Tuesday, April 28, 2009

We like this new marketplace much better

This is my entry concerning thesis #72 from the Cluetrain Manifesto. It is: "We like this new marketplace much better. In fact, we are creating it."

In this little screed, I will focus on the marketplace of information, and how the landscape has changed in the last 10 years. As a librarian, this is what I am most attuned to.

The general public has taken a much greater interest in creating and distributing information of all sorts. With the advent of the Internet and Web2.0, it is much easier and cheaper to distribute digital information to a global community.

In the past, the gatekeepers at the small number of media outlets considered themselves to be the main filters of quality information and entertainment. If the editor of a newspaper didn't like a story, it didn't get published. If a TV executive didn't like a show (or it didn't get enough advertising revenue), it didn't get aired. There was only so much space in a printed resource, and only so much time on network TV. They operated on the premise of scarcity, but that problem has gone away.

Compared to traditional print media, there is now essentially unlimited digital space for magazines, journals and newspapers. While there is only so much time in each day, there is more choice in the number of television channels.

Concerning news, Craigslist has killed off the need for many people to advertise their used junk in printed newspapers, and this has really reduced their revenue. Blogs have created an outlet for the average person to publish an information source. Google has made the search for relevant news and information much easier to find.

The print encyclopedia industry is dead, but Wikipedia does a very good job, and it is getting better by the minute. The "wisdom of the crowd" is replacing the wisdom of the few.

The academic journal market continues to be a huge problem for libraries, but there are more and more Open Access outlets for researchers to get their articles published. Many authors also post their articles in subject-based repositories, and that makes it much easier for readers to find and read their research.

The book market continues to be heavily print based, but some publishers are printing books on demand for authors that would normally never see the light of day. It will also be interesting to see how much the Kindle (or even the iPhone) impacts the printed book market in the next 5-10 years.

We are creating our own entertainment with YouTube and other video sites. Many are mashing up video games software and scripts to create machinima.

We are creating virtual photo albums using our digital images. We no longer need to rely on the corner photo lab or drug store to process our film.

While the main television networks are still around, the big four networks are getting less and less viewership. People simply find other things to be more interesting, such as reading and writing blog entries, reading books, playing videogames, creating YouTube videos, watching other cable channels or playing frisbee.

While some see problems with too much choice in the information landscape, many others demonstrate that there are positives in the long tail of information and that having more options is a good thing.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The 95 theses from the Cluetrain Manifesto have stood the test of time

It is odd for me to write a blog post announcing that I will be writing another blog post (on April 28th), but this is the case today.

The 95 theses (not 96) from the Cluetrain Manifesto have now been around for about 10 years. For the most part, the theses form the heart of the Web2.0 revolution. The book turns 10 years old on April 28th, and in celebration, the author has asked for 95 bloggers to write blog entries that expand upon how the world has changed in 95 ways over the last 10 years. In short, I've signed up to expand upon thesis #72, which is "We like this new marketplace much better. In fact, we are creating it." I have an idea in my head about how I would like to expand upon this (talking about OA, blogs, wikis, new media, etc.), but maybe you would have some other ideas on how I could talk about how we are creating our own new media outlets.

I know some other library bloggers who are covering other thesis statements. Thanks goes to Connie Crosby for noting the celebration.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Changing a conservative scholarly culture...

The question I have today is -- how can the library change a very conservative scholarly culture when it comes to the sharing of faculty publications and research?

Some/many of the faculty here are not used to sharing their ideas, papers and presentations over the web. (They could be afraid people will steal their great ideas...) In fact, some of our faculty were simply shocked to learn that DU doctoral dissertations were available online through Proquest. Some faculty are worried that their doctoral students will have a hard time finding a book publisher to publish the dissertation. Thus, they would have difficulty getting tenure after leaving DU. (There is no strong evidence to support this conclusion.)

The library would like to see more faculty involved in sharing their research through either our Institutional Repository or through the DU Portfolio Community. I am the head of a group called the "Open Access and Scholarly Communication Taskforce". In mid-May, we will be presenting some/all of these resources (see below) to a group called the Library Liaison Advisory Group or LLAG for short. The LLAG meetings invite one faculty member from each department, so this is a small representative sample of the DU faculty. I will probably only have about 10-15 minutes to present this to the faculty.

Here are some things I would like to present concerning the broad topic of "scholarly communication". This is probably too much information in the time allotted, but I am not sure what to cut out. What do you think? What should I take out or add?

1) Start with the Create Change Website and the "old" 6 page brochure.

2) Quickly look at the updated serials and book expenditures chart from the ARL, 1986-2006.

3) How researchers benefit from expanded dissemination of their work.

4) Mention the Harvard case and the SPARC response -- "Open Doors and Open Minds" white paper. (I am sure we will get questions about Harvard. Maybe some will also know about the MIT mandate and others.)

5) Address misunderstandings about Open Access.

6) How to make the new scholarly communication system work for the faculty in various roles.
• As a researcher and author
• As a reviewer
• As an editor or editorial board member
• As a society member
• As a faculty member
• As a teacher
7) Ask for advice on where to go from here. How do we change the "culture of DU"?

I was just talking to a grad student yesterday who is working with a faculty member about how to make greater open access to his faculty publications through DU portfolio, and I showed him the Sherpa Romeo website that explains which publishers allow for various flavors of green OA. I think many more faculty need to know that the majority of journal publishers allow for green OA in local repositories. Should I mention Sherpa Romeo at the meeting?

I know the culture will not change overnight, and it varies quite a bit by department, but we have to start somewhere.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

How the Penrose Library is using SNS tools

I was on a panel yesterday with a bunch of other great librarians. It was the spring workshop of the Colorado Association of Special Libraries (CoASL), a division of CAL. Some of the slides at the workshop are posted at the event page of Slideshare. Below is my presentation.

Wish I could have stayed for the whole day, but I HAD to go to the dentist...

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Darien Statements on the Library and Librarians

This is awesome! Three great minds -- John Blyberg, Kathryn Greenhill, and Cindi Trainor have THE answer to the Taiga document...

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Pedagogy of Innovation

This was the title of the "Symposium for Colorado Teachers and Faculty" that took place right before the Bridges to the Future event.

I learned a lot of stuff about:

Scalable Game Design from the University of Colorado, Boulder
Humane game development for students and teachers
Scratch -- A programming language that makes it easy to create your own interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art.
Greenfoot -- Game development platform that is more appropriate for teenagers.
• David Thomson wrote the book, Law School 2.0: Legal Education for a Digital Age. This books is focused on how students are using social networking services. I really like how he used wordle at the beginning of each chapter.

I hope I can use some of these resources to help my son make his own video/computer games.

Science, Technology and Education: Mapping the Future

This isn't my title, but it is the title provided by the speaker, Steven B. Johnson for the Bridges to the Future quarterly conference at the University of Denver. He is the author of the book Everything Bad is Good For You: How Today’s Popular Culture Is Actually Making Us Smarter.

On the evening of March 31st, he essentially provided an update to this 2005 book. This was fine with me, since I haven't read the book, yet. I was originally thinking that he was going to talk about his new book, The Invention of Air: A Story of Science, Faith, Revolution, and the Birth of America. I did get Air signed by him before the presentation.

Anyway, the session covered:

Computer and video games.
• How kids are playing more challenging games such as the Sims series of computer games.
• The Sleeper Curve serves to "undermine the belief that... pop culture is on a race to the bottom, where the cheapest thrill wins out every time", and is instead "getting more mentally challenging as the medium evolves."
• Complex games and shows are more interesting, such as:
Civilization 4
Spore -- This game gets kids interested in interdisciplinary scientific topics.
Lost -- This is more like a game, than a tv show.

Participatory media. The phenomena surrounding the show, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" is interestings. There are Buffy Meetups and Vampire meetups. Way back in the 1990's, one vampire would have had a hard time meeting other vampires. As a kid, he created his own baseball game using dice and statistics from various baseball magazines and newspapers. What are students learning from the newer more interactive computer and video games? The games can be addictive, but they are also learing to adapt to more challenging games and situations.

Books. The Kindle is great, and he goes over the positives of the device.
Once can immediately decide on an impulse buy. He covers the iPhone and Google books such as Experiments and observations on Different kinds of Air by Joseph Priestley. How will people cite and link to specific pages and passages in ebooks, since the pagination is different depending upon the device one uses to read the book? Why write books in print at all? Because they can still influence people in a powerful way.

Then he took questions concerning Second Life, violence in video games, open access books, preschool kids' use of media, and journalists view of the world and the media.

Overall, it was a pretty cool session.