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robertogreco : aswemaythink   2

Are.na / Blog – Towards A Library Without Walls
"Collaboration has also become key to the way we conceive associative indexing on today’s version of the Internet, which could not have been anticipated by Bush at today’s scale. In “As We May Think,” Bush does acknowledge the possibility of sharing links generated by the Memex in the example of a researcher reproducing a trail on the Turkish bow for inclusion in a colleague’s “more general” trail.6 However, the scale of a hypertextual tool such as Are.na, which has over 20,000 users, far exceeds the one-to-one exchange Bush envisioned for his Memex, with significant implications for associative indexing. This phenomenon has its own neologism, “crowdsourcing,” wherein large numbers of users, most typically through the Internet, contribute to an information platform, as seen widely from commercial endeavors such as Google-owned Waze to non-profit projects such as Wikipedia. The relative advantages and disadvantages of crowdsourcing for knowledge production are the subject of much literature but could be briefly alluded to here in terms of diversity of material, collective intelligence, increased scale, and lack of consolidated control. But at its most promising, crowdsourcing creates the potential for rich communities that can form around information sharing, as is well articulated by Paul Duguid and John Seely Brown writing on the social life of information:
“[D]ocuments do not merely carry information, they help make it, structure it, and validate it. More intriguing, perhaps, documents also help structure society, enabling social groups to form, develop, and maintain a sense of shared identity. Viewing documents as mere information carriers overlooks this social role.”7
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"Considering the ways in which Are.na operates within a community of artists and culturally-engaged individuals, contrasting Are.na with Bush’s Memex highlights the importance of conceiving how knowledge forms, knowledge tools, and knowledge communities all interplay with one another. By acknowledging other forms of knowledge beyond the scientific and better understanding the role sociality plays in our contemporary experience of information, we can better define what constitutes information and how best to describe, classify, organize, and make it accessible as librarians. Rather than prioritizing static information, fixed organization, and solitary experiences as the conventional library environment is known to do, those of us who work in LIS can adopt the more boundless strategies that we encounter in hypertextual tools such as Are.na for the benefit of the communities that we serve, essentially working towards becoming a library without the brick walls that Lampland and Star refer to in regards to infrastructure that fails to serve user needs. Parallel to thinking about what Are.na might mean for librarianship, we can look to extant projects such as the Prelinger Library and the Sitterwerk’s Kunstbibliothek, whose methods for organizing their material also exist as an alternative to more traditionally-organized libraries.

So to expand on Sam’s question and its inverse: What could a reference interview that uses Are.na look like? What would happen if books in an OPAC were nodes that could be linked by users? And what if the discovery tools we design actually encouraged research that is social, elusive, and nonlinear?"
are.na  libraries  internet  web  online  2017  karlywildenhaus  mlis  archives  archiving  marthalampland  susanleighstar  hypercad  hypertext  vannevarbush  paulotlet  tednelson  stéphanemallarmé  knowledge  information  clissification  taxonomy  accessibility  librarians  social  memex  paulduguid  johnseelybrown  crowdsourcing  aswemaythink  connections  collaboration 
june 2018 by robertogreco
Casey A. Gollan: Notes + Links: Weeks 12, 13, and almost 14
"Nelson and Bush seem to get pretty hung up on technical (or even mechanical) hurdles rather than conceptual ones. There’s a lot of fussing about, in Bush’s case, how to shuffle microfilm around quickly, or in Nelson’s case, complicated server configurations. It reminds me of how characters in sci-fi movies park their hovercars to go use a payphone. These inventors are willing to imagine radically different worlds but can’t let go of the most banal limitations. And the things they lamented not having are no longer pipe dreams! Reading their texts in 2012, there appears to be no reason why a Memex or Xanadu can’t exist, other than that they just don’t. It seems like Nelson specficially, who I guess is still working, is too smart for his own good. Too wrapped up in the details of his obsessions. “It seemed so simple and clear to me then. It still does,” he writes, “But…I mistook a clear view for a short distance.” If perfectionism can be said to plague Nelson’s projects, it must also be acknowledged that it’s his philosophy of choice. I was shocked to read his justification for why Xanadu must be built from scratch, completely and perfectly: “Existing systems do not combine well; hooking them together creates something like the New York subway system.” … Perhaps the problems that bogged Nelson down indefinitely only reveal themselves in time, but I wonder if somebody with more distance or a less stubborn idea of the right way to build things could actually build the thing — even if it isn’t perfect. I also never realized that Bush thought a lot more about interfaces than Nelson, who basically rejected them entirely (at least as far as I’ve read): "How you will look at this world when it is spreadeagled on your screen is your own business: you control it by your choice of screen hardware, by your choice of viewing program, by what you do as you watch, but the structure of the world—the system of interconnections of its stored materials—is the same from screen to screen, no matter how a given screen may show it." … Nelson’s decoupling of backend and frontend is pretty profound. It underscores the base-ness of his ideas: he’s talking about different structures for writing and thinking, not just presenting plain old content in a style that evokes structure. There is not necessarily a visual difference between these two things but conceptually it is huge. Even if the real problems lie in data structures, I can’t help but gravitate towards the descriptive aspects and imagine tools I’d want to use. I love Nelson’s vision of computers as “a waterworks for the mind”: "Your computer screen will be the spigot—or shower nozzle—that dispenses what you need when you turn the handle. But that system must be based on the fluidity of thought—not just its crystallized and static form, which, like water’s, is hard and cold and goes nowhere.""
tednelson  vannevarbush  computers  computing  design  2012  caseygollan  literarymachines  aswemaythink 
may 2012 by robertogreco

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