OCTOBER 9, 2011
I put this video together as the opener of the first in a series of public conversations Harvard is holding about the future of libraries and of the Harvard Library system
Making library miscellaneousness awesome
MARCH 8, 2016
Sitterwerk Art Library in St. All the items have RFID tags in them, and the shelves are automatically scanned so that the library can always tell users where items are located. At the Harvard Library Innovation Lab , we wanted to do something that touches on some elements of this.
Library as starting point
OCTOBER 13, 2014
A new report on Ithaka S+R ‘s annual survey of libraries suggests that library directors are committed to libraries being the starting place for their users’ research, but that the users are not in agreement. This then calls into question the expenditures libraries make to achieve that goal. My own opinion is that libraries should let Google do what it’s good at, while they focus on what they’re good at. Library platform s can help.
The future of libraries?
JULY 29, 2015
I had lunch recently with Paul Signorelli , who’s active in helping libraries with digital literacy, and during the conversation he talked about his vision of the future of the library. What I heard was a vision of libraries moving beyond content to be about learning, and this had several facets I found thought-provoking. Now, as context, I’ve always been a fan of libraries and library science (and librarians).
Library as a platform: Chattanooga
OCTOBER 7, 2014
I finally got to see the Chattanooga Library. In fact, you can see the future of libraries emerging there. That’s not to say that you can simply list what it’s doing and do the same things and declare yourself the Library of the Future. Rather, Chattanooga Library has turned itself into a platform. It had been the Library’s attic, but now has been turned into an open space lab that works in both software and hardware.
[2b2k][everythingismisc]“Big data for books”: Harvard puts metadata for 12M library items into the public domain
APRIL 24, 2012
Harvard University has today put into the public domain (CC0) full bibliographic information about virtually all the 12M works in its 73 libraries. The University also provided the data to the Digital Public Library of America’s prototype platform for programmatic access via an API. Library metadata has been jammed up by licenses and fear. I work in the Harvard Library and have been a very minor player in this process.
Harvard Library adopts LibraryCloud
JANUARY 7, 2015
According to a post by the Harvard Library , LibraryCloud is now officially a part of the Library toolset. Internal to Harvard Library, it’s a metadata hub that lets lots of different data inputs be normalized, enriched, and distributed. To the Harvard community and beyond, LibraryCloud provides open APIs to access tons of metadata gathered by Harvard Library. This also would not have happened without Harvard Library’s enlightened Open Metadata policy
The Library in the Life of the User: An open platform use case
DECEMBER 17, 2015
OCLC has posted an excellent report based on a recent conference, looking at how libraries can participate in the life of users, rather than thinking about the user’s life within the library. I’ve been talking about it in terms of libraries now being able to participate in the appropriation of culture that traditionally has occurred outside in private discussions the library: The user borrows a book, takes it home, and talks about it with her friends, etc.
In the future libraries may die, but they will be reborn
MARCH 12, 2012
The future of libraries is a rich and fascinating topic. It’s over 10 years now since I first gave a keynote on the topic, to an an audience of over 1,200 members of the Australian Libraries and Information Association conference. In 2007 I gained notoriety on the topic when Richard Watson and I put libraries at 2019 in our Extinction Timeline , and have been drawn into strategy sessions with a number of major libraries since then.
Google Books contract with the British Library
AUGUST 24, 2011
Thanks to the persistence of Javier Ruiz of the British Open Rights Group , you can now read [ pdf ] the contract between the British Library and Google Books. Google has shrouded its book digitization contracts in non-disclosures wrapped in lead sheathing that is then buried in collapsed portions of the Wieliczka salt mines. It took a Freedom of Information Act request by Javier to get access, and Google restricts further re-distribution.
Physical libraries in a digital world
NOVEMBER 22, 2011
I’m at the final meeting of a Harvard course on the future of libraries, led by John Palfrey and Jeffrey Schnapp. They have three guests in to talk about physical library space. He begins by pointing out that until the beginning of the 20th century, a library was not a place but only a collection of books. He gives a quick history of Harvard Library. After the library burned down in 1764, the libraries lived in fear of fire, until electric lights came in.
Susan Hildreth on libraries in the digital age
AUGUST 26, 2011
At the Library Innovation Lab blog, there’s a podcast interview I did a couple of weeks ago with Susan Hildreth , director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services , a federal agency that supports libraries and museums. She is quite frank about the future of libraries as works gets digitized, suggesting that physical copies of books might be archived in regional offsite repositories.
[2b2k] Libraries are platforms?
APRIL 27, 2012
I’m at the DPLA Plenary meeting, heading toward the first public presentation — a status report — on the prototype DPLA platform we’ve been building at Berkman and the Library Innovation Lab. But I’ve been thinking for the past few weeks about ways in which libraries can (and perhaps should) view themselves as platforms in a broader sense. Libraries are attached to communities, whether local towns, universities, or other institutions.
[2b2k] Interview with Kevin Kelly on What Libraries Want
NOVEMBER 1, 2011
Dan Jones just posted my Library Lab Podcast conversation with Kevin Kelly , of whom I’m a great admirer
The Collaboration Commons Idea
FEBRUARY 7, 2012
For example, many libraries (be it K-12 or public) have setups like the following: . Perhaps more thought should be given to the physical layout of the library or the office. collaboration connected learning education organization collaboration commons library office
The Adaptive Path Library
DECEMBER 6, 2010
Adaptive Path has a lending library for its employees and interns to use. The San Francisco Library has been around for about four years and we have 488 books in the collection, plus periodicals. I am the Librarian for the San Francisco Library; our other studios are working on creating libraries of their own. The library is run as a small, special library, much like the scientific library at the Rowland Institute at Harvard , where I used to work.
The Community Library in Our Emerging Knowledge Economy
MARCH 24, 2011
In early March, I participated in a presentation and discussion on The Community Library in the 21st Century along with Maxine Bleiweis , the director of the Westport Public Library. Libraries have been an integral part of civilization from our earliest history , including ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece and Rome. Greek and Roman scholars came to their libraries to discuss issues and learn from each other.
Linked Data for Libraries: And we’re off!
FEBRUARY 1, 2014
I’m just out of the first meeting of the three universities participating in a Mellon grant — Cornell, Harvard, and Stanford, with Cornell as the grant instigator and leader — to build, demonstrate, and model using library resources expressed as Linked Data as a tool for researchers, student, teachers, and librarians. We are particularly focused on showing the value of the high-quality resources that libraries provide.
Questions from and for the Digital Public Library of America workshop
MARCH 2, 2011
I got to attend the Digital Public Library of America ‘s first workshop yesterday. Something like: To bring the benefits of public libraries to every American. For example, the session opened with a discussion of public versus research libraries (with the “versus thrown into immediate question). That’s the approach taken by the European online library, Europeana. Maybe a library is not the best transformative model.
E-book licensingby libraries: an overview
JULY 30, 2012
The Berkman Center’s David O’Brien , Urs Gasser , and John Palfrey have just posted a 29-page “ briefing paper ” on the various models and licenses by which libraries are providing access to e-books. It’s not just facts ‘n’ stats by any means, but here are some anyway: “According to the 2011 Library Journal E-Book Survey, 82% of libraries currently offer access to e-books, which reflects an increase of 10 percentage points from 2010.
British Library and Google deal: Some of the fine print
JUNE 23, 2011
The British Library has announced a deal that has Google digitizng 250,000 works, and that will allow users to access the out-of-copyright work on both the Library’s and Google Books sites. I recently had the following exchange with Miki Lentin, Head of Media Relations, at the British Library: David: I would like to see a copy of the agreement between the British Library and Google. A Google and a Library copy.
[aif] Re-imagining public libraries
JUNE 29, 2014
I’m at an early Sunday morning (7:45am) session on re-imagining libraries with John Palfrey of the DPLA , Brian Bannon (Commissioner of the Chicago Public Library), and Tessie Guillermo ( Zero Divide ). My seat-mate tells me that many of the people here are from the local library and its board.The audience is overwhelmingly female. SM: Libraries are being more used even though people can download books. Turning into community centers is risky for libraries.
Whither the library?
MARCH 10, 2009
I go to libraries, and check out books. And some recent debates have got me thinking about libraries in general, public and university. As the editor on one for-profit journal (British Journal of Education Technology), and now on one ‘open access’ (Impact: Journal of Applied Research in Workplace E-learning), I’ve been thinking more about the role of the journal, and the library. Libraries democratized access, by aggregating purchasing power.
CBC interview with me about library stuff
DECEMBER 9, 2011
We talk about the Harvard Library Lab’s two big projects, ShelfLife and LibraryCloud. (At The CBC has posted the full, unedited interview with me (15 mins) that Nora Young did last week. At the end, we talk a little about Too Big To Know.) The edited interview will be on the Spark program
Americans love themselves some libraries
DECEMBER 11, 2013
Here’s the summary from a new Pew Internet & American Life survey of 6,224 Americans 16 years and older: Some 90% of Americans ages 16 and older said that the closing of their local public library would have an impact on their community, with 63% saying it would have a “major” impact. I find it encouraging that while only 54% of Americans have used a public library in the past 12 months, 95% think libraries play an important social role.
From the collection of…to your local library
AUGUST 27, 2015
So, why not lend it to your local library? As the owner, you can reclaim it at any time, although maybe your library would prefer you lend it for a known term so that they can count on reducing the number of copies of a bestseller they have to buy.
[2b2k] In defense of the library Long Tail
APRIL 20, 2014
Two percent of Harvard’s library collection circulates every year. Harvard’s 73 libraries have 16 million items [ source ]. If we guess that half of the library items are available for check-out, which seems conservative, that would mean that 160,000 different items are checked out every year. For example, I’m not counting books that are read in the library and not checked out. But my point remains: we want our libraries to have nice long tails.
Libraries of the future
SEPTEMBER 27, 2011
We’ve just posted the latest Library Innovation Lab podcast , this one with Karen Coyle who is a leading expert in Linked Open Data. And, if you care about libraries and are in the Cambridge (MA) area on Oct. link] at Sanders Theater at Harvard for a year of conversations about the future of libraries. Will we have perpetual but interoperable disagreements about how to classify and categorize works and decide what is the “same” work?
Bryn Geffert: Libraries as publishers
OCTOBER 20, 2013
With increasing prices for serials, libraries have less money for books. In 1986, academic libraries spent 46% of budgets on books. And the effect on book publishers is even worse: when they can’t sell books to libraries, they shut down publishing in entire disciplinary fields. Libraries have to boycott offenders. What is the mission of the academic libraries? U of Mich put its press under the library.
Building a Solid Library of Use Cases
OCTOBER 20, 2016
and Social Computing Guidelines and why you would still need them ) I guess it’s now a good time to talk further along about the next pillar in the framework: Building a Solid Library of Use Cases. .
Aaron Swartz and the future of libraries
NOVEMBER 9, 2013
I was unable to go to our local Aaron Swartz Hackathon , one of twenty around the world, because I’d committed (very happily) to give the after dinner talk at the University of Rhode Island Graduate Library and Information Studies 50th anniversary gala last night. These are heroes of libraries. (My And the reason for that is because in my heart I don’t think librarians are going to invent the future of libraries.
A dumb idea for opening up library usage data
OCTOBER 8, 2014
The idea is that libraries that want to make data about how relevant items are to their communities could algorithmically assign a number between 1-100 to those items. This number would present a very low risk of re-identification, would be easily compared across libraries, and would give local libraries control over how they interpret relevance. A dumb idea, but its dumbness is its virtue.
Biblioteca Malatestiana – The world’s oldest public library
MARCH 22, 2014
The 400-year-old Biblioteca lays claim to being the world’s oldest public library. Then you are taken into the Pope Pius VII’s library, a well-lit room with 15th century music books on display. I’m in Cesena, Italy for the first holding of the Web Economic Forum.
Adaptive Path’s SF Studio Library: A Social and Thinking Space
MAY 23, 2012
Adaptive Path's San Francisco studio library was originally set up by Chiara Ogan, and when she left last year, she entrusted it to me. Among Chiara's many talents, she's a trained and experienced librarian, and she set up a complete library system about which she blogged in December of 2010 , when we were at our Brannan Street location. I'm not a trained librarian, but I am a compulsive classifier and organizer*, so I jumped at the chance to run our library.
Starting on the platform for the Digital Public Library of America
JANUARY 4, 2012
years or so, I’ve been co-director, along with Kim Dulin, of the Harvard Library Innovation Lab. Among the projects we’ve been working on is LibraryCloud, a multi library metadata server. Today the Digital Public Library of America announced that initial (and interim) development work on the DPLA platform will be done by the LibraryCloud team — Paul Deschner and Matthew Phillips — plus our Berkman friends, Daniel Collis-Puro and Sebastian Diaz. For the past 1.5
APRIL 1, 2010
I like libraries. The time at the public library in my community was perhaps the most important part of my youth. But I would have access to one in the community library. In addition, many libraries today include music, movies, video games, and other digital resources. This report supports the value of public libraries as places of equity of access: 32% of the US population uses libraries for computer/internet access I like the feel, the smell.
Libary Lab funds library innovation projects
FEBRUARY 11, 2011
Harvard’s new Library Lab has announced the first projects it will be funding. The Library Innovation Lab [ blog ] that Kim Dulin and I co-direct had a few of its proposals accepted: Library Analytics Toolkit : Tools to enable libraries to understand, analyze, and visualize the patterns of activities, including checkouts, returns, and recent acquisitions, and to do so across multiple libraries.
12% have borrowed an ebook from their library, but most don’t know they can
JUNE 22, 2012
A new report from Pew Internet says that most Americans don’t know that they can borrow e-books from their local public libraries, while 12% of e-book readers (16 years and older) have borrowed an e-book from their local public library. More than 75% of local public libraries in the US do lend out e-books.). “58% of Americans have a library card, and 69% say that their local library is important to them and their family.”
Social media in 1940
FEBRUARY 13, 2012
Image via US Library of Congress. Tweet. SocialLearning Technology
Digital Public Library of America announces “beta sprint”
MAY 20, 2011
The Digital Public Library of America has announced a “beta sprint for envisioning in software (or a sketch of software) what the DPLA could be.