Posts tagged ‘twitter’

Analog Knowledge in a Digital World

Working in a public library for the last two years has given me an interesting perspective on the divide between printed and digital information.  The emergence of web tools like Google and Wikipedia have greatly reduced the amount of time and effort it takes to find information.  Even academic journals are offering their publications in PDF format, downloadable from sites like JSTOR and Google Scholar. 

Does this mean that libraries are becomming increasingly irrelevant?  Not immediately, I don’t believe, but there is a real possibility for their demise if they do not adapt and evolve into a place that can be the hub of information that they once were. 

If the growth and maturity of Web 2.0 has taught us anything, it’s that the collaboration and sharing of ideas is what really drives today’s innovation.  Ask a question on FriendFeed and you’ll get an almost instant response, sometimes many great ideas and thoughts can arise from a single stimulus post.  Libraries, while once the place where information and knowledge was stored, must now take on a new role, one that is a hub of communication and sharing.  Libraries should be embracing their communities with tools like Twitter and FriendFeed.  Information that cannot be acquired from a source in the stacks could be requested from the community, and as people join the knowledge network, the reliability of the service increases. 

The reverse is also true.  People should be able to @yourlibraryhere a question that the reference librarians would receive, research, and reply with an answer that the sender would know to be reliable, removing the uncertainty of information posted online. 

The idea here is that libraries should no longer just be a place to go get a book to read.  They need to reinvent themselves and places in the community where ideas are exchanged and knowledge is created.  Today’s digital world means information is needed faster, and by using Web 2.0 tools, libraries can provide that service and remain relevant.   

Do you use your library to aquire information?  How could it better serve you and your community?  Share your ideas below.

July 28, 2008 at 7:48 pm 1 comment

Bureaucracy at its finest

This article from Business Week is surely one of the most disgusting displays of why governments from the local level to the federal level all need to get their act together. 

I have little doubt that the age-old bureaucracy problem is in play here, especially when I read this:

Clarkson, who works for the state Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet, said she believes she was working the switchboard at the cabinet offices on April 1. She said the employee who works in the mailroom left early that day, and the FedEx agent required a signature for the package. She said 14 Reilly Road, the Frankfort address where the cabinet offices are located, is a five-building complex; the waste management division is located in another of the five buildings.

It’s actually kind of sad to hear that something as simple as signing for a package and getting it to where it needs to go can’t be successfully completed in our state government, especially in the year 2008.   

While it would be obvious to say that these people need to be fired for being so incompetent, it might also be good to say that there are some solutions to this problem.  FedEx could stand to make a little money on this type of situation by creating some sort of Twitter-like program that can alert the proper recipient of a package as well as the sender of a package upon delivery.  This could all easily be stored electronically on a package label and would word via the web and the established tracking system already in place.

So imagine if this document containing the proposal for grant money had been delivered to the Department of Waste Management instead of the proper Department of Environmental Safety (I know, not so hard to imagine) and FedEx had this program.  Ms. Clarkson would have been sent a “tweet” either on her desktop or on her mobile phone/pda/pager, and would have known what it was and who it was intended for (her).  Problem solved, they can thank me when they make millions.

June 14, 2008 at 9:47 pm 1 comment


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