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Reference rot September 1, 2017

Posted by Mia in Frontiers, Uncategorized.
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It’s disconcerting that the problem of disappearing content in our repositories is not of much greater concern among academic librarians.  Perhaps we’ve just become too inured to linkrot — but what about content drift phenomena?  When those two are combined, you have reference rot.  Its everywhere once you start looking for it.

Intrigued by a study published in PLoS, a colleague and I teamed up to investigate the URLs in doctoral dissertations deposited in our institutional repository.

Massicotte, Mia and Botter, Kathleen (2017) Reference rot in the repository: A case study of electronic theses and dissertations (ETDs) in an academic library. Information Technology and Libraries (ITAL), 36 (1). pp. 11-28. ISSN 0730-9295


In our shared, brave new digital information world, we really do need to gain a better understanding of what digital preservation means, especially if we expect it to achieve traction as a primary focus of library transformation.





Meta to the Fore October 23, 2014

Posted by Mia in Uncategorized.
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I am missing some good old-fashioned skeuomorphism. Too much white and overuse of the right side of my brain. I want something which will appeal to my left hemisphere. That’s right, hemisphere — a spatial metaphor. Like those round things: GLOBES. And what ever happened to using color to assign mail filters? Folders? Labels?

Can we please please please texturize that two-dimensional space that we use as the flat reading plane? Like using some color, pattern, shape. Jony, bring some texture back.

Revisiting some of my previous thoughts on the subject:

‘Cut, copy, paste’ are essential editing functions which need no introduction or explanation.  They constitute a highly functional suite of concepts we take for granted.  They are also are based on a paper/scissors/glue metaphor which has enormous utility. These functions could of course be replaced by other, far wordier alternatives, but it’s hard at the moment to see how replacements would be as effective, or compact, or universally understood.

Shall we do away with these familiar editing metaphors because they are rooted in a physical or even print/paper world?  Hardly.  Metaphors grounded in the paper-based world are very handy indeed, and will continue to be, until they are no longer valuable conceptually.

Probably few of us have used any ‘paste’ since we left kindergarten.  So when we’re editing a document, we know that using paste isn’t really involved.  But the metaphor works.  It sticks.

It sticks like PASTE.

Hannibal crosses the interalps March 23, 2014

Posted by Mia in Uncategorized.
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I’m a mood reader. I like anything with maps — usually that means historical fiction, but not exclusively. One of my tests for determining my type of good historical fiction is whether or not a map is included at the front. More than one map is better. Genealogical charts also count. Although if there are a slew of genealogical charts, that is not necessarily a plus.

Of course the absence of a map doesn’t prevent me from reading a book; it’s just one of my tests.

I know I have a great read ahead of me when I start looking up stuff (a.k.a. ‘information’) within the first few pages. Could be just an unfamiliar word or italicized phrase; reference to some siege or other, or a body of water. Might be a date or other historical reference, real or imaginary.

So one of my desultory research projects early this morning was to look at a map of Hannibal’s route over the Alps, because (and this is the fun part of reading historical fiction for me) I know positively nothing about Hannibal crossing the Alps. Only that bit about elephants being involved, and now that I’m off Hannibal chasing, I will try to verify whether or not that’s a myth.

Surprisingly tricky to determine, because unlike Xenophon’s march of the 10,000 (excellent map in Xenophon’s Anabasis Loeb library edition) Hannibal’s route apparently is a source of debate and lack of certitude.

To be continued…

Missing the snow December 28, 2013

Posted by Mia in Uncategorized.
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Is it here?

There used to be snow on the blog this time of year.    But climate change has come to the blog, and there is no snow.

Forget Big Brother March 9, 2013

Posted by Mia in Uncategorized.
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We’re getting inundated with all this hype about Google Glasses.  How many people will be lining up to pay Google for the privilege of being volunteer recruits as walking-humanoid-google-streetview-cameras?  I’m no conspiracy theorist, but these GG things are hardly benign.  They’re the latest assault and invasion of personal space yet.

Plus, they so remind me of that Star Trek episode — you know, the one where everyone is wearing a game headset and getting addicted to sucking those creepy little funnels into the holes.  Until no one on the Enterprise is doing anything else but feed their addiction to this game.

The images and video alone that would be captured by these glasses and stored on google servers, along with geo coordinates, timestamps, and google image (face) recognition?

Not a Good Idea.