June 12, 2009    |   Vol. 2, No. 19    |   ISSN: 1943-1457
Above the Fold
A weekly newsletter for the changing world of libraries, archives and museums

Readers, Above The Fold wasn't published last week while OCLC Research was busy staffing the 2009 Annual RLG Partnership Meeting. If you're interested in the meeting, we'll be making our presentations and webinars from the meeting available via our website soon. We hoped you missed us. This issue captures material that would have been in that missed issue.

In this issue:

How I Sold My Book by Giving It Away  (External site)

Open Culture   •  May 23, 2009

From podcast to paper. Author Seth Harwood describes how he podcast his way to a publishing deal with Random House. Here's one more example of how the open source business model is creating new paradigms in the publishing industry.

I haven't seen any data to gauge how common this story actually is. I do know that a variety of authors are establishing or expanding their reputations via this channel. I found his delight in knowing that he had an audience charming. ( Michalko)

How LexisNexis is Winning on the Web  (External site)

Strategy+Business   •  May 19, 2009

Out of the box. The venerable legal information service says it's got much more to offer than just a catalog of court documents. Under the direction of CEO Andrew Prozes, LexisNexis has branched out into customizable solutions, such as risk information and analytics services, for a variety customer types. If you haven't looked at LexisNexis recently, check out this interview with Prozes to see what's on the agenda for this online information powerhouse.

In OCLC Research we've talked a lot about "making our data work harder" and "about getting into the networkflow" and about "putting our assets where our users are." This interview captures all those and more. "Don't think of information as the product itself", he says. And they're leveraging their communities of interest such as attorneys with social networking tools in compelling ways. A lot here that translates to the relationship between library, librarian and user. ( Michalko)

Survival of the Fittest Tag: Folksonomies, Findability and the Evolution of the Information Organization  (External site)

First Monday   •  May 4, 2009

Wanted: a folksonomy framework. Volunteers are enthusiastically tagging away at the Web, but as yet there's no uniform framework for terminology or taxonomy. This article chronicles the evolution of folksonomies and notes several suggestions for resolving this issue before it gets out of hand, including linking tags to thesauri and natural language processing technology.

This is a well-done overview that puts tagging into context. In Research we're interested in the potential relationship between structured vocabularies of various kinds and these folksonomies — one can imagine benefit flowing both ways. Naïve user-chosen words being connected with authoritative terms and vice versa to get the best of precision and recall. See what our Social Metadata Working Group is exploring in this area here. ( Michalko)

Top 10 Information Architecture Mistakes  (External site)

Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox   •  May 11, 2009

Keep it simple. Many of Nielsen's tips are obvious, but this refresher course on good Web site design is useful for guiding decisions as your Web site evolves and avoiding the cardinal sin — adding pages to the existing site without considering how they fit into the overall structure and navigation system.

He always speaks with such authority...probably because he's so often right. In this case I learned about "extreme polyhierarchy" and "banner bleed blindness." I will try to use them in a meeting soon. More seriously, I thought our recent symposium on user studies, Hearing Voices: connecting with users, enhancing services, made a compelling case for the need to share our usability and user studies as they represent a growing collection of transferable insights and best practices not unlike what is on offer in this list. ( Michalko)

Skills: Business Must Learn From the New Tribe  (External site)

Financial Times   •  May 28, 2009

Make room for the Millennials. This article reminds us of the different work habits and expectations that younger people bring to the mix — and our opportunity to turn that into a competitive advantage if we capitalize on their strengths rather than try to fit them into the existing corporate mold. And just in case we think we have a choice in the matter: "In economies where the working population is ageing, this may not just be desirable but essential to survival."

Worth scanning. Of course, those of you who work in academic institutions will have seen these observations play out in the student populations that you serve. I thought there was an interesting conflation of millennial's aptitude for social networking with a deeper understanding of the technology. I think the evidence would show just the opposite. They don't actually know more about the underlying technology than other cohorts. They are perfectly comfortable putting all their energy into consuming the technology. ( Michalko)

Reshaping the Art Museum  (External site)

ARTNews   •  June 2009

Extreme makeover? While science museums generally have done a good job of drawing in the public, art museums are suffering from the perception of "elitism" says author Robin Cembalest. In response, art-museum directors are looking to game theory and interactive technology to transform the experience they offer, with the goal of incorporating "the customer service of an Apple store, the comforts of a Barnes & Noble, and the dynamism of a town square." As changing demographics shrink art museums' natural constituency, one museum director warns, "we'll be out of business by 2034."

A nice summary of the efforts being made by various North American art museums showing the experimental phase that most of them are traveling through. The collective urge to be a cultural center and place of social engagement echoes a lot of the library discussion of re-inventing our spaces. ( Michalko)

Successful Small Team Leadership: Manage the Group, Not the Individuals  (External site)

Technology Review   •  May 18, 2009

One for all. A new study debunks the practice of "differentiated leadership" — managing individuals differently based on their temperaments and abilities. With so much emphasis on collaboration and teamwork, it's important to manage staff in a way that maximizes productivity and morale in the workplace.

I've thought that a fair bit of the business management rhetoric about teams was off-the-mark: not enough places where teams were really the essential unit of progress, a disconnection between the judgment of individuals and the measurement of a group and the evident elevation of "star" employees. This article summarizes research that concludes when teams are the answer there is definitively only one successful way to manage them. ( Michalko)

 
OCLC Programs and Research advances exploration, innovation and community building for libraries, archives, and museums.

Above the Fold is a Web-based newsletter published by OCLC Programs and Research. It has been developed to serve a broad international readership from libraries, archives and museums. News items are supplied weekly under contract by Suzanne Douglas, Ibis Communications Inc. Programs and Research items are supplied by staff in RLG Programs and OCLC Research. Please send comments and questions about this or other issues to rlg@oclc.org.
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