Monday, December 31, 2007

Hall's Pond

Originally uploaded by martin_kalfatovic
Hall's Pond, in Brookline, Mass., is a former cedar swamp that after years of development, is being returned to a more natural state (in the middle of a very urban environment)

National Library of Addiction

Originally uploaded by martin_kalfatovic
There is a library for just about everything!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Card Catalog

Originally uploaded by martin_kalfatovic
Card catalog at the Massachusetts State Library in the State Capitol

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Hundreds of New Species

Number 4 on Time Magazine's Top 10 Scientific discoveries of 2007 was a report from Nature that over 700 new species were discovered in the deep waters off Antarctica:

Scientists announced in the journal Nature this May that they had discovered 700 new species of organisms — including carnivorous sponges and giant sea spiders — some 2,300 ft. to 19,700 ft. (700 m to 6,000 m) down in the Weddell Sea off Antarctica. Scientists also reported the identification of 24 new species in an isolated area of Suriname, where the exploration for bauxite, which is used to make aluminum, led to the discovery of 12 dung beetles, an ant species, six species of fish and five new frogs, including one with fluorescent purple markings. Other fauna finds include a legless amphibian near Goa, India; 11 new species of plants and animals in central Vietnam's tropical "green" corridor; a new monkey in Uganda; a sucker-footed bat in Madagascar; a clouded leopard in Sumatra and Borneo, and a sea cucumber off the coast of Taiwan, nicknamed "Little Strawberry."

Big Cliff at CNI

Clifford Lynch appears larger than life on screen at the closing plenary session of the Fall 2007 CNI meeting in Washington.

Monday, December 10, 2007

CNI Task Force meeting - Tom and Carl

Carl Lagoze gave a talk at the Fall CNI Task Force meeting where he unveiled the alpha version of the new OAI-ORE (OAI-Object Reuse and Exchange) protocol. See more at

Tom Garnett and Neil Sarkar will give a presentation on the Biodiversity Heritage Library at the session on December 11.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Sexier than a librarian ...

Originally uploaded by martin_kalfatovic
A version of the controversial Sony Reader ad; this one is a backlit ad on the Washington Metro.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

National Library of Pakistan

Today I met with Muhammad Nazir, Director General of the National Library of Pakistan. Mr. Nazir was on a Department of State organized visit to the United States. Mr. Nazir met with myself and senior Smithsonian Libraries' staff to discuss the relationship of museums and libraries and also various digitization projects underway at the Smithsonian.

Quote of the Day: December 4, 2007

In the Google worldview, content is individually valueless. No one page is more important than the next; the value lies in the page view. And a page view is a page view, regardless of whether the page in question has a picture of a cat, a single link to another site, or the full text of Freakonomics. When all you're selling is ad space, the value shifts from the content to the viewer. And ultimately the content is valued at nothing. And here, finally, is the larger problem posed by Google's actions. Books are not in any important sense user-centric. Whether or not a book has readers matters little. Books stand on their own, over time, as ideas and creations. In the world of books, it is the ideas and the authors that matter most, not the readers. That is why the copyright exists in the first place, to protect the value of these created works, a value which Google is trying mightily to deny.

Google and Its Enemies
The much-hyped project to digitize 32 million books sounds like a good idea. Why are so many people taking shots at it?
by Jonathan V. Last
The Weekly Standard
12/10/2007, Volume 013, Issue 13

Emphasis added to the above quote. If a book has no readers, does it really have value? Is it the potential of readers (somewhere at some point far off in the long tail) that gives value to a book? By the very act of publishing (in the traditional mediated manner of print or other "authorities") there is at least one reader (the publisher/editor). In the world of Web 2.0 publishing creation happens and maybe no one ever sees it (hello out there, is anyone reading this? If you are, thank you! I give you value!), does that have value? I wonder.