Alan Rothman discusses and documents a method of testing used in the private sector that also has significant in public sector applications – the process called “A/B testing.” Users are shown two nearly identical versions of something with one of them containing some slight variation. They are then asked to choose which one they prefer between the two. Rothman references how Google makes extensive use of this testing and design methodology, and also provides insight into how the federal government is implementing the tactics and strategies of this testing to provide more agile and actionable citizen and business related services.
The Next Librarian of Congress – What to do about the Internet Archive and Google Books scanning project?
David Rothman offers his insights and perspective on the work and challenges that await the next Librarian of Congress. He calls for an individual who is not only steeped in the requisite expertise of research, technology, learning, teaching and freedom of information, but in following with a cause he has long championed he states “we need someone with “a love of reading—including the e-book variety.”
Alan Rothman attended a demo of IBM’s Watson Technology, and the shares insights about the core components of this high profile new analytical tool. The technology holds potential value for multiple sectors and cross functional work streams, and as Alan notes, is still under development with additional applications forthcoming.
Ken Strutin argues that cut-and-paste is a laudable method for reducing transcription errors in copying citations and quotations. However, he identifies that a problem arises when it is used to lift verbatim sections of a party’s arguments into a case decision. Stipulations and proposed orders from counsel for both parties might be enviable and practicable, but judgment and fact-finding are solely in the province of the court. This has been a long standing issue that has spanned technologies from shears and paste-pot to typewriters and computers, and which might culminate in a Turing Test for case law.
Lorette Weldon shares her roadmap to Computer Savviness – be flexible enough to learn new concepts, methods, and technology developed for different kinds of communities – and do not be not averse to discovering and trying new applications and tools to learn and discern what may work best for your specific environment.
Alan Rothman’s commentary offers actionable information about a new technology from IBM called Watson that is a powerful tool for researchers whose work engages data mining, knowledge management and competitive intelligence. Rothman attended a recent presentation that demonstrated how Watson is deployed as a search and discovery tool whose object is the huge video archive of TED Talks content.
In Part 2 of Lorette Weldon’s series, she emphasizes that to promote information literacy you would have to practice what you preach. You must retain customer interaction information so that you may add to it in forthcoming interactions. Thus says Weldon, the patrons experience both familiarity and warmth when they return to the library because the librarian remembers who they are and what they had been looking for in previous visits.
The limits of ‘Hack the library’: Don’t aim for too much more with too much less–and try harder for more
David Rothman notes that less than 12 percent of U.S. public library spending goes for books and other items. So he is very much in favor of the “hack the library” movement reinventing libraries. At the same time, Rothman warns that all the technical ingenuity and creativity in the world is no substitute for sufficient funding in areas ranging from content to data security. The public’s needs, not the interests of techie volunteers, should count most of all.
Marcus P. Zillman’s guide links researchers to a wide range of reliable resources for all professions and skill levels. Marcus covers topics including: education, chemistry, economics, mathematics, philosophy, engineering, MBA and PhD/Dissertation/Thesis/Academic Writing resources, as well as increasingly popular MOOCS/Open Courseware (OCW) resources.
Hays Butler and Emily Feltren document the process and successful implementation of dynamic, extensive project conducted over the past three years by the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) working with law librarian volunteers around the country to build the first-ever National Inventory of Legal Materials, an inventory of print and electronic legal materials at all levels of government. More than 350 volunteers have added nearly 8,000 legal titles to the inventory so far.