Monday, November 28, 2011

The future of information access, part 2

In an earlier post today, I wrote about the future of information access.  Here are the resources that I used for that guest lecture.

The future of information access, part 1

Earlier this month, Sean Branagan, who is the director of the Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship in the Newhouse School of Public Communications, asked that I guest lecture in his class on the topic of the future of information access.  The class is seeking input from a wide variety of industries on what the future may hold and its impact on communications (e.g., news).  In my 1.5 hour lecture, I spoke about the following ideas, some of which are evident in today's environment:
  • Game-like interfaces - more digital controls are taking on the look and feel of game-like interfaces.  In some cases, the impact may be subtle.  Why is this happening?  Considering the number of people that play computer games, these have been test grounds for what works and what doesn't, in terms of interface design.  A good game needs to be quickly understood by the player, which is the same thing that we want from our other digital technology.
  • Gamification – the use of game design techniques and mechanics to engage an audience - Gamification is happening everywhere, including in education (and that's not a bad thing).  If engagement is the goal, then we need to use whatever design principles that work.
  • Virtual reality - It wasn't surprising to me that only a few students had heard of Second Life, which was the darling of virtual reality.  Virtual reality has not caught on as it was hoped, due to a number of factors including hardware requirements.  It is has caught on in gaming and has influenced augmented reality.
  • Augmented reality - Overlaying a virtual environment on top of a real environment is being done in some games and smartphone apps (e.g., Yelp).  This allows for information to be displayed or overlayed on what a person is seeing, based on what the person is seeing.  This could even be information that has been digitized from a local history collection that is displayed - using a smartphone app - when the user look at a specific street using the camera on the phone.  The camera (and GPS) would know what the user was viewing and then would use the app to also display additional information about the area.
  • Personal, unique experiences – sixth-sense technology – Rather than trying to explain what I mean, watch this 9 minute video and imagine that you could interact with information in this (or other) ways. Yes, this is the ability to literally interact with information.

  • Access in your hands – mobile devices –According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, 83% of all Americans own some type of cell phone. Increasingly, access to information is happening in people's hands and not on other devices.  Results of the Pew survey show that people are being impacted by the ability to have information literally at their fingertips. Pew also notes that 35% of adults  have a smartphone, and that number is growing.
  • Technology provides an expression or experience of the information – e.g., the weight-shifting and/or shape-changing mobile - A picture is worth a thousand words, so watch this video in order to understand the concept:

    Interesting, huh?! I'm not sure how this would really be implemented, but I can see some benefits to the idea.
  • Tactile (haptics) – “Haptics technologies provide force feedback to users about the physical properties and movements of virtual objects represented by a computer.” - Educause. For example, "Medical students can use haptic devices to develop a sense of what it feels like to give an epidural injection, perform laparoscopic surgical procedures, use dental or orthopedic drills, or any number of other highly tactile techniques. Such simulators give users the opportunity to develop a tactile sense of the structures, organs, and tissues of the body."
  • Technology helping to aggregate information from friends - We see this already in Facebook and Google+, for example, but I wish it worked better.  I want technology to understand really what I want to see and know, and to be able to refine that selection criteria based on what I click on or ignore.
  • Information as entertainment - Stephen Cobert and Jon Stewart have already proven that serious information can be delivered as entertainment.  And it is clear that people respond to receiving information in this way.  May of us may remember a teacher that taught history (or some other topic) in an entertaining way, and how it helped us learn.  Can we do more of this?  Should we?
  • Who you know, not what you know - Because more people are using Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc. as their news sources, who you know is important.  Who you know will influence what news or information that you see.  It will likely bias what you are exposed to, unless you work to include people (friends) who have opposing viewpoints from you.  Even if you visit a news site, it is likely that what you see will be impacted by what your friends (contacts) have "liked".  This will make it harder for some news to get in front of your eyes and it could make you world smaller, not larger.
I know that this topic raised several questions in the classroom and so I wonder what questions (or comments) that you have?  Do you see these trends?  Are there others that should be mentioned?  Leave a comment and let me know.

Thanks to Christopher (Toph) Lawton for his help in researching this topic.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Interview with Kenneth Crews (audio, 17 min.)

Here is an audio interview with Kenneth D. Crews on copyright conducted on Oct. 22, 2011 (17 minutes) for my class, Copyright for Information Professionals. (Kenny Crews gave his permission for it to be shared with a wider audience.) Crews is currently the director of the Copyright Advisory Office (CAO) at Columbia University. He has served as a faculty member for the Munich Intellectual Property Law Center since its inception in 2003.

For over twenty years, Crews has has focused much of his research, policymaking, and teaching on copyright issues. He has been instrumental in helping library and information professionals understand the impact of the law on libraries.

Kenny Crews hold a J.D. from Washington University in St. Louis, and an M.L.S. and Ph.D. from UCLA’s School of Library and Information Science.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wayback Wednesday: Copyright lawsuits

In the copyright class that I teach (Copyright for Information Professionals), we have been discussing lawsuits that involved copyright.  While Google came to everyone's mind, we discussed Texaco and Legg Mason, too.

This blog has always contained posts about copyright, including a number on the Google Book Project. I've mentioned some of the other "famous" lawsuits in passing.  Allow me now to provide more information about those that seem to come to my mind whenever I think of copyright and the courts. The links below lead to a number of sites (noted in parentheses).
This list contains those that I find myself mentioning and it is not exhaustive. (more here

As I told my students, as a corporate librarian, the Texaco case got me more interested in copyright.  That case affected what I did (and didn't do).  It had a definite impact and would have had a bigger impact if it had gone to the Supreme Court.  I also point to that case as an example of how long a court case can take until it is truly finished.  That one lasted 10 years.

What copyright litigation has caught your eye and made you delve deeper into the law?  Leave a comment and tell me.  I and my students would be interested to know!

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Podcasts on developing a professional portfolio

This is quite off-topic for this blog. These are podcasts on professional portfolios that I developed for my library and information science students.  I'm placing them here so that others can access them easily. Each is under 5 minutes in length.

About Portfolios #1: who needs one? (mp3)

About Portfolios #2: what goes into a portfolio? (mp3)

About Portfolios #3: where can you house your portfolio? (mp3)

About Portfolios #4: when can you use your portfolio? (mp3)

About Portfolios #5: final words of wisdom (mp3)

Friday, November 04, 2011

NYLA11: QR codes in libraries

Meredith Farkas did a presentation at the New York Library Association Annual Conference on QR codes. As a person who has been incorporating QR codes in student assignments, I was pleased to see someone promoting QR codes to the library community. Here is her presentation:

In order to demonstrate a unique QR code application, Meredith showed this video:

I received a couple of questions via Twitter during the session from people who have not seen QR codes catching on in their community. I believe that QR codes need a champion as well as training. In other words, if you believe that they are useful, then you need to use them and teach others about them.  You should point out where they are appearing in advertisements and marketing material, for example, so that people know that they are all around us. 

Others have done presentation on QR codes including these by Renata Curty:
And this one from Joe Murphy and David Lee King:

I've also written about QR codes, including:
If you need more on QR codes, search Slideshare for additional presentations on the topic.

NYLA11: Preliminary Recommendations for the 2020 Vision and Plan for Library Service in New York State

Today at the New York Library Association (NYLA) Annual Conference, people gave comments on the draft report entitled Creating the Future: A 2020 Vision and Plan for Library Service in New York State.  The comments were received, without any discussion, by Regent Roger Tillis (Chair of the NYS Board of Regents Cultural Education Committee) and Deputy Commissioner of Education Jeffrey Cannell as well as two members of the Regents Advisory Council on Libraries (John Hammond and Jerry Nichols).  Besides the received verbal comments, everyone was encouraged to provide comments in writing.  In addition, comments may be submitted by members of the public, library staff, library students, and others via email to by November 15, 2011. After that, members of the Regents Advisory Council on Libraries will revise the 2020 Vision based on the input reserved.  The goal is to give the completed document to the Regents in the spring (April/May) and ask them to act on the recommendations.  Some of the recommendations may require legislative action.

For additional information on this document and process, go to this web site.