Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Library of Congress Lecture Series

C-SPAN is hosting a series of lectures about the digital future of libraries. Very cool. Can be viewed online.


Monday, March 28, 2005

New Wheels

My new bicycle. It's my latest attempt to ward off old age, but it has seven speeds to help me get up the hills. The basket is removable so I can take it in a store. It's also a trek- can you believe it? Posted by Hello

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of cheap pinot noir...

Oh, Trader Joe's.... how happy I am to be back within a three-mile radius of your store.Wino-sheek. Check out this Don Quixote pic in our local Trader Joe's, painted IN CHALK on a chalkboard. There are a couple dozen pic's of this quality throughout the store. Posted by Hello

Friday, March 18, 2005

Digital Libraries

Here are some references for my latest paper on digital libraries:


Borgman, Christine L. (1999). What are digital libraries? Competing Visions. Information Processing and Management, 35, 227-243.

Creative Commons. Licenses Explained. Retrieved March 14, 2005, from Creative Commons Website:

Ginsburg, Jane C. (1993). Copyright Without Walls?: Speculations on Literary Property in the Library of the Future. Representations, 42(Special Issue: Future Libraries), 53-73.

Kahle, Brewster. (Lecturer). (2004, December 13). Universal Access to Knowledge [Television broadcast]. Washington, D.C: CSPAN. Retrieved March 7, 2005, from C-SPAN web site:

Library of Congress. (2005). Challenges to Building an Effective Digital Library. Retrieved January 29, 2005, from Library of Congress Digital Library Initiatives Web site: http:/​/​​ammem/​dli2/​html/​cbedl.html

Levy, David M. (2001). Scrolling Forward: Making Sense of Documents in a Digital Age. New York: Arcade Publishing.

Miksa, Francis. (1996). The Cultural Legacy of the "Modern Library" for the Future. Journal of Education for Library and Information Science, 37(2), 100-119.

Olden, Anthony. (1987). Sub-Saharan Africa and the Paperless Society. Journal of the American Society for Information Science, 38(4), 298-304.

Sellen, & Harper. (2003). The Myth of the Paperless Office. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

Smith, Brian Cantwell. (Lecturer). (2005, January 31). And Is All This Stuff Really Digital After All? [Television broadcast]. Washington, D.C: C-SPAN. Retrieved March 7, 2005, from C-SPAN Web site:

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Moving bites. This is our kitchen. Note to self: next time we move, put the bottle opener in my purse. Posted by Hello

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Musings on Daniel Bell and the Information Society

In one of my classes for my Master's program, we have to read and comment on an article by Daniel Bell. [Bell, Daniel. (1980). The social framework of the information society. The Microelectronics revolution: The Complete guide to the new technology and its impact on society. Tom Forester, ed. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press: 500-549.]

Here are some of my musings- my thoughts aren't fully formed about it yet, but this is the best I can do so far.

Bell's premise: the centrality of theoretical knowledge, when codified,
as the director of social change.

My thoughts were split into three categories- social, political, and economic implications.

As far as social implications go, Bell talks about the effect of
electricity on society, how it enabled poeple to communicate over longer
distance, in effect changing social circles, etc.When I think about the
social effect the information revolution is having on our social world, I
think about virtual realities, and virtual worlds. For example,

China- (a report on NPR made me aware of this, maybe you heard it)
the online community in China has started to create online communities
with virtual relationships. Political, romantic, etc. People spend a lot
of time and effort in these online communities. People get married and
run for office. Run for office!! In a communist country, when people
have the freedome to choose what kind of society they want, they choose a
democracy. amazing. Anyway, for years, people have been questioning
whether the incresed trade relationship with western countries will foster
political change. But now I winder whether there will be a social
revolution first- a social revolution leading to a political one.

Now regarding political implications:

1. The question of whether data will be stored on a government database or not shows how long ago this article was written. We have already seen how this has turned out. The most efficient way to manage information is based upon a model of seperate entities networked together. A
government database is scary for a host of reasons- inefficiency, vulnerability to attack, and allowing the government too much power.

2. One issue that Bell didn't address was security- a modern phenomenon that Bell couldn't have foretold is identity theft. As a society, we have to balance convenience with security. It is convenient that if I want to shop at Safeway online, they have a record of all my past purchases from my Safeway card. But it is also a little creepy to think that someone might try to use that information in a court of law,(or in the press if I were famous) to try and prove that I am an alcoholic, using birth control (in a rape case to prove sexual activity), or whatever. Information in the wrong hands can be dangerous.

On the economic front:

On page 509 of Bell's article, second paragraph,he distinguishes between information and knowledge (and by association, data). Quote:

"...information is a pattern of design that rearranges data for instrumental purposes, while knowledge is the set of reasoned judgments that evaluates the adequacy of the pattern for the purposes for which the information is designed."

I would go further and add the term "idea" as a further abstraction, so that there exists a continuum- with the most tangible on one end, and the most abstract on the other:

data _______ information_____ knowledge ______ idea

Either end of the spectrum is more difficult to "own" or "sell" as a product. Those which affects the economy are the middle two.

As an example, if one were to stand on a street corner, one could observe the cars going in to a car wash on different days of the week. This is pure data, gained by the faculty of observation, which is available to everyone. If one were to put this data into graphs and charts which show that three times as many cars enter the carwash on weekends than on weekdays, this would be information. Perhaps the information would be valuable enough for the carwash to pay for it. They might even hire a consultant to tell them that they would improve their sales if they were to offer an incentive to customers to wash cars during the week, which would be knowledge. However, once the carwash comes up with the idea of the "weekday discount," and puts it into practice, all the other car washes will do the same thing, because no one has a copyright or patent on the idea. It could be argued that the "idea" in this example is an even broader one, like "profit." No one owns the idea of profit.

In any case, generally, information and knowledge may be transferred for a price, while raw data and ideas cannot.