Magazine article Information Management

How the Hybrid Information Environment Is Transforming Libraries, History, Scholarship

Magazine article Information Management

How the Hybrid Information Environment Is Transforming Libraries, History, Scholarship

Article excerpt

Editor: Michael Moss and Barbara Endicott-Popovsky, with Marc J. Dupuis

Publisher: Facet Publishing

Publication Date: 2015

Length: 360 pages

Price: $95 (No. America) 49.95 [pounds sterling]

ISBN: 978-1-856-04854-5

Source: www.alastore.ala.org

(No. America); www.facet publishing.co.uk

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Is Digital Different?, edited by Michael Moss and Barbara EndicottPopovsky, is a collection of essays that brings together global experts discoursing about the impact of digital technology on information services. Focusing on the issues surrounding the transition from an analog to a digital environment, contributors examine whether analog practices and procedures are still valid and if they shape or distort those in the digital realm.

One of the co-editors opens the book with a brief overview entitled "What is the same and what is different," which is a fitting summary of where the compilation starts and where it's going. Despite the title, the assumption is that digital is different and the various authors take us on a tour of "How information creation, capture, preservation and discovery are being transformed," a very apt subtitle to the manuscript.

Finding Stuff

Chapter 2, "Finding stuff," explores the ways in which we now search for "stuff' (yes, it is different) and how the scattered nature of the now and future "stuff' finding is consumer driven. It also marks a change, they argue, in how "stuff' is consumed.

Chapter 6, "Finding archived records in a digital age," is a synopsis of the method that the UK National Archives in London employs in addressing the statement that "Preservation and findability truly go hand in hand --what real value does an archival collection have if it cannot be effectively used and interpreted?" They delve into their rich history of the problems and solutions to finding things, all the while keeping in mind the "... ability to find/understand/access the archive are inexorably intertwined ..."

Interacting with People

Chapter 4, "Crowdsourcing," is straightforward conversation about the power of the people. Anyone who has seen or heard of the uses (and abuses!) of sites like Wikipedia and GoFundMe will be familiar with the topic. The author comments on breaking down barriers, and this dovetails nicely with the Chapter 2 assertions about the consumer-driven consumption of information. She concludes that while it may not be the answer to such things as staff shortages, it can be very useful in surprising ways, such as engaging consumers in a way that they feel like they have a voice.

Chapter 5, "Pathways to integrating technical, legal and economic considerations in the design, development and deployment of trusted IM systems," is by far the longest chapter. The authors posit that a single condition, the lack of agreement by stakeholders, is the source of most of the challenges within networked systems. They go on to argue that "... focus on technology alone does not adequately address the system operational variables that arise from human behaviours engaged in by IM system stakeholders." The ensuing discussion addresses the complexity of the issues and predicts that standardized tools and rules will emerge to govern the real-time feedback mechanisms that govern interaction decisions.

Untangling the Web

Chapter 3, "RDF, the Semantic Web, Jordan, Jordan, and Jordan," dissects the novelties of the emerging semantic web in the context of its continuities with the old textual web. …

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