bite-size

Interesting readings from around the web:

“Because wide-spread full text indexing abounds, the problem of find is not as acute as it used to be. In my opinion, it is time to move away from the problem of find and towards the problem of use. What does a person do with the information once they find and acquire it? Does it make sense? Is it valid? Does it have a relationship other things, and if so, then what is that relationship and how does it compare? If these relationships are explored, then what new knowledge might one uncover, or what existing problem might be solved? These are the questions of use. Find is a means to an end, not the end itself. Find is a library problem. Use the problem everybody else wants to solve.”
Eric Lease Morgan, “Next-generation library catalogs, or ‘Are we there yet?’”

“My favorite worlds have always been natively game-like. In their basic world rules you immediately want to interact with them. When you know that Anne McCaffrey’s Pern has five types of colored dragons, you immediately want to match yourself to one. When you know that in Piers Anthony’s Xanth every person has a unique magical talent, you want to pick out a talent for yourself. These rule structures are very game-like and enhance the poetry of a world. In addition to making it accessible, they give you a framework that exposes the theme and meaning in a world much more clearly than worlds that do not have these structures. Character classes are extremely powerful things.”
author and game designer Erin Hoffman in an interview with Clarkesworld Magazine

“It’s strange, but start talking to hard-bitten, seasoned executives about information in the enterprise and they automatically switch off their critical faculties. They’ll believe anything. Really. Like, information and how it is used in your organisation can be understood by a piece of software, out of the box. Like, you don’t need to actually understand your information environment in order to manage it. Like, the best people to ask about making your information generally accessible, are narrow subject matter specialists. Like, you can fix your information environment once, and it’ll stay fixed forever without paying any more attention to it. In this article we explore three fairy tales about taxonomies that executives seem particularly prone to believing:

1. That you don’t need taxonomies if you get a good search engine;
2. That taxonomies can look after themselves or can be delegated piecemeal to non-taxonomists;
3. That the best people to advise on taxonomy development are subject matter experts.”

-from Innotecture, citing Taxonomy Times No. 6, April 2011

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Smitten by frontier fiction

Anyone who’s read my blogs for awhile or seen my Flickr knows that I grew up around horses and am still a bit horse-crazy. When I played dress-up as a kid, I would put on ridiculous high-heeled shoes that were 12 sizes too big for me and teeter my way across the gravel road to the horse pasture:

childhood me in a dress, in a tree, with Freckles
childhood me in a dress, in a tree, with Freckles the horse

My family spent lots of time at rodeos or on extended camping trips that were basically excuses to go riding for days in a row.  Since then I haven’t really had anything to do with horses, except for daydreaming about them and living vicariously through movies and, more recently, video games. Or, I should say, just one video game: Red Dead Redemption, of course. I’m really close to beating the game, but I suspect I might just come back to it and ride around on my horse, rescuing ladies and shooting crows. All the virtual horse-riding is relaxing. Of course not as relaxing as riding a real horse, but I’ll take what I can get.

The animation of the horses in this game is really amazing. My pardner and I both got cowboy fever thanks to spending so much time in the virtual Old West. I had never seen any “spaghetti” Westerns, so we watched A Fistful of Dollars and will probably watch other Sergio Leone films once I stop wanting to indulge in season one of The Tudors.

What prompted me to make this post was that today, as I walked past the new book shelf at my library, I saw this book and immediately grabbed it. The first paragraph on the back cover is quite eloquent, so I’ll leave you with that in hopes that it will whet your appetite.

“A corral of cattle rustlers, outlaws, and other desperadoes ride the range in this bronco-busting anthology of nineteen tales set in the Old West. Spanning the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the diverse stories prove there’s no ‘average’ cowboy, but a wide range of rugged individuals. Yet these vividly portrayed characters all seem to posses a sense of freedom, a strong relationship with the land, and a desire to live by their own standards. The result is an action-packed collection that’s a feast for anyone smitten by frontier fiction.”

 

See also:

National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum

The Cowboy Encyclopedia

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s book list of Westerns, “When You Call Me That, Smile!”