John Unsworth at CLIR Camp plus Libraries and Scholars Interacting Over Time

John Unsworth spoke at the CLIR-DLF postdoctoral camp last week. I thought he presented some interesting ideas about the emerging cross-connections between libraries and publishers, as well as some speculations about the development of scholarly data communities around the existence of large-scale data resources. Unsworth works at Brandeis as a vice provost, CIO, and university librarian. He also serves on the executive committee of the HathiTrust Research Center. As part of the HathiTrust he has been directly involved in the development of a 11 million digital collection of books and journals scanned from the collections of member libraries.

NetLibrary sucks! or why electronic books need better design now.

NetLibrary is a horrible interface for reading or doing research. Suppose I want to look up “Clifford Geertz” in the Encyclopedia of Social Anthropology. First I try a search - no results. I know this can’t be right. Geertz is a pinnacle of anthropology, social in particular. So I go to the name index. The index is not displayed as a single page of entries because each frame of the NetLibrary reader is tied to a physical book page.

Organizations and Long-Term Design

I just want to juxtapose two recent readings by Charlie Stross and Timothy Burke on organizations and institutions. Burke sets up the problem as the key issue of the twenty-first century. but it really seems to me that the political problem of the 21st Century is not a problem of markets or capitalism, not of the state, not of ideologies or religions, but of institutions and organizations. Loosely speaking, what doesn’t work about government as a whole is also what doesn’t work about a local religious charity.