Why we should create digital library centres of learning…

Open data provides a platform to potentially link learning across concepts and dimensions.

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Every notable place has a public library. In exchange for a small fee, people can explore their local library filled with knowledge and information. There is a certain level of freedom in a private capacity to take notes, draw analogies, to compare works although there may be limitations in relation to reproducing works in a publication due to licensing and copyright laws. The digital has the potential to overcome these laws where permitted. You can allow your data to be ‘open’, certain rules govern such data but it can eliminate research barriers. Moving away from the authoritative role of information, that is, the idea that there is only one correct answer towards working with and improving knowledge. Seeing the world through an innovative lens instead of a static one. Think of it like a video versus a photo.

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Playing with ideas, for example, fan-fiction. There is more than one way to finish a story or tell it for that matter, the idea of open creativity, taking the familiar characters we love into the unfamiliar realms of our imaginations. The internet as we know it is great but it could be better. It needs to be categorised, organised and reformatted. Everyone loves the idea of redecorating their house when finances allow, why not reform the internet instead of depending on prompts from somewhere? There could be a general section of closed and open data and then a specialised section for each centre, an area of specialisation to break down the work needed to be organised. The world of metadata, data about data, terrifies some people but in my opinion it will become second nature to people in the near future. Right now sites like Wikipedia have constraints on what you may publish, imagine imposing this on all sites including blogs. Applying standards as required. Avoiding nasty comments and such which takes away from our enjoyment of the internet as a whole.

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My bone of contention would have to be personally identifiable information being published. Being able to go to a search engine and find out, for example, a person’s so-called criminal past, digitally haunting them ten years later. That is not right, in my opinion, people can be quite judgemental they do not need anything to add to this. Organising information in a professional manner albeit in a public way paves the way for the kind of internet that will enhance our lives. After all that’s what we desire to do, improve the lives we lead in every sense through technology encompassing the digital. We do not need to recreate episodes of Black Mirror! Some libraries are including a digital online section on their websites which is great to see. But we can take this much further if people are willing to go that extra dimension! You can get almost anything on the internet but on a temporary basis usually, there are no guarantees, why not make it permanent? Of course there are some objections, it’s not in the interest of businesses and such. However, right now we are paying for a service, we buy products and purchase internet connections under contract. A lot of this money probably goes on infrastructure. Soon enough however we will become more demanding for what we get in return particularly if prices increase and more sites become subscription based.

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The key is someone has to take charge of such a large-scale project. The question is who? Who will drive us ahead from the Age of Information to the Age of Superb Knowledge Creation? A polymath perhaps? We have so much information to hand, it would be a real shame to waste it. I read somewhere recently that data could be the next valuable commodity, in the same way as oil. And yes it has such capabilities and capacity in my opinion. But it needs one vital component, drivers of change, people who don’t see the world in only one way. People who are patient. People who have drive and ambition to bring us to the next step, the next dimension. People with integrity. People who can simplify and complicate. They just need to step forward and get down with the nitty gritty of data. Seek it, make sense of it, and finally share it with the world. The world is watching. Waiting for the next stop. Someone needs to get us there. Pronto.

 

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