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Above the Fold

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

January 24, 2011
Vol. 4, No. 3
ISSN: 1943-1457

In this issue:


How Aha! Really Happens  (External site)

Strategy+Business   •  Winter 2010

Intelligent memory. Ever since Roger Perry won the Nobel Prize in 1981 for his work on the two sides of the brain, businesses have sought to exploit the "right-brain" creativity potential through "brainstorming." But discoveries in neuroscience over the past decade have debunked the "right-brain-left-brain" theory and suggest instead that innovative discovery is the result of a multi-step mental process that focuses on finding patterns or relationships between new information and stored memories. "When lots of different pieces combine into a new pattern, you feel it as a flash of insight, the famous 'aha!' moment," says Columbia Business School professor William Duggan. Read on to find out how to replace brainstorming sessions with more productive "intelligent memory" techniques.

A good correction to the right-left brain metaphor and a good antidote to the unending front of "brainstorming" to which we are subjected in our professional lives. I enjoyed both the Google and GE examples. We underestimate what we can learn when we go out to study who else has encountered and responded to the individual elements within the challenges faced by our enterprises. ( Michalko)


Connections: From Technological Innovations to Social Change  (External site)

Johnny Holland Magazine   •  January 5, 2011

Ripple effect. Anyone familiar with James Burke's wonderful "Connections" series will enjoy this extrapolation by Adrian Chan: "In Connections, there are moments in history when a certain discovery creates a myriad of possibilities. And moments when a combination of simultaneous but partially-useful discoveries produce something greater than the sum of the parts. In social media we see a similar phenomenon." Chan's musings provide food for further thought. Enjoy!

I hadn't thought about James Burke and Connections for a long time (although I saw him do an after-dinner speech in 2003 at a Bodleian Library's San Francisco capital campaign event—his method needs visuals was what I remember). The Connections videos on YouTube are a fun introduction. He also founded the James Burke Institute for Innovation in Education and launched a project, the Knowledge Web, with a cast of Silicon Valley luminaries. The site does have some nice traverses, e.g., Goethe to Margarine. ( Michalko)


Diverging Content Preferences: Is Baby Bear's Disappearance Cause for Worry?  (External site)

Scholarly Kitchen   •  January 5, 2011

Middle dearth. Mid-length content is getting short shrift says Kent Anderson, who cites Clive Thompson's essay in Wired proposing that the "endless fire hose of teensy utterances . . . is actually a catalyst for more long-form meditation." Is the loss of "just right" information packaging yet another sign that technology is stretching our content consumption appetite to extremes?

An interesting take that's congruent with my own view. I thought this essay fit the "middle" form rather well but MS Word tells me it's only 831 words long—25% short of the mark. ( Michalko)


The Web Is a Customer Service Medium  (External site)

Ftrain.com   •  January 6, 2011

WWIC. Paul Ford says many publishers make the mistake of thinking the Web is a publishing medium. Rather, it's a customer service medium, and its most fundamental question—"Why wasn't I consulted?" (WWIC)—fuels the basic human need for digital discourse. People have opinions and want to share them, and the Web offers opportunities at multiple levels. Read Ford's commentary and think about how you can leverage the WWIC instinct in your own online activities.

I think the customer service observation is spot on. His advice to the Gutenbourgeois seems spot on. That collective noun is one I hadn't come across. There're a few more words in here that were new to me, e.g., graffle and asshattery. Why wasn't I consulted before these began to be used? ( Michalko)


Las Vegas's Copyright Crapshoot Could Maim Social Media  (External site)

Fortune   •  January 6, 2011

This is a stickup. A small Las Vegas company called Righthaven is making a business out of taking alleged copyright infringers straight to court, demanding the maximum allowed for damages as well as ownership of the offender's Web domain. Righthaven's strategy turns fair use on its head—but until it's successfully challenged, posting links to articles owned by its clients could be a risky business.

Wow. An infringement troll. I'm with Judge Mahan who described the firm as an organization that "only sues people, apparently." Putting my new vocabulary to use, it seems like a case of asshattery. ( Michalko)


Above the Fold Quiz:

According to an item in this week's News and Views section, what are the three general purposes of the core elements of bibliographic description?

Click here to find the answer.


News and Views

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