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Above the Fold

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

May 9, 2011
Vol. 4, No. 18
ISSN: 1943-1457

In this issue:


The Profound Impact of Social Factors on Innovation  (External site)

Innovation Tools   •  April 6, 2011

Exploiting human nature. Check out this list of psychological motivators and contemplate how you can use them to improve teamwork and create better experiences with partners and patrons.

The premise is that, while most business effort is focused internally, it is understanding customers and their social drivers that will lead to success. The article draws on Influence Science and Practice by Robert Cialdini, who defines six principles that determine human social behavior: reciprocity, consistency, social proof, liking, authority and scarcity. If a service you offer isn't gaining traction, make sure you're taking these principles into account. ( Erway)


Campus Copyright: Publishers Sue over University "e-Reserves"  (External site)

Ars Technica   •  April 14, 2011

Unfair use? When does assigned e-reserve reading morph into a copyright-infringing digital coursepack? A trial pitting a triad of academic publishers against Georgia State University is set to begin May 16. The issues are murky at best, but the court's decision could affect university library lending policies across the country.

Good summary of an important case. The publishers might well win this one. ( Hickey)


What Books Will Become  (External site)

The Technium   •  April 15, 2011

The book as flow. When a book is freed from the confinement of its hardcopy covers, it becomes a never-ending compilation of edits, alternate endings, hyperlinks to related material and other distractions, says Kevin Kelly. He predicts the future of the book will hinge on finding the right container "that will focus the attention a book needs. An invention that encourages you onward to the next paragraph before the next distraction." Warning: Kelly's vision is a little disturbing for those of us already plagued by digital distractions.

I found Kelly's overview of the future rather conservative, focusing on reformatted printed text that could be read on various devices and the potential of links to other texts. Mike Matas' TED Talk on a next-generation digital book demonstrates much better the potential of a "digital book," incorporating various related resources and interaction features. Al Gore's Our Choice is the first full-length interactive book for the iPad and iPhone, and I see it as a harbinger of future books. Amy Lee at the Huffington Post commented, "Push Pop Press is reinventing reading." ( Smith-Yoshimura)


Former Random House CEO Alberto Vitale: "Paper Books Will Evolve into More Precious Products"  (External site)

Knowledge@Wharton   •  April 13, 2011

Random thoughts. Vitale was an early proponent of securing digital rights to the books he published. Read this interview for his views on the future of digital and hardcopy publishing. Among his predictions: paper books will improve in quality and rise in price, and eBooks will fill the role that inexpensive paperbacks use to play in the past.

There's nothing that should surprise you in this interview. The idea that printed books will not disappear, but will be fewer and of better quality is likely to be true. Bookstores will be less about providing books and more about the stuff around books and reading. Vitale has some protectionist attitudes towards overseas publishers that are a little hard to understand. It's an interesting article, but you won't come away from it any smarter. ( LeVan)


One Pager: A Simple Alternative to Messy Websites  (External site)

Museum 2.0   •  April 4, 2011

Keep it simple. Check out the One-Pager library Web site recently debuted by INFLUX. Nina Simon notes that although the One-Pager concept was designed with libraries in mind, museums should take notes and "be as rigorous as possible at paring down and clarifying online content." Web sites can easily become cluttered with extraneous links and information—what would you keep if you had only a single page to work with?

Providing a simple means of establishing a Web presence for libraries and museums lacking the tech staff to create and maintain such a presence on their own is definitely a good thing, as is the concept of "rigorous simplicity" as a guiding principal in most (if not all) human endeavors. (In fact, I'm considering a work-week wardrobe of five XXL T-shirts in various colors with the words "Rigorous Simplicity" silk-screened across the front, to serve as a daily memo-to-self.) But I do wonder about the author's tossed-off assertions that visiting a museum is more "experiential" than visiting a library, or that museums lack a baseline service equivalent to that offered by libraries (i.e. providing access to informational materials). These interesting questions got my mind churning much more than did the actual topic of the piece—though I do like the author's conclusion about the best-of-all-possible museum Web sites: " . . . wrap that [simplified] content in a design that uniquely reflects the spirit of the institution." ( Massie)


Above the Fold Quiz:

According to an item in this week's News and Views section, what are some ways to simplify and streamline digital capture of non-book collections?

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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