As academic knowledge digitalizes, the libaries keep pace or even make the pace. The Higher Education Network of my old employer, The Guardian, has an interesting special on the future of libraries. Claire Shaw and her colleagues have done excellent work! I thought I quickly share some of the findings I came across. To sum it up: while all those libraries define their role quite differently, one thing is certain: digital technology is getting more and more important. This is what their plans are:

Nigeria pushes knowledge with electronic resources: The American University of Nigeria shows how technology can help to unlock knowledge – with the use of Open Access resources, as its director explicitly says. They train their stuff in using the technology and getting Open Access material. With an interesting outcome:
Total usage of ebooks: 2011: 1,889 / 2012: 45,442
Total usage of books 2011: 16,185 / 2012: 8,892
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For you to check out:

Tate Modern provides online resources, that accompany their public exhibitions. These resources are primarily aimed at educators to prepare for their visit and embed the exhibition into their syllabus. These packages can become solid companions, providing a next level experience of the exhibition, not limited to educators.

the activities range between hands-on exercises of drawing, collecting, name, making things and more reflective exercises the support discussion and contemplation

the activities range between hands-on exercises of drawing, collecting, name, making things and more reflective exercises the support discussion and contemplation

An educator’s pack comes in different shapes and volume. In very basic terms, it is a website or downloadable pdf with general background information on the artist and the show; splitting up the material into various over-arcing themes. There are anecdotes, trivia and biographical facts. There are various types of activities and forms of engagement, there are images and links to further reading.

educator's pack, how to become engaging and get the most out of an exhibition

educator’s pack, how to become engaging and get the most out of an exhibition

Consider this concept for other forms of publishing. Publications that facilitate thorough engagement with the content
Consider exercises to add the level of experience and emotion—a catalyst to learning

sample page

sample page

Scan from Van Ostaijen, Paul. Bezette Stad. First publication, De Sikkel, Antwerpen, 1918-1921

Scan from Van Ostaijen, Paul. Bezette Stad. First publication, De Sikkel, Antwerpen, 1918-1921

The document by Megan Hoogenboom to explore the different lives of a poem. An essay in various media.

Open source software is an important paradigm to keep ideas open to the public. But there are several dozens of licensing models that might be used. So first of all developers have to know all possible models, interpret and compare them and finally choose one. Software developers who want to publish their code under an open source license are confronted with a task that usually lawyers are in charge of. However, good advice is expensive.

As a result, only a minority of projects are licensed under an open source license according to a study which was conducted earlier this year by the lawyer Aaron Williamson. Williamson analysed GitHub repositories and found out that out of 1,692,135 code repositories 219,326 of them (14.9 %) were under any open source license. GitHub now addresses this problem. Users — when creating a new repository — are asked to choose a license model. To facilitate the choice of an open source license, there is also a website that gives guidence and examples.

HyperImage — a project of the hybrid publishing lab — which facilitates the linking of (audio)-visual objects, texts and mixed-media documents, is licensed under the open source Apache-2-License (earlier versions use SUN’s CDDL open source license).

Read the whole article on Open Source License Guide For Coders on GitHub

from rick's insightful presentation during 'economy of the commons', amsterdam 2008

from rick’s insightful presentation during ‘economy of the commons’, amsterdam 2008

Watch the presentation here.

De Balie just released Rick Prelinger’s contribution to the 2008 conference of Economy of the Commons. In his talk, Rick (Prelinger Archive/Prelinger Library and Internet Archive) outlines the evolution and importance of institutional archives in the past and turns to the present and future to question “what will enable archives to survive in a confused media and cultural landscape.”

Archives by tradition predominantly preserve and conceal rather than reveal. And according to him this needs to change and is changing. Public libraries which have an “ethic of access and a tradition of openness” are a good source of inspiration. Besides, more and more people are creating their own personal archives. This trend puts new demands on traditional institutions. “Don’t wait for people to come to the archive!” New archives (contemporary ones) go where the people are.

In order to keep the meticulously assembled and treasured collections in archives alive, the archive will need to open up – at least to some degree – and reach out to the public to invite involvement and usage. He advocates for both: to invest in preservation and digitization. The latter to make the material vastly accessible to the general public. Touch is essential: the ability to engage with digital objects in a profound and unconditional manner. Culture is preserved by being used and interwoven with contemporary developments, thinking and desire.

Talking for profit.
Rick introduces his two tier system of free and fee based access to his archival material. In fact he describes a dynamic publishing or dynamic access model. For free you get the whole chunk—an entire pdf or movie. If you pay, you get a contract, security, and the material delivered in high-res quality and its components (the elements the original material is made of). This is especially interesting for re-use, partial use and experimental application. “Segmentation adds considerable value,” he says.

Talking private collection: The Prelinger Library.
A community has built around his collection, the Prelinger Library in San Francisco. A physical space where its members can engage with the material. Rick calls it a procreation friendly environment, where the members (and anyone can become one, really) extract, copy, remix, create, distribute and share. Interventions are the norm: readings, social collecting, home movie day, etc. They also host small residencies where scholars and artists can work with the collection and integrate it in their work. Every Wednesday the collection opens to everyone. This regular time-space window allowed for the community to form naturally.

A few side notes.
The entire contribution on Sustainable Images for the Future (a part of Economy of the Commons) might provide interesting entry points – even from the perspective of 2008. Presenters were (among many) Kenneth Goldsmith (ubuweb), Rick Prelinger, Images for the Future, Filmmuseum Amsterdam, etc. For the latest economy of the commons visit here:

The dossier on De Balie’s archiving initiative can be found here:

During the conference (the one in 2008) I first learned about Images For The Future, an ambitious project, run by four Dutch organizations to preserve, restore, digitize and provide a vast amount of audiovisual heritage of the Netherlands to its citizens. Their claim: “The digitized material will be made available to education and to the public as broadly as possible.” Back then, they were considering business models that would make the archiving process self-sustainable (e.g. view/listen on demand) and the hope was, by providing material relevant to the Dutch the material would be activated and integrated and gain and sustain interest to the general public.