Sunday, April 26, 2009

Crazy verdict

It is concerning, I think, how little main stream media has covered about the craziness of the Pirate Bay verdict. As the Pirate Bay guys have pointed out over and over, you can find the exact same files using Google... try a search for <filetype:torrent "the cure"> on Google and a you'll get a fantastic collection of The Cure's excellent albums... Will Google now also be found guilty in aiding copyright infringement? It is indeed a crazy verdict.

UPDATE, April 27: OK -- it turns out that the judge in the Pirate Bay case was involved with a number of "pro-copyright" groups... a mistrial?

Friday, April 24, 2009

The end of monopoly?

David Weinberger noted a few days ago (in a note from a conference on User Generated Content): "Then John Palfrey gave a talk about how the world and books look to those born into the digital age. To these digital natives, said John, the world doesn’t divide into online and offline; it’s all converged. They assume digital access. (YouTube is the #2 search engine, JP said.) They expect to be co-creators. They also give away too much information and need to learn to do for themselves the gatekeeping that used to be done for them. The opportunities are huge, JP said, for creativity, reuse, and making knowledge together. JP expects libraries will continue to become social spaces where we learn and explore together, and he expects physical books to persevere because they are so well engineered for knowledge and extended argument. [Personally, I'm not convinced of that. I think books may turn out to be an accident of paper. Check back in 30 years to see who's right.]" -- hrmm... that's interesting. I think. Libraries as social spaces... The end of physical books... OK, that's all well. But users as co-creators of the organization, representation, classification and meaning-making of books? How do we go about that; how do we get librarians to give up on their monopoly of being the profession that have the right to say what books in libraries are about and how we should think about them? When will it be the norm that I can add my categories, my thoughts, my comments to any book in any library catalog?

Thursday, April 23, 2009


US News and World Report has published their updated ranking of US LIS programs - not much news to report there... there are no revelations -- and not surprisingly (at least not to me), the iSchools are well represented at the top of the list. That's all very nice...

However, one gotta wonder how much we should read into these rankings... especially given the way the rankings were reached, US News describe their method as: "The rankings are based solely on the results of a fall 2008 survey sent to the dean of each program, the program director, and a senior faculty member in each program. The questionnaires asked individuals to rate the academic quality of programs at each institution as outstanding (5), strong (4), good (3), adequate (2), or marginal (1). Individuals who were unfamiliar with a particular school's programs were asked to select "don't know." Scores for each school were totaled and divided by the number of respondents who rated that school. The response rate was 56 percent" -- so three people from each school is contacted, and a bit more than half the people responded? And, does US News really expect deans, program directors and senior faculty members to have informed opinions about all 45+ programs? I am not even sure how one would rate the academic quality of a program... maybe you just rate your alma mater and the places your friends teaching highly?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

This is not cool...

I am very excited about the upcoming conference on Ethics of Information Organization; the program looks promising -- but it is not cool that you can only register for the conference if you have a US address... Notice that the drop-down list of states only gives US states... no Canadian provinces or territories; not to mention that many countries don't have the equivalence of American/Canadian states/provinces/territories... they also ask for a zip code (not a postal code) which has to consist of five characters... geez...

If it wasn't because this was for a conference about ethics... I assume that some of the speakers will talk about the challenges of creating systems that aren't exclusive... then one could go into a rant about the stupidity and ignorance of systems designers... but in this case, I assume it is a trick to get us thinking and blogging before the start of conference. Mission accomplished.