Ramblings, citations and "brainwaves" of a college librarian in Toronto. 475 square feet refers to the size of my home, not the size of my office or library.

Peer Production

Creative Commons type licenses are fostering sharing between professional and amateur creators. Bloggers are profiting from comments from pros, while the established media is profiting from people commenting on their sites and blogs. Recommendation systems are tapping into the collective intelligence of consumers of content. Now if only we can keep the greed at bay...

University on an iPod

There is alot of hype about professors recording their lectures, and releasing them either as audio files via Podcasts, or video via video podcasts. If we don't do this, students set up rogue recording and distribution networks to meet the demand. Some even charge for access.

Unfortunately, its usefulness varies by course. It is great for intro courses, and inappropriate for upper level courses. Some universities are registering up to 400% of a room's capacity, so that students have the star professors as lecturers. I've seen a class with 40 TA's. some people are great on TV some are not. The problem is that students are demanding it, administrators are pushing it because the economics look good, but it has limited application. The real question is: if ratios were small, would students want to come to class? Are we loosing part of the educational experience by turning higher education into a cable tv package with tests?

Rather than aiming for all lectures in a course delivered this way, maybe some, say 40% can be delivered by VOD?

Amateur Paparazzi

Scoopt is paying citizen photojournalists for their scoop images. High Res, Low Res, it does not matter. They pimp your pic for you, and you get a cut of the fees. I like it!


Wired had a nice piece on SPLOGS -SPAM BLOGS. Since search engines index blog content, spammers are creating fake blogs using what they're learned by reverse engineering search engines like google. The annoyance of junk 'hits' in our email is migrating to web search 'hit' lists. It is time to start jailing these spammers, what ever country they hide out in...

Other "Open Source" Stuff

Lawrence Lessig, in Wired, writes about open source beer. "Free beer" is a product by a Copenhagen artists' collective (Superflex) whereby the recipe for the beer is open to the public and is licensed freely. A new recipe is released every six months based on customer feedback. OpenBusiness.cc has lots of other examples of open source products. If customers tinker with a company's product, the company can learn how to make he product better.

I wish I could tinker with the library's licensed information products...


Do you have 3000 MySpace friends? Do 20 people a day ask to "friend" you? What seems like fun, can get outrageous really fast when 100 million peole have time on their hands...then there's all the perverts out there, trolling for easy catch. Mobs seem to be trampling social networks to oblivion...

Anti-Drug Video on YouTube

"The White House is distributing government-produced, anti-drug videos on YouTube, the trendy Internet service that already features clips of wacky, drug-induced behavior and step-by-step instructions for growing marijuana plants.

The decision to distribute public service announcements and other videos over YouTube represents the first concerted effort by the U.S. government to influence customers of the popular service, which shows more than 100 million videos per day." (AP)

Now young people lookig for videos of people consuming drugs will find alternative ideas in their hits! Marshall McLuhan would love it...

Google Trends

Google is trying to measure trends in searcher interest, by logging stats about keyword use and then making these stats available. Google is providing the unfiltered interests of millions of its users at any time period....with a few words the world is your focus group. "Hot-or-not"? Google will tell ya!...by country, by time period, etc.

Is this useful? Absolutely, especially if keywords can be clustered and clusters can be contrasted or linked together. I'd love to know how many people were searching for cars that are lemons, that come from Ford...that woud be neat information to have in decison making...

Pirated DVDs are 25% of Canadian DVD Market

Strip mall in Toronto had bootlegging operation that was able to burn 560 DVDs an hour. The DVDs were sold around the city for 5$ each. Adult and family fare dominated the titles. Hear that MPAA? the magic number is 5$ a DVD! I know I'd buy more is they were that cheap, instead I rent for that amount...

Conversation Chronicles

Over Heard in New York, Over Heard at the Beach, and Over Heard at the Office are three of many eavesdropping blogs out there. I can't wait for it to go Podcast, I want the real audio files of the overheard conversations, privacy be dammed.


OAIster is a search portal for 9,026,499 records from 675 institutions, including ebooks, ejournals, media files, provided by the research library community. we all know there's tones of goodies being made available online all over the globe, that Google has trouble finding. We want a search engine for the contents of these repositories, this is as good as it gets right now.

I forgot, there's also the Inventory of Canadian Digital Initiatives

EMI wants your IP address for accessing the Beachles

The producer of a mashup album that combined the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds and the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club band has been threatened with a multi-million-dollar lawsuit by EMI, the Beatles' music publisher. EMI has also demanded that they turn over the IP addresses of the hundreds of thousands of people who downloaded the mash-ups, presumably so that EMI can sue them for dammages.

Forget file sharing, derrivative works are the real threat to the established players.

The World Intellectual Property Organization is drafting a broadcast treaty that would force signatory countries to ammend their IP laws to include webcasting rights for copyright holders and distributors.

The webcasting right will eliminate podcasters' ability to quote and re-use each others' work (even Copyright Collective-licensed works), and other video found on the net.

The major players can't have competition, now can they...

All over China, English Language translations have errors in them, especially swear words. Some people think it is because the phoenetics are used in translation, others think it is bad translation software, coded by someone with a sense of humor. I just love when technology can make people smile. Hell, AI can't do that yet.

Michael Geist, Canada's Copyright Knight in shining armour, indirectly helped unseat the MP who was supposed to speak for Canadians on Copyright reform in Canada. Sam, was financed by the entertainment industry and their lobby groups and had no interest in protecting consumers from the entertainment industry. If MPs can't protect us, who can? DVD Jon?

I guess the internet is going to become like cable tv without PVRs. You get what you pay for and nothing more, and can only access it from designated devices. Don't forget the spam and ads, just because you pay does not mean you get a great experience. Oh yeah, just like they pump in ads at movies now for 40 minutes before the movie starts. You pay 15 dollars plus food, and have to watch ads, and they wonder why people are downloading...

300 potential offenders at a Bloomington elementary school were rounded up so they could be "educated" about the legality of file downloading. They were told not to take other people's stuff. This has been happening all over the globe. "Just say yes to licensing".

I agree, if pricing was reasonable, if derrivative works were permitted. We've been cutting and pasting with pop culture for decades (in schools), just beacuse it is digital does not mean the practice should be banned. Digital distribution lowers marketing costs, yet they continue to spiral out of control, often adding up to 50% of the cost of making a film and distributing it. I for one don't want all my dollars going into marketing most people tune out anyways.

We don't have a piracy problem, we have a pricing problem. Eventually we'll get equilibrium again, until then the silly business will continue. The emergence of web content changed the equation, the business models of the entertainment industry have to adapt, they don't have a monopoly anymore. They cannot charge monopoly prices. Should we get it for free? No. But I should be able to build my own music playlists online, for say 10$ a month. $15 for a CD with tracks I don't want - NO! $1 for a download I cannot access where-ever I am - Nope!

New Entertainment Content DRM

Amazon.com's DRM for downloads suggests where we are headed:

"The goods you buy from them don't belong to you, they can take them away from you at any time, or change the deal you get from them without any appeal by you."

I'm guessing it is along the lines of, the DRM software calls home often, snoops around your hard-drive for upapproved software and patches, if it does not like what it sees, it disables your access to the content you rented from them.

Yeah, this will challenge the rogue servers out there. I hate to tell you guys but your content is not worth nearly as much as you think it is. People want 99 cent downloads free of restrictions. Let people buy 'keys' that are linked to "buys" and the file sharing problem goes away. Try to charge 10$ for a crappy film, there is too much incentive to bypass retail opportunities.

A dollar per viewing seems fair. Make the DRM limit the views, not the movement to other devices. If I want to see the film 5 years from now I'd gladly pay another dollar.

I'm big on analogy, we're starting to see where the Entertainment Industry is headed, in terms of trying to combat content sharing and derrivative works: they want ISPs to use something like Photo-radar to bill people sharing and using their property online.

Ian Brown of Blogzilla writes:

"The current favourite seems to be that ISPs should be forced to monitor all exchanges of data and charge customers when a copyright work is spotted. When I asked how the spread of encryption could possibly be compatible with this scheme, they airily replied that only paedophiles use that technology and we would all be better off if it was banned."

I'm all for it if the fees were reasonable. I'm thinking micropayments, not their typical macropayments.

Networked Books

Networked books are books that are written, edited, published and read online. These books are now also being printed on demand. Based on online reading stats, authors and publishers can guess how many books to print and sell through established retail channels.


The Wealth of Networks

The Long Tail

For more insight.

Mobile Phone Search Engines

Mobile communication companies (cellphone) have spent big money upgrading their networks, and licensing access to content, expecting to pump up revenue growth rates. The fish aren't biting. The analysts think the problem lies in content discovery problems, that is, end-users are not finding the content they make available. Voice activated search engines are showing promise.

""What do (customers) do best on the phone? They talk. What do they do worst? Type. Why is every user interface based on typing?" Entner said. "Right now, the software developers take advantage of every weakness a device has and none of the strengths."

Some wireless carriers and third-party companies are experimenting with voice-recognition technology. Kirkland, Wash.-based VoiceBox Technologies, for instance, plans to release a product later this year that recognizes words and context in a customer's speech to immediately bring them content on their phones."
Associated Press

I disagree, pricing is outrageous for the handsets, service plans and content. Look at Japan, the model the North American companies are trying to emulate. The handsets are cheap, the service is cheap and the content is cheap. Here we try to grow the market from top down, begin with luxury / moneyed classes and work your way down. There they start with the teenagers and work your way up.

Here we're too greedy when it comes to ROI expectations.

Dogster - social networking for dogs

Well I guess it had to happen, social networking for pets. If anybody knows of social networking sites for inanimate objects, I'd love to know where...my creative noodle is vibrating with anticipation....

Collective Intelligence via Blogs Out Photojournalist

Adnan Hajj, a Lebanese photographer, sold amateurishly doctored (via Photoshop) images to news agencies like Reuters, who published the images. Despite his motives, testing images for authenticity remains a problem without a solution. All current methods can be easily "hacked". Bloggers the world over, with various motivations of their own, Outted him.

If photographs are evidence to corroborate text communication, perhaps editors need to collect or buy more than one to back up their stories. Yes, collusion among photographers remains a threat, but more evidence is better than less, the odds are better to get the truth, not that the mass media is interested in truth...

Folksonomies / Socialtagging

Without editorial control, social tagging (metadata), making up subject keywords, is doomed to fail. Rogue marketers will corrupt the process to meet their ends, like what has happened with spam blogs. Automated indexes cannot differentiate between legitimate blogs and spam, see wikipedia.

I love the enthusiasm of librarians towards social tagging, but the system needs editorial control or oversight to prevent abuse. I've never found Flickr tags to be of any use. del.icio.us or del.icio.us is so over-rated. What we need is an open source version of the LC Subject Classification, like Linux, many developers, each upgrade needs editorial oversight.

Now that the masses of students are back, I've been scanning what they're doing on their lab workstations. Unscientifically, I've counted at several times each day, what are the most popular things displayed on the workstations they are using.

1st: Instant Messaging (usually 2-4 different windows at once)
2nd: email
3rd: Youtube video clips!
4th: Course registration systems
5th: video games

I'm not sure how campus bandwidth is being affected, but many, many minds are watching amateur TV all day long. "Ya gotta see this!" is uttered quite frequently in the crowds...fascinating stuff.

Now if I limit the views just to students using their own laptops, PVR'd TV programming and movies are second, to actually doing classwork, which is first! Video games are third, followed by Youtube.

Cellphone Audio Tours

Museums are experimenting with cellphone tours. Visitors call numbers listed to exhibits to hear recordings from artists and curators. This would be neat, spread around big libraries. The periodical reading room could have a number posted to learn about indexes. I like it! Thanks Indianapolis Museum of Art! Kudos for Museumpods.com for mentioning it.

Animutation / Fanimutation

Pop-Cultural mashups are proliferating on YouTube and Newgrounds.com and thousands of other repositories. Video montages are being created from pop-culture product - video, image and sound files are mashed together in often horrific forms to play with the media all around us, be it imagery, or messages. Culture jamming is not just for the nut jobs or anarchists anymore, everybody's joined the party, because technology makes it so easy to develop and disseminate. Its an art form based on copyright and trademark infringement. Similar to fan fiction, Dōjinshi, and music mashups like the infamous Grey album.

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