Professional Development

TPD @ ALA MW 13 in SEA

Wednesday, February 13, 2013 2:01 pm

By funny coincidence, since I’ve been at ZSR I have attended meetings in my previous home town (LITA Forum in Columbus) and the home town before that (Midwinter in Seattle). ALA Annual in Chicago this summer will make the trifecta. Do let me know if there are good meetings coming up in Ann Arbor or Madison.

At 47°37′ N lattitude, Seattle is farther north than Duluth, Minnesota: in January, if there’s any sunlight at all, it’s noticeable from about 8:30am to 4:30pm. But there usually isn’t any sunlight: clouds, rain, highs in the mid 40s, lows in the low 40s. Typical January in Seattle. They take seasonal affective disorder seriously there.

Highlights (unless you really want to know about the LITA publication committee, LITA’s committee of committee chairs, and the ALA committee of publication committee chairs… Oh, except that one of the newest LITA Guides to hit the stands is Cloud-Based Services for Your Library: A LITA Guide by Erik Mitchell, coming soon to library stacks near you.)

Big Data For Big Brother

If I’m a little slow writing up my Midwinter experience, it’s because I’ve been cowering in paranoid fear in my office since the first meeting I attended, OCLC’s member meeting – okay, not a harrowing experience – and keynote by Alistair Croll on “The implications and opportunities of Big Data.” The session benignly defined Big Data as datasets that are too large for traditional hardware and software tools to analyze. The term plays off the growth of Big Science: $10 billion to build a Large Hadron Collider, and then eleventy bajillion teraflops to analyze its output. Croll defines Big Data as the problem of analyzing data with a lot of Volume (a ton of data), Variety (many kinds of data), and Velocity (torrents of data).

Big Data has potential for good: medical data – including Google searches for symptoms – can predict disease outbreaks. Analyzing which farmers in developing countries benefit most from microloans helps target future loans where they will do the most good. Analyzing traffic data allows taxi services to have cars ready where people will want them. Likewise, when we’re driving, every one of our GPS-enabled phones or tablets contributes to real-time maps of traffic data so we can route around delays.

The darker side of Big Data becomes apparent when you realize the biggest dataset out there is our own increasingly trackable behavior both on- and offline. I won’t rehash too many of Croll’s points (I strongly recommend you watch it when you have some free time – link below), but some of the highlights:

  • Big Data gets used a lot to say “People in Group A tend to like Topic B and products like Item C, so we’ll put ads for C on pages about B.” We smile knowingly when Group A is Librarians, or people with Zip codes beginning 271xx. (Mac users may remember that Orbitz shows them ads for more expensive hotels than Windows users, the assumed connection being that if you have a Mac you’re either more affluent than most Windows users or more willing to shell out for a quality experience.) Things can get ethically and legally tricky when that group is defined by things like gender or race, and the product is, for example, low rate mortages.
  • There is so much data out there that we usually do not have the tools (or access to the data) to evaluate it, and we often accept that all competing explanations for something are equally well supported.
  • And humans aren’t very good at evaluating data anyway. We keep demonstrating that we will believe what seems right even when it’s demonstrably wrong. (Several long examples that can be summed up here and here.)

Croll concluded with the idea of Good Data: to Volume, Variety, and Velocity, he adds Veracity and Value: data that is true (and that can be checked), and data that has a useful context. A telling line from the conclusion: “Google can find more articles than any librarian, but any librarian can find better articles than Google.” There is a continuing need for human insight that can apply all of the data as something more than an algorithm.

Watch the presentation here:
http://player.multicastmedia.com/player.php?p=xz2atn08&utm_source=WhatCountsEmail&utm_medium=z%20-%20ARCSymposium_CollectiveInsight_Feb2013&utm_campaign=OCLC%20Member%20Update

Other meetings of note: I nearly missed LITA Happy Hour because I actually sat down with a colleague and discussed a reasearch project for a couple of hours. It’s the sort of thing that makes it worthwhile to schlep cross country and attend a conference in person. I heard both a former Ohio colleague and a current WFU colleague (Roz) present on the experience of bringing Summon up at their libraries (we were a lot more laid back about it). And at the LITA Town Meeting, a few of us graybeards determined that the key to LITA’s future is piratically taking over RUSA, ALCTS, and LLAMA – because, hey, where would they be without technology? – and creating a unified Library Services Division (LSD). Having come up with the idea, we leave it to the youngsters to make it actually happen.

Then, with nothing to do until the 11pm red-eye home, I spent the afternoon in the Seattle Public Library:

Seattle Public Library, top floor reading room

2 Responses to “TPD @ ALA MW 13 in SEA”

  1. That big data discussion has a lot of food for thought in it….thanks for the summary – that is the kind of presentation I probably never would have come to but great to read about it. And thanks for coming to my presentation!

  2. If you find that great conference in A2, let me know and I’ll come with you!


Pages
About
Categories
2007 ACRL Baltimore
2007 ALA Annual
2007 ALA Gaming Symposium
2007 ALA Midwinter
2007 ASERL New Age of Discovery
2007 Charleston Conference
2007 ECU Gaming Presentation
2007 ELUNA
2007 Evidence Based Librarianship
2007 Innovations in Instruction
2007 Kilgour Symposium
2007 LAUNC-CH Conference
2007 LITA National Forum
2007 NASIG Conference
2007 North Carolina Library Association
2007 North Carolina Serials Conference
2007 OCLC International ILLiad Conference
2007 Open Repositories
2007 SAA Chicago
2007 SAMM
2007 SOLINET NC User Group
2007 UNC TLT
2007_ASIST
2008
2008 Leadership Institute for Academic Librarians
2008 ACRL Immersion
2008 ACRL/LAMA JVI
2008 ALA Annual
2008 ALA Midwinter
2008 ASIS&T
2008 First-Year Experience Conference
2008 Lilly Conference
2008 LITA
2008 NASIG Conference
2008 NCAECT
2008 NCLA RTSS
2008 North Carolina Serials Conference
2008 ONIX for Serials Webinar
2008 Open Access Day
2008 SPARC Digital Repositories
2008 Tri-IT Meeting
2009
2009 ACRL Seattle
2009 ALA Annual
2009 ALA Annual Chicago
2009 ALA Midwinter
2009 ARLIS/NA
2009 Big Read
2009 code4lib
2009 Educause
2009 Handheld Librarian
2009 LAUNC-CH Conference
2009 LAUNCH-CH Research Forum
2009 Lilly Conference
2009 LITA National Forum
2009 NASIG Conference
2009 NCLA Biennial Conference
2009 NISOForum
2009 OCLC International ILLiad Conference
2009 RBMS Charlottesville
2009 SCLA
2009 UNC TLT
2010
2010 ALA Annual
2010 ALA Midwinter
2010 ATLA
2010 Code4Lib
2010 EDUCAUSE Southeast
2010 Handheld Librarian
2010 ILLiad Conference
2010 LAUNC-CH Research Forum
2010 LITA National Forum
2010 Metrolina
2010 NASIG Conference
2010 North Carolina Serials Conference
2010 RBMS
2010 Sakai Conference
2011 ACRL Philadelphia
2011 ALA Annual
2011 ALA Midwinter
2011 CurateCamp
2011 Illiad Conference
2012 SNCA Annual Conference
ACRL
ACRL 2013
ACRL New England Chapter
ACRL-ANSS
ACRL-STS
ALA Annual
ALA Annual 2013
ALA Editions
ALA Midwinter
ALA Midwinter 2012
ALA Midwinter 2014
ALCTS Webinars for Preservation Week
ALFMO
APALA
ARL Assessment Seminar 2014
ARLIS
ASERL
ASU
Audio streaming
authority control
Berkman Webinar
bibliographic control
Book Repair Workshops
Career Development for Women Leaders Program
CASE Conference
cataloging
Celebration: Entrepreneurial Conference
Charleston Conference
CIT Showcase
CITsymposium2008
Coalition for Networked Information
code4lib
commons
Conference Planning
Conferences
Copyright Conference
costs
COSWL
CurateGear 2013
CurateGear 2014
Designing Libraries II Conference
DigCCurr 2007
Digital Forsyth
Digital Humanities Symposium
Disaster Recovery
Discovery tools
E-books
EDUCAUSE
Educause SE
EDUCAUSE_SERC07
Electronic Resources and Libraries
Embedded Librarians
Entrepreneurial Conference
ERM Systems
evidence based librarianship
FDLP
FRBR
Future of Libraries
Gaming in Libraries
General
GODORT
Google Scholar
govdocs
Handheld Librarian Online Conference
Hurricane Preparedness/Solinet 3-part Workshop
ILS
information design
information ethics
Information Literacy
innovation
Innovation in Instruction
Innovative Library Classroom Conference
Inspiration
Institute for Research Design in Librarianship
instruction
IRB101
Journal reading group
Keynote
LAMS Customer Service Workshop
LAUNC-CH
Leadership
Learning spaces
LibQUAL
Library 2.0
Library Assessment Conference
Library of Congress
licensing
Lilly Conference
LITA
LITA National Forum
LOEX
LOEX2008
Lyrasis
Management
Marketing
Mentoring Committee
MERLOT
metadata
Metrolina 2008
MOUG 09
MOUG 2010
Music Library Assoc. 07
Music Library Assoc. 09
Music Library Assoc. 2010
NASIG
National Library of Medicine
NC-LITe
NCCU Conference on Digital Libraries
NCICU
NCLA
NCLA Biennial Conference 2013
NCPC
NCSLA
NEDCC/SAA
NHPRC-Electronic Records Research Fellowships Symposium
NISO
North Carolina Serial Conference 2014
Offsite Storage Project
OLE Project
online catalogs
online course
OPAC
open access
Peabody Library Leadership Institute
plagiarism
Podcasting
Preservation
Preservation Activities
Preserving Forsyth LSTA Grant
Professional Development Center
rare books
RDA/FRBR
Reserves
RITS
RTSS 08
RUSA-CODES
SAA Class New York
SAMM 2008
SAMM 2009
Scholarly Communication
ScienceOnline2010
Social Stratification in the Deep South
Social Stratification in the Deep South 2009
Society of American Archivists
Society of North Carolina Archivists
SOLINET
Southeast Music Library Association
Southeast Music Library Association 08
Southeast Music Library Association 09
SPARC webinar
subject headings
Sun Webinar Series
tagging
TALA Conference
Technical Services
technology
ThinkTank Conference
Training
ULG
Uncategorized
user studies
Vendors
video-assisted learning
visual literacy
WakeSpace
Web 2.0
Webinar
WebWise
WFU China Initiative
Wikis
Women's History Symposium 2007
workshops
WSS
ZSR Library Leadership Retreat
Tags
Archives
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007

Powered by WordPress.org, protected by Akismet. Blog with WordPress.com.