The Kansas City Public Library just posted a new position: User Centered Design Specialist
I love that we’re doing this! I know that it’s become something of a cliché to talk about UX, but the simple fact of the matter is that user experience and interaction design are only going to become more important as we proceed in our Digital Information Age.
The landscape of information access is undergoing radical evolution. We have a wider variety of information accessing technology than ever before: desktop computers, laptops, tablets, smart phones, gaming systems – with different operating systems and coding platforms for each. More importantly, these technologies have created a near-infinite variety in points of access – wherever we can carry our devices (and still have signal) we can access information at will.
Continue reading “User Centered Design: The New Card Catalog for the Digital Information Age”
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”—Charles Darwin
A friend of mine recently posted this quotation on Facebook. I commented that this is one thing that too many people get wrong about Darwin’s theory—too many people assume that survival of the fittest means survival of the strongest. But that’s not necessarily the case.
I was all set to write a blog about all the other commonly held misunderstandings that people have about the Theory of Evolution. First, though, I wanted to verify the quotation my friend had posted.
Continue reading “Misquoted Darwin”
This article from Kevin L. Smith, published online by Library Journal on October 18, 2012, presents a truly excellent argument in favor of Fair Use:
Why Are Some Publishers So Wrong About Fair Use?
It also serves to crystallize many of my thoughts regarding the changing nature of copyright law in this country.
Continue reading “Copyright & Fair Use”
Human anatomical modernity began approximately 200,000 years ago.
Human behavioral modernity began approximately 50,000 years ago.
The entirety of humanity’s known written record dates back approximately 5,000 years.
Consider what this means: Our brains have been as complex as they are now – we’ve possessed the same curiosity, drive, wanderlust, intelligence, and creativity – for at least 50,000 years. We’ve been exploring, experimenting, testing, learning, and figuring things out this whole time. It may be that we’ve been this curious and intelligent for the full 200,000 years of our existence.
If we take the 50,000 year mark – this means we only know, at most, 10% of everything we’ve done in that time. 90% of our own history is unknown to ourselves, except through some cave paintings and fossils.
If we take the 200,000 year mark – that percentage drops to 2.5%, leaving 97%-98% of our own history completely in the dark.
Humbling, ain’t it?
A colleague of mine recently recommended the book Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. It looks like a perfect creepy read for Halloween! I’m looking forward to it.
You can preview the first three chapters (plus the Prologue) through the publisher’s website. So, I clicked the link to the PDF and started scrolling through.
I was actually a bit disappointed. Not with the book, it’s really good (the Prologue and first chapter are, anyway!)
No, I was disappointed because the images don’t move. Reading it online, I found that I really wanted the images to be animated gifs.
Continue reading “The Potential of Ebooks: A Modest Proposal”
ReadWriteWeb offers these 5 Commandments For Smartphone Owners. In particular, #2 (I will help people with my smartphone) and #3 (I will support my community with my smartphone) speak to me very powerfully. These are the reasons why I got into public service in the first place!
I recall an incident that occurred while I was still living in Chicago…
There was a homeless man standing on a street corner downtown, which wasn’t the least bit unusual or remarkable. He had a suitcase with all his possessions in it, and he had that lost and scared look endemic to the indigent. What made this homeless man different from the rest is that, unlike every other homeless person you pass on the streets of a big city, he wasn’t asking for money. He was asking everyone who walked by if they knew where the nearest homeless shelter was. He just wanted to get off the street and get help.
Continue reading “On the Perception of Librarians”
I spend a lot of time thinking about limitations. As creative people, limitations constantly chafe. They’re perpetual thorns in our sides. We think to ourselves, “If only I had more time, more money, better resources, I’d be free to truly explore my ideas and realize unfettered creativity!”
But I don’t think that’s true. In fact, I think quite the opposite. I think that limitations – when approached from the correct perspective – can be one of the most powerful tools in a creative person’s arsenal.
OK, let me back up. Start over and give some context for that statement…
Continue reading “On the Virtues of Limitations”
The other day, I was talking with some of my fellow librarians, and conversation turned to new technologies and digital information services. As it turns out, some of my fellow librarians are also fellow science fiction fans; naturally, we brought up the SF trope that someday our brains will be wired directly into our computer networks – no more external interfaces, the access and use of digital information will all happen through pure thought!
As is my habit whenever people discuss the concept of direct neural-computer interfaces, I offered my usual words of caution:
“Right, because I really want the blue screen of death IN MY HEAD!”
One of my fellow librarians didn’t get the reference. She’s in her early 20s, and she’s never seen a blue screen of death. She’s never even had a hard drive crash on her. She had no idea what I was talking about.
I should probably update my reference, but somehow, “Because I really want a network crash IN MY HEAD!” lacks the same punch.