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Above the Fold

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

March 21, 2011
Vol. 4, No. 11
ISSN: 1943-1457

In this issue:


Hey Jimmy Wales, What Do You Think of Content Farms?  (External site)

Fast Company   •  March 4, 2011

Passion counts. Jimmy Wales talks about why the Wikipedia community is superior to eHow producers, and CultofMac.com editor Leander Kahney offers a cautionary tale on how Google's recent tweaks to PageRank can wreak havoc with your Web site visibility.

I'm with Mr. Wales on this. The Google smackdown of content farms worked and yields better results to ordinary Google users. And like all things Google, when they shift their weight just a little, even if it's to get more comfortable, they inevitably squash something. They define unintended consequences on the net. ( Michalko)


A Tangled Web of Shortened Links  (External site)

Technology Review   •  March 2, 2011

Short stuff. When the Libyan government attempted to shut down its Internet domain last month, link shortening services like bit.ly found themselves unexpectedly reliant on backup servers in Oregon and Amsterdam. Meanwhile, experts say analysis of the Web traffic funneled through short link sites may yield new insight on Web use and users, although they also warn the increased use of short links may cause some traffic slowdown. Still TBD: what effect the proliferation of short links has on Web content longevity.

Ten percent of all shortened links go to YouTube. Wow. I heard some of this on an NPR ScienceFriday interview with Hilary Mason, the chief scientist at bit.ly. She was very engaging (which you might expect from someone who describes herself as " Data scientist and hacker. I <3 data and cheeseburgers") and the interview worth a listen on the NPR site here, or get the podcast. So guess how many people work at bit.ly? You won't even need all your toes. We got ourselves one of those really short domains. Try http://oc.lc. ( Michalko)


I Can't Think  (External site)

Newsweek   •  February 27, 2011

Locate your off-switch. A number of experiments have shown that people deluged with information about a subject tend to make worse decisions (or none at all) compared with those privy to just a few salient points. Information-overload is a hazard of the business—read on for some suggestions on how to manage it more successfully.

"Recency trumps quality." Whether or not it's a word, the observation sure rings true to me. Despite conscious effort to ignore the last thing that has arrived I move right over to it. So much for priorities and self-control. Off is about the only thing that works for me. Ms. Mason mentioned in the previous article has written, according to the NYTimes, her own code to categorize and filter her e-mail. Not released yet but I'd love to have it. ( Michalko)


7 Must-Read Books on the Future of the Internet  (External site)

Brain Pickings   •  February 21, 2011

Awareness alert. Maybe you've read all of these, but check out Maria Popova's suggestions on books ranging "from retrofuturist media prophesies to the cognitive consequences of mobile-everything," just to make sure. Something here for everyone.

A few familiar names here—can you say Carr without saying Shirky? Most interesting to me was the Douglas Coupland book on Marshall MacLuhan— Marshall McLuhan: you know nothing of my work! Worth seeing the Woody Allen clip again here from which this subtitle originates. And wouldn't it be great if real life were like that? ( Michalko)


Visitor's Books  (External site)

Intelligent Life Magazine   •  Winter 2010

Book it. Check out this brief list of hotels that offer guests use of their in-house libraries. These rooms aren't bargain rate, but the concept gives "curling up with a good book" new meaning.

Well, if you're an OCLC library or just a reader of the library press you will know one of these hotels. : ) What puzzles me is whether there are any travelers who decide to wait and see what the hotel might have on offer rather than just bring along their own reading. ( Michalko)


Above the Fold Quiz:

According to an item in this week's News and Views section, how many resources are available through the National Library of Australia's Trove search interface?

Click here to find the answer.


News and Views

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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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