Europe and the Right to be Forgotten

Forget Me Not

The European Court of Justice has ordered Google to remove Information from their Search Results of anyone who asks.

The court’s decision means that individuals can ask Google or other search operators to take down links to web pages that are published by third parties, such as newspapers, containing information relating to them. That doesn’t mean that the article or website has to be removed or altered by the original publisher. It would only affect search results compiled by search engine operators like Google. – Google’s Legal Blow: What ‘the Right to Be Forgotten’ Means

Of course, this could ramifications for Libraries because we have all sorts of Databases to choose from? Will Lexis/Nexis have to remove Legal Cases that someone doesn’t like? What about the Polk Street Directory? And there is another aspect.

Given the U.S. now defines corporations as people too, can future regulations intended to protect individual right to privacy be used by corporations to erase past transgressions from Internet searches so that researchers, journalists, attorneys and others cannot find that information? And what of politicians? Can they cover up criminal arrests and investigations and other information voters should know on the grounds that such information is “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant?” – Google must purge search results on demand, says EU court

I can understand the desire but I think the decision itself was ill-considered.

Note: If you don’t get the significance of the flowers, they are “Forget-Me-Nots.”

Do Stacks make the Library?

Colby College’s Miller Library is only the latest example of a library reducing the amount of space utilized by books. And some people are very upset about that.

The Bookies are quite right to want to save the stacks—but not just for the reasons they give, all of which could be dismissed as the sentimental drowning cries of Luddites. We must also save the stacks for another, more urgent reason altogether: Books, simply as props that happen also to be quite useful if you open them up, are the best—perhaps the only—bastions of contemplative intellectual space in the world. – Rebecca Schuman

I think you can make a case either way although I am pretty sure it will be a while yet before most Libraries go completely stack-free. But is a healthy debate to have.

Vinton Cerf on the Future of Libraries

Vinton Cerf

You have no idea how eager I aVinton Cerfm to ensure that the notion of library does not disappear – it’s too important. But the thing is, it’s going to have to curate an extremely broad range of materials, and increasingly digital content. I am really worried right now, about the possibility of saving ‘bits’ but losing their meaning and ending up with bit-rot. This means, you have a bag of bits that you saved for a thousand years, but you don’t know what they mean, because the software that was needed to interpret them is no longer available, or it’s no longer executable, or you just don’t have a platform that will run it. This is a serious, serious problem and we have to solve that. – Vinton Cerf

He is right this is a serious concern. We already have the example of the Digital Domesday.

Photo Credit: Takuya Oikawa

Burning over FeedBurner

When I first started reading about this, I thought I stumbled over an “old thread from years ago(Protocols and Implementations)”: But this is all new. Apparently, Dave is upset about FeedBurner and Google.
bq.So now someone at Google “owns” Feedburner and all their feeds. And they could, if they wanted to, change the feeds to another format, overnight, without asking anyone. – “Dave Winer(Why Feedburner is trouble)”: Robert is as well.
bq.But, what really is cooking here is that RSS has been moved to big companies to control. How so? Well, the RSS Advisory board, which includes members from Cisco, Yahoo, Netscape, FeedBurner (er, Google), Microsoft, and Bloglines and this new unofficial board +is+ changing the RSS spec all the time (they are now up to version 2.0.9. UPDATE: which only represents a couple of changes, according to comments left on this post). – “Robert Scoble(Feedburner bad for us?)”: Sam makes a point.
bq.Oh, and as to the recent spec “clarification” that was recently made to the alternate specification that also happens to call itself RSS 2.0? FeedBurner’s CTO voted against it. – “Sam Ruby(Feed Folies, Summer of 2007 Edition)”: For myself, I would simply point out that “Jenny Levine(Jenny Levine)”: works for something other than a “big company(Dave Winer is angry)”: Other than something to laugh about, RSS politics have gotten really old to me. Especially when there is a “better alternative(That’s All, Then)”:

Gorman on Web 2.0

bq.The life of the mind in the age of Web 2.0 suffers, in many ways, from an increase in credulity and an associated flight from expertise. Bloggers are called “citizen journalists”; alternatives to Western medicine are increasingly popular, though we can thank our stars there is no discernable “citizen surgeon” movement; millions of Americans are believers in Biblical inerrancy-the belief that every word in the Bible is both true and the literal word of God, something that, among other things, pits faith against carbon dating; and, scientific truths on such matters as medical research, accepted by all mainstream scientists, are rejected by substantial numbers of citizens and many in politics. – “Michael Gorman(Web 2.0: The Sleep of Reason, Part I)”: My favorite conversation last year at “Gnomedex(Gnomedex Opening Night)”: was when one of the side discussions got into defining what was and was not Web 2.0. No one had a definition and everyone had agreed it was pretty just a marketing slogan. I think I got the biggest laugh when I said, “When I think of Web 2.0, I think of rounded corners.” So I might have to disagree with David…
bq.So… how are those two topics about web 2.0, you ask? Beats me. He DID mention the Internet and Sergey Brin of Google… but he didn’t actually write ANYTHING about web 2.0. Not one jot or tittle. Nada. Nothing. – “David Lee King(A Blog from Britannica Should Know Better)”: While I didn’t really see anything particularly Web 2.0-ish in his posts, who can say what is and isn’t? But seriously…
bq.Wikipedia is the best known example of improved findability of knowledge. Gorman is correct that an encyclopedia is not the product of a collective mind; this is as true of Wikipedia as of Britannica. Gorman’s unfamiliarity and even distaste for Wikipedia leads him to mistake the dumbest utterances of its most credulous observers for an authentic accounting of its mechanisms; people pushing arguments about digital collectivism, pro or con, known nothing about how Wikipedia actually works. Wikipedia is the product not of collectivism but of unending argumentation; the corpus grows not from harmonious thought but from constant scrutiny and emendation. – “Clay Shirky(Old Revolutions Good, New Revolutions Bad: A Response to Gorman )”: I was just looking for the origin of the quote about “owning the press” when I found this essay.
bq.The writer A. J. Liebling, who wrote about freedom of the press, put it this way, “The person who has freedom of the press is the person who owns one.” Owning a press gives you a lot more freedom of speech than having to write a letter to your local newspaper, hoping the editor publishes it. It takes more and more money to own a newspaper, and even if you owned one, it is harder and harder to prevent it being taken over by some giant corporation. At the end of World War II, more than 80 percent of the daily newspapers in the United States were independently owned. Forty years later only 28 percent were independent, the rest owned by outside corporations. And fifteen huge corporations controlled half of the nation’s newspaper business. – “Howard Zinn(Free Speech: Second Thoughts on the First Amendment)”: More than anything else, Web 2.0 is about making what A. J. Liebling said untrue. There are a great deal of entrenched interests who don’t want to see that happen and Michael Gorman is one of their spokespersons. Personally, I think they need him more than we do.

Content to the People

Does it matter how people should happen to arrive at your webpage?
bq.Articles are emailed around, copied to blogs for commentary, grouped together with stories on the same subject from rival publications, and found by search engines and aggregator services. I have no idea how you’re reading this column. Maybe you found it on the Online Journal’s home page or the technology page. Maybe you saw it because it includes Google’s stock symbol, or it hit your newsreader via an RSS feed. Maybe you followed a link from a blog, Google News or Technorati. Maybe someone emailed it to you. Maybe you printed it out this morning and are reading it now. (However you found it, thank you!) – “Jason Fry(A Reality Check for Newspapers)”: It is nice to see that some people in old media understand what is going on. For the record, I found it via Bloglines on “Techmeme(A Reality Check for Newspapers)”:

Control of Your Space

When you create your presence on the web, how much control are you willing to give up?
bq.When you host your stuff on a Web site that’s free and that you don’t control some nasty crap can happen. Yesterday MySpace started blocking Photobucket stuff. My blog is hosted on and I have the same issues the MySpace folks are seeing (the free service where my blog is hosted right now, which is different from the software that you host on your own servers). The thing is when a company is hosting your stuff for free they need to see some way to make money off of the service. This isn’t going to be free with no ads forever and ever. And, it certainly would piss me off if I worked on if someone came along and made money from my user’s photos and videos. – “Robert Scoble(MySpace’ers learn harsh reality)”: Of course, I have always considered Robert something of a special case before he always has made use of hosted services. He has “never really had(PLEASE SUBSCRIBE TO MY NEW BLOG)”: full control of his web presence. Personally, I like having full control over my domains. That being said, I have enjoyed playing with “Twitter(Twitter / michaelkpate)”: of late. And after having sort of stumbled on the concept of a “lifestream(Streaming my life away)”:, I have “created(Tagged with Lifestream :: Michael K. Pate)”: them at “Ziki”:, “iStalkr”: (through “Steven(iStalkr – Social Feed Agregator)”:, “Tumblr”: (through “Alex(, Powered by Tumblr)”:, and the “phenomenon(Goodbye Twitter. Hello Jaiku.)”: of last weekend, “Jaiku”: It will be interesting to see where this goes.

Machine tags

I hadn’t heard of “Machine tags(Machine tags)”: before, but it is an interesting concept in this era of folksonomies.
bq.The ability for anyone to create a namespace opens up an interesting future as we begin to see patterns and conventions emerge: amazon:asin=B000AA4I1M anyone? Which brings me to the point of this post. This time last year I was tagging photos and posts which discussed books in the following manner isbn=0713998393. In and of itself this works fine, but it is not a valid machine tag, which means we cannot make use of the afore-mentioned API goodness within Flickr (and where Flickr is leading so others will follow). We therefore need a triple-tag version of the ISBN tag, and here’s my suggestion: iso:isbn=0713998393. ISBN is a standard recognised by the International Organisation for Standardization (ISO) so I thought it made a certain sense for ISO to be the namespace. Other standardised entities could be tagged in a similar way, such as iso:issn=15340295. – “Richard Rutter(Machine tags and ISBNs)”: It sounds like something perhaps some Librarians should be involved in.

Really Big Storage

Are you depressed that HD-DVD and Blu-Ray are just a high enough capacity storage medium?
bq.Imagine taking the entire collection of historical documents at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum and storing it on a single DVD. University of Central Florida Chemistry Professor Kevin D. Belfield and his team have cracked a puzzle that stumped scientists for more than a dozen years. They have developed a new technology that will allow users to record and store massive amounts of data — the museum’s entire collection or as many as 500 movies, for example — onto a single disc or, perhaps, a small cube. Belfield’s Two-Photon 3-D Optical Data Storage system makes this possible. – “Zenaida Gonzalez Kotala(UCF Researcher’s 3-D Digital Storage System Could Hold a Library on One Disc)”: Expected capacity is One Terabyte or greater. These should work great when it comes to filling up “your new iPod(Unlimited iPod)”: in a few years.

Unlimited iPod

It was just a year ago that everyone was talking about a “1 Terabyte iPod(1 Terabyte Ipod)”: Apparently, we were thinking small.
bq.Speaking at the FT World Communications Conference, Nikesh Arora, Google’s VP of European operations, told delegates that, in the coming years, the plummeting price of storage and its increasing volume-to-size ratio will give iPods almost unlimited potential to hold music and video. Arora said, by 2012, iPods could launch at similar prices to those on sale now and yet be capable of holding a whole year’s worth of video releases. Around 10 years down the line that could be expanded, creating iPods that can hold all the music ever sold commercially. He said: “In 12 years, why not an iPod that can carry any video ever produced?”- “Jo Best(Google: iPod will hold all the world’s TV in 12 years)”:,39024649,39164360,00.htm It will be interesting to see if this amount of storage is really becomes necessary or if high-speed wireless connections will have made that pointless. Either way, the “next few years(Seven Years until Petabyte)”: will be quite an exciting time. Well, at least for “some of us(Online video eroding TV viewing)”: