The historian Lisa Jardine, in her most recent podcast in the Point of View series on Radio 4, considers the fate of public libraries in economically straightened times, particularly as ‘almost two thirds’ of the UK population went nowhere near a public library in the last twelve months.
She then goes on consider the pleasures of reading ‘real books’, and more importantly, keeping and displaying a hard copy book. The success of Oprah Winfrey’s book club in the US in bringing enormous numbers of people to contemporary fiction as well as to literary classics has certainly changed the fortune of many authors, influenced changes in publishing models and may well have created a whole cohort of self educated readers. Winfrey’s readers are quite clear in their demands. Their preferred format is an attractive, hardback book that they can keep and display.
This in itself does not mean that e-versions of books will not find their market too. Jardine is grateful to be reading Blair’s enormous tome electronically, even though it means she does not get to see the previously unpublished photographs of the Blair family to which hard copy readers are treated.
Rory Cellan-Jones continues to uncover the costs of government websites in his blog. In his latest piece, he tries to unravel just exactly how a website (Business Link) can cost £35 million pounds a year to run.
Take some time out to read not just this article, but [some of] the many readers’ comments: from website developers who quote considerably less for the same work; from those who attempted to introduce freeware solutions inside government (to no avail) and those small-and medium-sized providers who lost out to the ‘big boys’ when bidding for government projects.
As we are all aware, the days of freespending on large projects should be well and truly behind us. In our September issue we will be publishing an article about cloud computing and its potential, not just to help organisations contain costs but also to help them build organisational capability.
Gary Hamel, the author of Competing for the Future (and co-creator of core competencies) is featured on the BBC’s World of Business podcast this week. In his wide ranging conversation with Peter Day, Hamel suggests that organisations can ‘buy knowledge’ relatively easily these days and that they need to focus more on how they can attract and support the creative individuals that can give them a competitive edge.
Interestingly enough, in June we are publishing an article by Sara Smith and Scott Paquette that discusses the connection between knowledge management, chaos theory and organisational creativity and innovation. The article looks at how Pixar and Google support creativity, knowledge creation and innovation.
The ever excellent Pods and Blogs programme is a regular feature on BBC Radio 5 Live’s Up All Night programming and does, of course, have its own podcast. It’s the type of programme that introduces you to great content you may never have actually searched for or found without prompting. It is highly recommended.
In this week’s broadcast, the programme featured Matt Novak who glories in the job title paleo-futurologist. His blog Paleofuture provides ‘a look into the future that never was’ by showing historical predictions for the future. In 1930, for example, the Syracuse Herald ran an article predicting the digital distribution of films in an article ‘Television will soon flash talkies through the ether’. Or how about 1981’s ‘Computer criminals of the future’ which predicts growth in computer fraud (although simultaneously predicting a decline in buglaries because computers will be guarding our homes!).
Bearded men of the 21st century is just one example of why we should all exercise extreme caution when predicting the future.