Module 4 Reflections

TL:DR – With one exception, another great round of thought-provoking and action inspiring materials. Also, the robots will sideline us all. Permanently.

Longer Version:

So, it is time to stop and reflect on the reading and viewing assigned to us this week. I’ve decided to copy and paste the list of THINGS we were asked to explore this week. Once again Michael gave us a good framework to build on. Then Michael Edson challenged us to go web scale. I want to believe that is in our reach and I certainly think there is room to grow. Even within our own communities. The Alaska Statewide Databases aka Digital Pipeline started up in 1998 and I still keep running across people in Alaska who haven’t heard of them. Or they’re vaguely aware of them but haven’t connected the fact that the Digital Pipeline means they really can get the full text of Harvard Business Review (only works for EBSCOhost Subscribers). If we can’t get the message out about our free, electronic, full text resources after 15 years, how will we webscale? On community at a time?

On to the readings.

Things to Read

These are assigned selected readings directly related to the module. Students should read as many as possible to incorporate into their work in the course overall.

I found the two readings on planning to be very helpful. I may even actually write a tech plan. While we talk about planning at my organization, we tend to set a couple of aspirational areas and try to make sure our efforts are in that area. It’s better than nothing, but in my view has been causing things like digitizing things for the sake of digitizing. But best I not get started. Ask me over lunch or dinner at ALA Midwinter or some other library conference we’ll both be at.

The measuring progress and the two social media articles were helpful and may help me better analyze the effectiveness of our Twitter and Facebook properties. The library emerging technologies article was wonderful. There was one thing I’d love to implement but don’t know how to start, especially with our atmosphere of Techno-Siege (“If it can’t run on dot net and SQL, don’t ask) (Foto Fortunes) and other thing that I think is with in my skillset (Twitter Library Catalogue Search) (Status pending, see below). I really love the sharing of ideas. Especially ones with immediate applications. If I were able to duplicate Foto Fortunes, it could vastly increase identified people on photos within Alaska’s Digital Archives or other photo collections.

The two “Future’s so bright we’ll have to shades” readings Tech trends for 2013 that will change the way you live and 10 technologies that will change the world in the next 10 years left me a little cold. In particular, the 2013 article’s mention of the lapel Memento camera that takes pictures every 30 seconds and wireless transmits them to the internet seems like an invasion of privacy even worse than Google Glass. These photos will be used in all sorts of customer complaints, some justified some not. On the bright side it will become even harder for politicians and police to get away with abuses. Unless personal jamming devices come into vogue for law enforcement and the 1%.

But if the world of the “10 technologies” comes true, total lack of privacy will be the LEAST of our worries. If robots truly surpass humanity in the 2030s it seems like a world of the Terminator at worst or the Humanoids at best. Well, not best, but you get the idea. Part of my worry is that our AI’s will be programmed by humanity. And since our eliite opinion is something along the lines of “If you don’t work, you can’t eat” what’s to come of us when all work is done by robots?

The libraries emerging technologies group looked useful. We’d probably have to wait till our new building opens in 2016 as 90% of my organization’s energy is invested in our new building project.

Things to View

These are assigned media-based presentations that extend your knowledge and offer new dimensions to the topics. Students should view as many as possible to incorporate into their coursework.

I was very impressed with the Horizon Report. All the more so when I pulled the 2008 report. See my related activity update for that.

Things to Explore

These topics/links/materials are optional further enhancements to the course content that offer more insight for those who are interested.

As mentioned above, the Horizon reports were useful. They might lend credibility to trying to get a 3D printer, at least for demo and study purposes. Or we might get left behind on the next tipping point, like we were with QR codes.

The “Checking out the future” report was the very first real disappointing reading. It was a dry slog through its 24 pages and I take strong issue with the author’s constant assertions of the immediate disappearance of print. Even in 2010, there wasn’t an excuse for effectively setting aside all of the straight-jacket copyright restrictions that will ensure that most of what is currently printed will not be freely accessible on the web for the medium term. Maybe we’ll get movement as Millennial get into Congress, but I don’t know. Additionally, there is a lot of work involved in making sure the digital surrogates will be at least as useful as the print copies. It made a few good points, but the “we’ll have plenty of space after we toss those pesky print materials” was too annoying for me.


A word about the power of Twitter. As someone who was a Twitter skeptic at the start of this course, my use of Twitter has really paid off this week. One way is to find hlighlighted classmate blogs I missed on my first go around. But it’s been outstanding being able to interact with @michaeledson on Twitter as I’m fan of the Smithsonian’s work in opening up their collections. Another bonus is having an easy way to reach out to innovators like Utrecht University. Their Twitter catalog search bot is mentioned in The innovative use of technology in libraries. From the article, it looked like I might be able to replicate their work. I figured I would use the searchbot myself and if I liked how it worked, start hammering away at Yahoo Pipes, Twitter and IFTTT until I had a working copy for my own catalog. But the search didn’t seem to work. So I tweeted the University and got a response from Bianca Kramer, who let me know that bot was no more. But a day later, I got a tweet that she MIGHT have been able to restore functionality. I admit I could have done this through e-mail, but this way more librarians know that this could be possible.

It has also been great to check some assumptions with David Weinberger. So I’m glad I’m back, at least for this semester. I did have a less positive experience with a question I tossed out to followers. I did an experiment and asked people whether they’d heard of the bookmarking service Symbaloo and whether they’d recommend it to new internet users. I posted to twitter and I posted to the Technology Training and Libraries group on Facebook. I got a somewhat helpful response within an hour of posting to Facebook but still haven’t heard from anyone on Twitter. But on balance I’m mostly pleased with my interactions on Twitter.

via MOOCing Up North

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