Friday, February 16, 2007

Snow, digitization, Anna Nichol Smith, and astronauts


Here in Upstate New York, it has been snowing and snowing. The news today reported that we have received 11 inches of new snow since yesterday. This photo shows the two picnic tables in my backyard. Depending on how the snow has drifted, it is either above your knee, up to your hip, or higher! Some areas north of here have received over 150 inches of snow.

So since this is not a good time to be "running the streets", sitting inside and thinking about digitization is a good alternative.

In the last couple of weeks, there have been two stories that dominated the news and neither had to do with digitization, business, government or libraries. The first was about a NASA astronaut who found herself in legal trouble. This dominated the news in the U.S. for two days, knocking everything else to minor portions of the news. Then this story was knocked to the back page by the death of Anna Nichol Smith. Her tragic death and the ensuing legal maneuvers have dominated the news for over a week, with no let-up in sight. Perhaps it is our desire to not focus on those things that are truly important that is keeping us focused on Anna Nichol Smith and what captivated us about the NASA astronaut.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if a news story about digitization so captivated the media and those who watch/listen/read the news? Not even Google's digitization efforts have garnered this much attention, yet in the grand scheme of things, the mass digitization programs that are occurring are much more important than these two events.

And think about the digitization that is occurring at NASA and the EPA (as well as the libraries being downsized) -- those are important stories that are affecting researchers, scientists and us (because their inability or ability to get information quickly will affect us).

What will it take to get digitization to dominate the news? Will it be a specific program? Some revolutionary technology? The effect on some library that we all feel passionate about (like our own local libraries)? What????

So that's my thought for this snowy Friday afternoon. May you have a wonderful weekend! And if snow is piling up in your yard, I know how you feel!

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