Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Wow! The Future IS Already Here!!

Thanks to Prof. Brian Baker (UDC) for this tibbit from Drexel University's "information" page on their proposed new law school. Apparently they won't even have computers at this law library: Blackberries only!
The author of the linked article got LOTS of flack for his language about the future of law libraries. In the meantime he has "seen the light" and has apparently re-written the lbrary section of the proposed law school information web-pages. Good for him! In the meantime, the language on the page is a classic example of what can happen when one lets infatuation with all things "future" run away with you. I've decided to preserve the original language with the following excerpt:

"Thirty years ago, when the last first-tier university in the United States opened a law school, the Selectric typewriter (http://www.selectric.org/selectric) was state of the art, the telefacsimile (only later known as the fax) and the word processors were still on the drawing boards, and the Internet was still just an idea in some professors’ heads. Lexis® and Westlaw® arrived on the scene in the early 1970s, offering the first commercial, full-text legal information services, but the legal profession had depended on libraries as the source of the law, and was slow to accept these innovations.

"Today, only retired partners, law firm messengers, and people needing a quiet place to think or write can be found in law libraries, as virtually all legal resources have been digitized and made accessible through electronic data library services. Today, lawyers can access the law wirelessly from their offices, or over their BlackBerries®.

"Drexel was one of the first universities in the country to go “wireless” and to require its students to have computers. It has a very successful distance learning company Drexel e-Learning, Inc., that is providing quality educational programs to Drexel’s graduate and undergraduate students, ensuring that they can take classes when they want to, from wherever they might be. And its libraries (http://www.library.drexel.edu) are both wireless and rich with resources.

"Drexel’s law library will be similarly state-of-the-art. In fact, it will be three-dimensional. First, it will have a “physical core library”. This will include the resources that the American Bar Association requires all law schools to have. It will also include special depth in those areas that will be the focal points of the law school programs - health law, intellectual property, entrepreneurial business, environmental law, elder law, and the like."

MSNBC's "Practical Futurist" Comes to Some Impractical (Albeit Interesting) Conclusions

This article, "Turning Books into Bits" is worth reading. The Practical Futurist reports some interesting facts, and makes some interesting observations; unfortunately, he reveals the subtle oxymoron of putting the words "practical" and "future" in the same sentence....

Monday, June 20, 2005

British Library Web Page Features Cool "Online Book" Display

These are more than "online books" these are full featured, fully navigable online versions of important books. They include scrolls that you can scroll through, illiminated manuscripts with maginfiers and optional commentary.... Pretty cool, eh?

Friday, June 03, 2005

Creating an "Intelligent" Web

In this interesting, if impossibly (for the web anyway) LONG article, Sam Vaknin, Ph.D., describes an interesting initiative to create creator-defined meta-data as an integral part of HTML, thus making searching "more relevant." Good idea, too. Its just that teaching cataloging and indexing principles to millions of content creators sounds like a daunting task.

But, I guess after reading Mr Vaknin's article, they'll all be convinced that boning up on and following indexing standards is the "right thing to do!" And, of course, they'll just do it.....