Leading in an Open, Social and Participatory World

Leading in an Open, Social and Participatory World

ILD 831, Week Eight

If I may be honest, part of me did not want to take this course on leadership and technology.  I will also confess that the pace of change and the consequences of the changes we experience in the networked world, wear me out at times.  I am old enough to remember an old country and western song from the 1960s, “Make the World Go Away,” popularized by Eddy Arnold and others.  More than once in recent years I have thought about the sentiments expressed in that song title.  But there is no avoiding or turning back the clock on this technological revolution, any more than the industrial revolution was turned back.  Leaders in this networked, social and participatory world must embrace the revolution that is underway and accept there are numerous obligations that come with leading in this environment.  It would have been a big mistake had I not taken this course.  First, the readings and the conversations with classmates in this course have compelled me to evaluate how leadership will be expressed very differently in the future and how I need to adjust to the necessities and realities of leadership in a digital age.  Secondly, it has encouraged and re-motivated me to continue leading for transformative changes and the innovations I first introduced to my staff three years ago.  Thirdly, I am reminded of my responsibilities to those I lead to help them better understand that digital is disruptive, that the disruption is accelerating, and that change is imperative if we are to stay relevant to our parent organization.  Finally, this course helped me to see that I need to help deliver a vision of change, to frame it positively, and to build a diverse and creative team that has the capabilities to make change happen.

In my opinion, effective and successful leadership will manifest itself differently in the future as a consequence of technological advances.  It will be imperative for leaders to comprehend the trends in technological development and understand the impact of breakthrough technologies on their institution, organization, or workplace.  Hierarchical and bureaucratic leadership models concerned with balancing various interests, maintaining order, and seeking consensus, are not well suited to address the dynamic changes, or the pace of the changes, that are occurring.  Weinberger (2011) has noted several challenges that hierarchical leadership faces in a networked environment.  For example, distributed decision making excels when decisions require a great deal of local knowledge and when the situations are “fluid and diverse.”  Hierarchical organizations, he added, “are not as resilient as organizations that distribute leadership throughout a connected network” (Weinberger, p. 164).

Different eras, by necessity, have eventually produced different forms of leadership (Marcum, 2016) and this technological era will as well.  Much of the current leadership structure across business, government, and education institutions is composed of digital immigrants rather than digital natives.  For the digital immigrant, developing an understanding of the networked world and being acquainted with the use of Web 2.0 tools is a continual challenge.  That challenge relates to leaders remaining relevant and valued by their institution or organization (Lommen, 2016).  In this era, the ability to function and to make good decisions is directly tied to an understanding of and use of technology.  Leaders should be able to speak the language to technology, they should know the basics, and they should be aware of the larger picture in order to plan and to set a vision for their organizations.  To do this, leaders may need to reset the materials on their reading lists, adopt a lifestyle of continuous learning, and make their own technological education and development a strategic priority.  Jesse Stoner, writing about the information age, noted nine essential leadership strategies.  Among those strategies, Stoner believes that developing a comprehensive digital strategy and a shared vision is critical.  Having a shared vision, she continues, allows leadership to be demonstrated and emergent at a variety of levels across the institution.  Within this reality, Stone indicates, are the mandates that current leadership values the institutions’ diversity and that current leaders need to proactively develop other leaders (Stoner, 2015).

Several years ago, Tomalee Doan of Purdue University wrote that “There is a generally held belief in the business world that in the global knowledge economy (GKE) and organization must innovate or risk death” (Doan, 2009).  I would postulate that all organizations and institutions, not just the business world, now face this reality.  It is certainly true for my world of academic libraries.  In a time of constant change, ubiquitous information, and competing venues for knowledge sharing, academic libraries must acknowledge that we need to keep pace with our user needs and expectations, we have information competitors, we must innovate in order to be meaningful, and we are part of a larger organization with larger objectives than our own.  Through our strategic planning and purposeful consideration it is imperative that as leaders in the information age we must focus on the most meaningful innovation opportunities.  In the instance of academic libraries, solutions that meet the needs and expectations of students and faculty should drive innovations.  We must demonstrate value to our parent organizations and be in alignment with their larger goals and objectives or face extinction.

References

Doan, T. (2009). Innovation, creativity and meaning: Leading in the information age.

           Journal of  Business and Finance Librarianship, 14:4, 348-358.

DOI: 10.1080/08963560802424011.

Lommen, K. (2016). Ethical leadership in a digital age. Leadership, 45:4, 20-22.

Marcum, D. (2016). Library leadership for the digital age. Information Services & Use, 36,

105-111. DOI: 10.3233/ISU-160796.

Stoner, J. (2015). The 9 essential leadership strategies in the age of information. Seapoint

         Center. Retrieved from http://seapointcenter.com/essential-leadership-strategies/.

Weinberger, D. (2011). Too big to know: Rethinking knowledge now that the facts aren’t

the facts, experts are everywhere, and the smartest person in the room is the room.

[Books 24×7 version] Available from http://library.pittstate.edu:2059/toc.aspx

?bookid=45313

Randy Roberts

On the Horizon: Emerging Technologies

On the Horizon: Emerging Technologies

ILD 831: Week Seven

In the readings and content we examined this week, Kevin Kelly reminds us it is difficult to envision emergent technologies as much different from the appearance and uses of older, familiar, technologies.  Nevertheless, history, Kelly reminds us, teaches that new technologies will eventually manifest in different ways than older technologies.  Just as the web over time differentiated from television, the future web will differentiate from the appearance and usage of the present web.  Kelly notes specifically that artificial intelligence will be used to create a second great industrial revolution as AI is used to cognify many present-day products and processes.  AI, he continues, will lead to efficient robots for many tasks while also creating never-before-envisioned tasks.

One of the really interesting observations made by David Weinberger in Too Big To Know, is that “no one knows how this will turn out.”  As new technologies emerge at a record pace, even the “experts” have trouble envisioning the future.  Weinberger, we learn, believes that knowledge is becoming a property of the network but what the future innovations will be is hard to forecast.  Weinberger does not believe in techno-determinism, that technology causes us to use it in a certain way or to react toward it in a predetermined way.  We do have, however, somewhat of a common experience in relating to the network.  Weinberger notes five of these common elements that he identifies as abundance (there is an overabundance of information), links (most of the information is hyper-linked, connected to other information), permission free (people feel empowered to read, post, and build information as they desire), public (little is private or exclusionary), and unresolved (the shared knowledge of the network is not universally agreed upon as accepted knowledge).  But within these common elements of experience, experts, including Weinberger, cannot be certain or proscriptive about the future of the network.  Will the network become more, or less, open?  Will filtering or metadata cause the super abundance of information that  now exists be more usable in the future?

Weinberger believes no amount of helpful metadata will suffice entirely.  Rather, he believes, society needs to do three specific things to keep knowledge moving forward as we encounter those common elements of the network.  First, he notes, because of its complexity and magnitude, we need to better educate future users (our children) of the network about how to use it.  Secondly, we need to learn how to evaluate the knowledge of the network critically.  Beyond information, users need to know how to gain understanding from the knowledge of the network.  Thirdly, and most difficult in Weinberger’s view, is learning to love the differences and the unresolved issues that populate the network.

There are many more changes coming through emerging technologies and they are coming quickly.  Leaders, in this environment, face some tremendous challenges.  The ability to function and to make good decisions is frequently, if not always, tied to an understanding of technology.  That may be the present technology or the technologies that will soon be on the horizon.  Even if a leader is not a technology expert, leadership requires one to speak the language, know the basics, and be aware of the bigger picture in order to plan and to vision effectively.  To stay current is imperative for today’s leader.  This may be accomplished in a variety of ways, but currency implies that leaders will re-define their reading lists, read widely, keep learning, see currency as a strategic priority, and be exposed to a wide variety of perspectives and sources of information.  Great changes will always be on our horizon.  Leaders will emerge from this fray.  Emerging technologies will be very different from the present technologies and emerging leaders may also bear little resemblance to leaders from the past.

References

Kelly, K. (2016). How AI can bring on a second industrial revolution, TEDTalk.  Accessed at

https://www.ted.com/talks/kevin_kelly_how_ai_can_bring_on_a_ second_industrial_

revolution.

Weinberger, D. (2011). Too big to know: Rethinking knowledge now that the facts aren’t

the facts, experts are everywhere, and the smartest person in the room is the room.

[Books 24×7 version] Available from http://library.pittstate.edu:2059/toc.aspx?

bookid=45313.

 

Randy Roberts

 

 

Technology and Ethics: The Issue of Privacy

Technology and Ethics: The Issue of Privacy

If we assert that technology at its core is ethically neutral, we must also recognize that the act of using communications technologies and the technology developers and users are anything but neutral.  Ethics, after all, are the moral principles that govern personal or corporate behavior and activities.  In one corner of the broader discussions of technology and ethics is the issue of privacy.  Many individuals will believe that their privacy is important and valuable.  Privacy is a part of the foundation of human dignity and privacy supports the core values of freedom of association and freedom of speech.  Many individuals will recognize, in addition, that the collection of vast amounts of private data can, in some instances, promote the common good.  Information that helps catch wrongdoers or avert a terrorist threat, that determines the adverse side effects of drugs that would have otherwise gone unnoticed, or that develop the “smart grid” which maximizes fuel economies and improves traffic flow are examples of private data used for the common good (Tene, 2012).  Privacy interests, on the other hand, may be as old as civilization itself.    Privacy, loosely defined, is the ability of an entity to keep themselves from public view, or information about themselves excluded from public knowledge or distribution. In practice, privacy allows entities, either individuals or groups, to selectively express themselves, or not, in the public forum of their choosing.

As individual users of technology we may have a reasonable expectation of privacy, but currently, the existence of the “third party doctrine” ultimately means we do not have that expectation (Scott-Heyward, 2015).   The third party doctrine, as applied in legal and constitutional cases, states that individuals do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy for the information that is voluntarily revealed to a third party.   Technology is increasingly sophisticated and capable of collecting, analyzing, and disseminating vast amounts of information about individuals.  This inherent nature of technology suggests that any significant use of communication networks today means that we reveal, purposefully or inadvertently, a great deal of information about ourselves.  GPS trackers, social media and open networking sites, and cloud-based servers that store our data inexpensively are but some of the most familiar ways in which we reveal our information to our intended audiences, as well as to unintended third parties.  The amount of personal information we disclose, unless we are purposefully trying to stay off the grid, is increasing from year to year.  Whenever we disclose information, it is no longer secret and, therefore, no longer private in most instances (Banisar & Davies, 2015).

We voluntarily reveal information about ourselves all the time.  Areas of technology where this happens and where the third party doctrine comes into play includes smart phone service with GPS trackers and telephony metadata, internet service providers, credit card companies and utility companies that store personal and financial data, health care systems, cloud-based servers that store our documents, online shopping services like Amazon that harvest information about our purchases and web page views, and social networking sites that contain our opinions and track our activities (Scott-Heyward, 2015).

Research suggests that most Americans believe they have extensive privacy protections guaranteed through the Fourth Amendment or the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986.  One recent study looked at digital surveillance and transactional surveillance, including email, social media, internet history, cloud storage, and texting.  In general, the participants in this study displayed a strong desire for privacy in their online and communication transactions.  Most, in fact, felt entitled to “high levels of privacy with respect to their digital materials.”  (Scott-Heyward, 57).   Although the U. S. Constitution does not specifically mention privacy, the Fourth Amendment guarantees the right of people to “be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures . . . .” (U.S. Constitution, Amendment IV).  This amendment, capturing the historical importance of property rights in the United States, has been used primarily to protect physical places.  The property rights approach to the Fourth Amendment dominated court opinions until the law began to shift in the 1960s from protecting places to protecting people.  In the U. S. Supreme Court decision of Katz v. United States the Court explicitly added privacy as a protected category and declared that a governmental intrusion where there was a reasonable expectation of privacy violated the Fourth Amendment (Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347 (1967).  The rapid advance of technology since the Katz ruling, nevertheless, has outstripped the law, judicial rulings, and even much of the recognition of privacy as a valid concern in a networked society.  The Privacy Act of 1974, while admirable, only applies to the fair use of state-issued or state-collected information such as welfare benefit data and Social Security numbers (DeVries, 2003).   There are many instances today, ranging from the placement of our trash on the curb to our postings on social media sites, where individuals, under the current laws, cannot have a reasonable expectation of privacy and protection. (Scott-Heyward, 2015).

Within specific areas of communications and privacy, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986, sought to expand and revise federal wiretapping and electronic eavesdropping provisions. It was enacted to promote both the privacy expectations of citizens and the legitimate needs of law enforcement.  Further, Congress attempted through this act, to assure American citizens that their personal information would remain safe.  This 1986 act included amendments to the Wiretap Act to address the legalities of intercepting personal communications and it created the Stored Communications Act, to address access issues to communications at rest, primarily stored emails.  This Act makes it unlawful to intentionally access a facility in which electronic communication services are provided and obtain, alter, or prevent unauthorized access without user consent, to a wire or electronic communication while it is in electronic storage in such system.  Now over thirty years old, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) remains one of the few legislated privacy safeguards (Kerr, 2014).

In this third week of February in 2017, Congress is scheduled to consider a narrow update to the ECPA that would extend the warrant requirement to electronic communications stored for more than 180 days.  Previously the requirement was that law enforcement need only notify the individual that electronic communications stored for more than 180 days were being surveilled.  This reform, like others before it, will not dramatically alter the inherent nature of the ECPA and is symptomatic of how the privacy issue is not being addressed.  The Internet today, its ubiquity and the reality of almost comprehensive transactional storage, suggests the need for a fundamental re-examination of privacy and the network (Kerr, 2014).  Orin Kerr, research professor from George Washington University Law School, advocates for a new privacy law that would be quite different from the current ECPA, since the ECPA has become widely perceived to be outdated.  “The extraordinary pace of technological change in the last quarter century,” Kerr writes, “means that the Internet of today bears only a slight resemblance to the Internet of the 1980s.”  Kerr believe there are two significant differences that have “. . . profound implications . . .” for privacy law.  “The plummeting costs of storage have changed how surveillance threatens privacy. . . “, and the “. . . Internet has become truly global.”  (Kerr, 376).  Storage of data and communications is cheap, service providers tend to store everything, and everything can easily be turned over to law enforcement.   Also unlike in 1986, when Internet usage was dominated by the United States, today the majority of Internet users and providers on Gmail, Facebook, and similar technologies are based abroad.  Only about 10% of this activity originates in the United States.  This globalization of communications, with users and providers scattered around the world, has significant implications for both legislation and for privacy (Kerr, 376).

Will DeVries is another scholar who has written about protecting privacy and how the existing legal framework for privacy is inadequate.  “Privacy law,” DeVries notes, “has traditionally developed in tandem with technology . . . .  The information revolution, however, is occurring so fast and affects so many areas of privacy law that the old adaptive process is failing to address digital privacy problems.”  (DeVries, 283).  While the amount of digital information is overwhelming, the serious challenges to privacy, according to DeVries, lie in the fact that every interaction with the Internet from email to e-commerce is recorded, linked to specific individuals, collected in networked databases, can be sent instantly and inexpensively anywhere, can be collated and manipulated for marketing or profiling purposes, and neither the collection nor the manipulation is controlled by individual who initiated the transaction  (DeVries, 2003).

The right to privacy and the impact of technology on privacy are important issues.  So is the topic of how the ethics of the technology developer and the technology user affect privacy.  The consequences of privacy violations can be disastrous for the victim, ranging from loss of reputation, to identity theft, to ruined credit ratings.  The potential for improper use of individual information and private communications is significant, especially in a society where the technology has dramatically raced ahead of the law and ethical considerations.   While law enforcement or Internet business interests may insist that additional governmental legislation relating to digital privacy would be stifling, the government does have an obligation to protect the interests of its citizens, including their privacy interests.  The privacy that U. S. citizens believe is secured by the Fourth Amendment has been significantly impacted by the advances of technology and the law has not kept up.  In the absence of law, what else but personal ethics, truly prevails in the realm of digital privacy?

References

Banisar, D. & Davies, S. (2015). Privacy and human rights; An international survey of

privacy laws and practice. Privacy International. Retrieved from

http://gilc.org/privacy/survey/intro.html

DeVries, W. (2003). “Protecting privacy in the digital age.” Berkeley Technology Law Journal

         (18), 283-311).

Kerr, O. (2014). “The next generation communications privacy act.” University of

        Pennsylvania Law Review (162): 373-419.

Morozov, E. (2013, October 22). Computing: the real privacy problem.  Technology Review.

Retrieved from www.technologyreview.com/s/520426/the-real-privacy-problem/

Scott-Hayward, C., et. al. (2015). “Does privacy require secrecy? Societal expectations of

privacy in the digital age.” American Journal of Criminal Law (43:1), 19-59.

Tene, O. & Polonetsky, J. (2012, February 2). “Privacy in the age of big data: A time for big

decisions.” Stanford Law Review. Retrieved from

http://www.stanfordlawreview.org/online/privacy-paradox/big-data

 

Randy Roberts

ILD 831: Week Six

The Opportunities and Challenges of Networked Workers; Utopia or Dystopia

ILD 831, Week Five: The Opportunities and Challenges of Networked Workers; Utopia or Dystopia

Networked workers bring both opportunities and challenges to the world of work.  A recent survey of leading robotics and artificial intelligence experts (Smith & Anderson, 2014) elicited some widely variated opinions about the future of jobs.  So varied, in fact, the reader was left to wonder if the networked worker was leading our future work world toward utopia or dystopia.

In the networked environment, there are several efficiencies to be realized through the inter-connectivity of employees and processes.  The automation of repetitive tasks, thus, eliminating the attendant drudgery and employee dissatisfaction, is but one of the benefits.  Other authors (Jarche, 2013), have identified additional benefits in networked environments such as shared responsibility for organizational success, accelerated learning, creatively responding to challenges, initiative, and collaborations.  The global connectivity of networks is a pathway for a greater diversity in ideas and problem-solving.  The network also allows for the analysis of large and complex data sets that otherwise could not be understood.

The challenges associated with networked workers are also several.  Many fear that technology will displace many blue-collar and other workers.  Worsening the impact of displacement is the realization that the present educational systems seemingly are neither preparing workers for the technological future nor providing the appropriate retraining and retooling of workers who are displaced.  (Smith, 2014).  Management and the traditional, hierarchical, organizational structures might also find the networked worker to be challenging.  This new environment, for example, lends itself to distributed leadership models and to the application of innovations and solutions by employees, without consultation with or the permission of sanctioned leadership.  In such environments, the role, vision, foresight, and experience of managers and leaders can be diminished.  Actions and innovations may produce positive results or they may only seem appropriate without a full appreciation of a larger context provided by traditional leaders.  Fresh eyes on the problem can initiate a solution or further muddy the issue.   In these ways, and in others, it can be hard for organizations to control worker activities or hold workers accountable for their use of time and online activities.  Traditional leadership will continue to be under pressure since the pace of change in the current technological environment means organizational success will require adaption at a pace faster than traditional leadership can accomplish.  Nevertheless, leaders will have an opportunity to employ distributed, resilient leadership models in this environment (Weinberger, 2011).

Freely available internet access to workers certainly has both pros and cons.  The network has the ability to scale-up conversations and problem solving very quickly with real time support or disagreement.  This rapid dissemination of information can have very positive results.  The extent of the information available to workers, however, can be problematic since the internet avoids filters.  As Weinberger noted in chapter seven of Too Big to Know, the great mass of information is not curated and presented without context.  Knowledge is prospering, he noted, but ignorance  is also prospering in this networked environment (Weinberger, 2011).  Technological literacy varies greatly between individuals.  Some workers may take advantage of technology to identify work opportunities, apply, and promote themselves to potential employers.  Other workers may be penalized by their lack of technological literacy or access to technology.  Concerns exist that such differences may ultimately lead to a worsening of income inequality.  Prospective employers, however, can easily identify positive and negative information about prospective employees through social media and other resources (Smith, 2015).  Many employees wonder if technology, as it has in the past, will ultimately create more jobs than it eliminates.  Seemingly, opinions depend upon personal views of the networked worker and whether those views trend toward a utopic or dystopic perspective.

References

Jarche, H. (2013, November 5). Networks are the new companies. Retrieved from

http://jarche.com/2013/11/networks-are-the-new-companies/

Smith, A. (2015, November 19). Searching for work in the digital era.  Retrieved from

http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/11/19/searching-for-work-in-the-digital-era/

Smith, A. & Anderson, J. (2014, August 6). AI, robotics, and the future of jobs.  Retrieved

from http://www.pewinternet.org/2014/08/06/future-of-jobs/

Weinberger, D. (2011). Too big to know: Rethinking knowledge now that the facts aren’t

the facts, experts are everywhere, and the smartest person in the room is the room.

[Books 24×7 version] Available from http://library.pittstate.edu:2059/toc.aspx

?bookid=45313

 

Randy Roberts

Is Technology Changing the Nature of Work?

The Changing Nature of Work — ILD 831 Week Four

Technology, in its many manifestations, whether as the web, as hyperlinked thinking, or as an app, is both a change enabler and a change agent.  Technology can enable work to be more collaborative and workers to be more connected, regardless their physical location, their numbers, or their position within the institution.  Wirearchy suggests working together through connection and collaboration can also be a change agent as it increases the power and the effectiveness of people.  By its own definition, Wirearchy believes that technology enables interconnected people to self-organize, innovate, and be solution driven.  For leaders this means that technology, as a change agent, has the potential to challenge hierarchical authority and the traditional models of controlled and organized processes will diminish.

Web technology and hyperlinked thinking certainly will reframe the future as David Weinberger suggests, including the future of work.  In his talk on “The Power of the Internet,” Weinberger spoke of the professions of librarianship and publishing.  He discussed the difficulties of anticipating what will be needed in the future, in terms of information, knowledge, tools, etc.   In the past, he noted, these professions necessarily employed filtering.  Because not every proposed book could be published, and not every book published could be universally acquired, the old practices eliminated the initial production of a book or, later, diminished the availability of the book.  Contrary to the past’s practice of filtering out, technology through the web allows for Weinberger’s idea of filtering forward.  The need to anticipate future needs, he states, is far less evident because the new technology allows for unlimited inclusion.  When in doubt, Weinberger says, technology allows for including it all.  To broaden the application of this new reality, the networked environment allows for the inclusion of all the ideas, consideration of each proposed innovation or solution, for the hearing of each voice and perspective, and for the production of a diverse array of products.  Visualize the early automobile marketplace where there were several distinctive manufacturers, but within Ford’s motor company, you had only the choice of a Model T, in black.  Extrapolate that manufacturing environment out to today where there are many different models and makes available in a multitude of colors, each with a significant number of optional choices.  One begins to see how market forces, demands for options, has changed the industry from the days of an autocratic Henry Ford who employed assembly lines and scientific management principles to achieve maximum efficiency.  In this example, however, even this multitude of choices in the contemporary automobile environment is miniscule when compared to the filtering forward concept of the web where everything can be included.

Critics of technologies that allow for the inclusion of everything, fear the truly innovative ideas and the truly valuable perspectives will be lost amid the overwhelming abundance of voices and information.  In Too Big to Know, David Weinberger notes several disadvantages of the new landscape made possible by the web, including the distractions caused by this multitude of voices and by the challenges this causes for critical and reflective thinking.  He also recognizes the web displaces much the rewards systems developed through the old book publishing/knowledge diffusion technologies of the past.  The rewards include financial remuneration, tenure, prestige, recognition, and similar compensations.   But Weinberger believes the positives of the web outweigh the negatives.  The advantages, he writes, include the natural and organically created knowledge that might occur in a blog environment as opposed to a focused, scripted, and limited book that is published.  The timeliness of the web, the quick dissemination of content, and the responsive nature of the web as readers are engaged by a topic, are other advantages that Weinberger notes.   Also, the “right-sizing” of each author’s authority, each voice, and the ability of the voices to instantly broaden the conversation around very complex topics cannot be duplicated within the traditional book technology.  These same disadvantages and advantages can be applied to the nature of work, to leadership, and to how each is evolving.

Gartner, FastCompany, and others commentators write about the future of work and the coming changes brought about by today’s technologies.  The automation of routine tasks has been underway since the early days of assembly line production and this will continue to occur.  Garter points out that non-routine skills, such as discovery, teaming, innovation, leading, selling and learning, will not be automated, and for that reason, will increasingly be valued.  Work will also change as technology allows for outsourcing and interactions with informal groups outside the direct control of the workers organization, or across enterprise boundaries.  This level of hyper-connectivity, which makes the workplace less and less bound by time and distance, will allow for work to continue apace 24 hours a day, seven days per week, and blur the boundaries between our personal, professional, social, and family lives.  Many of us recognize already the impact of this connectivity on our lives.  Many of us also recognize also how technology drives us to develop a web presence.   Seemingly we must have a well-connected web presence and outward-facing perspective.  We must have a plan to market our work and demonstrate our value in ways never before required.

My experience in higher education and in academic libraries reflects this in a variety of ways, including how we do our work and the types of work we do.  It is obvious how technology is both a change enabler and a change agent.  Technology in the classroom and in the library, to deliver content, is ubiquitous.   Beyond the classroom, higher education institutions and their units are increasingly asked to demonstrate value and to be accountable to funding agencies, to accrediting agencies, to students, to employers, to alumni, and to society in general.  Competition for students is growing exponentially.  Often some form of technology is used to convey value and accountability or to employ data analytics on admission and retention challenges.  Web pages, social media, learning management systems, institutional repositories of digital content, and enterprise-wide resource management platforms, are examples of technologies that are currently employed in higher education.  The challenge in higher education and academic libraries is great.  Up to now it is my observation that we generally view technology as a tool that we apply to existing structures and practices, anticipating greater efficiencies.  Generally we do not want to change our foundational structures.  We hold too tightly to our nostalgic, idealized, romanticized views and do not embrace the opportunities in front of us.  Certainly we have progressed, like the automobile industry has progressed since the days of Henry Ford.  But like the auto industry that needed a bailout in recent years, I sense that higher education is looking for someone to bail them out from a discomfiting present and scary future.  At least, that is very much the emotion I encounter in academic libraries.  After the bailout and the infusion of capital into the auto industry, it has essentially retooled and continued on largely as before.  There was not foundational change.  I do not wonder but that higher education would prefer to retool and not change fundamentally, despite the present opportunities, the “business moment” as Gartner called it.

References

Dishman, L. (2016, December 15). The future of work. [Blog]. Retrieved from https://www.

fastcompany.com/3066605/the-future-of-work/these-are-the-top-5-workplace-

trends-well-see-in-2017

Gartner, Inc (2010, August 4). Gartner says the world of work will witness 10 changes

during the next 10 years. Retrieved from http://www.gartner.com/newsroom

          /id/1416513

Gartner, Inc (2014, May 21). Gartner identifies six key steps to build a successful digital

business. Retrieved from http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/2745517

Husband, J. (2017). What is wirearchy? Retrieved from http://wirearchy.com/what-

             is-wirearchy

Weinberger, D.  (2015). The power of the internet.  Retrieved from

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iPXmEh24KXA&feature=youtu.be 

Weinberger, D. (2011). Too big to know: Rethinking knowledge now that the facts aren’t

the facts, experts are everywhere, and the smartest person in the room is the room.

[Books 24×7 version] Available from http://library.pittstate.edu:2059/toc.aspx

?bookid=45313

 

Randy Roberts

Knowledge May Live in the Network, But It Still Requires People.ILD 831 Week 3

{My apologies to the class — my posting for this week was inadvertently connected to the comments on my Week Two blog.}

Through the internet, social media, and other means made possible by technology, people are more connected and networked than ever before. And people are connected to information, even inundated with information, more than ever before. David Weinberger, and others, have noted that this network of connected people now know more than the sum of what the individual people know, prompting Weinberger to make the observation that the smartest person in the room is the room.
Knowledge in the traditional and historic sense, was typically connected to the domain of the individual, sometimes referred to as the expert, and to the domain of the knowledge repositories, i.e., the human mind, the printed book, or the library collection. The counsel of the expert, the book and the library, are yet comfortable and familiar places for many of us. They have not disappeared, nor lost all of their value, because of the rise of the network, but they are being rapidly displaced by the technological advancement and the appeal of the network. For some, there remains a hesitancy, because it is not always that familiar and comfortable. The network helps to usurp the position and authority of the expert and the traditional repository. The network has very different properties and dynamics and economies than these traditional domains. The network is laced with many distractions and with questionable information. On occasion, there is the purposeful or the unintentional networks of ignorance or prejudice or false information. The may be confirmation bias or echo chambers when the network has either too much or too little diversity.
Nevertheless, the network has fundamentally impacted how we communicate as individuals and organizations. The network is scale-able in almost unimaginable terms and as such, creates a diversity of perspective that cannot be duplicated in any pretechnology construct. Modern organizations are in a state of constant change. Organizations are messy and complex. In order to survive, organizations much correctly perceive their internal and external environments, understand the specific context of their organization and from the realities of their situation, adapt accordingly. Modern organizations typically function, and derive their knowledge within a team and network concept, not though individuals or experts as in the past. In terms of knowledge as an asset and knowledge management, an important culture change for organizations is the shift toward seeing knowledge as collective, not individual, property.
Networks have been a core component of knowledge management since its inception in the 1990s. In that period, however, the focus was on the technology that collected and managed knowledge, rather than on connecting persons to persons to create knowledge. Nancy Dixon identifies this earlier period of knowledge management as focused on collecting the documented, explicit, knowledge of experts and placing it into a repository. Davenport noted this earlier knowledge management was focused on technology as the end, rather than the means. Technology alone was not enough to improve or advance organizational knowledge because the technology could not address behavioral change, inspire collaboration, generate interest in acquiring knowledge in most individuals, or create time saving efficiencies in discovering the stored knowledge. Currently, knowledge management is shifting toward Dixon’s conception of collective knowledge, from the network that results from the diverse perspectives and data.
Knowledge today lives in the network, but it still requires people to generate the knowledge and the value. For the network to reach fuller potentials and for organizations to benefit from knowledge and knowledge management, organizational leadership will need to catch up. Leadership in this network environment is not about hierarchies, experts, egos, and politics.  Unfortunately, most leadership in practice today remains rooted in mainstream thinking that likes certainty, predictability, authority, and control.

Sources:
Davenport, T. (2015). Whatever happened to knowledge management? Wall Street

Journal,   The CIO Report.

Dixon, N. (2009). “Where knowledge management has been and where it is going”

nancydixonblog.com.

Jarche, H. (2010). “A framework for social learning in the enterprise,” SocialLearning blog.

jarche.com/2016/12/

Weinberger, D. (2011). Too big to know: Rethinking knowledge now that the facts aren’t

the facts, experts are everywhere, and the smartest person in the room is the room.

[Books 24×7 version] Available from http://library.pittstate.edu:2059/toc.aspx?

bookid=45313.

Randy Roberts

ILD 831 Week Two — Snagit Review

Snagit is a premiere screenshot capture application most often used by journalists, social media enthusiasts, and IT aficionados.  The software, developed by TechSmith for PCs and Mac’s, allows the user to capture either videos or images of their desktop, the edit and share quickly.  Snagit also has a large selection of drawing tools that allows the user to insert shapes, callouts, highlighting, labels, and similar devices.

Some of the more common uses of Snagit include taking screenshots to create tutorial documents, watermarking an image, editing out through a blurring tool any sensitive or proprietary items on your screenshots before sharing, and creating thumbnail photos for web pages.  Other products, including Ashampoo Snap 9 and Microsoft Snip, are used for similar projects but reviewers generally prefer Snagit for its flexibility, power, and ease of use.  In August 2016 PCMagazine gave Snagit13 its Editor’s Choice award.  This latest version won the award, though admittedly pricier than it’s competitors, for revamping the product’s existing tools, adding new capture features, and the ability to create animated GIF files.

A panoramic feature lets users capture entire web pages, large Excel spreadsheets or other oversize displays.  Captured images can be manipulated in a variety of ways, including cropping and adding text.  A webcam feature allows the user to toggle between webcam and screen videos.  An editor feature opens captured images that can be saved in a variety of formats, including BMP, JPEG, PDF, and Flash. The video recording feature allows the inclusion of an audio track from a microphone or from an audio output on Windows.  Examples would include an MP3 recording on disk or an online YouTube video.

Snagit would have a variety of applications to higher education and to academic libraries.  Instructors are often looking for new and engaging ways to deliver content to their students.  Instructors working in the flipped classroom environment, or in interdisciplinary settings might find this tool particularly engaging for their students to use. In the library setting, interactions between librarians and library users often occur outside the face-to-face environment.  Capturing screen shots of citations, electronic journal articles, discovery tool web pages, etc., and sharing them out through emails, Chat tools, or other means, could be very beneficial for remote library users.  Librarians are also interested in alternative content delivery methods for library orientation and instruction and frequently engage in the creation of tutorial videos and documents.  The ability to easily capture and manipulate screenshots would  dramatically improve the quality of library produced tutorials.

Randy Roberts

References

DeClercq, S. (2016). Snagit screen capture review (EdTech)  https://steemit.co/edtech

              /@sethi-de-clerq/snagit-screen-capture-review.

Schaffhauser, D. (2016). TechSmith updates snagit with gif, panoramic features (The

Journal)  https://thejournal.com/articles/2016/06/09/techsmith-updates-

snagit-with-gif-panoramic-features.aspx.

Smeer, M. (2016). Snagit (Informer)  http://snagit.software.informer.com/.

Wilson, J. (2016). Snagit (PCMagazine) http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2364304,00.asp