Surviving info tsunami: How can Librarians help? Nalaka Gunawardene - 11 March 2013
Surviving Info Tsunami:How Can Librarians Help? By Nalaka Gunawardene Science Writer, Blogger & ICT Watcher nalakagunawardene.com Twitter: NalakaGTalk to Sri Lanka Library Association (SLAA) Colombo, 11 March 2013
Coverage… My Quest for info & knowledge As science writer & journalist As Quizkid turned Quizmaster ICT-enabled info researching in SL: origins & evolution (late 1980s todate) Changing info habits of our society Many challenges of Information Society Value addition by Librarians? Must you become ‘Cybrarians’?
Info Tsunami Deluge inevitableOur Choice: Do we sink or swim?
Info Tsunami Deluge inevitableOur Choice: Do we sink or swim?
My premise… Librarians trained as info navigators & info managers Such skills are needed by ALL in today’s Info Society Librarians can show us how we can all SWIM, not sink BUT today’s info needs: personalised, customised One facility can’t serve all
Larger context:Old & New co-exist in Sri Lanka… Analog info technologies & media still strong in SL Digital media uses rising and consolidating Also: Hybrid media types ICTs racing ahead, but... Society, culture & govt policies still catching up… Tensions/ apprehensions normal in such situations!
My Life is Full of Questions! As a science journalist & broadcaster, I ask many questions – often without knowing answers… As a quizmaster, I ask questions for which I have verified all answers… BOTH involve quest for info & knowledge!
My Knowledge Questin Quizzing Quiz Kid (1980 – 1986), engaged in inter-school general knowledge contests Quiz Compiler & Quiz Master (1990 – todate) Both require: Authentic,accurate info Trusted sources Knowing where to look
Searching for informationin pre-Internet 1980s & 1990s… Relying on private & public sources: Newspapers Local magazines Int. news magazines Almanacs Encyclopaedias Other reference books Itwasn’t easy, but hard quest was part of the fun…an obstacle course!
British Council Library in Colombo has served Lankans since1949. This photo was taken in 1967
Lanka’s Original ‘Search Engines’:Two senior journalists!Tribute to 2 ‘giants’ whoaccessed, distilled &shared global knowledgein local languages Edwin Ariyadasa (left) Percy Jayamanne (right)Far more effective thanofficial encyclopaedias!
My own search for info/knowledge,as powered by ICTs: 1987 - 2013 FirstWave: CD-ROMs running on early PCs; no Internet Second Wave: Narrowband Internet; limited search Third Wave: Broadband & mobile Internet; greater use of search; multimedia content online Fourth Wave: Rise of social media: blogs, twitter, Facebook, etc.
First ICT Wave:CD-ROMs From early 1990s Compact Text + images + audio + video Machine- searchable!!! Sign of oncoming info deluge… Photo by Louie Psihoyos, www.psihoyos.com
Second ICT Wave: Narrowband Internet Commercial Internet services in Sri Lanka: April 1995 First few years: dial-up connections, slow & mostly text Early search engines: keyword- enabled quest for info New skill for searching, i.e. knowing WHAT to ask & exactly HOW to ask!
Third ICT Wave: Broadband & mobile Internet Broadband Internet in SL: from around 2003 on… Always-on, no more dial-up! Faster speeds multimedia content access possible Video online: picks up from 2006 (YouTube & other) Internet telephony: Skype & other services
Internet Use in Sri Lanka (1996-2012)http://www.trc.gov.lk/statistics/statistical-overview.html
Mobile phone subscribers inSri Lanka: 1991 – 2012 This is the wayhttp://www.trc.gov.lk/statistics/statistical-overview.html
Fourth ICT Wave: Social Media Broadband Internet: from around 2003 on Always-on, no more dial-up! Faster speeds multimedia content access Video online: picks up from 2006 (YouTube & other) Internet telephony: Skype & other services
What are Social Media?Online media based on: conversations interactions between people.May involve:digital words/sounds/images,video/combination
Confessions of a Digital Immigrant I grew up & started working before digital age Had to learn & adapt to digital early-career Don’t claim to be an expert, but: New media watcher & commentator since 1996 Blogging since early 2007 Tweeting since mid 2009 Dislike Facebook (shallow end of social media?) I’m a Digital Immigrant: still figuring things out… Raising a Digital Native at home, now 16…
My Life in 2 phases… BG = Before Google (birth -- 1999) AG = After Google! (1999 – todate)
Libraries & info access:Changing User Expectations…PAST (until 15-20 yrs ago): NOW/ON-GOING: Users visited a defined Access from anywhere location to access Access anytime (24/7) Service was limited to Human interface no opening/working hours longer central, but… Can still be v. helpful in Human interface specialised quests essential or central Relationships? Relationships trust Trust needed, but of a Nurtured sub-cultures or different kind own ecosystems Virtual communities
How Librarians & Cybrarians Can Save Us All Book by Marilyn Johnson, (Harper, 2010) Former writer for LIFE magazine & author In praise of libraries & librarians Looks at their continuing relevance & challenges www.marilynjohnson.net
Excerpt from Marilyn Johnson“A library is a place to go for areality check, a bracing dose ofliterature, or a ‘true reflection ofour history,’ whether its a brick-and-mortar building constructeda century ago or a fancifularrangement of computer codes.The librarian is the organizer, the animatingspirit behind it, and the navigator. Her job is tocreate order out of the confusion of the past,even as she enables us to blast into thefuture….”
Adaptation with changing times: How did other industries handle it? Until around 1900: no personalised time-keeping Public places displayed time Clock towers & large public clocks Then: personal clocks (elaborate) for wealthy people to carry Then: watches – personalised, affordable & portable! Now: mobiles tell us date + time +++
Sir Arthur C Clarke:Humanity will survive info deluge…“There are many who are genuinelyalarmed by the immense amount ofinformation available to us through theInternet, television and other media.“I suggest that they put themselves inthe place of their ancestors at the timethe printing press was invented. ‘MyGod,’ they cried, ‘now there could be Sir Arthur C Clarkeas many as a thousand books. How will In 2003 interviewwe ever read them all?’…” with Nalaka Gunawardene
Humanity will survive info deluge…Clarke quote, contd.,“Strangely, as history has shown, ourspecies survived that earlier deluge ofinformation, and some say, even advancedbecause of it. I am not so much concernedwith the proliferation of information as thepurpose for which it is used. Technologycarries with it a responsibility that we areobliged to consider.”Full interview at:http://archive.oneworld.net/article/view/74591
Future of the Library: As seen by Chanuka Wattegama• No ‘brick and motar’ libraries. All ‘brick and click’ or ‘click only’. Brick Library = Museum• Librarian’s role will change: Robot librarians instead of humans?• Libraries will not become CD lending shops or tele-centers/cyber-cafes CDs will die with books• Everything will be on the ‘cloud’… Adapted from: Presentation to Sri Lanka National Conference on Library & Information Science, Colombo, June 2012
Who can/will ‘colonise’ the webwith our own content?“When the web came around in the early1990s, it was first seen as a place forgeeks, paedophiles and military. We hadto go in and ‘colonise’ it -- to show what itcould do for social justice & development.Now web 2.0 is also being dismissed bysome as a place where geeks andpaedophiles frequent. Maybe. But we justhave to go in and reclaim it!”- Anuradha Vittachi, co-founder,OneWorld.nethttp://uk.oneworld.net/article/view/113231
If WE don’t ‘colonise’ Wikipediawith our own content, who will?
Example:Wikipedia in Sinhala Content is currently limited in topics diversity, depth of entries, information accuracy, etc.
From my Ravaya column, on 10 July 2011http://nalakagunawardene.com/ravaya-column/
From Knowledge Navigators toKnowledge Creators/Facilitators? Can librarians play a role in enriching Wikipedia content In English, on Sri Lanka related entries? In Sinhala, on locally impt topics? In Tamil, the same? Wikipedia has strict guidelines, supervision & quality control But possible to do it with focus, discipline & persistence
Information Society:Resolving new issues/questions Who OWNS products of collaborative content creation (e.g. Wikis)? What safeguards for data protection? How to ensure proper digital archiving & indexing (to enable easier searching)? What to do with past analog content? Technology standards, inter-operability Machine translations or human mediated?
A Choice of Futures… Alarm & Despair: loss of cultural identity; invasion of privacy; data mining by corporations; rise of authoritarianism, death of Anonymity, etc. -- OR -- Cautious Optimism & Hope: always-on, networked world presents many opportunities to spread knowledge and serve the public interest.
Thank you!Email:email@example.comBlog:nalakagunawardene.comTwitter:twitter.com/NalakaGThanks to: Chanuka WattegamaAll images used in good faith, non-commercially.
Some discussions unfold at…http://nalakagunawardene.com/ ravaya-column/