How the U.S. Airline Industry Found Its Edge

HBR Blog Network • 26 September 2013

On the edge. Management experts Alan Lewis and Dan McKone use the saga of the struggling airline industry to illustrate "edge strategy": "the strategic monetization of the huge value that often lies untapped on the edge of a core business, but which many businesses miss because they are focused on nurturing their core." In the last decade, airlines have shifted from being providers of Point-A-to-Point-B-travel to purveyors of "travel solutions" that target the needs of individual customers willing to pay. Read on for more examples of industries that are leveraging their strategic edge to generate income and boost customer satisfaction.

I suppose every business could try to think about what it delivers in this way, even libraries. If book, journal and information delivery are at the core now maybe we unbundle that and move it to the edge. Come for the Makerspaces and, by the way, take home some books. (Michalko)

In Supreme Court Opinions, Web Links to Nowhere

The New York Times • 23 September 2013

Missing links. Supreme Court opinions used to cite hardcopy references, but in recent years online citations have been added to the mix. Unfortunately, almost half of the 555 hyperlinks cited no longer work—not surprising, given the ephemeral nature of the Web, but problematic for legal scholars researching Supreme Court cases. Read on for more about "link rot" and what can be done about it.

I was very pleased to see that one of the most immediate responses is by a group of institutions—academic law libraries—that have a stake in stewarding the permanent record. is a very interesting response backed by some distinguished institutions many of them in the OCLC Research Library Partnership. I hope it scales and the crowdsource component to it gets traction. (Michalko)

Popular Science Kills Comments—While YouTube Tries to Fix Them

The Guardian • 25 September 2013

Take down. Popular Science recently raised eyebrows when it closed its comments section, blaming "trolls and spambots," whose bad behavior "can be bad for science." Policing rudeness is a thankless task—read on for more on other sites' attempts to encourage civil discourse.

Speaking of crowd-sourcing, the comment space is particularly problematic. The value of some sites is very tied up in participation via the comment strings. This is a good discussion of the three basic responses—banish, fix (privilege some so the sludge sinks) or endorse (promote the good stuff). Real names rather than pseudonyms might be the answer. Or not. (Michalko)

Harvard Plans to Boldly Go with "Spocs"

BBC News • 24 September 2013

Post-MOOCs. The newest acronym in online education is SPOCs—Small Private Online Courses. Rather than accommodating tens of thousands of students, these courses are restricted to much smaller numbers and promise a more customized learning experience—sort of like auditing one of the many courses already offered online as part of campus degree programs. Read on for more on this latest trend as universities struggle to remain relevant and profitable.

This article is worth noting mostly for the acronym having been introduced to the popular press. If you really want the fullest current view of MOOCs this 123 page literature review from the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills in the UK will satisfy. (Michalko)

Jimmy Wales to Silicon Valley: Grow Up and Get Over Your Age Bias

ReadWrite • 27 September 2013

Age-appropriate. The Culture of Youth is highly overrated when it comes to successful business startups, says business developer Matt Asay: " . . . [T]he highest rate of entrepreneurship in America has shifted to the 55-64 age group, with people over 55 almost twice as likely to found successful companies than those between 20 and 34. Indeed, . . . the 20-34 age bracket has the lowest rate of entrepreneurial activity." Read on for words to the wise from seasoned startup veterans like Jimmy Wales and Reed Hastings.

A portion of the Valley's youth bias is rooted in the creation stories around Mozilla, Apple, Google, Facebook, etc. We believe those and imagine the cast must resemble those founders if things are to repeat. But the creation stories really are just that—stories. For a wonderful deconstruction of the Twitter creation story read this NY Times feature "All Is Fair in Love and Twitter." (Michalko)

How Many People Really Pay for Digital News?

Reflections of a Newsosaur • 25 September 2013

Really tiny numbers. Check out this comparison of digital content subscriber numbers—with a third of US newspapers now charging for web access, only The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal can claim some success. Meanwhile, the chart at the end of the article shows how infinitesimal the numbers are compared with No. 1 streaming media source Netflix.

This is just sad. (Michalko)

Above the Fold Quiz

According to an item in this week's News and Views section, how many archival material descriptions are in ArchiveGrid?

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