ATF readers, this is the season for OCLC Board meetings and the annual gathering of the OCLC Research staff for agenda planning. That puts a real squeeze on the time available for close reading. Consequently these reading suggestions are sent on with confidence but little additional comment. Regards, Jim Michalko


The New Tablet Reality for E-Books: Will Readers Read Less?

Forbes • August 14, 2012

Driven to distraction. An increase in tablet-based reading will slow the growth of the e-book market, because "the tablet is a multifunction device and will therefore draw the reader into non-book activities . . . " predicts one market researcher. Read on to find out how some e-book publishers are enhancing digital content to keep readers engaged rather than wandering off into app-land.

An argument for a single-purpose device. (Michalko)

How Hollywood is Encouraging Online Piracy

Scientific American • August 21, 2012

Parable for publishers. Journalist David Pogue explores the underside of movie piracy and exposes a prime motivator: unavailability of so many major films in legal format. As the movie business strives to push customers online while stiffening restrictions on use, they are repeating the mistakes already made by the music and television industries. Publishers, are you paying attention?

Scarcity is a business model for some movie studios. (Michalko)

No Copyright Law

Der Spiegel • August 18, 2012

The Gutenberg Bump. German historian Eckard Höffner ties Germany's nineteenth-century surge in industrial strength to the population’s passion for reading and printers' prolific output—all fueled by a disinclination toward copyright law. He notes that the unfettered publishing environment spawned 14,000 new works in 1843 alone—nearly comparable to today's output when adjusted for population numbers. In contrast, England produced about one-tenth the number of publications over the same period. Read on to learn more about Höffner's assessment of the effects of copyright law over time and its contribution (or lack thereof) to creative output.

Remember not long ago we mentioned the Gutenberg Parenthesis? (Michalko)

The Best Book Reviews Money Can Buy

The New York Times • August 25, 2012

Falling stars. Check out this eye-opening account of how many book reviews are generated and paid for—you'll never view those stars on Amazon the same way again.

Did any of us ever just look at the stars? (Michalko)

Bringing Science to the Art of Strategy

Harvard Business Review • September 2012

Scientifically speaking. This essay by former P&G chairman A.G. Lafley and three business school luminaries tackles the glib assertion that the scientific method can enhance strategic decision making. Successfully running a business requires balancing quantitative measurements against qualitative considerations, and this expert team offers suggestions on how to use hypothetical scenario evaluation for more rigorous strategic planning. For a short-hand tutorial, check out their "Seven Steps to Strategy Making.

This is fun to read for the embedded case study of P&G if not for the strategic methodology. (Michalko)

Automatons Get Creative

The Wall Street Journal • August 17, 2012

Don't look now. Smart algorithms not only are churning out books and grading essays—they're also playing an essential role in creating box office and music hits, and routing your complaints to the most simpatico call center agent. Check out this excerpt from Christopher Steiner's new book, Automate This, for insight into how some essentially human skills are becoming more obsolete every day.

Seems to me that authoring the algorithms is the essentially human skill. (Michalko)

Above the Fold Quiz

According to an item in this week's News and Views and Events sections, where can you explore the use of real life preservation metadata for risk assessment, and collaborate to propose an approach for mapping preservation metadata?

Get the answer.