I just saw this TedTalk about the future of search engines, and I think it brings up some interesting ideas relevant to what we’re doing. I don’t think I really agree with much of what he has to say, and think he is too optimistic about the possibilities of technology (but that could just be me being my paranoid self). It kinda irks me that at no point in his talk does he ever mention the word library or anything close, which could be problematic in that we are no longer even in the conversation when it comes to information retrieval. Also, that the next step for search engines is personalized searches, which seems to be a big infringement on privacy. While libraries may always be behind something like Google, I think the best thing we can offer, at the very least, is privacy in searches.
Here’s the video…
I was recently looking up a book someone had mentioned by the former director of user experience at The New York Times called “Glut: Mastering Information Through the Ages” and I stumbled on this video. The video was attributed to longnow.org and when I looked up The Long Now Foundation, it was really interesting! The website claims the foundation “hopes to provide a counterpoint to today’s accelerating culture and help make long-term thinking more common”.
Check it out: http://longnow.org/about/
After completing this week’s readings something became extremely clear to me. Librarians and Google need to work TOGETHER! I know that we’ve discussed this in class before but I think it bears repeating. The article by Naun talked about how some libraries expose their content globally through Google, which is great. However, I think librarians can go a step further than that.
Google is known for their natural language searching. Why can’t libraries utilize this natural language searching in their catalogs? Believe, I’ve thought a lot about this and I know that it would probably require a lot of work but I think it’s worth it. Users would be much more likely to utilize a library’s website and catalog if they could search for a book using natural language rather than trying to decipher which keywords would get the best results or have to know a specific title and author to get anywhere. Sometimes people don’t even know what subject they really want!
Although it seems that some librarians feel some animosity towards Google for drawing people away from libraries and their databases I think it’s time to get over it and attempt to work together. Or at least put their differences aside long enough to create something even BETTER than Google.
Last class we watched a pretty cool video on linked-dated. It appears from this article posted on The Chronicle of Higher Education website that librarians are beginning to see the benefit of using linked-data, especially for archives and special collections. Last month, just in time for Halloween, the manuscripts which led to the creation of the novel Frankenstein were released to the public through a collaboration between the New York Public Library and the Bodleian Library, at the University of Oxford. Although, thousands of miles apart, the two libraries utilized linked-data concepts to present this great project to the public. Also, interesting is how they created the metadata for this project.
The UDC, in some ways, seems very similar to Ranganathan’s colon classification system, as it allows more extended classification of items than is possible in the Dewey Decimal System, which makes it much more flexible. I wonder why it is that the UDC has become so popular and widespread while colon classification doesn’t seem to be widely used? In the article by Alex Wright, he mentions that the UDC has been translated into 30+ languages, so that seems to be a big factor there. I guess also Ranganathan’s system seemed to be much more theoretical than the UDC. However, as mentioned in the Rayward article, Otlet also ran into some issues with shelving, which is a problem for colon classification as well.
It’s very impressive to read about the amount that Otlet was able to accomplish, and it’s awful that so much of what he did was destroyed after he devoted decades to it. At least the UDC itself survived, even if Otlet’s Mundaneum did not.