I’ve always thought that one of the troubles with librarianship was that there are always more great ideas and projects than anyone has time for or can get funding for. As a result we outsource projects to the people who have time and money and thus lose control over the end product. I have no idea if Library Thing’s open source Open Shelves Classification Project is going to wind up looking like a library product or a vendor product, but I’m curious to find out. As Tim Spalding says “You won’t be paid anything, but, hey, there’s probably a paper or two in it, right?” I haven’t seen much chatter, blog or otherwise, about this just yet but I’ll be keeping my eyes open. Whether or not this project it ultimately successful, I think it’s an interesting grass rootsy way of looking at ideas of authority and rejecting the top down let-us-have-you-contribute-and-then-sell-it-back-to-you models we’ve been working under.
“Forgotten Futures is a data sculpture which visualizes 100 years of forward thought. Using web-crawls of Google News, Google Blog and Google Scholar, the phrase “in the future” was associated with key words and phrases which reveal previous though about the future of our world. The top 100 terms for each year were categorized using the Dewey Decimal system, and mapped onto a grid. Holes were drilled into sheets of plexiglass whose sizes correspond to their frequency. For example, “war” is the biggest hole in 1945. The prototype shown here is a sketch for a larger installation.” [via info aesthetics, via sudama]