Surviving Info Tsunami:How Can Librarians Help?            By Nalaka Gunawardene        Science Writer, Blogger & ICT Watc...
Coverage… My   Quest for info & knowledge   As science writer & journalist   As Quizkid turned Quizmaster ICT-enabled ...
Info Tsunami  Deluge inevitableOur Choice: Do we sink or swim?
Info Tsunami  Deluge inevitableOur Choice: Do we sink or swim?
How can Librarians help us?
My premise… Librarians trained  as info  navigators & info managers Such skills are needed by  ALL in today’s Info Socie...
Larger context:Old & New co-exist in Sri Lanka… Analog  info technologies  & media still strong in SL Digital media uses...
My Life is Full of Questions! As a science journalist &  broadcaster, I ask many  questions – often without  knowing answ...
My Knowledge Questin Quizzing Quiz Kid (1980 – 1986),  engaged in inter-school  general knowledge contests Quiz Compiler...
Searching for informationin pre-Internet 1980s & 1990s… Relying   on private & public sources:    Newspapers    Local m...
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 knowl...
There WAS Life before the web…
My own search for info/knowledge,as powered by ICTs: 1987 - 2013 FirstWave: CD-ROMs running on  early PCs; no Internet S...
First ICT Wave:CD-ROMs From early 1990s Compact Text + images +  audio + video Machine-  searchable!!! Sign of oncomi...
Second ICT Wave: Narrowband Internet Commercial Internet services   in  Sri Lanka: April 1995  First few years: dial-up...
Third ICT Wave: Broadband & mobile Internet Broadband Internet in SL: from  around 2003 on… Always-on, no more dial-up!...
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....
Fourth ICT Wave: Social Media Broadband Internet: from  around 2003 on Always-on, no more dial-up! Faster speeds  mult...
What are Social Media?Online media based on: conversations interactions between  people.May involve:digital words/sounds...
Confessions of a Digital Immigrant I grew up & started working before digital age Had to learn & adapt to digital early-...
My Life in 2 phases… BG = Before Google (birth -- 1999) AG = After Google! (1999 – todate)
No Longer Just a Search Engine…
What does all this mean forLibraries & Librarians?                       Your Options:                       Accept       ...
Nice try! Keep on trying…
Libraries & info access:Changing User Expectations…PAST (until 15-20 yrs ago):   NOW/ON-GOING: Users visited a defined   ...
How Librarians & Cybrarians Can Save Us All Book   by Marilyn Johnson,  (Harper, 2010) Former writer for LIFE  magazine ...
Excerpt from Marilyn Johnson“A library is a place to go for areality check, a bracing dose ofliterature, or a ‘true reflec...
Adaptation with changing times: How did other industries handle it? Until around 1900:    no personalised time-keeping  ...
Time keeping devices,then and now…
Where do you go from here?
Get used to it?Again, sink…or swim!
Sir Arthur C Clarke:Humanity will survive info deluge…“There are many who are genuinelyalarmed by the immense amount ofinf...
Humanity will survive info deluge…Clarke quote, contd.,“Strangely, as history has shown, ourspecies survived that earlier ...
Future of the Library:    As seen by Chanuka Wattegama•   No ‘brick and motar’ libraries. All ‘brick and    click’ or ‘cli...
Beyond Knowledge Navigation?
Who can/will ‘colonise’ the webwith our own content?“When the web came around in the early1990s, it was first seen as a pl...
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, e...
Captured on 11 March 2013
Captured on 11 March 2013
From my                                      Ravaya                                      column, on                       ...
From Knowledge Navigators toKnowledge Creators/Facilitators? Can librarians play a role in enriching  Wikipedia content  ...
What else does the Future hold?
Information Society:Resolving new issues/questions Who OWNS     products of collaborative  content creation (e.g. Wikis)?...
A Choice of Futures… Alarm &   Despair: loss of cultural  identity; invasion of privacy; data  mining by corporations; ri...
Thank you!Email:alien@nalaka.orgBlog:nalakagunawardene.comTwitter:twitter.com/NalakaGThanks to: Chanuka WattegamaAll image...
Some discussions unfold at…http://nalakagunawardene.com/      ravaya-column/
Surviving info tsunami: How can Librarians help? Nalaka Gunawardene - 11 March  2013
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Surviving info tsunami: How can Librarians help? Nalaka Gunawardene - 11 March 2013

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Guest lecture given to Sri Lanka Library Association (SLLA) and National Institute of Libraries and Information Science (NILIS), University of Colombo, on
11 March 2013

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Surviving info tsunami: How can Librarians help? Nalaka Gunawardene - 11 March 2013

  1. 1. 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
  2. 2. 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’?
  3. 3. Info Tsunami  Deluge inevitableOur Choice: Do we sink or swim?
  4. 4. Info Tsunami  Deluge inevitableOur Choice: Do we sink or swim?
  5. 5. How can Librarians help us?
  6. 6. 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
  7. 7. 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!
  8. 8. 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!
  9. 9. 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
  10. 10. 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!
  11. 11. British Council Library in Colombo has served Lankans since1949. This photo was taken in 1967
  12. 12. 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!
  13. 13. There WAS Life before the web…
  14. 14. 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.
  15. 15. 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
  16. 16. 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!
  17. 17. 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
  18. 18. Internet Use in Sri Lanka (1996-2012)http://www.trc.gov.lk/statistics/statistical-overview.html
  19. 19. Mobile phone subscribers inSri Lanka: 1991 – 2012 This is the wayhttp://www.trc.gov.lk/statistics/statistical-overview.html
  20. 20. 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
  21. 21. What are Social Media?Online media based on: conversations interactions between people.May involve:digital words/sounds/images,video/combination
  22. 22. 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…
  23. 23. My Life in 2 phases… BG = Before Google (birth -- 1999) AG = After Google! (1999 – todate)
  24. 24. No Longer Just a Search Engine…
  25. 25. What does all this mean forLibraries & Librarians? Your Options: Accept Adapt Redefine Reposition Realign AND… Innovate!
  26. 26. Nice try! Keep on trying…
  27. 27. 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
  28. 28. 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
  29. 29. 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….”
  30. 30. 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 +++
  31. 31. Time keeping devices,then and now…
  32. 32. Where do you go from here?
  33. 33. Get used to it?Again, sink…or swim!
  34. 34. 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
  35. 35. 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
  36. 36. 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
  37. 37. Beyond Knowledge Navigation?
  38. 38. 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
  39. 39. If WE don’t ‘colonise’ Wikipediawith our own content, who will?
  40. 40. Example:Wikipedia in Sinhala Content is currently limited in topics diversity, depth of entries, information accuracy, etc.
  41. 41. Captured on 11 March 2013
  42. 42. Captured on 11 March 2013
  43. 43. From my Ravaya column, on 10 July 2011http://nalakagunawardene.com/ravaya-column/
  44. 44. 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
  45. 45. What else does the Future hold?
  46. 46. 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?
  47. 47. 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.
  48. 48. Thank you!Email:alien@nalaka.orgBlog:nalakagunawardene.comTwitter:twitter.com/NalakaGThanks to: Chanuka WattegamaAll images used in good faith, non-commercially.
  49. 49. Some discussions unfold at…http://nalakagunawardene.com/ ravaya-column/

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