered the Jason Robert Brown sheet music kerfuffle, it's worth scanning. His discovery that the "screenage" generation neither understands nor respects copyright will not be news to anyone working in education. Alex Feerst from Stanford Law provides a good reminder about the original intents of copyright. ( Michalko)


Mining Human Behavior at MIT  (External site)

Forbes   •  August 30, 2010

Food for thought. MIT researcher Alexander Pentland is breaking new ground with his research into social networking and human dynamics. A recent experiment with a Bank of America call center revealed that when coffee breaks were clustered to permit more interaction among workers, the bank reported productivity gains of about $15 million per year.

This is the reason every technology company in Silicon Valley has an open office architecture . . . ( Michalko)


Open Access and the Library's Missing Mission  (External site)

Inside Higher Ed   •  August 18, 2010


An Optimist Pessimist's Guide to Avoiding Ebook Armageddon  (External site)

Digital Book World   •  August 10, 2010

These two articles may have floated to the attention of our librarian readers. The first highlights the extent to which academic libraries' connection to the mission of the university in which they reside is stretched and occasionally orthogonal. The second reflects on ebooks and the public library concluding that latter needs to be the center of a new social experiment by having "publishers and vendors donate books, software, and hardware and let librarians set up opportunities for education and discovery." Well, it's a thought. ( 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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