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May 11, 2009

Ed V, Libraries, and Small Electronic Devices

Ed in his talk in Room 100, on May 11th, at noon, began by going all the way back in electronic history to the Memorex (a huge microfiche reader from the '40"s) and then forward to a fictionalized device used in a StarTrek ship's computer way that could collect, categorize, provide video, maintain a perfect memory, be omniscient, and communicate to anyone anywhere, or provide a referral by the simple push of a button. Further, he discussed the technical difficulty of actually putting services on such a slow, small handheld device backed by byzantine systems support that interfere with clarity of information. He described some of his completed projects for the AADL and some of his attempted projects for the bus system and the AA parking system.

In the case of databases that can be used by a library patron, e.g., handbook types of information, he suggested that the library look for systems well adaptable to share and that the staff members model good behavior to induce the manufacturers to improve their products for mobile-size possibilities and to produce good, usable formats.

There is much unexplored territory in the realm of assistive devices in navigating the world, Ed explained. The mobile user has different information needs from the standard computer user and questions have to be framed differently for best results.

Ed himself uses a sort of mobile wiki system that contains lectures, papers, short books, etc., resulting in a kind of commonplace book.

At the conclusion of his talk, there were questions from the audience that elicited and provided additional examples of possible mobile uses (blood sugar monitoring for diabetes, TrialX, etc.)

Posted by schnitzr at May 11, 2009 01:54 PM


Just a tiny clarification. The historical device Ed mentioned wasn't the Memorex but the Memex, from Vannevar Bush's article in the 1940s.

Bush, Vannevar. As We May Think. The Atlantic Monthly. 1945. http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/194507/bush/

Worth reading if you haven't heard of it! Changed my life.

Posted by: pfa at May 12, 2009 08:26 AM

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