Saturday, June 10, 2006

Data Overload

With the difficulty of collecting good user data prevalent in library science research, I wonder about the potential for collecting digital data from library science students' classroom activities. How many times was Wikipedia quoted as an authority without qualifiers? With qualifiers? How many times were messages under three words in length? How many times were beer, British Comedies, cats, or cooking discussed?

Unfortunately, this data mining is occurring at corporations for marketing purposes, but has not been disclosed to the students if Universities are taking advantage of this great pattern seeking opportunity.

I think Google is starting to disprove the theory that the average user cannot access adequately accurate results with some practice. If my skills are better than someone with five years practice, how will I match up against someone with twenty years practice of online searching before they turned thirty?

While users rally against too much personal information being gathered, some of us voluntarily seek more storage space to accumulate our mass amounts of data or sign up for websites to share our data with others. I am even willing to pay for sites now to get rid of advertising or have more room for my files. The opportunity of the average person to make honest money on the web is there too.

I worry for the music industry trying to catch someone's attention when the average teenager just starting to get into rock and roll already has access to 10,000 GB of music in their house from their parents' first decade of online music sharing. At least here I have faith in print: circulation statistics are up, and even teenagers don't seem enthusiastic about reading books online (and we have the classics, available for free 24/7 on your computer, with your library card number)

File under loads of classist assumptions and futuristic thinking. Or at least, I love the library for actually working on this service to the public.

ALA asks library supporters to contact their Representatives immediately and ask them to support libraries by supporting net neutrality.

A Nation Online: Entering the Broadband Age It would have been nice to survey people who use the internet at the public library and not just home/office/school users! Again, public library privacy policies lean away from this kind of data gathering, but now that I saw the Census figures I'm curious about our own internet accessing population.

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