Thursday, January 20, 2005

Bits and Pieces

Our fellow OCLC blogger, Lorcan Dempsey, notes some things over on his blog that are interesting.

"Worldcat in your pocket" talks about "how far we have come in being able to manipulate and move large amounts of data." WorldCat on your iPod and a 24-node (48-cpu) Beowulf cluster with 96 Gigabytes of memory--whatever this is! Whatever it is, it's hardware that puts data manipulation at warp speed.

And in this posting, Lorcan comments on Stanley Wilder's recent article in the Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required for online, if you have access to the print, it's the January 7 issue) titled "Information Literacy Makes All the Wrong Assumptions." As someone who did a lot of bibliographic instruction once, I have long thought that something is wrong with the whole approach to information literacy, and while I don't entirely agree with Wilder's proposed solutions, I do agree with his articulation of the problems and issues.

Along with this article, I read Brenda Bailey-Hainer's Library Journal article "Virtual Reference: Alive and Well" and Stephen Abrams article on Google...which, dang it all, I can't lay my hands on right this minute and I only had it in paper. I'll cite when I find it. But, reading these three articles one after another (I was waiting for my car to get a new battery--all the cold weather has been hard on aging parts, automotive and other) was interesting--refreshing, in a way. All three authors are, in essence, asking readers to have another look, another think about topics, we either don't think about or that we think we know everything about, and twisting the issues slightly. All worth reading.

Noted on the Worthwhile blog, an article called Your Third Place Workspace? Given our interest in libraries as a third place, I was happy to see two comments identifying libraries as readers' fav 3rd places.

Addendum: 9pm EST. Here's the Stephen Abram article citation. "Google Scholar: Thin End of the Wedge?" Information Outlook, January 2005, v.9 (1): 44-46. I think this is not on the open web because I got, any SLA member want to tell us why this good library content is not available to general readership? I can guarantee "protecting" this content is not going to win SLA more members.