Weekly Science Picks

Last weekend in January brought exciting and interesting events, reports, and readings.  Monthly editorial is coming out next week, don’t miss wonderful readings written by Australian Science writers and bloggers. Enjoy in this week science picks, and have a great weekend!

Library services in the digital age  – new report by the Pew Internet Research

The internet has already had a major impact on how people find and access information, and now the rising popularity of e-books is helping transform Americans’ reading habits. In this changing landscape, public libraries are trying to adjust their services to these new realities while still serving the needs of patrons who rely on more traditional resources. In a new survey of Americans’ attitudes and expectations for public libraries, the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project finds that many library patrons are eager to see libraries’ digital services expand, yet also feel that print books remain important in the digital age.

In the past generation, public libraries have reinvented themselves to become technology hubs in order to help their communities access information in all its new forms,” noted Kathryn Zickuhr, Research Analyst at the Pew Internet Project, and co-author of a new report on the survey findings. “While many patrons appreciate being able to access new digital resources at libraries, they also say they value having print books and other traditional resources at libraries and still want a personal connection with library staff. Many libraries are torn between expanding their digital offerings on the latest platforms and still providing quality resources for patrons who may lack experience with technology or the means to own the latest devices.

Web founder Berners-Lee: Share info, improve the worldby Stephen Shankland 

Yesterday, the Web founder and scientist – Tim Berners-Lee was the guest at  The World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. In the conversation he was talking about what is wrong with social networking, talked about academics, musicians, governments to share more information online, and remembering Aaron Swartz.

“Aaron was a hacker in the good sense. He used his programming to try to make a point,” he said. “They ended up using the law [which states] if you break into a computer system anywhere then you are guilty of a felony. Never mind whether you were taking out too many library books or trying to destroy the infrastructure of a country.”

Berners-Lee called Swartz “an incredibly ethical person who thought a huge amount about what was right and how the world should be.” One action that brought unwelcome attention from the FBI was downloading public-domain court records from the governmental systems that charge for the service, then republishing those documents for free. The reason he did so: “To point out that the government ought to be doing that.”

Swartz was exemplary because he could use his programming skills to change the world. Most computer users merely know how to use a word processor at best, but Berners-Lee called for more and better computer education.

ScienceOnline – crossing a river with Anton Zuiker by Bora Zivkovic

Those who are following science un/conferences, you know that this time of year is the time for The ScienceOnline conference, we’ve been talking about last January. Bora Zivkovic interviewed Anton Zuiker, one of the founders of the ScienceOnline (beside Bora!).

One of the early foundations of the ScienceOnline community was the colorful tapestry of science blog networks, and now in ScienceSeeker we have a fantastic tool for mining the rich daily output from science blogs. But even in my own institution, Duke University, there aren’t that many scientists actively blogging. You remember the keynote speaker at our first ScienceOnline conference back in 2007: Dr. Hunt Willard suggested it would have to be the postdocs and fellows who would need to be trained to use online tools. At Duke, Dr. Zubin Eapen and the cardiology fellows are a shining example of that; Dr. Matt Sparks is another. It’s going to be fun to see others take up online science just as avidly and successfully.

You’ve been at every ScienceOnline conference, of course. What’s most memorable of any or all of them? How do you hope ScienceOnline2013 is similar or different?

Actually, ScienceOnline2013 is going to be my first. Learn why in my blog post on The Coconut Wireless.

What I’ve most enjoyed about ScienceOnline is watching the interactions, seeing the passions, witnessing the partnerships. You and I started with a conversation in a cafe, and we’ve gained a friendship and a community. I sincerely hope that all who attend ScienceOnline2013 and the many other events to follow will similarly be better persons because they openly engaged in the conversation.

You can read the interview with Bora for Australian Science – here.

Image source.