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

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

Thoughts on meeting Abby Blachly and reading The Long Tail

I was on a panel earlier today at the LAUNC-CH Conference, which I think went well, though I killed the conversation at one point, never a good sign. Anyway, Abby Blachly of LibraryThing was the keynote speaker, and I had the good fortune to have some conversations with her during the conference, plus have lunch together. I’ve written here about LibraryThing before, and I fear that I came across as.. Read More

Democracy is Communism

This is another spring cleaning post, last updated October 2005, apparently. But it seems appropriate to yesterday’s post. Sure, you’re saying, upon reading the title of this post. And freedom is slavery, and ignorance is strength. But actually the title of this post is the exact opposite of my real point; I was just going for the catchy title. I’ve just started to reread Eric Von Hippel’s Democratizing Innovation (on.. Read More

Niches and filters

I’m reading The Long Tail (the book, not the article), and something struck me. On p. 119, Anderson writes: As the Tail gets longer, the signal-to-noise ratio gets worse. Thus, the only way a consumer can maintain a consistently good enough signal to find what he or she wants is if the filters get increasingly powerful. I wonder if this is actually true. It seems to me that a significant.. Read More

Intellectual debates in public forums

In the latest issue of JASIST is an article by Marcia Bates, which is a response to an article by Birger Hjørland, which is a response to an article by Marcia Bates. Bates’ first article was published in 2006; Hjørland’s article was published in 2007; Bates’ second article was published in 2008. First of all, let me say that I love these sorts of exchanges. First, in a schadenfreude kind.. Read More

Cost of collaborative development?

Today in our faculty reading group we read the Report of The Library of Congress Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control. In that report there are many comments along the lines that we need more data on the costs of various library functions, and there’s a whole section on the Web as Infrastructure. And that made me think: how much does it cost to develop resources collaboratively? If.. Read More

Thoughts on one very small part of Weinberger’s Henderson Lecture

I went to see David Weinberger‘s talk on campus earlier today, and this post is a reaction to that. Before I go down that road though, let me just say that I really enjoyed the talk. I just finished reading Small Pieces Loosely Joined maybe 2 days ago. So that’s fresh in my mind, and of course I haven’t yet read his next book, Everything is Miscellaneous, because it isn’t.. Read More