Sunday, October 28, 2012

Daily Thoughts 10/28/2012

Still life with books („In a library we are surrounded by friends“), L. Block, 1901
Daily Thoughts 10/28/2012

I have been reading a bit more of On Politics by Alan Ryan.  Alan Ryan is writing about Saint Augustine.  This is a quote from City of God by St Augustine.
Justice being taken away, then, what are kingdoms but great robberies? For what are robberies themselves, but little kingdoms? The band itself is made up of men; it is ruled by the authority of a prince, it is knit together by the pact of the confederacy; the booty is divided by the law agreed on. If, by the admittance of abandoned men, this evil increases to such a degree that it holds places, fixes abodes, takes possession of cities, and subdues peoples, it assumes the more plainly the name of a kingdom, because the reality is now manifestly conferred on it, not by the removal of covetousness, but by the addition of impunity. Indeed, that was an apt and true reply which was given to Alexander the Great by a pirate who had been seized. For when that king had asked the man what he meant by keeping hostile possession of the sea, he answered with bold pride, “What thou meanest by seizing the whole earth; but because I do it with a petty ship, I am called a robber, whilst thou who dost it with a great fleet art styled emperor.”
 I have started reading The End of Business As Usual Rewire the Way You Work to Succeed in the Consumer Revolution by Brian Solis.  This book has digerati written all over it.  It is the always on message which is being spread around.  I prefer not to be always on.  I like having quiet time to read and think.

There is something a little bit disconcerting to read that 92% of children in the United States have an online presence by the time they are two years old.  This bothers me.  I don't put my families information up on Facebook.  I like the internet, but I also like my privacy.

However, it is useful to know how it is to live in a constant stream of information with cell phones, tablets, and laptops turned on all the time, synched together, and shared at all hours of the day.

I am thinking again of the New York City Data Meetup #9,  I went to. I went to there to see what it was about.  It seemed to be very different than what I was expecting.

I was not listening for individual contributions, but rather to get a sense of what big data was in a business setting.  The first thing I learned was that in industry that there are three sections; infrastructure-- how do you store and manipulate massive amounts of information and data sets, algorithms and programs-- how do you make useful these large sets of data, and applications how do you apply the information in business.

The other thing I learned is that big data is being used by Fortune 1000 companies the world over.  It is something which they all are having to use to stay in business.  According to the panelists it was not a flash in the pan, but a long term 20 year trend.

When I talked to people at the reception afterward, I had a sense that this was very much a meeting for serious programs and investors.   The panel addressed the crowd as future investors and creators of large computer companies.

The other thing that I learned is that there are huge amounts of data sets, it is not hard to find information.  It is having a deep understanding of how to use the information and the subject it covers as well as create metadata that is useful that matters more than the ability to generate new information.  The real key here where librarians would seem to fit in is in metadata, taxonomy, indexing, and the ability to make information useful.

A lot of the discussion was focused around programming with a little bit touching on social media.  One of the differences in the language being used was a lot of it was about how you use both people and computers together to generate information which can be useful.  It was more about people than you might expect.  I found the portion of the talk by Crowd Computing Systems quite interesting.

This was a very business oriented meeting.  There was no discussion of government or education.  Most everyone was dressed business casual with a sportscoat, turtleneck, or dress shirt, dress shoes, and no tie.  The meeting was at Bloomberg LP in Manhattan.  Security took your photograph, made you a badge, and you returned the badge when you left.

It helped me get a better sense of what Big Data is.  There have been quite a few articles recently on the subject in the last year.

MIP, Big Data and Angry Birds, Febreze, and the Future of Reading

Book Industry Study Group’s Making Information Pay Conference Beyond Business As Usual the Age of Big Data

Guest Post Where Is Big Data for Libraries by Matt Weaver

I first thought about this because I was looking at trending topics in ASIST
They did not talk that much about government data, but has a lot of free data sets on government information.  Also New York City has an interesting Open Data Repository

There is a big storm tomorrow, Hurricane Sandy.  I learned my library will be closed on Monday.  Also, the annual meeting for Metro, the Metropolitan Library Council of New York was canceled.  Things look very serious right now.  The subways are being shut down in Manhattan, lower Manhattan is being evacuated, and the Metro North railroad is being shut down.

This is an article about the hurricane.  It explains just how dangerous it could potentially be.

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