Friday, April 11, 2008

The Source: news about digital libraries and library innovations from around the web

Introducing The Source


Looking to Connect: Technical Challenges that Impede the Growth of Virtual Reference
(Note: PDF)

From the Reference & User Services Quarterly website

Although virtual reference services have been around in one form or another for over twenty years, libraries are still finding that usage by patrons is lower than expected. If millions of teenagers are using instant messaging everyday, why aren't they knocking down our virtual door at the reference desk? The author believes that overly complicated virtual reference interfaces might be part of the problem. Convenience is key with our audience, and expanding our options with collaborating through instant messaging software might be the answer to our popularity problem.


The impact of the mobile phone on work/life balance (Note: PDF)

From the Australian Mobile Telecommunication Association website

The first study in Australia to use nationally representative data on how mobile phones have become integrated into everyday lives has released its final report. The project examined the social impact of mobile technologies at home and work. It collected nationally representative data between March and September 2007 from a sample of 2185 individuals, comprising 1905 individuals from 1435 on-line households and 280 individuals in 280 off-line households.
The survey’s final report finds that only 12% of the 13,978 calls made on mobile phones were work-related. Conversely, the mobile phone is used overwhelmingly for contacting family (49%) and friends (26%). The remainder of calls are to service providers or to pick up messages from voicemail (less than 15%).


Serving non-English speakers in US Public Libraries (Note: PDF)

From the American Library Association website

The American Library Association (ALA) study provides new information about library services and programs developed for non-English speakers, including effectiveness of services, barriers to library use, most frequently used services and most success library programs by language served.


All the news that’s fit to print on a map: The New York Times in Google Earth

From the GoogleLat Long Blog

Do you read a lot of news by surfing the Internet? Dreamed of a way to browse news based on geography? What's happening in Paris today? What are the top headlines in Japan? In collaboration with The New York Times, Google has come up with a solution: The New York Times offers geo-coded news, and Google Earth offers the platform for reading that news in a 3D browser.


Info-communism? Ownership and freedom in the digital economy

From the First Monday website

This paper takes a new look at the debate over commons and property in information and communications. It warns against recreating the old communist–capitalist ideological divide by framing the movement for informational commons as “info–communist.” The spectre of communism haunts the movement because of an unresolved ideological tension in its ethical and philosophical foundations. The case for free software and open information contains both deontological appeals to the virtues of sharing, and consequentialist arguments against the growing intrusiveness of the institutional and technological mechanisms used to enforce exclusivity in the digital economy. The paper argues that the deontological case is a dead end that leads to info–communism. The strongest case for open access and freedom in information and communications is grounded in a liberalism that takes maximizing individual freedom as its objective and relies on creative complementarities between property and commons regimes as means to that end.


The Diverse and Exploding Digital Universe: An Updated Forecast of Worldwide Information Growth through 2011 (Note: PDF)

From the EMC Corporation website

In 2007, the digital universe held 281 billion gigabytes (281 exabytes), which is about 45 gigabytes of digital information for every person on the planet. By 2011, the digital universe is projected to grow ten-fold to 1.8 zettabytes (1,800 exabytes). According to the report: "the number of digital 'atoms' in the digital universe is already bigger than the number of stars in the universe. And, because the digital universe is expanding by a factor of 10 every five years, in 15 years it will surpass Avogadro's number."


Digital preservation: The uncertain future of saving the past (Note: PDF)

From the Rand Corporation website

Digital objects are becoming a critical component of scholarly research, but stakeholders show an alarming lack of concern about preserving digital data accurately and sustainably: those charged with archiving information have not yet developed strategies that will enable future generations to build their knowledge on what has gone before. How will research findings be communicated in the future, and how true to the original look, feel and behaviour of these publications will digital archives need to be? Scenario planning can address the challenge of developing strategies in the face of these uncertainties to help librarians and archivists maintain the time-honoured tradition of preserving the past to inform the future.

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