Thursday, June 24, 2010

Metadata standards

For the truly nerdy (obsessive?) librarians in my reader base, here is the best article/chart/explanation of metadata standards I have ever seen. I actually got goose bumps. Click here for the full article and high res versions of the image.

Nerdy stereotypes

This is not entirely library related, but I found it fascinating. A group of seventh graders were asked to draw what they thought a typical scientist looked like. Then they were taken on a field trip...see the results here.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The eBook problem in libraries

Ebooks borrowed from libraries? It sounds intuitive, right? I can stream video online at Hulu and Netflix, so it should be a given that I could borrow digital content from my library. The concept is solid and perfectly executable. The problem? Vendors. Read a great blog post about Overdrive frustration by David Lee King here.

Friday, June 11, 2010

The technology behind preservation

Ever wonder what the librarians at the Library of Congress do to keep Jefferson's books in tip top shape? Well, find the inside scoop here!!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

What happens when old librarians retire?

Here is an interesting article about the age demographics of librarians. This truly is an aging profession.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Visual Information

I have found another amazing example of visual information (a concept known to the nerdy as data visualization). Doug McCune has created a map that shows crime in San Francisco as elevation. The higher the peak, the greater the rate of that particular crime. You can see for yourself at his blog.

Besides being generally awesome, why is this so important?

Human beings process visual information faster than they process any other method of communication. How often do you look at the icons on your desktop and actually read what program they open? Probably rarely. Your brain attaches meaning to the image and acts accordingly. Companies have long understood this and work hard to establish a distinct logo that represents and becomes synonymous with their product. Think about the Starbucks siren, the Nike whoosh, the Apple apple, or the BMW propellers. Even if you didn’t know that the woman on the Starbucks logo is a siren, you know exactly what she looks like, what she represents, and, probably, what her coffee tastes like.

If this is the way our brain works, why do information professionals not take advantage of this more regularly? As providers of information, we should probably be doing more. However, as traditionalists, we do not know how. When we think of information whether on your computer screen or on physical paper, we think of words first. This bias is why I have a traditional blog format and not a visual one such as tumblr. In a world where those who can get the most information the fastest are the most productive and most powerful, I think our profession should embrace visual information. Unfortunately, we have no idea how and partnerships with the business world will be vital in moving us along.

I leave you with my favorite use of visual information--a pie chart of bars and a bar graph of pies via How I Met Your Mother:

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

QR Codes in books...could this be the future of publishing?

A new version of Jules Verne's Around the World in 80 Days has been published, complete with QR codes that take the reader to websites that provide sidenotes or historical information. Could this be the future of publishing? Is context as important as content in fiction works? Nonfiction?

Read the Gizmodo article here.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Thumb prints to check out library books?

Amazing technological innovation or unnecessary invasion of privacy?

Read the article here.

Interactive World Map!

This website is not exactly library related, but it presents fascinating visual representations of information about the world, including GDP, illiteracy, religion, and barbecue festivals. Have fun!