Wikipedia as shared worldview

I’m still reading Here Comes Everybody. On p. 279, Shirky writes: Wikipedia, which looks like a reference work to the average viewer, is in fact a bureaucracy given over mainly to arguing. The articles are the residue of the argument, being the last thing anyone declined to disagree about. This made me think: in other words, Wikipedia is a massive experiment in shared understanding of the world. Shirky discusses “shared.. Read More

Membership has its privileges

I’ve been doing some weird things to prepare for teaching the Library 2.0 course in the Spring: I recently finished reading Teaching As a Subversive Activity, I’ve become a disciple of Howard Rheingold’s pedagogical stylings, I upgraded our free LibraryThing account to Lifetime membership. I’ve also finally caved in to my CueCat lust: I asked Y to get me one as a stocking-stuffer for the holidays. (I mean, it’s only.. Read More

Expertise swell in Wikipedia?

At the 2002 VRD conference, my now-colleague Phil Edwards (at the time we were both still mere doctoral students) presented a paper titled: Characterization of Volunteer Expertise Within the Internet Public Library Reference Service. In that study he found what he called “expertise swell.” In other words, novice IPL volunteers answer questions on a limited range of subjects (users submitting questions via the IPL’s Ask A Librarian webform can self-categorize.. Read More

Nitpicking the Google Book Search agreement

Today’s big news: Google and the Authors Guild and Association of American Publishers have come to an agreement on the lawsuit that was brought against Google in 2005 about the Google Book Search project. As usual, Jessamyn West has collected and posted an excellent set of links about this. Two sentences in particular from the Google blog post about this caught my attention: The agreement gives public and university libraries.. Read More

Empathy, 2 year olds, and the free rider problem

I heard this story on NPR recently, and then when I saw this tweet by @hrheingold, I remembered that I’d wanted to look up the article in Nature, which I did: Fehr, E., Bernhard, H., & Rockenbach, B. (2008). Egalitarianism in young children. Nature, 454(7208), 1079-1083. As the parent of a child who is deep in the throes of the Terrible Twos, I’m extremely interested in this research that shows.. Read More

Make Way for Obsessives

Now that I’ve fessed up to being bothered by the mystery bunny in Peter Rabbit, I feel a great weight lifted off my shoulders. So now it can be told… something has been bothering me for months about Make Way for Ducklings. First rabbits, now ducks? What’s your problem with cute fluffy animals, Pomerantz? This is my problem… I actually made the mistake one day of thinking about Mr. and.. Read More

Have you seen this rabbit?

Note: This is a re-post from Charlotte’s blog. You know that you’ve read a book too many times when… things like this start to bother you. Charlotte has recently rediscovered The Tale of Peter Rabbit, and now we’ve been reading it several times a day for the past week or so. So I’ve been staring at the book a lot lately. Which is my only excuse here. On page 2,.. Read More

JASIST Going Green

From the latest issue of JASIST: As of January 2008, the Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology (JASIST) will follow the green road open-access model, whereby authors publishing in the Journal are granted self-archival rights for preprints, with linking to the final article and to the online journal, as detailed next. Full text here.

Open access potential Catch-22

I’ve written here before about open access, though it’s been a while. And way back in 2005 I wrote about the Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development’s office offering small grants to cover author fees. This is great, and the maximum award of $5,000 is generous… more than enough to cover my current needs. Which brings me to… my current needs. I just had a paper accepted with minor.. Read More


I want to start this by saying that this was completely Kathleen Kern‘s idea. We were talking over dinner at LIDA last week, and she asked me, essentially, “Why isn’t there an equivalent of WorldCat for digital libraries?” I gave some lame answer: no standardization across DLs, complexity of dealing with item- and collection-level description simultaneously, cost, I don’t even remember what all I said. (In my defense, we were.. Read More