June 5, 2008

Here & There

A bunch of items from around the web:

  • BoingBoing points us to Vanity Fair's How the Web Was Won: An Oral History of the Internet.
    This year marks the 50th anniversary of an extraordinary moment. In 1958 the United States government set up a special unit, the Advanced Research Projects Agency (arpa), to help jump-start new efforts in science and technology. This was the agency that would nurture the Internet.

    This year also marks the 15th anniversary of the launch of Mosaic, the first widely used browser, which brought the Internet into the hands of ordinary people.

    This one jumps right to the front of my reading list!

  • One again, thanks to BoingBoing we see that there's a new book on the future of music: SOUND UNBOUND: Sampling Digital Music and Culture Edited by Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky that Subliminal Kid, Foreword by Cory Doctorow, Introduction by Steve Reich. Oddly, and ironically, you can't download all the articles for free off the internet. You actually have to buy the book.

  • Sustainability and Revenue Models for Online Academic Resources by Kevin Guthrie, Rebecca Griffiths, and Nancy Maron looks very interesting and important. There aren't too many more important questions in academic librarianship these days than, "What's worth paying for?" Finding sustainable business models for those resources in a world of Free is going to be a challenge in the medium to long term. This report looks very interesting and will merit a close examination.

    I'll excerpt the same bit as Open Access News.
    ...We define ‘sustainability’ as having a mechanism in place for generating, or gaining access to, the economic resources necessary to keep the intellectual property or the service available on an ongoing basis. This does not...presuppose any particular method for revenue generation: an Open Access resource, for example, will have a different set of revenue options available to it than a project that is willing to charge a subscription fee, but both should be expected to develop a sustainable economic model....

    It does not matter if a resource is subscription-based, Open Access, or supported by budgets of a host institution. For any site, users have a choice in what they pay for, where they spend their time online, or whether to volunteer their time to help support a project. Each project must build sources of advantage that make it valuable and attractive to users, and find ways to sustain these advantages over time....

  • Cool article on SciBarCamp by Jim Thomas!
    ‘It’s a huge improvement on the regular science conference format – those usually suck the life and joy out of these things,’ says SciBarCamper Paul Bloore, a local software entrepreuner. His friend Melina Strathopoulos concurs. ‘Its a literal “confer-ence” where people are actually conferring,’ she points out, ‘rather than just an “attend-ance”.

    Thanks to Jim for bringing it to our attention on the SciBarCamp group on Nature Network.

  • What is the Ecological Footprint of Disneyland?
    Having just returned from a visit to the magic kingdom, the above was a question that continually haunted my consciousness. Disneyland was remarkably pristine in that cookie cutter, artificial, yet aesthetically pleasing way, but it must be a major sink in terms of waste, energy consumption, carbon emissions, etc.

    Or is it? Maybe in terms of footprint, by applying its incredible density (>15 million visitors each year!), it comes out not looking so bad?

    It should be noted that Disney appears to be viewing environmental issues in a relatively serious manner, with a number of programs in place. Here are a few factoids I can provide that would support this notion.

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