Information and the Future

This is the blog of the Information and the Future task force of the Rolfing Library at Trinity International University. The IF task force exists to explore the role of libraries in the future of Christian higher education.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Sarah Houghton-Jan (aka LibrarianInBlack) posted a notice about the web site MapLib lets you load pictures onto the web and then enhance it with Google map navigation and notation tools.

For example look at this image of Middle Earth. An example of how we could use this would be scanning a picture of the library's floor plan and then adding notes about the different locations (current periodicals, periodical stacks, reference, ILL, study rooms, etc.). Apparently you can take your "map" from and add it to your website. I think professors might also be able to use this for classes on History or Biblical Studies. What could Dr. Beitzel do with this?

I read the Google Terms of Service and they say that, "The Google Services are made available for your personal, non-commercial use only." It is clear they don't want you to make money off of the technology they've developed with out a contract with them but I'm not sure about educational uses of technology.

Friday, December 15, 2006

The Gutenberg Elegies

Information of the Future Task Force

12/15/06 Meeting Minutes

The Gutenberg Elegies

Rob Krapohl led a discussion on The Gutenberg Elegies by Birkerts. He read an excerpt from the chapter “Death of Literature” which was a summary of Birkerts’ argument. It spoke about how technology is antithetical to inwardness, and how he values the state a book puts him in more than the content.


  • Birkerts seemed to have a limited historical perspective on literature – just bound to its novelistic development. This may make it harder to accept different developments in literature. For example, Hamlet was meant to be performed, not read.
  • The current trends could be a corrective to the overly inward perspective of the modern age, which was individualistic and separate from others. There could be a move toward the communal.
  • Birkerts seemed to view reading as a secular transformative experience – perhaps a substitute for spiritual transformation through Bible reading and prayer.
  • In the past, people had more time for reading. Deep reading is difficult for modern people. They don’t have patience to work through the long descriptions of a novel.
  • Throughout history, there have been readers and non-readers, and people like different things and get different things out of reading.
  • Modern people have more difficulty with nuanced arguments.
  • We seem to be losing the physical world as life becomes more digital.
  • Birkerts could be entrenched in the modern world view of the Enlightenment, which is individualistic, and therefore may have a strong reaction to the postmodernism of the electronic age. The Internet could either promote community, or more isolation at the computer.
  • Can we use technology to promote art and literature? Students seem to be connecting more to digital than to books. They experience things disconnected from context – songs separate from the albums, video scenes separate from the whole movie.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Next Generation OPACs

Casey Bisson from Plymouth State University recently was awarded the Mellon Award for Technology Collaboration for creating a blog based OPAC known as WPOPAC (for Word Press OPAC).

You can search the WPOPAC here. You will see that each record is blog page that includes reviews from Amazon and potentially comments from patrons. It also includes cover art and other more traditional catalog features such as subject and author links.

Another OPAC that is currently being discussed is the Koha open sourced ILS' OPAC. See what I think is a good looking example here. This OPAC looks more like our OPAC but includes a "refine your search" column, RSS feeds for searches that notify you when new books arrive on a topic or in a call number range, and Amazon cover art and reviews. I also think their MARC view is nifty. Apparently Koha is very customizable and this is just one flavor of it.

Finally, FYI Amy Ostrom posted a laundry list of what she would like in a future OPAC to the NGC4LIB (Next Generation Catalog for Libraries) listserve. This list has sparked quite a conversation and has now been posted here. It is on the bottom of this wiki page.

Friday, December 08, 2006

CARLI blog

CARLI has just launched a new blog. So far only two posts but you may want to keep an eye on it as it could become an important tool for tracking the direction of the consortia.

btw the most recent CARLI post is about a new LC sponsored group to examine the future of bibliographic control. I'm sure we'll be hearing more about this group as 2007 gets underway.