Fuzzy Concepts, Proxy Data: Why Indicators Won't Track Creative Placemaking Success

Createquity • 9 November 2012

Beyond spreadsheets. Creative placemaking expert Ann Markusen's cogent critique of grant-making organizations' evaluation processes argues that the typical metrics used to benchmark success just don't apply to community-centric arts locations: "Our evaluative systems must nurture rather than discourage the marvelous moving of arts organizations, artists and arts funders out of the their bunkers and into our neighborhoods as leaders, animators, and above all, exhibitors of the value of arts and culture."

A longish article that is worth a quick reading. The article is really about the problems of metrics and indicators to evaluate fuzzy contributions. This is a generalized problem shared by arts and humanities both in and out of academia. As our libraries, both public and academic, become the locus for "creative placemaking" as referenced here they will face the same evaluation challenges from their funders. (Michalko)

Be Forwarned: Your Knowledge Is Decaying

HBR Blog Network • 5 November 2012

Knowledge half-life. The field of scientometrics, which uses mathematics to predict the dissemination or deterioration rate of facts, predicts that much of what we now "know" will be obsolete in just a few years. And while life-long learning is embraced as a tenet in the medical community, where new research findings are constantly redrawing the knowledge map, the need for continual re-education and "informational humility" permeates all walks of life.

Scientometrics looks a lot like bibliometrics (Eugene Garfield, etc.) but built on big data mining. That facts change is certainly true. That I can double check a fact with extraordinary ease on the interwebs makes me less concerned about keeping up with those changes. [Lorcan Dempsey recently drew my attention to this video about bibliometrics and library research services.] (Michalko)

The Science and Art of Listening

The New York Times • 9 November 2012

Listen up. Auditory awareness is always on, even while we're asleep, serving as a key component of the body's alarm system. Yet hearing is a "vastly underrated sense," says auditory neuroscientist Seth Horowitz. Read on for insight into how the brain processes sound and why the art of listening is imperiled by digital distractions and information overload.

I liked that this article wasn't about listening for content. I've been doing the experiment proposed near the end—listen to the harmonics of a person's speech and see what it tells you about their attitudes and emotions. Try it. (Michalko)

Taxing Times

The Economist • 10 November 2012

Lose-lose. Several European governments are considering legislation that would extend copyright protection to the article excerpts that appear in search results and Google is threatening to remove those newspaper sites from its databases. Check out both sides' positions in this classic stalemate.

The Economist always distills a situation nicely. In this case the real argument is one for content paywalls (like their model or that of The New York Times). They think the time has come. (Michalko)

Is Wikipedia Going Commercial?

Salon • 23 October 2012

Wiki wars. Wikipedia began as the product of passionate volunteerism: "participation open to anyone and work done solely for the promotion of knowledge." Now the site's fiercely democratic principles are eroding in the face of commissioned and paid entries coupled with a shrinking pool of demographically homogeneous core editorial staff. Read on for a peek into Wikipedia's dark side.

This article is provocatively and a bit misleadingly titled. It's really about the increasingly difficult to navigate dynamic of Wikipedia contribution and editing which causes people to reach out to experienced Wikipedians for help that is sometimes compensated. Pete Forsyth, a prominent volunteer editor and former Wikimedia employee is quoted in this article. When OCLC sought a Wikipedian in Residence Pete gave us good advice and support. Read the blurb about ethical editing on his website. As the Wiki processes get more complex and fraught, paying for Wikipedia help seems to me more like hiring a tax professional than a publicist. (Michalko)

Above the Fold Quiz

According to an item in this week's News and Views section, what is the purpose of the Digital Pioneers Project?

Get the answer.