Last week’s ATG Article of the week predicted that ebooks would democratize publishing. Now this article from the NY Times says that we are entering “the brave new world of Massive Open Online Courses — known as MOOCs — a tool for democratizing higher education.” Respected institutions like Stanford, MIT and Georgia Tech have jumped on the bandwagon and are introducing MOOC’s that in some cases reach thousands of students. “Consider Stanford’s experience: Last fall, 160,000 students in 190 countries enrolled in an Artificial Intelligence course” taught by Sebastian Thrun, a Stanford research professor and Google fellow and Peter Norvig, a Google colleague. On Feb. 13, MIT … “opened registration for its first MOOC, a circuits and electronics course” while Georgia Tech “is running an experimental two-semester MOOC, known as Change 11, a free-floating forum that exists more in the online postings and response of the students…” Some obvious questions arise. Can/should libraries market their services to these students? Can/should publishers try and integrate their materials into these courses?
Anyone interested in the Hathi Trust will find this article worth a read. It is part of a series of articles in the Chronicle of Higher Education that profile 12 Tech innovators who are transforming campuses. In this article, Jennifer Howard focuses on John P. Wilkin, associate university librarian for library information technology at the University of Michigan and executive director of the HathiTrust. Mr. Wilkin talks about the problems of developing such a massive digital collection as being similar to “those of building any library in an era of superabundant information.” But in this case, problems of selection, preservation, cataloging and discovery are complicated by issues related to orphan works and copyright, etc.
The more technically inclined among us will be fascinated by this article. The abstract says it better than I could so read on: “RDF, OWL, SPARQL and many other technologies have made the Semantic Web a technically viable solution. Its practical viability though has yet to be proven. The adoption rate is slow to non-existent, and those able to implement are rare and fading. Justin Gilbreath, the Managing Director of 30 Digits, talks on the benefits of using Web Data Extraction to seize the benefits promised by Web 3.0 through the practical implementation of these tools.”
This article in TabTimes reports on the Financial Times’ Digital Media Conference held last week in London. In particular, it discusses a panel discussion “that focused on ‘the eBook (r)evolution’, a talk which shifted from tablet and eReader usage to eBook prices.” One interesting take away from this panel is the contention of Kobo CEO Michel Serbinis that “there is a profound difference in usage between dedicated eReaders and tablets… The people buying these devices (eReaders) are reading more frequently than those with tablets. They read for longer sessions and are more committed.”