Tip of the Iceberg—How the Illusion of Products Can Mislead Customers About the Realities of Business

The Scholarly Kitchen • 5 December 2013

Simply wrong. Even a mundane object like a pencil represents a lengthy manufacturing process, so it's easy to forget all the behind-the-scenes efforts that go into complex supply and operations chains like museum and library operations. Check out Kent Anderson's post on the dangers of mistaking the appearance of simplicity for a dearth of skill, and its potential ramifications for the people who run our organizations and related industries.

There are some great examples of unnoticed and unremarked product complexities in this article. Orange juice. He calls out Vaclav Smil's book on American manufacturing (I told you suddenly Vaclav Smil is everywhere.) And Kent's reference to Steve Jobs' sleight-of-hand first iPhone demo reminded me that he did the same thing when he introduced the NeXT computer at the Educom conference in the late 1980's. To show the first Pixar film, Luxo Jr., Jobs had to pretend to trip on the power cord so that it could be reconnected to a machine that was running nothing but the film. (Michalko)

Can Authors Make Money Selling Books?

Priceonomics • 6 December 2013

ISO fame and fortune. Author Carter Phipps offers his insight into whether it's more lucrative to self-publish or go the traditional route with a publishing house. His well-crafted analysis demystifies the numbers and comes up with a surprising conclusion.

I am intrigued when people reveal the detailed economics of their profession and their individual living. This is thoughtful and clear-eyed. A lot of libraries purchased Mr. Phipps' book. Zoe Keating, a former colleague who is now a successful professional cellist, has done a lot to reveal the real economics of the current music world. (Michalko)

The Overexposed Museum

New Criterion • December 2013

Art depreciation. Rampant photo-snapping is degrading the museum experience, says Wall Street Journal arts editor Eric Gibson: "Smartphones and tablets . . . disconnect the visitor from the art on display and imperil the museum in other, very real ways." Anyone who's ever tried to catch a glimpse of an iconic art work can sympathize with Gibson's lament over our click-happy culture. Read on for his thoughts on the unraveling connection between the viewer and the artist, and his ideas for restoring sanity to the museum experience.

It's not just photos. It's selfies which as you may know is The Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2013. Read the blog entry or go straight to the terrific infographic where you'll find the runners-up. I am very glad we dodged "twerk." (Michalko)

Catching Ourselves in the Act of Thinking

Scientific American • 18 November 2013

Inner voices. Descriptive Experience Sampling, devised by University of Nevada psychologist Russell Hurlburt, aims to capture people's "inner speaking" by catching them in the act of thinking. Volunteers are beeped several times a day and asked to write down what was in their minds just before the beep. The result is a deeply personal narrative that in many cases relies on internal verbal monologue (or even dialogue). Read on for more on Hurlburt's studies and why it's possible to say "no!" while thinking "yes!

Fascinating. It made me try to listen to my own inner speech which, of course, collapsed after a brief bout of mental tail-chasing. Maybe I'd do better if I was subject to Descriptive Experience Sampling. (Michalko)

We Have Entered the Golden Age of Visual Storytelling

Psychology Today • 13 November 2013

Every picture tells a story. Peruse this interview with author Gareth Cook, editor of The Best American Infographics, and check out the examples that display the common characteristics used to make his selections.

And then go to the book review which includes extensive quotes from David Byrne's introduction and lots more examples at Brainpickings. (Michalko)

When Trying to Find Innovation, Look for the Intersection of the Physical and Digital Worlds

GigaOM • 7 December 2013

Power point. Check out IBM VP Saul J. Berman's essay on the power of merging physical and digital functions. Tesco's blend of virtual supermarket shelves displayed on the walls of South Korean subway stations combined with same day home delivery offers a springboard for the imagination on how to leverage the digital-physical space for any number of industries.

The thought is intriguing but check the article if only for the picture of the virtual supermarket. Even better watch this Tesco video of the rollout. (Michalko)

Above the Fold Quiz

According to an item in this week's News and Views section, where can archivists and librarians learn new possibilities for name authority work through moving beyond the boundaries of traditional archival metadata?

Get the answer.