Monday, 2 June 2008

Ambient Findability : What we find changes who we become (book review)

This is a cross-posting of my review on librarything...

This is the book that has most influenced my thinking about my profession. Probably ever. I've sort of been coming to see books as boundary objects - as objects that connect people or concepts (like on this site) - for a while now and think that libraries need to make much more of the social networking power of books. This book gave me some vocabulary for these concepts but (although it's written by a librarian and I read it as a librarian) this is much more than a library book. It basically explains a number of concepts that are all converging to create a situation where objects (like books), people, anything, will be ambiently findable. The findability will be built in. A number of concepts are explained. Ubiquitous computing (the techie side of things); the long-tail (the economic forces that will drive these developments); spimes (objects that have precise history, that can be precisely tracked in time and space); and boundary objects (objects that sit on the boundary between two concepts). I'll be following up on some of the books referenced in this later to try and get a better understanding but I think this is the one that really pulls everything together. The author has a really good view of where these concepts are coming together and what the implications are. Brilliant.

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