May 4, 2006

Ups and Downs of Information Abundance

The Chronicle of Higher Education had two information technology briefs back to back that reflect the difficulty of being in a liminal period between information paradigms. During medieval times and before, information was in the hands of a very small portion of the population and it was hard to be a part of that elite, controlled as it was by gender and religion. Now we have an age of information abundance that builds on the development of printing and the spread of literacy. The first dealt with a security breach:

"A COMPUTER-SECURITY BREACH at Ohio University exposed personal information on 300,000 alumni and faculty and staff members for more than a year, campus officials said this week. Among the data were more than 137,000 Social Security numbers, and the names and addresses of donors to the university." SEE

The second was a good news story, but underlying it is the same issue of abundant information:

" TWO MAJOR NONPROFIT LIBRARY GROUPS -- the OCLC Online Computer Library Center and the Research Library Group--plan to merge this summer. The library world's two largest resource catalogs, RLG's Union Catalog and OCLC's WorldCat, will be combined." SEE

As a major reseach university, we're in the business of making new knowledge as well as helping increase access to information--managing and harnassing information abundance. We haven't found a balance yet between private and public or ways for private to remain private.

Posted by bwahlstr at May 4, 2006 9:20 AM