OCLC Research  

Above the Fold

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

October 8, 2010
Vol. 3, No. 35
ISSN: 1943-1457

In this issue:


Flip-Thinking—the New Buzz Word Sweeping the US  (External site)

The Telegraph   •  September 12, 2010

Reverse psychology. Business leader Daniel Pink touts marketer Seth Godin's "flip-thinking" strategy, which suggests that educators could produce more successful results by reversing the routine of lecture-in-the-classroom and homework-after-school. Creating a YouTube lecture for kids to watch at home and doing problems together in class can provide a hands-on teachable moment that helps students understand and apply their learning. But Pink takes it further, suggesting that organizations may benefit from flipping their business models. Rather than making the big investment in hardcopy first, publishers could first issue new books digitally, building a market for collectible print editions. It's an interesting scenario, and one in which libraries could play a significant role.

The "inverted classroom" approach reminds me of our OCLC Developer Network Mashathons. The more of these events we've had, the less time we've devoted to "lecture," sparing all we can for hacking. Everything memorable about these events has occurred after we've stepped away from the podium. Flip-thinking is an intriguing framework for organizing anything from an event to a business: consider your core mission and your current methods, and see if you can invert the methods to better serve your mission. ( Washburn)


The Institutional Innovation Manifesto  (External site)

Harvard Business Review blogs   •  September 23, 2010

Creative metamorphosis. Media strategist Umair Haque profiles eight institutions "in dire need of destruction, reimagination, and reinvention." Libraries aren't on the list, but the suggestions may spark ideas for our own transformation.

Only of interest if you are looking for a Manifesto based on clichés and generalizations. Haque likes manifestos and if you want more of them here's a list. If you want to read one, I recommend The Great to Good Manifesto. Still not much content, but more entertaining. ( Hickey)


Mirror, Mirror, on the Screen  (External site)

Project Syndicate   •  September 20, 2010

Rate yourself. Startup Cataphora is marketing a tool called Digital Mirror, which analyzes your e-mail stream to draw conclusions about where you stand in your social network pecking order. According to Cataphora founder Elizabeth Charnock, "people believe that the digital world largely masks their preferences for different individuals. For example, in a real-world office, you can see who goes out to lunch together or gossips at the water cooler, who has a line in front of their door, and so on. Not only are many of the equivalent online activities harder to see or quantify, but things like Facebook encourage you to "friend" everyone. . . Everyone is more popular, more intelligent, and better looking than average. Digital Mirror does the reverse. It is like the difference between a bar or club where the lights are low, and a good make-up mirror."

Originally developed to support litigation and crime detection, software that analyzes e-mail traffic and content is now being applied for self-analysis, "a visualization of your social graph." Shine a light on your interactions to get "a startlingly clear look at what is going on in a circle of people: who defers to whom, who takes charge, who passes the buck." In the interest of science, I downloaded the app, which so far only works with Outlook, and ran it, only to find it can't analyze e-mail stored in an Exchange server mailbox. I guess I'll have to rely on my colleagues to point out asymmetries in my work relationships. ( Erway)


Chris Anderson: How Web Video Powers Global Innovation  (External site)

TEDGlobal 2010   •  July 2010 (posted September 2010)

Game changer. During TED Curator Chris Anderson's talk on the phenomenon of Crowd Accelerated Innovation he notes that Cisco predicts that within four years, more than 90% of the Web's data will be video. What does that mean for us as curators of knowledge that traditionally has been embedded in print?

Although the proliferation of video does present a challenge for libraries more comfortable with collecting print, that is tangential to the real lesson of this talk. Chris Anderson of "the long tail" makes a forceful point that a crowd that is blessed with light (clear, open visibility of ideas) and desire (motivation to innovate) can accelerate innovation by rapidly and effectively sharing their ideas. Video, he asserts, is the most effective way to do this and thus the advent of inexpensive video cameras and ways to share videos online with potentially millions of viewers via YouTube and other sites represents a leap in human potential. We here at OCLC Research hope to take advantage of this opportunity soon ourselves. Stay tuned. ( Tennant)


Three Visions of Tomorrow's Books  (External site)

PWxyz (Publishers Weekly blog)   •  September 24, 2010

See for yourself. If you haven't seen this already, check out this brief demo of three visions from IDEO for the future of digital books.

If visions of the future of the electronic book don't make me squirm a little, then I think they are being too conservative and have probably missed the mark. All three visions feel way too familiar to be very visionary. The first vision is that you can learn more about the book while reading the book. Yawn. The second vision is that you can build a social network within your company around your reading lists. This would be slightly more interesting to me if the ability to do so were built seamlessly into the reader. The third vision is of books as video games with challenges to be overcome and secrets to be discovered. I think writing is hard enough as a linear medium and doubt that many books will be created as non-linear experiences. ( LeVan)


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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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