The Shifted Librarian - Shifting Libraries at the speed of byte
 Monday, August 18, 2003

Learning about NetGens in their Natural Habitats

I was on vacation and missed last month's initial reports about Yahoo's Born to Be Wired summit, but David Bigwood sent me a heads up on it and pointed me to this PDF report:

The Mobiles: Social Evolution in a Wireless Society

"Four key themes emerged from the study data: relationships & community, education, changing behavioral & social norms, and sense of place. This section looks at how the themes relate to each of the mobile lifestyle adoption stages.

Relationships & Community
Wireless use helps build and maintain relationships and community. But it is clear that wireless use alters the kind of relationships people have, and changes the structure of their communities.

Education
When people begin using mobile devices, they must learn to think a new way about their life. On a more detailed level, they must learn specifically how to use the devices that will facilitate their mobility. With few formal training outlets, informal/ad hoc communities form to share knowledge about wireless devices and functionality.

Changing Behavioral & Social Norms
People’s behavior evolves slowly, while technology changes quickly. As a result, we found many people testing the limits of new behaviors and social norms due to the rapid acquisition of these new technologies.

Sense of Place
Wireless technology and mobile phones allow people to contact a person, not a place (like traditional phones). As a result, when people are on a mobile phone with someone, they now make the natural leap to think of themselves as with that person, not just on the phone."

dBrand: The Digital Brand Weblog attended the summit and had this to say about it:

"The morning keynote, by itself, was well worth attending the conference. Neil Howe (who Fred is familiar with), author of 'Generations' and 'Millennials Rising' gave an eye-opening presentation on the historical perspective of this digital demographic, the Millennials. In short, this Millennial generation is very similar to the 'hero' generation of WWII. They share most of the same conservative, ideological, and future-centered traits combined with a collaborative, sharing, and confident state-of-mind fostered by the empowerment of the Internet. He closed by stressing that understanding this audience is crucial for marketers as they are poised on the threshold of become a dominant consumer force -- and in some areas such as technology, entertainment, and packaged goods, their influence is already significant....

Next up, the research performed by Carat, Harris Interactive, and Teen Research Unlimited was presented. They surveyed 2,618 respondents in the 13-24 age range, with a distribution of age, sex, race, and region that closely matches the same distributions of the most recent U.S. Census. In addition, they performed eight focus groups in two primary regions with groups of 20. I have an executive summary, but the key findings are;

1) The Internet is their primary medium, surpassing all others....

3) Search engines are their most used repeat destination online....

All day, we heard over and over again how influential this Millennial group is becoming, and that their influence extends beyond the boundaries of their generation.....

In the end, however, this was an excellent event. This group, the first fully digital consumers, is very important and will be instrumental to changing everything in the world of marketing over the next ten years. Stay tuned."

What do you suppose libraries need to learn about this group? Especially in regards to the fact that their most often visited destinations online are search engines? Then check out those four key themes listed above, because they all affect libraries and vice versa. Discuss amongst yourselves.

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Is Your Library Ready for these Kids?

Japanese Youth Are Changing their Sense of Place and Presence through their Use of Mobile Telephones

"Mobile phones are transforming the experience of place and co-presence for a wireless generation of Japanese youth....

Teens use mobile phones to bring in the presence of other friends who were not able to make it to the physical gathering, or of accessing information that is relevant to that particular time and place. The boundaries of a particular physical gathering, or flesh meet, are becoming extended through the use of mobile technologies, before, during, and after the actual encounter....

Mobile phones have revolutionized the experience of arranging meetings in urban space. In the past, landmarks and pre-arranged times were the points that coordinated action and convergence in urban space. People would decide on a particular place and time to meet, and converge at that time and place. I recall hours spent at landmarks such as Hachiko Square in Shibuya or Roppongi crossing, making occasional forays to a payphone to check for messages at home or at a friend's home. Now teens and twenty-somethings generally do not set a fixed time and place for a meeting. Rather, they initially agree on a general time and place (Shibuya, Saturday late afternoon), and exchange approximately 5 to 15 messages that progressively narrow in on a precise time and place, two or more points eventually converging in a coordinated dance through the urban jungle. As the meeting time nears, contact via messaging and voice becomes more concentrated, eventually culminating in face-to-face contact....

Just as mobile email extends the prior and present parameters of social contact, it also extends the possibilities for contact after a gathering. In most of the gatherings we saw between heavy mobile email users, a trail of messages were scattered after a physical gathering as people continued the conversation, mentioned a forgotten bit of information, or gave thanks to the person who organized the gathering. 'I forgot to give you back your CD!' 'Thanks for the lift.' 'Thanks for coming out with me today!' In the past, the common practice was to say 'thanks for last time', on the next occasion of a phone call or a meeting. The new norm is that these exchanges happen as people scatter to return home on foot or public transport. The dead time in transit on the way home is now occupied by the fading embers of conversation and contact....

Young people are in social contact even when alone, coordinating a meeting with a friend, sharing information about a shopping conquest, a celebrity sighting, a photo of their entrée, or just killing time in a texting chat as they ride the train home." [receiver, via Smart Mobs, emphasis above is mine]

Smart Mobs also links to an article in The Independent that blames instant messaging for this summer's disappointing box office numbers (hey, I thought it was piracy!):

Texting Blamed for Summer Movie Flops

"The problem, they say, is teenagers who instant message their friends with their verdict on new films - sometimes while they are still in the cinema watching - and so scuppering carefully crafted marketing campaigns designed to lure audiences out to a big movie on its opening weekend....

Five years ago, when summer movies were arguably just as bad as they are now, the average audience drop-off between a film's opening weekend and its second weekend was 40 per cent. This summer, it has been 51 per cent. In some cases, the drop-off has started between the film's opening on a Friday night and the main screenings on Saturday. The upshot: unsuccessful films disappearing from cinemas so fast that there is no time for second opinions."

Damn kids. Now Congress will have to make instant messaging illegal....

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Better *Public* Libraries

Better Public Libraries

"Better Public Libraries (PDF) a new report, published today by Resource and the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE), highlights how innovation and creativity in the design of public libraries is a way to bring libraries into the 21st Century, making them more popular with the public.

Libraries enjoy an overwhelmingly positive public profile: over 96% of us believe that they provide a valuable service to local communities.  There were 290 million visits to libraries in 2000/01 and councils spent around £770 million on library services.  Libraries have been quick to adapt to changing technology, with the introduction of free internet access and staff equipped with computer skills across the public library network.  Yet problems remain, and over the last ten years outmoded design and in some cases poor location has seen a decline in the use of some public libraries. Since 1992/3 visits to libraries have fallen by 17% and book loans by almost one-quarter.

Better Public Libraries illustrates through a number of case studies current best practice in library design from radical thinking "Idea Stores" in Tower Hamlets, London to small branch libraries and thoughtful refurbishments and conversions. These new libraries are increasingly adopting 'comfort services', such as cafes, lounge areas with sofas and even chill out zones where young people can watch MTV, read magazines and listen to CDs on listening posts....

Chris Batt, Acting Chief Executive of Resource: The Council for Museums, Archives and Libraries, said: 'Libraries have the potential to reach out and engage everyone, bringing communities together. More people go to the library than to cinemas or football matches.  Earlier this year the government published Framework for the Future, the first national strategy for public libraries, which shows how the domain will adapt to meet the changing needs of tomorrow's users, as well as today's. Poor buildings and design can be a major barrier to making those changes, and I welcome the good practice examples that this report highlights.'

Jon Rouse, Chief Executive of CABE said: 'Libraries must become more relevant to the demands of the 21st Century citizen. We need to move on from the perception of libraries as merely depositories for books and look at how new library buildings which adopt the best in design and innovation can revolutionise people's experiences of library services.

This report illustrates how some of the best new library buildings, in places like Bow, East London; Bournemouth and Norwich have achieved this and dramatically increased visitor numbers.' " [via ResourceShelf]

A report from the U.K. that is just as applicable to conditions in the U.S. (although we're definitely seeing an increase in usage over the last decade). Why don't we do a better job of funding our public libraries that are used by the public?

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Help Me Connect Segways and Libraries!

Segways Ready to Roll at IIT? It's Academic

"On Sunday, IIT became the first 'Segway-friendly' campus in the nation as it announced a partnership with the New Hampshire-based company that makes them. IIT students had a chance to try the two-wheeled, battery-powered devices at an orientation before classes start Thursday.

A smaller group of students will test them over the next year as part of the university's interprofessional studies program, in which students earn class credit while determining solutions to real-world problems. Those 10 to 15 students will also determine the social ramifications of allowing hundreds or thousands of the devices to be used on campus, as well as develop product ideas for the company.

In turn, the company will lend Segways to IIT and sell them at a steep discount to faculty and students....

Among the topics the smaller group of students will explore is how to integrate Segways into campus life. Students will grapple with whether the campus should designate special Segway lanes, for example, and where they should be 'parked.' They will also research potential accessories for the devices, such as adding on MP3 players or GPS systems. And they will work with faculty researching more advanced batteries and other ways to power the devices....

The company plans to offer Segways for $3,600 to students at IIT and future test campuses, compared with the current $4,950 retail price, said Carla Vallone, spokeswoman for Segway LLC.

Still, even at the discounted price, students said it was unlikely they'd be able to afford a Segway. But they jumped at the chance to test one out, especially if it could speed up getting to class when you have to go from one side of the 120-acre campus on the South Side to the other." [Chicago Sun-Times]

My new to do list:

  1. Partner with IIT (especially once they become one of my member libraries after we merge with the Chicago Library System);
  2. Brainstorm a way to link Segways and the IIT library (or any library, for that matter);
  3. Apply for a grant to get me one of them Segways.
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Librarians Fighting for Your Fair Use

Fair Use Under Fire

"A library customer checks out a new DVD from the library only to discover that it won't play on her Linux operating system at home. Another, who is blind, borrows an e-book from the library and finds that his text-to-voice software cannot "read" the product. Yet another user checks out a new music CD but can't get it to play on his laptop. These activities are absolutely legal, but technologies installed within equipment, tied to content, or built into a software program, make them no longer possible. This is digital rights management (DRM) in action.

In the digital realm, DRM technologies are changing the ways in which information is accessed and experienced, and they are undermining fair use. If content providers' interests are allowed, through DRM, to use technology to "define" how patrons can access and use information, a DRM-enforced licensing situation will not only replace copyright and its user exemptions like fair use but will affect the basic ways we interact with information. Quantifying fair use, generally accepted as ten percent of a book, 30 seconds of a song, and so on, is technologically possible. But fair use philosophically cannot be quantified. Fair use is an unauthorized yet lawful activity. If one makes a "request" to use a work from a copyright holder through DRM, one is not exercising fair use.

If you accept that the future is digital, then you must also accept that the work of librarians, whose very enterprise is dependent upon fair use, is threatened by the current DRM agenda. To ensure a vibrant digital future, librarians must work with other stakeholders and commercial interests to push for and develop DRM that serves patrons as well as content owners....

Undoubtedly, some of the "leaks" in the delivery pipe for content are, in fact, piracy. Many of those "leaks," however, are by design and facilitate fair use. Unfortunately, DRM does not distinguish among uses. Fair use and piracy are viewed the same. Thus, uses of materials that are legal and, many would argue, essential for education and the advancement of culture are in danger of being denied by DRM....

In the worst-case scenario, DRM could control the right to read in and of itself. Readers would have access to text under certain conditions defined by the content holder. They would have to pay to read (raising equity of access issues) and/or identify themselves before being allowed to read (raising privacy issues). The idea of "browsing the stacks" before deciding to commit to reading a specific book is eliminated by some applications of DRM. Julie Cohen, a law professor at Georgetown University, describes this as a threat to "the right to read anonymously." Simply put, if DRM and the legislation that supports it continue to be developed solely, in theory, as an attempt to limit piracy of digital content, it portends myriad negative long-term implications for how our society will be able to access and interact with information....

With DRM, content owners can control both how their content is used and how it is accessed. For example, DRM could actually require libraries to purchase specialized or upgraded software or equipment repeatedly in order to maintain access to their digital collections, or to buy specific collections to work with their software and equipment. If library patrons don't have the prescribed software for, say, an e-book, they would likely not be able to use much of the library's collection, unless the library bought materials in all the different formats....

DRM also affects a library's ability to archive or preserve materials. As technology advances, libraries will need to transfer works from one format to another. Libraries save disintegrating print works by making digital copies. It remains to be seen if DRM systems will allow such copies and format modifications....

Libraries should be able to lend digital works. 'First sale' allows that once a lawful copy is purchased, the owner should be able to lend or give away that copy. Works in the public domain must be clearly labeled and be free of DRM controls. DRM systems should only collect that information on individuals necessary to complete transactions. Personal data should not be collected and stored.

Good DRM would facilitate archiving and the continued availability of works. DRM should not be dependent on a particular hardware platform or software application, so the library buyer continues to have choice in the marketplace. Finally, the development of DRM standards should be an open process that allows for public participation and is not solely dependent on meeting the needs of the entertainment industry....

One initiative, headed by Mairead Martin from the University of Wisconsin and Grace Agnew from Rutgers University, uses 'middleware' to provide DRM solutions for Internet2 educational and research institutions. Middleware—a software layer that exists between the network and applications like DRM—could authenticate and authorize users and secure content and ensure user privacy.

It could also allow end users to state their use requirements. For example, a user may request to make a fair use copy of a document. Middleware would guide the user through a set of prompts that would authorize the action while maintaining user privacy. This model, being supported by the National Science Foundation, the Coalition for Networked Information, Educause, and others, assumes that individuals are acting lawfully—exercising exemptions allowed under the copyright law—without first requesting permission from a copyright holder.

The DRM realm is in play, jammed with immediate and long-term implications that will affect library users, educators, researchers, and consumers and the ways we access, use, share, transform, and store information. We cannot ignore it. Librarians are responsible for helping to create reasonable and balanced DRM. If we don't act now, we are choosing to accept the DRM models that will erode our ability to make information available to our society." [Library Journal]

I know this is a long excerpt, but this is a very important article to read, so catch the rest for yourself at a ridiculously long URL (hey, it's not just ALA!). Really, I mean it - go.

I'd like to see more articles like this in our trade journals, because this is a critical issue that too few of us recognize. I'm not familiar with all the efforts our colleagues are making on behalf of the rest of us (and you non-librarians, too), so this is exactly the type of topic I'd love to see tackled in a topical blog by an expert.

Librarians... on the forefront yet again.

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Can You Photograph Me Now?

One Million Picture Messages in One Month

"Verizon Wireless recently shared numbers showing its customers shared more than one million picture messages in less than 30 days since the launch of the service on July 8, 2003. Crediting the success of picture messaging to the manner in which phones on the Verizon Wireless network approach this task, Verizon Wireless said subscribers to its network can send picture messages to any phone number on its network or any e-mail address. Users can also add text and audio to a message, and also upload pictures to an online photo album." [infoSync]

If I didn't know Aaron was on SprintPCS, I'd think he took most of those million pictures, too.  ;-)

Now imagine thousands of Aarons, and you'll start to understand how big this phenomenon is going to be.

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Now *This* Will Make Me Subscribe to Rolling Stone's Feed!

RSS Artist Search

"RollingStone.com offers a search tool which creates an RSS feed for your favorite artist. For example, here's a Frank Zappa RSS feed. [via Nick Bradbury]

Cool tool from RS. Now I'm tracking news on some of my favorite artists - Wilco, Clem Snide and the Counting Crows" [...useless miscellany]

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You Can't Always Get What You Want

Rolling Stones Will Download Before They Get (Too) Old

"Starting today, subscribers to RealNetworks' Rhapsody music service will be able to listen to streaming versions of more than 500 songs by the Stones, one of the last big-name rock acts to permit its music to be distributed digitally.

For an additional 79 cents a song, Rhapsody subscribers can record on CD more than 200 Stones songs that have been released since 1971 by EMI Music's Virgin Records label. The 300 or so songs the group recorded before 1971 on the Abkco label cannot be downloaded but will be available for listening through streaming audio." [New York Times: Technology]

Listening to some Rolling Stones music right now....  :-)  Can I get a side order of Beatles to go with that, please? Oops, I guess not (still).

Addendum: Newsweek adds:

"The deal emphasizes the value of a subscription service like Rhapsody, which uses streaming technology to allow customers to listen to all they want, as much as they want—as long as they keep subscribing. It’s also a dis of Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who personally wooed Jagger to get first crack at the Stones on his iTunes service. But since Rhapsody has only a two-week exclusive, EMI will soon license its catalog to Apple and others. As for the early tunes, you can’t always get want you want—unless you steal it."

I bet you never read that last sentence in Time magazine!

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New Mailing List for Periodicals Librarians

Shirley J. at the Indian Prairie Public Library (a SLS library), has started a new mailing list for periodicals staff:

"We know you’re out there. You work with the periodicals collection at your library and you often wish you could consult with others in your position. You may have questions about a persistent magazine problem. Perhaps you’d like to discuss how other libraries handle procedures such as check-in, claiming, processing, staffing or interacting with vendors. Now you can easily communicate on-line with other periodicals staff by subscribing to the new e-mail discussion list for the Periodicals Users Group (PUG) of SLS and surrounding areas. Join us!

Get information about PUGlist and subscribe at this site: http://www.sls.lib.il.us/mailman/listinfo/puglist."

This is yet another service we provide for our member libraries. If you're at a SLS library and you'd like a mailing list to interact with your colleagues or patrons, please contact me and we'll set you up with one.

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