31 March 2008


I've been too busy to give much time to the Weblog recently, and from today, I'll have even less, since I shall be as those annoying notices say, "Out of the office". There may be the occasional word from me over the next month, but don't be surprised if nothing turns up :-)

24 March 2008

You might not have noticed...

...but I think we're in the middle of another Internet boom. The number of new "Web 2.0" applications coming on stream is amazing. Of course, as in the first boom (followed by the dot.com collapse), most of these ventures will fail and only one or two will actually find either an established place in the market or, more likely (and perhaps more hoped-for) will be bought up by MSoft, Yahoo, Google, or any other big players to become part of those companies' Web 2.0 efforts.

This post is prompted by a series of posts in the Webware blog covering Blist (a database), SlideRocket (presentation software), Orgoo (one-stop for messaging, e-mail and other accounts), Vello (VoIP conference calls), Nuconomy (site statistics), Cozimo (image annotation collaboration), Liquid Planner (planning software), Slide Share (sharing PowerPoint presentations), and that's just a few of them. I liked the presentations on Blist and SlideRocket - but I really can't see myself using any of these. The Web 2.0 notion seems to have spawned the notion that if you think of any conceivable application you can produce "software as a service" to present it over the Web. It will be interesting to see what happens next.

22 March 2008

Information literacy overload?

This is prompted by an announcement of yet another journal devoted to 'information literacy' - the new Nordic Journal of Information Literacy in Higher Education, which starts publication in November.

There does seem to be overkill in this subfield of librarianship (or, perhaps, these days, of education?). We now have in addition to this new Nordic Journal:

Journal of Information Literacy
Communications in Information Literacy
SIMILE (which hasn't published an issue this year, so far).
International Journal of eLiteracy (nothing published since 2005)

In addition to these, we have journals such as JOURNAL OF ACADEMIC LIBRARIANSHIP, PORTAL-LIBRARIES AND THE ACADEMY, REFERENCE & USER SERVICES QUARTERLY, LIBRARY & INFORMATION SCIENCE RESEARCH, COLLEGE & RESEARCH LIBRARIES, ELECTRONIC LIBRARY, HEALTH INFORMATION AND LIBRARIES JOURNAL - all of which published papers on the subject in 2007 and, of course, the occasional special issue of other journals, such as ITALICS

I wish the Nordic Journal every success, particularly as it is open access, but in this rather cluttered area it may have some difficulty in attracting submissions.

21 March 2008

Defining knowledge management

If you thought you'd managed to get a grip on what 'knowledge management' might mean, think again - and while you are thinking, take a look at Ray Sims's Weblog. Ray analyses fifty-three definitions of knowledge management. He comments:
General observation: this again illustrates the definition diversity. It is not like these are 53 definitions with slightly different word choice. These are substantially different. There are only five attributes that are seen in 30% or more of the definitions: KM is a process, it is targeted at the organization (company), it deals with knowledge, sharing is part of the story, and the definition includes a “why.”

And in spite of all this he still calls 'knowledge management' a discipline!

Arthur C. Clarke

I suppose that, like many others, my introduction to the work of Arthur C. Clarke was through his science fiction, rather than his science popularisation. I suspect that it was his Childhood's End that I read first and I read many more of his more than 100 titles subsequently. He was never my favourite SF writer, however, I think that Ray Bradbury filled that role for me, although H.G. Wells would have been a strong contender.

Aged 90, he has now moved on and the Official Google Blog has a very nice appreciation of him from Vint Cerf, along with a video of a short farewell statement, which he made just before his 90th birthday. One can tell that, though he was wheel-chair-bound, his mind was as active as ever.

Firefox screen territory

For those for whom Firefox is the browser of choice (and what sensible person uses anything else? ;-), there's a bunch of good ideas on shrinking various menus, etc. at Makeuseof.com

Planning ISIC

It's been a while since my last post - for the past week I've been in Vilnius, Lithuania, for a meeting of the Permanent Committee of the ISIC Conference, which will be held in the city in September. It looks as thought we shall have a bunch of very interesting papers and this will be an opportunity for researchers from the region (for whom there is a special conference fee) to catch up with the latest research on information behaviour.
Vilnius is a fascinating city and if you'd like to see a few pictures of the place, check out my Flickr site - there's a set of pictures labelled 'Lithuania' and most of them are of Vilnius, some taken during a performance of the Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra. More will be going up over the next few days as I find time to upload them.

11 March 2008

Wall Street Journal favours Open Access

Wow! What a headline (mine - not that of the WSJ). In fact the import of Daniel Akst's article, Information liberation is even more surprising. The WSJ is a bastion of conservatism in the USA and yet they publish this piece, which, in the context of the actions of NIH and Harvard University, notes:
Other than in the realm of life-saving medicine, why should any of this matter to nonacademics? Well, for one thing, barriers to the spread of information are bad for capitalism. The dissemination of knowledge is almost as crucial as the production of it for the creation of wealth, and knowledge (like people) can't reproduce in isolation. It's easy to scoff at the rise of Madonna studies and other risible academic excrescences, but a flood of truly important research pours from campuses every day. The infrastructure that produces this work is surely one of America's greatest competitive advantages.

So there are limits to capitalism after all! That must be a shock to corporate America - or perhaps the problem is that some of the major players are European?

Firefox 3 Beta 3

I'm now using the newly released Beta 3 of Firefox and it seems to be doing well. One of the gains reported is better memory management and that seems to be working. I haven't done a comparative test, but a quick look at test manager tells me that the seven tabs I have open are consuming 85 Mb of memory and that is much less than was the case with earlier versions.

There's a long (four-page) article about the new release on the Mozilla.org site - it has the curious title of "Firefox 3 Beta 4 The Review" - so I imagine that there'll be another beta release before too long :-)

Another article on ZD Net tells us that the main gain in Beta 4 is on speed - Firefox runs five times faster than IE7

05 March 2008

Surely it's too early to be celebrating?

From the Guardian's UK news-feed:
Guardian Daily podcast: Clinton back in the race plus 24-hour drinking in Warrington

What is Web 2.0?

Lorcan Dempsey has an interesting analysis of Web 2.0 on his Weblog. Noting that the term is a fuzzy one, he points out that it is associated with 'diffusion' (think wikis, blogs, social networking, etc.) on the one hand and, on the other, with 'concentration' (think of the Library of Congress and Australian National Library cooperation with Flickr). This is an interesting analysis, well worth a look.