Saturday, August 9, 2008

RBMS Plenary Session 6: Into The Future

[Although I had my computer with me, it was extremely difficult taking notes on the first talk by Peter B. Kaufman, because he spoke like a television montage: tons of references cascading in a montage of things and ideas that get you all excited and make you forget the issue at hand. Nevertheless, what follows is what I could transcribe - it reads more like notes or a bullet list rather than prose.]

These words should not to be taken as an exact transcriptions of what was said. I take responsibility for any errors of transmission.

Friday, June 27

1. Peter B. Kaufman, president and CEO of Intelligent Television.
[See also his article Video, education, and open content: Notes toward a new research and action agenda which includes many of the points mentioned in his talk below.]

Libraries are critical to the health of the country as a liberal democracy.
The fourth estate [i.e. journalism and the commercial press] is bankrupt; [commercial] media has succumbed to trends that imperil freedom and democracy.

But public media is online and truth is available. While everything you do is based on a variety of decisions, ultimately what you do is based on your own freedom and that of our society. In this context, digitization is a moral imperative.

Libraries are producers. See Archibald MacLeish article from 1939, on libraries and culture. [probably: Libraries in the Contemporary Crisis, 1939]

Libraries are becoming involved with their communities. Columbia University is getting involved with its community, witness its interest in the Apollo Theater. [? I couldn't find any connection between Columbia and the Apollo. Maybe Kaufman just meant part of Harlem, which is a faulty point since Columbia is claiming eminent domain because it wants to build in that area; many residents are antagonistic to the idea.]

Libraries are spending more money than television on making their video available.

See The New Metrics of Scholarly Authority by Michael Jenson (Chronicle of Higher Education, June 15, 2008) for a list of new trends.

Growth of mobile devices: mobile phone are poised to replace the computer as main route to get online.

I encourage you to engage video. Video is where the action is. Growth of video recording occurs across the board. There is growing online demand for moving images. Cisco Systems predicts growth of 30% of downloads in 2008 to 50% by 2010.

Video is the new vernacular. See: On Bullshit by Harry Frankfurt.

When you make your videos, engage a tv and film production crew, because they have the know-how of video techniques - they know what works.

Librarians are needed because they have to explain how to render material searchable.

In this context I recommend you re-read Walter Benjamin's The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.

2. Jackie Dooley, Head of Special Collections and University Archives, University of California-Irvine.

Is there a moral imperative to digitize? Focus on value of the objects. Here is a list of 10 things to consider in digitization.

The Ten Commandments of Digitization:

1. Embrace the technological continuum of the book
2. Find yourself - why you love your work and what you bring to do it, and how it translates into the digital world
3. Digitize with abandon. Think wholesale vs. retail - not digitizing pages from a book, but the entire book. We need to stop doing the scholars' work
4. Educate yourself about the born digital
5. Make your work economically sustainable. (Forget item level description)
6. Follow the archivists' lead: Are there rare book parallels to "more product, less process?"
7. Make your data promiscuous: expose metadata and digital content
8. Collaborate, collaborate, collaborate
9. Revere the knowledge and opinions of the young
10. Pro-actively define our collective future

It's our [special collections libraries] time to join the centrality of the digital experience.
Should we think about shared rare book collections? You need to give priority to preserving some things, and not others.

Digital will not go away; on the contrary it will become central to what we do.

Think of Star Trek metaphor: the computer that told them whatever they want. That's what we want, the full knowledge of human experience.

Among the respondents of Merrilee Proffitt of OCLC (RLG Programs) who encouraged everyone to "digitize wildly and beat out Maury Povich and junk tv."

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