Date Archives May 2011

Liberry Humor

Justin from 8bitlibrary posted a question to Twitter this morning, wondering if he should register 8bitliberry and redirect traffic over to the new URL.

This question led me to wonder how difficult it would be to write a browser plugin that would replace every instance of the word "library" with "liberry". A very short Google session later, I learned that w/ Javascript and Greasemonkey, this is very easily done. In fact, I didn't have to do much of anything. An existing script was available, so all that really needed to be done was to enter in the words I wanted changed.

The resulting Greasemonkey script (liberry_word_change.user) is nothing more than the above script with a list of liberry words to be changed.

It's small, but fun. When it's time to climb down off our liberry high horse, this is a fun little trick to help us relax and stop taking ourselves so seriously.

Read More

King James, Gutenberg, and Information Abundance

Libraries are solutions to the problem of information scarcity

Libraries, broadly speaking, are solutions to the problem of information scarcity. Given a world in which information is rare, difficult to acquire, and expensive; collecting information into a central location where it can be shared with a population of users is a very good idea. People who on their own could not afford to purchase all of the books they want to read can pool their money and build institutions that collect, house, and share books. Libraries are genius solutions to the problems posed by information scarcity.

More and more often, however, I'm left wondering what happens when information scarcity is no longer the overriding information issue? It is still a big issue, mind you, and for the present, libraries are still appropriate solution to information scarcity. However, digital information products, the Internet, WordPress and other free self-publication platforms, and Wikipedia have changed this. Or at least have changed this for people w/ computers, smartphones, tablets and ubiquitous broadband connections. As one of my favorite librarians has pointed out: the IMDB app on a smartphone has changed bar-bets about movie casts forever. Wikipedia on a smartphone changes ready-reference for ever. We're still figuring out the full extent of the disruption, but for many of our patrons this means that they no longer need libraries to discover that Lima is the capitol of Peru or that Val Kilmer starred in Real Genius.

Read More

Godin and Gee on the future of libraries and books

This started as one point of a three-point response to Godin's piece. When I finished with this piece, it seemed to stand on its own and it worked better to put Godin and Gee directly into conversation about the future and use of reading/books/literacies. It may be a less balanced or complete than my original 3 point outline, but I suppose it is better to leave some unsaid than to drone on at tedious length. Plus, the other two points: Don't Confuse the Container for the Goods Contained and The Medium is the Massage seem to rather directly contradict each other.

Seth Godin's look at the future of libraries has become the topic du jour. My initial response was along the lines of "Well, clearly, this may be news to non-librarians, but those of us in the business have been preparing for this change for years." There have been some articulate counter-arguments, but these don't seem to dispute Godin's main point (the future of libraries is not to warehouse books); they just point out that the future hasn't arrived yet and/or it has already arrived and we're already doing what he predicts is going to happen. Read More