David Weinberger opened with two questions:
- Why Hacking Now?
- Why Isn’t Every Knife a Swiss Army Knife?
We have this opportunity to hack now because
- Everything is networked. Making things digital gives access, but networking them allows us to interact with them.
- The new default is to being open.
- The new infrastructure allows us to connect with anyone in the world: authors, publishers, etc. This is happening in the new public arena of the web.
- We now have a set of networked ecosystems., like Google Books, Wikipedia, Amazon. Unfortunately, the library isn’t prominent in this picture, but now they have an opportunity because of the networks. We need to get libraries into that game.
Swiss Army Knives have evolved into do-anything tools, like the Wenger 16999, which costs over $1200 and weighs over 7 pounds! A Swiss Army Knife is a hack; we must decide ahead of time which tools we want to include. Publishers do this all the time when the decide what books to publish. Those not chosen stay hidden, but on the web, everything not chosen by the reader is still available.
Libraries anticipate what readers need, even with electronic resources.
3 paths to a future without anticipation.
- We are in a position to put a platform, or portal, under our services, which gives people a way to build applications. So the library does not have to decide what users need. A platform approach provides much more value for a library’s services. Harvard’s Library Cloud, which runs on an open platform, is one example of this approach. Users are encouraged to make enhancements to the platform.
- We are well on the way to providing linked open data: data that only uses links to definitions, which allows sets of data with different forms of synonymous metadata terms to be unified and linked to, allowing us to get past silos and into clouds of data. Three libraries are cooperating in developing linked data systems Harvard, Stanford, and Cornell.
- Graphs allow people with like interests to get connected. Here is a graph of some related books.
Library graphs will provide an infrastructure to allow people to get in to their data.
To hack libraries, we must hack the future: take a different approach to how we view the future, which will allow us to enrich our assets, and develop an infrastructure of knowledge.
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