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Category Archives: Knowledge Management

Are We There Yet? Some predictions for the future of libraries – from 1901

Barbara Fister – Inside Higher Ed: “As I was idly poking into library history, I came across something that surprised me. In a 1901 conference proceeding, Melvil Dewey predicted this would happen by 1926:

Books, except a few rarities, will be regarded less as fetiches [sic] to-be protected with a kind of sacred awe, and more for use. When a volume cost as much as a village, this reverence and jealous watchfulness were justified. Now that it can be bought for the price of a single meal, such reverence is a mediaeval survival. Students will cut up books freely for notes and scraps.

Librarians are known to quote Ranganathan’s laws, including “Books are for use” but this is going a bit far. The context for this prediction: there were hot debates going on about whether libraries should allow browsing in open stacks. Those who supported the idea argued that books were no longer so special, rare, and sacred that they had to be protected from the public. Or even, apparently, from vandalism. Dewey, in addition to being an anti-Semite and harasser of women, was a serial entrepreneur fascinated with business and big ideas. He wanted libraries to be efficient, cost-effective, and (though they didn’t use the term back then) a good return on investment. He had plenty to say about how to run libraries – including that bookish people need not apply, but rather libraries should be directed by “men of affairs” who would “throw into their work the same administrative skill that has made possible the successes of the captains of industry and commerce.” The entire essay is in many ways fascinating in that so many of his predictions seem fairly current:

  • Access to information matters more than ownership
  • New technologies should be harnessed to provide information services (he was really excited about telephones)
  • Since it’s fruitless to try to own everything libraries should reduce their collections to items that get lots of use and cooperate with large research libraries to preserve print collections.
  • Libraries and universities should become involved in academic publishing
  • Libraries are more than just books (he thought libraries should provide illustrations, which could be more informative than texts, and include museums; no mention of 3D printers, though)..”

BBC – The (almost) complete history of ‘fake news’

BBC Trending: “…Misinformation, spin, lies and deceit have of course been around forever. But what Buzzfeed’s media editor, Craig] Silverman and others uncovered was a unique marriage between social media algorithms, advertising systems, people prepared to make stuff up to earn some easy cash and an election that gripped a nation and much of the… Continue Reading

How Microsoft Academic uses knowledge to address the problem of conflation/disambiguation

Microsoft Academic post: “Entity linking is a cognitive capability essential to human communication. It contains two challenging components: first, entity conflation, where we recognize that even though an entity is referred to by different names, it is still one item; and second, entity disambiguation, where we differentiate between entities with the same name and distinguish… Continue Reading

Facebook’s News Survey – is it real or fake news – we want to know!

BuzzFeed: “Last week, Facebook said its News Feed would prioritize links from publications its users found “trustworthy.” The company is overhauling News Feed amid ongoing criticism of its platform, which has come under fire for enabling foreign manipulation of US elections, giving rise fake news, and making people feel bad. Facebook plans to determine whether… Continue Reading

Facebook – Hard Questions: Social Media and Democracy

Facebook Blog Series: “For the next topic of our Hard Questions series, we decided to confront an issue that has been top of mind for many of us here, including myself: What effect does social media have on democracy? As someone who has worked for over 14 years in digital civic engagement — the last… Continue Reading

The Cyberlaw Guide to Protest Art

The Cyberlaw Guide to Protest Art – “In the wake of Trump’s election and the resurgence of political art inspired by movements like the Women’s March, the Cyberlaw Clinic was approached by artists seeking clarification of their rights and responsibilities as creators and activists online. In response, a team of Berkman Klein staff, Clinic students,… Continue Reading

Paper – Anatomy of an online misinformation network

Anatomy of an online misinformation network. Chengcheng Shao, Pik-Mai Hui, Lei Wang, Xinwen Jiang, Alessandro Flammini, Filippo Menczer, Giovanni Luca Ciampaglia (Submitted on 18 Jan 2018) arXiv:1801.06122 [cs.SI] – “Massive amounts of fake news and conspiratorial content have spread over social media before and after the 2016 US Presidential Elections despite intense fact-checking efforts. How… Continue Reading

YouTube Adopts ISNI ID for Artists & Songwriters

“YouTube is now a Registration Agency for the International Standard Name Identifier (ISNI), the ISO certified global standard number for identifying millions of contributors to creative works and those active in their distribution. YouTube is the first ISNI registration agency in the music space. YouTube will request an ISNI, a unique identifier, to be assigned… Continue Reading

Optimal routes by car from geographic center of US to all counties

Topi Tjukanov is a geographer (M.Sc.) with a business degree (BBA) from Helsinki, Finland. Besides normal work (Project Specialist in the Ministry of the Environment) and normal(ish) hobbies, he’s enthusiastic about geospatial data, visualizing it and learning the latest tricks in modern GIS.” Spatial data from a new perspective – See Topi’s “map and the… Continue Reading

Access to the Justices’ Papers: A Better Balance

deMaine, Susan David, Access to the Justices’ Papers: A Better Balance (January 11, 2018). 110 Law Library Journal (2018 Forthcoming). Available at SSRN: – “With the exception of official court records, the papers generated by the Supreme Court justices in their work for the Court are and have always been considered private property. As a… Continue Reading

Nearly all members of National Park Service advisory panel resign in frustration

Washington Post – “More than three-quarters of the members of a federally chartered board advising the National Park Service have quit out of frustration that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke had refused to meet with them or convene a single meeting last year. The resignation of 10 out of 12 National Park System Advisory Board members… Continue Reading

Twitter says it exposed nearly 700,000 people to Russian propaganda during US election

Twitter Public Policy News Release: “…As previously announced, we identified and suspended a number of accounts that were potentially connected to a propaganda effort by a Russian government-linked organization known as the Internet Research Agency (IRA). Consistent with our commitment to transparency, we are emailing notifications to 677,775 people in the United States who followed… Continue Reading