Monday, August 3, 2015

The Library’s Buzz

Welcome to our new blog post series, the Library’s Buzz.

Each month, we’ll be taking a look at the latest, most interesting, intriguing and entertaining ideas in the world of libraries and librarians. 

This time, our Buzz is all about knowledge – obtaining it, creating it, evaluating it and preserving it. And we’ll raise the question: What does the spacesuit of the first man on the moon have to do with anything?

In his latest essay, Carl Grant – Associate Dean for Knowledge Services and the Chief Technology Officer at the University of Oklahoma Libraries in Norman, Oklahoma – says that modern libraries should be about more than books. A lot more. Grant pleads with libraries to update their self-image, as well as their public face. And he gives us some perfect examples of how it could be done. Read more

The Scholarly Kitchen is a moderated blog about “what’s cooking” in scholarly publishing and communication. In one of its latest essays, Karin Wulf – a professor of History at the College of William & Mary – looks at the problems with accurately gauging a published item’s impact on a given field. Just looking at how many citations it got – or didn’t get – can be wholly misleading. Read more

Matt Enis, Associate Technology Editor of the Library Journal, takes an in-depth look at how crowdsourcing is being used for identifying, categorizing and preserving large collections of texts and images. And how this can be leveraged by libraries to support their online discovery services, to accomplish large-scale projects they don’t have the manpower for, and to better engage the public with their less well known collections.

How should we balance maintaining high standards and taking advantage of a larger, more freewheeling crowd of contributors? Read more 

From crowdsourcing to crowdfunding. Kickstarter, the world's largest online fundraising platform for creative projects, is embarking on a unique new project with the Smithsonian Institution museums. As they explain in their blog, Kickstarter is giving people around the world the opportunity to help pay for the digital scanning of the spacesuit worn by Neil Armstrong when he became the first person on the moon. Participants in the “Reboot the Suit” project will get unique rewards provided by the Smithsonian. Read more

This is a good example of how the public can become engaged by a rare library collection. Also, the collected digital scans of the Armstrong suit are exactly the type of multimedia data Carl Grant said, in our first Buzz item today, should be seen as central to the mission of the modern library.

In yet another example of the intersection between technology, multimedia and the modern library, the British Library shared a video on YouTube of a CT scan recently taken of the St. Cuthbert Gospel, the oldest intact European book. The scan provides a rare look at the 8th Century volume in full cross-section, revealing new aspects of its physical structure. Needless to say, when the oldest book meets the newest tech at the largest national library in the world, it’s definitely worth a look.

So, that’s the Buzz for this month. Is there something you and your colleagues are buzzing about? Share with us any interesting items you think belong in next month’s library buzz.

Until then... have fun exploring the virtual stacks.

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