Research Publications Newsletters Above the Fold Above the Fold - 18 September 2014


How To Avoid Being A Victim Of Your Own Innovation

Fast Company • 3 September 2014

Libraries are not a victim of innovation but the lesson applies. Larry Downes and Paul Nunes explain how coffee giant Starbucks almost put itself out of business with its own innovation. Here's how CEO Howard Schultz saved the day.

Some folks may know this story but it is a good one. It's rare that this kind of rescue is successful but it does happen – think Iaccocca at Chrysler and Jobs back at Apple. Worth thinking about how Schultz's return to the in-store experiences that had made them successful may be applicable to libraries. The way we engage with our clients can feature the experience of the staff in exposing the collections and the local knowledge that makes their advice invaluable all while relying the full range of collections both local and licensed.

P.S. My local Peet's always has a line—per this article the baristas are either incompetent or they are still using the old school machines.

P.P.S. September 10—I checked. They use two of the machines in the picture. There may also be a learning curve issue involved. (Michalko)




College in a Box: Textbook Giants are now Teaching Classes • 4 September 2014

Gabriel Kahn surveys the sophisticated online packages being devised and delivered by publishing giants McGraw Hill, Pearson PLC and others. While MOOCs have hoovered up the headlines, this incursion of packaged online education courses has been fast and deep.

This is not unexpected but it is a big challenge to the struggling middle tier of academic institutions. What's my distinctive offer when the basic courses are coming via standardized packages and being delivered at wildly different prices? I remember attending a future of books, publishing and libraries event some years ago where the CEO of Pearson was quoted: "Content is mostly generic, particularly in education. There are only a few ways you can describe photosynthesis. It's only the way you impart that information that's different." Pearson was pretty confident even then that they were going to win. (Michalko)



What I Wish I Knew About Creativity When I Was 20

Leadership—Fast Company • 4 September 2014

Maybe you are as creative as anyone. Kevan Lee goes back in time to give his 20-year-old self a bit of advice on investing in the creative process, coming up with new ideas, and producing good, fun work.

Lee is only in his thirties so he'll have even more advice a bit later. Or maybe less.

In the interim I thought a number of these were quite well put. "Embrace constraints" and "Creativity is about making connections" resonated for me. Plus he quoted one of my favorites, Hugh McLeod, in that latter observation and pointed at this tweeted cartoon. (Michalko)



Lead Positive: What Highly Effective Leaders See, Say, and Do • 4 September 2014

This is an interview by Skip Prichard with Dr. Kathy Cramer, author of the book, Lead Positive in which she reflects on the findings in her book about effective leadership. Among her observations is that they actually spend five times more attention and effort leveraging what is possible and what is positive in the moment than they do focusing on problems.

This is an IILR (Interview In Lieu of Reading) that gets very rapidly at the major takeaways from the volume. You'll enjoy it even if you find some of the advice as daunting as it is admirably crisp c.f. "Speak with Sizzle." (Michalko)



Mass-media, Nerds, and College Essays

Journalism is Doing Just Fine, Thanks—It's Mass-media Business Models That are Ailing
GigaOm • 26 August 2014

Gencon: My Journey into the Heart of the Nerd Kingdom
Ars Technica • 28 August 2014

27 Offbeat College Essay Topics (stumbled upon)
Mental Floss • 9 May 2014

A short piece with an opinion you may not share.
A long form piece about a place and event that I (and most of you) will never experience.
A list featuring wacky questions that are difficult to relate to success in the academy. (Michalko)



Above the Fold Quiz

According to an item in this week's News and Views section, where can you join experts and practitioners to explore archival description in the cultural heritage descriptive landscape and the emergence of authority files/identity description as an opportunity for cultural heritage cross-community collaboration?

Get the answer.



In last week's issue we provided an incorrect link to a KQED News article, "The Rise and Fall of America's Labor Unions." The correct link is: