A backdoor to what you are ‘supposed’ to discover
December 17, 2011 Leave a comment
For centuries libraries and their librarians operated as gatekeepers and experts in preservation. They were the providers of information in a paper paradigm. Libraries held paper copies from books and journals full of knowledge. They held the key to access the information in their resources and refer to other libraries’ resources. The dominant provision of information has changed with the arrival of the Internet. Most information is now digitally shared and exchanged online. 
A growing number of Web 2.0 Services such as Mendeley, Bibsonomy and citeulike are disclosing information from a huge amount of resources. However it is still a troubling task for users to check all those services one by one as they each provide access to a (small) part of the entire available information ‘cloud’…
The increasing availability and Open Data and Online Social Media create an opportunity to align the information made available by those Web 2.0 services. Open Data forms a backbone to interlink public and proprietary resources and social media allow the realization of collaborative filtering. The community drives ontologies, annotations and feedback that describe online available resources. You can think for example about DBPedia, Twitter Mentions/Retweets and Facebook Suggestions/Likes. The fact that Facebook has recently released its social graph that not only exposes relations (noun to noun) between people, but also describes the relations (with their so-called verbs) is emphasizing the importance of a networked backbone. Facebook uses this graph to connect people’s timeline and tries to interlink it with various paid advertisements that may or may not have got positive response from friends. The graph also feeds various apps that can be used to carry out advanced social analysis algorithms for marketing purposes.
To achieve a backdoor to what you are supposed to know as instructed or bounded by your research an information channels, there is need for an invisible engine that alligns above mentioned loose components. To make it work, you have to share. You share your CV, interesting resources, ideas you want feedback for, photos or videos. So basically you leave a trace of your intellectual property because you believe that it can be used as a seed to gain access to other interesting people or resources that lift you up to the next level. Because you are free to share, you are unbounded to any research group, but you can still work together. No need for a research institute. It is a backdoor, a way around the strictly regulated knowledge highway, to a better future, open and community driven. 
Such a ‘backdoor’ engine, contains important risks. First and foremost the reliability of the technology and the dependency on the community are aspects where you lack control. In a research center or knowledge institute it is common to sign a contract and follow a set of rules, but within those boundaries everything is safe and trusted. 
- Bosc, H. and S. Harnad (2004). “In a paperless world a new role for academic libraries: Providing open access“. Spreading the Word: Who Profits from Scientific Publications. A Symposium within EOSF2004, Stockholm.
- Borgman, C. (2003). “The invisible library: Paradox of the global information infrastructure.” Library Trends Vol. 51 No. 4: pp. 652-674
- Stuart Basefsky. The End of Institutional Repositories & the Beginning of Social Academic Research Service: An Enhanced Role For Libraries. Published on June 16, 2009.
- Clements, M. , 2010. Personalized access to social media. Thesis, (PhD). Technische Universiteit Delft.
- Revolutionizing Libraries with Social Media (heyjude.wordpress.com)
- Libraries Make Room For High-Tech ‘Hackerspaces’ (adafruit.com)