LITA 2008: Hi-Fi-Sci-Fi-Library: Technology, Convergence, Content, Community, Ubiquity and Library Futures

Presenter: Michael Porter, WebJunction

Hi-fi is usually associated with audio equipment, but fidelity is very much related to our work: interoperability, compatibility, quality of the document, etc.

When you distill what libraries are and what they do, it comes down to content and community, and this is what libraries will still be in the future. Star Trek’s LCARS stands for Library Computer Access and Retrieval System — even those folks thought that the “library” would be that integrated into everything in the future.

The line between hardware and software is blurring now, particularly with software that can emulate hardware. Costs for technology are decreasing, computing power is increasing, and battery life is getting longer. There are newer and better methods of creating content, and competition for content provision is getting fierce. And, you can find community all over the Internet.

The Google Android phone is actually just software that is open source and can be used by any wireless phone manufacturer, and can be hacked by any coders who want to enhance the functionality. The Bug is hardware that comes in components that can be hooked together to created whatever you need, like a digital camera or portable computer.

Audio test for the video section – Rickroll!

The Time Machine: Computer interface in the library is represented as a human hologram. Also, the reference interview was… a bit rude. Books were represented as being behind preserved glass, and the students carried hand-held pads to download content.

Star Trek IV: Human-computer interaction in the Star Trek future uses voice recognition, but in 1985, that wasn’t possible.

Star Trek IV: Spock is working with three monitors, each presenting different problems. He uses a mixture of voice and tactile inputs to respond.

Futurama: 1000 years in the future, we will still have books and the Dewey Decimal System.

I, Robot: “ban the Internet to keep the libraries open”

Futurama: Will be able to get physical things from the Internet. We already have printers that can print in 3-D!

How William Shatner Changed the World: TNG wanted us to get the notion that we should not be afraid of technology.

Minority Report: Manipulates computer visuals using hi-tech gloves.

How William Shatner Changed the World: Modern-day physicist uses his knowledge to examine the realistic possibilities of Star Trek.

Zardoz: Ring that projects data.

Futurama: Librarians hold the keys to power, but it doesn’t always appear that way.

#3

I picked up the graphic novel Star Trek: The Next Generation: The Space Between because I’m a fan of the series and because my favorite character, Tasha Yar, is on the cover. (Side note: For Christmas, some good friends of mine gave me a signed photo of Denise Crosby as Tasha Yar. It’s addressed to me and is probably the most thoughtful and unique gift I received this holiday season.) Also, I remembered reading something on Wil Wheaton’s blog about a script he wrote for Star Trek: The Manga, which is totally different, but when I was wandering Barnes & Noble, it seemed like a good idea to pick up this book.

This is a completely different animal from the Japanese manga, and is published by IDW. It’s a collection of good stories and beautiful drawings, but the finale that would tie everything together seems contrived and inconclusive. Will there be a follow-up? I don’t see any indication of that, which is disappointing.

#11

The Valiant by Michael Jan Friedman

I was a little concerned when most of the way through the first chapter I realized that the inspiration for the story came from the TOS episode entitled “Where No Man Has Gone Before.” Given that this was the second pilot episode of the original series, I should probably temper my opinion of it; however, I still don’t care for the episode’s treatment of the characters as compared to what they would become.

That said, this turned out to be a better story than I hoped. Since I have managed to read out of order most of Friedman’s stories about Picard and the Stargazer, I already knew some of what was going to happen, but that didn’t deter from my enjoyment of the book.

The book opens with a more detailed exposition of the events that occurred on the SS Valiant more than two centuries before Kirk’s Enterprise discovers the ships recorder that was sent back towards Earth before its destruction. The story then shifts to the USS Stargazer, almost three-hundred years after the events on the Valiant. Lieutenant Commander Picard is serving as second officer, and even in that position several of the crew, including the first officer, think he is too young and inexperienced.

This becomes even more of an issue when the captain is killed and the first officer is incapacitated. Through the course of events, Picard is forced to assume command, and although the story is presumably about the galactic barrier and the ramifications of the events on the Valiant, it really shines best as the story of Picard trying on the shoes of command and finding that they fit perfectly.

uh huh her

Leisha Hailey and Camila Grey have formed a new band together, and it’s definitely one to watch.

My review of Leisha Hailey and Camila Grey’s new band Uh Huh Her is up on Blogcritics.org. I received the EP I See Red in yesterday’s mail, and I was so excited about it that I immediately stuck it in the player. Some of you might recognize Leisha Hailey as a member of The L Word cast, and a few others might know her as one half of 90s folk/pop duo The Murmurs. My sister was the one who turned me on to The Murmurs — it was one of those rare occasions when our musical interests overlapped.

It is clear that Hailey and Grey know what they are doing and where they want this band to go. The two are approaching the collaboration from different perspectives and backgrounds, which can sometimes spell disaster, but if this EP is any indication, the combination will prove to be a successful one.

#6

So Say We All: An Unauthorized Collection of Thoughts and Opinions on Battlestar Galactica (Smart Pop series) edited by Richard Hatch

I’m not sure if this really counts, since I read only a handful of the essays, but the book is overdue and I know I won’t get to the rest anytime soon.

I’ve written here about my ambivalent feelings regarding Battlestar Galactica. On the one hand, I’m fascinated with it, but on the other, it freaks me out. Aside from the miniseries and episode one of the first season, I’ve caught several shows here and there, mainly after hearing fans raving about them. One of these days I’m going to sit down with the DVDs and catch up, but for now, most of my knowledge of the show is second-hand.

This isn’t a bad thing. What drew me to the show was the ideas presented, and not so much the action or visual effects. Hearing or reading about what happens and why has been good enough so far. I wanted to read some of the essays in this book because they were written by a few of the fans who were responsible for my interest in the show in the first place. The deep geeking is well-written, and I highly recommend this book for BSG fans.