Read the latest Information Outlook!
In October 2008, a radar telescope belonging to Ukraine’s national space agency sent a high-powered radio signal toward Gliese 581 c, an extrasolar planet thought capable of supporting life. The radio signal is actually a digital time capsule containing 501 messages that were selected through a competition on the social networking site Bebo. The signal is traveling at light speed and is expected to reach Gliese 581 c in early 2029.
The digital time capsule represents just one of many attempts by people on Earth to communicate with life forms on other planets and in other galaxies. From crop circles to light beams to gold-plated gramophone records, the means of sharing information with alien life forms have run the gamut, from the physical to the metaphysical and beyond.
Much the same is true here on Earth. Information that once was shared on clay tablets and later on paper sheets is now delivered through smartphones, tablets, and other portable devices. The Internet of things promises to go even further, essentially connecting any device with an on-off switch—think coffee makers or lamps—to the Internet.
Should librarians and information professionals try to stay ahead of the technological curve and adopt the latest devices? Should they keep one eye on the future and another on the past, trying to bridge the growing divide between the technological haves and have-nots? Or should they focus less on technology and more on access, keeping the needs of information users foremost in mind?
The September-October issue of Information Outlook addresses these and other questions about delivering content, then offers a totally different take on technology by interviewing Sarah Shujah, an academic librarian whose paper on integrating hackfests into a first-year computer science course was judged the best contributed paper presented at SLA 2014. Rounding out the issue are thoughts from two new SLA Fellows and an SLA Rising Star on volunteering, columns about curation, the U.S. Copyright Office, and performance reviews, and SLA President Kate Arnold’s look back at her travels to Australia and New Zealand and look ahead at new strategic themes for the years 2015-2016.
Click here to read the September-October issue of Information Outlook.
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