Digital Libraries as Phenotypes for Digital Societies, Gary Marchionini. #ECDL 2009

NOTE: Live-blogging. Getting things wrong. Missing points. Omitting key information. Introducing artificial choppiness. Over-emphasizing small matters. Paraphrasing badly. Not running a spellpchecker. Mangling other people’s ideas and words. Posted without re-reading. You are warned, people. (thanks for this, Dave!)

Gary Marchionini is professor in the School of Information ad Library Science.
His interests are related in Interfaces taht support seeking and IR.
What is most remarkable is his capacity to anticipate what the users need in the information seeking activities and his ability to face in advance most relevant scientific open problems, solving them in a timely and elegant way.

DL reflects who we are and what we value. Physical libraries are cathedral of knowledge,
learning and thus power. DLs give us a lens on what are we becoming in the digital age.
(Everything is recorded for Second Life as well. :-))

Digital Societies are determined by topic/interest rather than geography.
Depending on electronic infrastructure.
* Shared information resources
* Mass distribution and propagation of primary objects.
DS are driven by weak ties (ie blogs, fb, twitter VS families and friendship)
Extreme diversity.

Genotype: genetic constitution of an organism.
Phenotype: expression of genetic and environmental factors in observable charateristics.

Libraries are social organisms.
They have foundational missions and policies that reflect their institutional genetics.
Influenced by environmental conditions that affect their collections and services (phonotypes)
DL offer broader kinds of collections and services (different phenotypes)

DL responds to digital environment.

DL are active workspaces in which many stakeholders participate
* Multimedia streams rather than files/objects
* Systems exhibit behaviour (dinamic and interactive; computational, memorial)
* End user interactions: contributions; annotation/tags; crowd sourcing — these become part of the collection and must also be managed
People comment, react, react to commet and comment to reactions… and this too have to be managed.

Sharium workspace. DL are more like laboratories, rather than static libraries/archives.
Contribution: metadata or annotation or tag. DL is a platform to express yourself.
Various examples: http://valley.lib.virginia.edu — contributions solicited physically
http://arxiv.org — registered users, contributor responsability. Huge success.

http://ibiblio.org/index.htmlhttp://europeana.eu/portal/ — member established libraries, end user feedback (only), not active contribution from users.
Wikipedia: evolving policies (:-D) Example of the future, ina a way. Anybody can edit, total openness. Extremely rich resource, enormous amount of quality. Wikipedia has to adjust and evolve its policies.

Key challenges to DLs
Content and Context: Selection and Management
Preservation
Managing participation and Services

Content collection Genetics
– Born digital VS hybrids that evolved from traditional libraries
– Highly specialized colletions

Born digital variants: curated by expertise (Perseus), by expertise+opportunity (ICDL), user contributed with no curation (ibiblio), user contributed with community curation (Wikipedia), computed (CiteSeer).

Context
Not only the DL objets evolve, but also many layers of contexts evolve
Context is manifested through USE that is made harvestable by Cyberinfrastructure

Content, Metadata & Context: Boundaries?
Probably less than before. In real world, we have a content package, and inside the file/video. Not in the digital world.
As time goes on, the “packages” acquire lot of things (annotations, history, comments, usage, links).
Boundaries are more and more fuzzy.

Preservation is hot.
What is worth preserving?
Genes (genotypes) VS expressions (phenotypes)
Expertise VS long tail of inputs coming from the world. Those are really changing the world (Hail to Marchionini!! :-))
Example of metos and diet coke video. Why that is important? Worth preserving? Of course, is a media phenomenon, it’s important.
What context to include? This is the challenge. Future scholars will have to understand us.
Who decides?
Who pays?
Storage model (replication, migration, emulation). Interoperability issues, format issues, obsolescence.
Storage policies

Preservation challenges
In physics, there are petabytes per day.
Hollywood film: 2-10 pb, at least one per day created. The archival desiderata are 100 years. It cost 500$ per terabyte per year. Uh.
It’s mind-blowing.
New verification methods and cost (it’s impossible to read and verify exobytes…)
What about ephemera? Second Life, interactions, World of Worcrafts??

What about services?
Reference is the search engine and UI.
Question answering systems (Yahoo answers, Naver)
Patrons are no longer socially grounded in the library. They have multiple identities.
The digital tie is intrensically weak. In real life people hare linked with their physical libraries, in the net that DL is the same as every other DL.

Global reach of DLs also means full diversity of human experience (phenotypes). It’s not just language. the problems is not knowing your patrons (in a DL).

DL expertise

Subject expertise
canon
trends/opportunities

Technology expertise
storage model and trends, network models, costs and trends
upgrade, security

Policy expertise
license negotiation
open publishing standard trends
imprimatur management

DLibrarians are not just psycilogist, bibliophiles, tekkis. They have a broader sight and expertise.

DL Model Clash
Inside out: core is curated by expert stakeholders, content added with deliberation

Managing the Clash
parallel services
Distinct services qith referral
Integrated services with levels of Blessedness (expert and/or community curated, no curated at all)

Human-Machine Relationships
Symbiotic relationships with machines and extant data that no individual can collect alone.
Genomic databases
Gamma ray burst, cyclotron output
dance performance recordings
massivley parallel online games

We ALREADY trust machines with our lives (eg trasportation), why no on cultural heritage?

Personal and cultural Identituy

We are creating our identities also wit our bit streams (sensor streams, click streams, and personal histories), we are someone, maybe more than one,
also on the web. Therefore, a DL could have the problem to own and store our data. It recapitulates our personal networks. DLs can become trusted personal repositories.
– Implications for privacy
– Implications for identity

Projections+Reflections=Proflections. We don’t know about those. So many of them are below the surface.
Pros and cons of digital life on our real life. We feel good or birthday messages on Facebook, feel really bad for a message we sent to a list that was supposed to be intimate and for one person only. Real and virtual are really much blurred now.

Centralization is a traditional way to look at digital libraries. (but actually not…)

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