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Above the Fold

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

February 21, 2011
Vol. 4, No. 7
ISSN: 1943-1457

In this issue:


The Art of Creating Emotional Attachments to Digital Objects  (External site)

Endless Innovation   •  January 29, 2011

Worth thinking about. Digital strategist Dominic Basulto poses a series of intriguing questions about life after physical books, such as how do you signal to others you're a Book Person when your collection boils down to a group of digital files on your tablet? What exactly is an ebook author signing and how does that work? How do you use an ebook as a conversation-starter? These are not trivial concerns for hard copy loyalists.

I guess I've never thought it necessary to signal that I'm a "book person." But it is true that books serve as conversation starters whether in hand or on that coffee table. I like the Karl Lagerfeld image that starts the article but I have a feeling there's as much book as décor (check the image here) going on at his house as there is signaling his book personality. ( Michalko)


Avatars in the Workplace  (External site)

The New Atlantis   •  Spring 2010

Virtual dresscode? More companies are considering creating virtual environments for team collaboration, but how much control should be exercised over members' avatars? Rice University professor G. Anthony Gorry points out that "extensions of employment law that prohibit discrimination based on certain personal characteristics could provide an argument against limits on avatar design. Can an overweight worker be required to look thinner; an older worker, younger?" This is something to think about before you venture into the virtual minefield.

Not entirely sure that virtuality is going to infiltrate the workplace very quickly. Most folks can't even manage a proper video interaction let alone a Second Life interaction. Check this slideshow of real people beside their gaming avatars. ( Michalko)


Four Principles for Crafting Your Innovation Strategy  (External site)

Technology Review   •  February 2, 2011

Staying creative, avoiding destruction. Joseph Schumpeter noted that every act of destruction offers a new opportunity to create, and these four principles can help guide your organization's strategic planning. One interesting idea—using mobile location technology to create an offline social experience for your patrons. Read on for more suggestions on staying ahead of the curve.

Good anecdotes about companies that did and did not manage their way through creative destruction—more Blockbuster and Netflix references. ( Michalko)


Are Libraries Finished? Five Arguments For and Against  (External site)

BBC News Magazine   •  February 4, 2011

For love of libraries. This article highlights the advantages of the bricks-and-mortar, hands-on library experience vs. digital self-reliance. But even some of the examples of online superiority (online niches and digital communities) sound like things libraries are supporting as they straddle both the hard copy and digital environments.

It's interesting to see the way that the value of libraries has become the stuff of broad public discussion. My colleague, Thom Hickey, had an interesting blog post applying the concept of "peak oil" to libraries. Are we at "peak books"? ( Michalko)


Hire for Attitude, Train for Skill  (External site)

Harvard Business Review   •  February 1, 2011

Enthusiasm counts. Fast Company co-founder William C. Taylor chronicles three companies that have built successful workforces by hiring outsiders. As one retail banking exec notes: "If you want to renew and re-energize an industry, don't hire people from that industry... I'd rather hire a jazz musician, a dancer or a captain in the Israeli army. They can learn about banking. It's much harder for bankers to unlearn their bad habits."

There's plenty to contemplate here as we think about the work force we will need for the re-invention and re-invigoration of libraries both public and academic. ( Michalko)


Google Teams with International Museums to Zoom in on Art  (External site)

The Art Newspaper   •  February 1, 2011

Up close and cultural. Google has adapted its Street View technology to provide super-high-resolution images of some of the world's most famous artwork. Seventeen museums are taking part, including the Tate, New York's Museum of Modern Art and the Uffizzi. This is just a first step in Google Art Project's ambitious plan to open up the virtual doors of the art world to online viewers everywhere—worth a peek.

One of the great paintings that was digitized at gigapixel resolution is Botticelli's Birth of Venus which I enjoyed exploring. It also reminded me of an encounter with a young person to whom I was describing the wonder of first seeing the painting in person. He said he didn't know it so we pulled it up online. He had a moment of recognition and commented, "I know that. It's the Adobe girl." For the evolution of the Illustrator brand and some good images click here. ( Michalko)


Above the Fold Quiz:

According to an item in this week's News and Views section, what are some behaviors of digital information seekers?

Click here to find the answer.


News and Views

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  • 2011 Annual RLG Partnership Meeting and Symposium
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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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