WikiLeaks is certainly not the first whistle-blower organization, this has a long history; however, it has a high profile because it comes at a time when technology has created instant news and an immediate global reach. Researchers need information and good data and these documents have already lead to some published, peer-review assessments. Once the dust settles, it will be interesting to see what the long-term impact of this is. Certainly, the government will be tightening down their security procedures and hopefully somehow we might see increased transparency as officials realize that making information public still has value in a democratic society. I was able to write up a brief summary about WikiLeaks for Information Today's NewsBreaks on "WikiLeaks-A Critical Catalyst, But for What End?" that was just posted today. I learned a lot from some very interesting, smart people. I'd be interested in your comments as well!
December 2010 Archives
I was fortunate to be asked to write a news piece on the December 6th opening of the Google ebookstore for Information Today's NewsBreaks section. The open access article, titled "Google's eBookstore Takes Ebooks to the Next Level," is available at their site. This new ebook entrant is a true game-changer for the ebook industry - and for publishing and libraries.
Google has deep pockets to fund ventures, an existing vault of millions of scanned books in Google Book, the standard search engine and extensive experience with web advertising and metrics. The industry itself - from the American Booksellers Association to competitors like Amazon, Borders and Barnes & Noble were quick to react.
How this will all work out is still to be determined, but we are clearly entering a new era of publishing, retailing and information use and sales. Libraries need to be paying close attention - after all cities and institutions are re-evaluating the role and cost of libraries, such as Camden New Jersey's recent proposal to close their public libraries. In this economy, libraries and their staffs and services are vulnerable.
You might want to give the article a quick read. I think this is critically important to the future of information, libraries, information access and reading. Your thoughts?
"This rising expectation about news delivery is significant in terms of understanding what is happening to news sources in the Internet Age." So begins an interview I did in 2009 with the University of Minnesota School of Journalism and Mass Communication faculty Nora Paul and Kathy Hansen. Libraries try to keep up with access to news information for our research communities - but it's getting harder to find, access and maintain critical resources. And, no, it isn't all on the web.
Harvard's Richard Darnton, in one of his New York Review of Books blogs recently suggested the need to establish a "Digital Public Library of America" as a way to "a general transformation of the landscape in what we now call the information society. Rather than better business plans (not that they don't matter), we need a new ecology, one based on the public good instead of private gain." His comments are certainly resonating in the information community. You might want to give it a read.
Here is the interview that I did with Nora and Kathy and was published as:
"If the News is That Important, It Will Find Me," SEARCHER 17(4): 22-32, April, 2009.Future News.Interview.Final copy.pdf