Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Are We Ready for Half-Baked Ideas?

In "Open Source Scholarly Publishing" I summarized a scholarly communications model called open source publishing being proposed by Dr. Eric Mockensturm. It presents a dynamic environment that allows authors to present their ideas rapidly, even in 'half baked' unfinished form, and then fill in material as it becomes available.

Today, as I walked around campus, I listened to an Educause podcast from the Seminars on Academic Computing Conference by Jon Udell, Evangelist of Microsoft Corporation, entitled "The Disruptive Nature of Technology". The talk was primarily about the creation of personal digital space, or lifebits, the half-baked theme came up again.

"Web 2.0 and other emerging technologies invite exploration, innovation, and building with “small pieces loosely joined.” Yet those opportunities can disrupt traditional academic processes that undervalue amateur participation, discourage faculty from venturing outside their realm of primary expertise, and look to “enterprise solutions” for administrative convenience. Can the academy include “half-baked ideas” in its core mission and processes?"

Once again I wonder. Why is it that librarians still tend to favor fully-baked ideas, especially when it comes to providing services, rather than a more half-baked approach? 

This week I proposed to the three campus library directors (University Libraries, Law, Health Sciences) the idea of creating an Ohio State University Libraries Labs.  It will be OSUL's emerging technologies sandbox. The concept was well received and I will be leading the effort. The challenge will be pulling it together with no new personnel and limited funding.
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