Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Future of Research

What is your creative vision of how research may be conducted in the future? How will humans find, absorb, and share information in 10 years? 50 years? 1000 years from now?

Tim Donahue

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Wikipedia and the Meaning of Truth

Based on your own experimentation with Wikipedia and on your reading of the article by Garfinkel , what is the meaning of Truth as it applies to Wikipedia articles?

Friday, November 7, 2008

What About Privacy?

As college students, web users, and library researchers, much of your personal information and search behavior is captured and analyzed. You can be identified by your email address and other information you may provide when you sign-up or log-in for various web accounts and services. If you use Google search, Gmail, or other Google products, much of your usage and behavior can be, and is, recorded. The specific computer you use can be identified by its IP address. All this data could potentially be mined to create a digital profile of you. The library has information about what books and other items you check out. With a court order, legal authorities can demand access to this information. How do you feel about exposing yourself in these ways? Have emerging information technologies diminished your right to privacy? Do you think the government should be able to examine your use of the internet and the library?

Tim Donahue

Friday, October 31, 2008

Organizing the World Wide Web

According to current statistics, The World Wide Web now contains more than 100 million websites, 63 billion web pages, and at least one trillion unique URLs. This is a mind boggling amount of information. Is it organized? How does the organization of the library and the WWW differ?

Tim Donahue

Friday, October 24, 2008

Is information alive?

In your video viewings for next week on the birth of the computer and the emergence of search engines, both George Dyson and Larry Page discuss computer intelligence as having life-like properties. Dyson even suggests that evolving binary computations and data are themselves living entities. Do you believe that artificial intelligence is alive? In what ways can information be said to be alive? Which is more life-like, information or knowledge? Are your searches smarter than you?

Tim Donahue

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Citations, Citations, Citations !

You will spend a significant amount of time, effort, and attention during your college education properly citing sources of information used in your research. Why? Is proper citation worth the effort required? What do you like/dislike about constructing citations, quotations, footnotes, and bibliographies?

Tim Donahue

Friday, October 3, 2008

Books vs. Articles

Books and articles are the two main formats of textual research. In terms of content, what do you consider to be the difference between books and articles?

Tim Donahue

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Library Catalog vs. Web Searching

Is the library catalog more difficult to use than google? Why? What is the difference in the results these two types of searches return?

Tim Donahue

Friday, September 26, 2008

Banned Books Week

In the past, many books were banned in the United States by federal courts. That meant that possessing them was a federal crime, punishable by incarceration. Books are still challenged today and removed from library shelves so they are purposely unavailable for people to read. Here is a link to a list of banned or challenged books at Renne Library. Do you recognize any of the titles? We are celebrating Banned Books Week at MSU beginning Monday, Sept. 29-Friday October 4 to celebrate the freedom to read and to express. What are some of the reasons certain books are banned or challenged in this country? Do you agree that these are sometimes good reasons?

Tim Donahue

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Library of Congress Classification Outline

We've been talking a bit about the structure of scholarly information, information hierarchies, and attempts to organize the universe of knowledge. The Library of Congress Classification Outline is one of those attempts. Is it successful? Nearly all the books in all the college and research libraries in the United States are organized and located using this system. Take a look at the main class headings. Is this how you would structure the universe of knowledge? Can you locate your annotated bibliography topic within the LCC outline? How close can you get?

Tim Donahue

Friday, September 19, 2008

Wikipedia and Hyper-Linked Research

Following Casey's lead, now check out your topic in Wikipedia. Does an article exist on your topic? Is it an exact match? How does it compare with what you found in the Encyclopedia Britannica? In the print version there are, of course, no links. How does the presence of hyperlinks change the nature of your research? Tim Donahue

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Encyclopedia Britannica

Take a look at the Encyclopedia Britannica article most closely related to your AB topic. Examine both the online version and the print volumes when you can. Is the textual content the same? What about images? Other content? Which version, print or electronic, seems superior to you? Whether you have researched your topic in Encyclopedia Britannica or not, try answering this question: Should the library be spending money (your tuition dollars) on both the printed and electronic Encyclopedia Britannica?

Friday, September 12, 2008

Physical and Digital Research

The library is both physical and digital. You can conduct research physically inside the library building using books and other print materials, or, you can do research completely digitally using only a computer. When you are using the library website and electronic resources you are "inside" the digital library. More and more of library collections (books, periodicals, government documents, maps, etc.) are becoming digitized. Do we still need a physical library? In the future, when all books are scanned electronically and become available through the web, will we need library buildings? What are the advantages and disadvantages of physical and digital research?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Knowledge Hierarchy

We've been talking about data, information, knowledge, understanding, wisdom and how these terms represent different levels of complexity in sources, computers, and the minds of researchers. Being college students, you are all exposed to various types of data, information, and knowledge. How and when does understanding evolve in this process? We all seemed to agree that in this hierarchy, wisdom occupies the top position. How is wisdom different from these other terms? Here are a couple more questions to stimulate discussion: Do computers possess understanding? Can college make you wiser? What do you make of these terms and their inter-relatedness? Please share your thoughts!

Tim Donahue

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Knowledge, data, understanding, and information

In your comments to the last post, several of you mentioned data and understanding. How do you rank understanding, data, knowledge, and information in terms of complexity? Do these terms represent different levels of a common concept, or are they each unique, different not only in complexity, but in essence? Tim Donahue

Information and Knowledge

What is the difference between information and knowledge? Tim Donahue