Research Publications Newsletters Above the Fold Above the Fold - 28 April 2016

Jim Michalko retired from OCLC in February 2016. He'll be greatly missed, but Above the Fold will continue on. Over the next few weeks we'll bring you Jim's concluding selections and thoughts. From there several of our colleagues will continue to select new articles offering views and insights that can help our work evolve and have impact.


Hype vs. Reality: A Reality Check on the Internet of Things • 28 January 2016

According to Michael Fitzgerald "The Internet of Things has plenty of hype—it's going to be big, really big—but also plenty of detractors. The naysayers breathily predict everything from the surveillance state to a wrecked economy to people enslaved by machines." In this post he provides nine bits of information to consider.

This is very short because it provides links to the sources he thinks constitute a good update on the thinking about The Internet of Things. They are worth clicking through and reviewing. I particularly recommend the Cisco manager's take on security as we've featured it here in ATF. Also review the extensive infographic—"On the Internet nobody knows you're a toaster." (Michalko)



Lists Are the New Search • 31 January 2016

Search and curation. Ben Evans summarized the point of his own blog post masterfully when he tweeted "All curation grows until it requires search. All search grows until it requires curation."

Ben Evans says he "works at Andreessen Horowitz ('a16z'), a venture capital firm in Silicon Valley that invests in technology companies. I try to work out what's going on and what will happen next." I say he is notorious for his insights. He is, after all, the one who first declared "mobile is eating the world." This is another insightful entry that is particularly germane for the library domain as we think about what value we add to the enterprises that support us. (Michalko)

P.S. Evans is a Brit, a Cambridge grad, and viciously snarky about his new home, the Bay Area. Silicon Valley VC says there's "nothing" in SF, feels wrath of Bay Area Twitter – SFGate



Remembering Minsky • 26 January 2016

To say that the universe exists is silly. By now you know that Marvin Minsky, the last of the first generation Artificial Intelligence pioneers, died in January. The NYT obituary begins "Marvin Minsky, who combined a scientist's thirst for knowledge with a philosopher's quest for truth as a pioneering explorer of artificial intelligence, work that helped inspire the creation of the personal computer and the Internet, died on Sunday night in Boston. He was 88." This recommended article contains reminiscences and anecdotes from his colleagues as well as some selected excerpts from his writings.

If you were involved at all in the early days of computing you came across Minsky as author, team leader, speaker and provocateur. For someone like me his thinking was often too difficult but he punctuated with slogan-like sayings that stayed with you—"Don't just do something, stand there." The range of anecdotes in this assemblage is very engaging. is the web manifestation of the Reality Club, the salon in which Minsky was a regular participant. (Michalko)



What to Do When a "Devil's Advocate" Tries to Derail Your Project • 18 January 2016

I don't disagree but I will argue anyway. A devil's advocate is no longer generally understood as the canon lawyer charged with arguing against the canonization of a candidate. These days they are the people who "…tend to pop up just when a project is about to launch. The idea has been validated and vetted, and then the devil's advocate threatens to derail the whole affair with a volley of last-minute questions that appear to undermine the core rationale." They must be dealt with and this suggests some sensible approaches.

Cleaver comes at this from a very particular perspective (she helps firms correct how they advance women and measures their progress) but her suggestions are generalizable. My favorite: Focus on shared goals, not winning this argument. The response to "let me play devil's advocate…" is "No, I'd rather you didn't. We all agreed that x must change so let's build on that." (Michalko)



Density, Dinner, Design

SearCh for humourIstic and Extravagant acroNyms and Thoroughly Inappropriate names For Important Clinical trials (SCIENTIFIC): qualitative and quantitative systematic study
The BMJ • 7 November 2014

Carnivores try to get prey out of a box, not all succeed • 1 February 2016

Map Envisions What a Worldwide Subway System Would Be Like
WIRED • 18 January 2016

The first because it addresses a particular dimension of what my colleague, Lorcan Dempsey, in 2004 christened "Acronymic Density." It is academic satire of a high order. Who hasn't bristled at acronyms that are the result of the "Tolstoy Maneuver"? The title of the article is an example of that technique.

The second because who hasn't done something similar to their pet cat or dog? This confirms that meerkats mistakenly think cuteness is a survival tactic.

The third because I love subways. Transferring at Lincoln Center for the Robespierre stop in Paris would be wonderful. (Michalko)



Above the Fold Quiz

According to an item in this week's News and Views section, what are some low-overhead ways for a university library to start a research data management program?

Get the answer.