Two new projects at Cornell

Thanks to today’s ELI webinar, a couple of very cool new digital instruction projects at Cornell University…

Copyright in the Digital Age
This is a class page using customized WordPress MU; notice that it pulls in posts by students for other students to comment on, and even vote on.  Student writing actually becomes publication, right off the bat.  Very cool use of WordPress MU.

Intypes
A community-built database of interior design themes, strategies, and practices, illustrated by images and indexed by folksonomy.  With citations!  I love this and can imagine many, many more applications for the overall template.

Philadelphia’s libraries on the chopping block

Wow.  I’m not sure how we got to this pass (but I’ve been on a beach for the last week.)  If Pennsylvania’s state legislature doesn’t pass a budget soon, all Philadelphia Free Libraries will close.

They’ll close the buildings, stop all the programs, take back all the books–you get the idea.  Closed.  Finished.  Kaput.

These libraries made it through the Great Depression and through two World Wars.  And we’re going to close them now because the state legislature can’t pass a budget?

You can contact Philadelphia state legislators here, and ask them kindly to get off the stick.

And for more information:

The Free Library of Philadelphia was established in 1891, with the first branch opened in 1894.  There are 54 Free Library locations in the city. Read the Wikipedia article here, or the Philadelphia Free Libraries FAQ here.

Google Fast Flip

This just out:  Google releases a new media-friendly newsreader tool called Google Fast Flip.  According to an article in the New York Times, Fast Flip is supposed to draw more readers to online news sites by making those sites faster to load and easier to page through, more like flipping through a newspaper or magazine than surfing the Web.  According to Google, this is what people want from a news-reading experience–and I’m pretty sure they’re right.  Or at least, I’m sure that slow-loading pages are a big turnoff for all Web users, and anything we can do to eliminate them is a step in the right direction.

The Google Fast Flip page looks like a visual mosaic of pages taken from electronic news sources:  the analogy that leaps immediately to mind is a newsstand.  It looks appealing, rich, user-friendly.  Imagine if we presented our libraries’ home pages sort of like this.  Imagine that users could configure a portal that gave them a landing page showcasing thumbnails of half a dozen “favorites” pages that they picked, or that were offered to them by default, either one-size-fits-all or by automatically offering up the pages they visit most within the site.  Or imagine if we just offered an alternative entry point, a side door, that showcased some of our pages and resources like this.  Or…imagine if we just offered this as a custom-build service:  we’ll make a page for you or your class that showcases useful research resources, blogs, websites, and other stuff you want to keep track of in one place.  Including, maybe Google Fast Flip.

Could be pretty neat…

Google Fast Flip Screen Capture

Google Fast Flip Screen Capture