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Collective Smarts

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By Phillip Green, Lucidea COO

We love this post by Thomas Malone, director of the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence, on "how social business, data analytics and cognitive computing will transform organizations once again," posted on the Building a Smarter Planet Blog.
http://asmarterplanet.com/blog/2013/06/mits-thomas-malone-on-collective-intelligence.html

It touches on the same themes that we hear from customers every day. How do I make my organization more intelligent so that we make better decisions? What role does knowledge management play in helping us become more nimble and adapt to a changing marketplace more quickly? As Malone explains, this can be achieved through the combination of humans and IT.   

When Inmagic Presto introduced the idea of social knowledge management back in 2009, the idea was to encourage communication between people that might not normally communicate and enable that communication to take place in a knowledge- and content-centric environment. Malone articulates the benefits of this communication well.

"As information technology reduces the cost of communication, it becomes much easier for lots more people to know lots more things and in many cases they’re able to be well enough informed to make more decisions for themselves instead of just following orders from somebody above them in a hierarchy." 

This is absolutely right – we want informed decisions being made by as many people as possible, not just robots following orders.

Please take a read and let us know what you think.

RDA: it’s not that scary

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By Phillip Green, Lucidea COO

We’ve had a lot of questions recently about RDA compliance, RDA readiness, the future of RDA, and even, "what is RDA?" We’ve decided to dive deep into the mystique surrounding RDA and lay it bare for all to see.
First things first. What is RDA? At its core, RDA (Resource Description and Access) is the third revision of the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules, which have been adapted for today’s world (e.g., Web-based) and not just for printed materials and in a library. RDA is simply a way to take the most recent cataloging standard and move it out of the library-centric, back-office world and make it work in today's Web-centric, Google world.

Some of the key principles are:
  • Elimination of Latin abbreviations; rules may remove all abbreviations unless used in the resource
  • Serve as a new content standard for description and access
  • Function best as an interactive, online tool
  • Improve cataloging instructions for non-print resources
  • Separate rules for recording and presentation of data elements
  • Eliminate redundancy
  • Incorporate rules for authority control
Because RDA is about making cataloging fit in today's Web-enabled world, we believe it’s a good thing. We need to move to standards that enable and encourage "findability" (if we may be so bold as to make up words under the watch of librarians) via the methods and standards of today, e.g., Google, Bing, etc. The fact is, people do not go to the library and ask the research desk for help as much as they used to…they now open their iPad and Google a topic to find what they’re looking for. If librarians want resources that they catalog to be part of this modern scenario, we need to move to standards like RDA.

The good news is that Lucidea software (Inmagic Genie, SydneyPLUS ILS, DB/TextWorks, Information Manager, Presto, CuadraSTAR) already supports RDA because we provide the flexibility to add fields as needed to meet RDA requirements, and the ability to adapt to an RDA-compliant cataloging process. Our customers are armed and ready for the modern, Internet-enabled world of information management.

Here are some interesting links to provide more background.

http://ephemeraextremus.blogspot.com/2009/11/bibliographic-control-alphabet-soup.html

http://bcc.musiclibraryassoc.org/Descriptive/RDA_Evolution.pdf
http://tinyurl.com/a2bxfy6  (this is a previous post on RDA by our partner SydneyPLUS)

 

 
 

The Lasting Legacy of the Librarian

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In an article titled “Uncovering the History of the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire,” published in Smithsonian magazine, author David von Drehle details his journey through the data wells of New York, where he was trying to uncover details for a book about the factory fire that killed 146 workers in 1911. Though the tragedy spurred policy reforms that are the underpinnings of building design and worker safety laws today, finding actual records that fleshed out the full picture of that period in time was a herculean undertaking. What von Drehle discovers in his ordeal, and in the subsequent publishing of the records he finally locates, speaks volumes about the past, current and future state of information.

The first thing that was striking is that valuable data illuminating an important part of our history was all but lost but for luck and perseverance of the author. Tagging, cataloging and preserving information is critically important so that we can learn from our past through as accurate and thorough a view as possible.

The second was that the Internet and social channels now make it possible for anyone and everyone to access data that’s been preserved. What had almost vanished from the world is now available to -- and being used by -- anyone who wants to see it. The website which publishes the data that von Drehle discovered receives six million visitors every year! Preserving and cataloging our data and giving people access to it gives us such a richer, more nuanced picture of our history and connects the dots between policies and mores that are now in place, and the events of the past that caused them to be.

But perhaps most poignant of all is that von Drehle met dead end after dead end in his search until the day that an elderly librarian recalled a volume of information that was not catalogued, but became the basis for von Drehle’s book. Technology is a powerful and empowering addition to the world of information management, but the importance of a great librarian cannot be underestimated. 

 Read David von Drehle’s account of his search and discovery of the last records of the triangle shirtwaist fire.

 

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