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.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Blogging at Sourthern Baptist Theological Seminary

3 MDiv students at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary have created a compendium of blogs from students, faculty, staff, and alumni at SBTS. Their website is: and has no official relationship with SBTS.

Blogs on their site are organized by the status of their creators, ie student, faculty/staff, or alumni. They also feature a weekly summary of blogs and they have a well said page for what they consider to be the best material. Finally the editors also have a list of user expectations the first two rules are that all blogs honor Christ and that bloggers must use their real names.

Clearly the intent is to engage in constructive dialogue and avoid destructive flame wars, however this portal provides a powerful platform to both promote and enhance the educational community of the school as well as to give publicity to personal grievances. Efforts such as this make it harder for schools to control their public image.

While I'm sure that makes some PR staff nervous, I think that this takes the function of the alumni magazine and greatly increases its power and effectiveness. This provides an exciting way for the members of a community to stay in touch and continue to dialogue with one another. It also give administrators a more direct feedback loop on how what the community is thinking and reacting too. It will be interesting to see if something similar emerges for our school and how it is received if (when) it does.

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Thursday, July 05, 2007

Captcha with a purpose

Captcha is the name for the distorted words that you have to enter on some websites, such as ticketmaster or blogger, to verify that you are a real person and not an automated bot.

Wired magazine reports in the July 2007 issue (article not online) that the inventor of captchas, Luis von Ahn, is creating a new version of captchas that include two fuzzy words. One word is the control word used by the computer to verify a human user but the other is a word from Internet Archive's book scanning project, the optical recognition software failed to indentify. A pretty ingenious way to clean up a scanned text, in my humble opinion.