Episode 44 – Unsettled

30 September, 20098 comments

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In this installment of Digital Campus, we couldn’t decide if we were happy with Google or mad at Google. Tom, Dan, and Mills were so confused about our feelings on the whole Google issue that we invited two new “irregulars” to join us — Jeff McClurken and Amanda French — but they proved to be just as unsettled as we were. Even though they didn’t help us much on our core problem, we enjoyed having them on the show so much that we’ve decided to ask them back on the show again along with some other irregulars to be named later. All five of us also discussed the future of libraries in the digital age and a new raft of picks you should check out.

Links mentioned on the podcast:
Libraries of the Future conference
Google study tips
Invincible Cities
Planned Obsolescence
TED talk: Schools Kill Creativity
TED talk: The Best Stats You’ve Ever Seen
Jeff McClurken and Tim O’Donnell’s seminar using TED talks
Social Media Governance

Running time: 51:01
Download the .mp3

Categorized under books, Google, libraries, Microsoft

8 comments to “Episode 44 – Unsettled”

  1. Planned Obsolescence » Digital Campus : 30th September, 2009

    […] newest episode of the Digital Campus podcast, #44 – Unsettled, is up, and I’m thrilled that it mentions Planned Obsolescence. Digital Campus, produced by […]

  2. Digital Campus podcast on Google Books settlement : Archives and Public History Digital : 30th September, 2009

    […] and higher education, even (perhaps especially) when I’m not on it. Listen or download at http://digitalcampus.tv/2009/09/30/episode-44-unsettled/ or else launch the iTunes software, go to the iTunes Store, and search for “Digital […]

  3. Rick : 30th September, 2009

    A few points I’d like to raise:
    1. This is reiterating a point at about 20:40 on the podcast, but I think it’s crucial to have some way of correcting metadata. I don’t think it necessarily has to be something like a wiki, where anyone can change anything instantly, and it might be too costly to have a human reviewer for every suggestion, but I think Google could work out some kind of compromise. Perhaps make it easy to add suggestions for corrections and then flip the switch when 3 people from sufficiently different IP addresses make the same change?
    2. For old books, scanning is clearly the only way to go. But for newer books it would be much easier for publishers to send Google the final version of the electronic files that the printers used to produce the physical book, which would remove the need for OCR. But that raises the question: If publishers are willing to put electronic files online, it would arguably be preferable from their point of view to do that themselves rather than going through Google.
    3. Jeff Bezos in an interview with Wired some years ago suggested that, if you could prove you owned a book, you should be able to read it in its entirety online. Has there been any talk of this issue? When I search Google Books now, there are various restrictions on what I can see. If ownership could be tracked, Google could remove those restrictions on my own books.

    In any case, I appreciate your covering this issue. I think it’s such an important one that I don’t care how many times you revisit it!

  4. Tom Scheinfeldt : 1st October, 2009

    Thanks for the comments, @Rick. A couple responses. With regard to your second point, I believe that is largely Amazon’s strategy with the Kindle: rather than scanning books, they’re getting digital files direct from publishers. With regard to your third point, this is an argument that has also been made about movies and music–that preownership of an analog copy of work should impute some kind of digital rights to the owner–always unsuccessfully.

  5. Rick : 1st October, 2009

    Tom, Is there a link to your tip? I didn’t catch the name in the audio file.

  6. Tom Scheinfeldt : 1st October, 2009

  7. Maura Smale : 2nd October, 2009

    Great episode! I have a couple of comments (full disclosure of potential biases: I’m an academic librarian):

    1. Re: Google Books and metadata — I agree that Google seems to prefer programmatic solutions to crowdsourcing. But it seems like a missed opportunity to ignore the 100+ yrs of metadata work by academic librarians. Why can’t they use both? I’ve read that Google’s pulling in library records from their universities but that metadata problems persist. Again, this seems like the perfect opportunity to use human-generated (or -corrected) info as well as automated methods like Recaptcha.

    2. Like many other librarians I read the Inside Higher Ed piece about Daniel Greenstein’s presentation with a mixture of dread and amusement. One thing that always nags me about many of these sweeping proclamations about the future of libraries is that they tend to treat The Library as a homogenous, monolithic entity. As you mentioned in the podcast, public libraries are bursting at the seams these days. And there’s real, true variation between academic libraries, the same way there’s variation between institutions of higher ed. The libraries at a major research university are not the same as the (usually single) library at a community college.

    At the public, urban, commuter, technical college where I work, our library is BUSY. Students come to study and hang out, of course, but we also get a fair amount of traffic at the reference desk. And as you mention, library instruction/information literacy is an important (and growing) area in which academic librarians contribute to student learning. We may need less space for physical collections in our libraries in the future, but I think that the library as a learning space will continue to be valuable for a long time yet.

  8. Jeffrey W. McClurken » Welcome! : 17th April, 2010

    […] on this podcast about digital technology and its impact on campus life. (See episodes 44 and […]

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