OCLC Research  

Above the Fold

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

February 28, 2011
Vol. 4, No. 8
ISSN: 1943-1457

In this issue:


Futurist Says 'Cyberdust' is Accumulating  (External site)

Internet Revolution   •  February 15, 2011

Information just wants to be deleted. Alvin Toffler coined the term "information overload" 40 years ago, and now he's raising the alarm about "cyberdust"—our tendency to collect information faster than it can be analyzed. For instance, did you know if you loaded up a Kindle to the max, it would take somewhere between six and ten years to read all the books? Author Jeff Cole's warning about "a nation of skimmers" sounds a lot like Nicholas Carr, but skim this article anyway and add "cyberdust" to your buzzword vocabulary.

Oh dear! Information overload again? Jeff Cole and Alvin Toffler are worried that we may not be reading everything available to us. I'm afraid that news is so old that the only shock I feel (past or future) is the shock of finding out they're shocked. I think we've all had spam filters on our e-mails for ages. Companies have used clipping services for decades because they couldn't follow all the news that was available to them. Just recently in a conversation here in OCLC Research, most of us admitted to an information gathering philosophy of "if it's important, it'll come around again." I wonder what else might shock them? People making out in the back seats of cars (or chat rooms)? ( LeVan)


How the Internet Gets Inside Us  (External site)

The New Yorker   •  February 14, 2011

All in a name. Adam Gopnik deftly classifies Internet authors as "Never-Betters," "Better-Nevers" and "Ever-Wasers." Check out Gopnik's quick overview and analysis of recent Net literature through his lens as an "Ever-Waser."

The Better-Nevers hold the lead in library collections based on a strong showing by Carr, The Shallows. Regardless of what camp you are in, you might want to check out some of the books "explaining why books no longer matter" reviewed by Gopnik. ( Vizine-Goetz)


New MIT Research Uncovers 5 Myths of Innovation  (External site)

MIT Sloan Management Review   •  Winter 2011

Myth busters. A three-year study by MIT researchers debunks some of the "common wisdom" surrounding innovation and how it happens. Memorize this list before you attend your next strategy planning meeting.

The 5 Myths may themselves be myths, but not a bad summary of innovation in an organization and how it can be fostered. Here are the takeaways from the takeaways:
1. Identify and correct weakest links in moving innovations forward
2. Online forums are only a help, not the end-all
3. Use the strengths of both external and internal innovation forums
4. Payments for innovation efforts miss the point
5. Much like internal/external, both bottom-up and top-down innovation have their place ( Hickey)


5 Reasons Why Corporate Social Tools Fail  (External site)

GigaOM   •  February 9, 2011

I want to be alone. As we increasingly deploy a variety of social media tools to enhance collaboration and expand outreach, we need to avoid the pitfalls described in this article. For instance, we should accept that some workers just don't want to participate in chummy online camaraderie, and launching a new communications channel doesn't mean that people are willing to change their work habits or transform their personalities.

This sage advice goes well beyond individual employees wanting to hide under their virtual desk. Any organization (ours included) that wants social tools to succeed in their organization would do well to heed this article. Being successful in using social tools like Yammer is far from just dropping them into the pool and hoping for the best. Like just about any initiative worth doing, it takes planning and management to really succeed. The steps outlined here are an excellent start toward that success. ( Tennant)


Managing the Hype Cycle  (External site)

Digital Tonto   •  February 16, 2011

Not ready for prime time (yet). Check out the Gartner Hype Cycle chart under "What's Hyping Now," which shows that ebook readers are nearing the nadir in the trough of disillusionment. Next step: inching up the slope of enlightenment before attaining the plateau of productivity (defined as 20-30% of potential market adoption). Blogger Greg Satell makes the point that innovations rarely occur in a vacuum—and the catalyst for e-readers will be the evolution of a viable business model for ebooks and other digital content.

Digital Tonto's Greg Satell describes the Gartner Hype Cycle, a visual device that tracks the evolution of new technology as it progresses from R&D breakthrough to periods of inflated expectation and subsequent disillusionment, and finally, achieves maturity and widespread adoption. Some projections from Gartner: tablet computers and location-aware applications have entered the phase of widespread adoption; video search is in the phase of rising expectations; cloud computing has passed the peak of expectations, and is entering a phase of disillusionment; ebook readers are about to enter the maturation phase. Satell observes that successful technology development cannot proceed in isolation; new ideas must be integrated into the broader context of related technologies. Shepherding technologies through the various Hype Cycle phases requires an assortment of skill sets, which often must be cultivated by "siloing" them in separate divisions within an organization. However, silos should be networked through effective cross-divisional interfaces. Satell highlights the complexity of technology development: innovation managers must deploy at the right time the skill set needed to manage technology at its current location on the Hype Cycle, while ensuring that the development process is connected to other divisions within the organization and the broader technological environment. ( Lavoie)


Above the Fold Quiz:

According to an item in this week's News and Views section, what does COMET stand for?

Click here to find the answer.


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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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