A National Digital Platform: Tools for Innovation.

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A National Digital Platform: Tools for Innovation. Martin R. Kalfatovic. IMLS Focus. New York Public Library. 29 April 2014.

A National Digital Platform: Tools for Innovation. Martin R. Kalfatovic. IMLS Focus. New York Public Library. 29 April 2014.

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  • At the Paris Exposition of 1900, Smithsonian Secretary S.P. Langley led historian Henry Adams through the halls of the exposition ... Langley introduced Adams to the Dynamo, the electrical generator that would define our current era in its reliance on electricity:
  • To him [SP Langley], the dynamo itself was but an ingenious channel for conveying somewhere the heat latent in a few to tons of poor coal hidden in a dirty engine-house carefully kept out of sight; Education of Henry Adams (The Dynamo and the Virgin), Henry Adams, 1918
  • but to Adams the dynamo became a symbol of infinity." Education of Henry Adams (The Dynamo and the Virgin), Henry Adams, 1918
  • But back to the dynamo. Today, the lowl, dynamo, is one of the key tools that powers our innovation and I want to use that as an example of the principles we need for tools in our current information-based environment.
  • Ubiquitous.
    In our current world, so many of our tools are ubuquitous, powered by unseen electricty and networked connectivity, we are shocked with they fail or we're in a spot where some ubiquity is non-existent.
    The tool needs to be everywhere, readily accessible, and available widely.
    The tools need to be ubiquitous.
  • Transparent.
    The tool needs to be part of the user experience, not something that calls attention to itself; the tool is a means, not an end.
    The dynamo, or other means of generating electricity for our modern devices are invisible except when things go wrong.
    The tools must be transparent.
  • Integrated
    Tools for innovation must be tools that work in a larger ecosystem;
  • Integrated
    the greatest tool is useless unless it has something to work with;
  • Integrated
    A hammer is useless, and sometimes dangerous if you don't have a nail.
  • Integrated
    The tools must be integrated
  • Image: “Charge Books Here” (Flickr). Quote: “What changed the ebook scene was not the actual device but the emergence of a networked ecosystem of which the device was just one component. The significant thing about Amazon's Kindle was not that it was an e-reader but that it was a networked device to which texts could be quickly and effortlessly downloaded from Amazon's online store.” John Naughton in The Guardian (8 Feb 2014)
  • And I should add one more element, which is more a process, to this requirements set, iteration.
  • We need to revisit our tools and their purposes. One of the greatest tools of the 20th century was the printed phonebook.
  • “The result of a year’s work depends more on what is struck out than on what is left in; on the sequence of the main lines of thought, than on their play or variety.” Henry Adams, The Education of Henry Adams (1918).
  • Adams' exploration of the Virgin and the Dynamo took him a lifetime ... our tools for today will take many hands to build and we need to open our digital library content to those tool makers.
  • … tools that will energize, synthisize, and more importantly, equalize our world.
  • And unlike for Adams' dynamo, we don't have grand showcases like the great word expositions of the past ...
  • ... but we do have what I think is a close facsimile - at least in terms of technology - and that's the Consumer Electronics Show (CES)
  • Let's make certain the tools are as good as the content in our national digital collections.
  • “The world has arrived at an age of cheap complex devices of great reliability; and something is bound to come of it” Vannevar Bush (1945)

Transcript

  • 1. At the Paris Exposition of 1900, Smithsonian Secretary S.P. Langley led historian Henry Adams through the halls of the exposition ... Langley introduced Adams to the Dynamo, the electrical generator that would define our current era in its reliance on electricity:
  • 2. “To him [Langley], the dynamo itself was but an ingenious channel for conveying somewhere the heat latent in a few tons of poor coal hidden in a dirty engine-house carefully kept out of sight ...” Smithsonian Secretary, Samuel Pierpont Langley Henry Adams. The Education of Henry Adams (1918)
  • 3. “...but to Adams the dynamo became a symbol of infinity." Henry Adams Henry Adams. The Education of Henry Adams (1918)
  • 4. But back to the dynamo. Today, the lowly, dynamo, is one of the key tools that powers our innovation and I want to use that as an example of the principles we need for tools in our current information-based environment.
  • 5. Tools for the National Digital Platform must be...
  • 6. In our current world, so many of our tools are ubuquitous, powered by unseen electricty and networked connectivity, we are shocked with they fail or we're in a spot where some ubiquity is non- existent. The tool needs to be everywhere, readily accessible, and available widely. The tools need to be ubiquitous.
  • 7. The dynamo, or other means of generating electricity for our modern devices are invisible except when things go wrong. The tools must be transparent. The tool needs to be part of the user experience, not something that calls attention to itself; the tool is a means, not an end.
  • 8. Tools for innovation must be tools that work in a larger ecosystem;
  • 9. Tools for innovation must be tools that work in a larger ecosystem; the greatest tool is useless unless it has something to work with;
  • 10. Tools for innovation must be tools that work in a larger ecosystem; the greatest tool is useless unless it has something to work with; A hammer is useless, and sometimes dangerous if you don't have a nail.
  • 11. The tools must be integrated.
  • 12.  The best tool will work across borders, but more importantly, work across modes of activity. Tools should be part of the cycle that captures data, processes it, converts it to new information and sends it back into the cycle again.
  • 13. “What changed the ebook scene was not the actual device but the emergence of a networked ecosystem of which the device was just one component. The significant thing about Amazon's Kindle was not that it was an e-reader but that it was a networked device to which texts could be quickly and effortlessly downloaded from Amazon's online store.” John Naughton in The Guardian (8 Feb 2014)
  • 14. And I should add one more element, which is more a process, to this requirements set, iteration.
  • 15. We need to revisit our tools and their purposes. One of the greatest tools of the 20th century was the printed phonebook.
  • 16. Tim Welch / https://flic.kr/p/wAs3S Today, the phonebook is an unwanted visitor, scorned and tossed in the trash as soon as it arrives.
  • 17. “The result of a year’s work depends more on what is struck out than on what is left in; on the sequence of the main lines of thought, than on their play or variety.” Henry Adams Henry Adams. The Education of Henry Adams (1918)
  • 18. Adams' exploration of the Virgin and the Dynamo took him a lifetime ... our tools for today will take many hands to build and we need to open our digital library content to those tool makers.
  • 19. As our National Digital Platform grows, what tools will be built, not only by us, but by our users …
  • 20. … tools that will energize, synthisize, and more importantly, equalize our world.
  • 21. And unlike for Adams' dynamo, we don't have grand showcases like the great word expositions of the past ...
  • 22. ... but we do have what I think is a close facsimile - at least in terms of technology - and that's the Consumer Electronics Show (CES)
  • 23. Let's make certain the tools are as good as the content in our national digital collections.
  • 24. “The world has arrived at an age of cheap complex devices of great reliability; and something is bound to come of it” Vannevar Bush (1945)
  • 25. Let's make the most of it!
  • 26. Thank You!