Archive for luglio 2007

Don’t miss the Berlin5 Open Access Conference in Italy

27 luglio 2007

The Conferenza dei Rettori delle Università Italiane (CRUI), the Università degli Studi di Padova, the Max-Planck Gesellschaft, the European Science Foundation, the Deutschen Forschungsgemeinschaft are pleased to announce that the fifth conference in the “Berlin Declaration” tradition will take place on September 19-21, 2007 in Padova, Italy, with the title Berlin 5 Open Access : From Practice to Impact : Consequences of Knowledge Dissemination.

The aim of the conference will be to bring together the various initiatives and key players within the Open Access movement in order to:

  • maintain the enthusiasm of all people involved in the Open Access field,
  • have an overview of the developing tools that sustain Open Access in scientific data and cultural heritage dissemination,
  • develop the effective strategies that can contribute to the construction and implementation of this new paradigm of the scholarly communication world.

The general subjects of the conference will focus on:

  • state-of-the-art of the sharing of the Berlin Declaration vision: survey on the impact of the new paradigm in the institutions that signed the declaration; supporting bodies policies and activities in favour of innovative scholarly communication processes;
  • the Open Access scene in the developing countries and emerging economies: strategies, achievements, impact;
  • Open Access and the e-science: how to support the free circulation of scientific raw data to facilitate cooperation and effective reuse;
  • e-publishing: the emerging of new strategies in scientific data dissemination; estimate of the impact in OA journals: new tools for scholarly evaluation in the growing layer of Open Access publications; the perspective of a changing landscape in the scientific journals policies; progress reports on the transition from reader-pays to author-pays models;
  • ICT developments and collaborations that support e-publishing and Open Access.

The conference programme comprises two parallel one-day workshops on Friday 21 September 2007

The event will take place in Padova, one of the main cultural and economic hubs in the Northeast of Italy. In its superb medieval centre, Padova hosts a well renowned collection of Giotto’s frescoes. September is a very mild month in Italy, when summer slowly yields to autumn in vivid colours.

The conference will be hosted by the Università degli Studi di Padova, among the oldest academic institutions in the world and the home of the famous scientist Galileo Galilei. The University of Padova wishes that this circumstance will bring good auspices for the future of scholarly communication and looks forward to welcoming you in Italy in 2007.

Have a look at the Program and the organizers.

Il Manifesto anti-web2.0 e l’ordine ontologico delle cose

21 luglio 2007

Povero Theodor Ludwig Wiesengrund Adorno: chissà se nel peggiore dei suoi incubi ha mai pensato di essere tirato per la giacchetta, tra i tanti, perfino da un fiero oppositore del web 2.0… Se ce la fate a leggere tutto d’un fiato THE ANTI WEB 2.0 MANIFESTO (Adorno-for-idiots) [l’url del Manifesto non mi pare funzionare oggi, qui potete leggerne una versione ampliata], in fondo troverete anche qualche pensiero rabbioso vergato di mio pugno:


  1. “The cult of the amateur is digital utopianism’s most seductive delusion. This cult promises that the latest media technology in the form of blogs, wikis and podcasts will enable everyone to become widely read writers, journalists, movie directors and music artists. It suggests, mistakenly, that everyone has something interesting to say.
  2. The digital utopian much heralded “democratization” of media will have a destructive impact upon culture, particularly upon criticism. “Good taste” is, as Adorno never tired of telling us, undemocratic. Taste must reside with an elite (“truth makers”) of historically progressive cultural critics able to determine, on behalf of the public, the value of a work-of-art. The digital utopia seeks to flatten this elite into an ochlocracy. The danger, therefore, is that the future will be tasteless.
  3. To imagine the dystopian future, we need to reread Adorno, as well as Kafka and Borges (the Web 2.0 dystopia can be mapped to that triangular space between Frankfurt, Prague and Buenos Aires). Unchecked technology threatens to undermine reality and turn media into a rival version of life, a 21st century version of “The Castle” or “The Library of Babel”. This might make a fantastic movie or short piece of fiction. But real life, like art, shouldn’t be fantasy; it shouldn’t be fiction.
  4. A particularly unfashionable thought: big media is not bad media. The big media engine of the Hollywood studios, the major record labels and publishing houses has discovered and branded great 20th century popular artists of such as Alfred Hitchcock, Bono and W.G. Sebald (the “Vertigo” three). It is most unlikely that citizen media will have the marketing skills to discover and brand creative artists of equivalent prodigy.
  5. Let’s think differently about George Orwell. Apple’s iconic 1984 Super Bowl commercial is true: 1984 will not be like Nineteen Eighty-Four the message went. Yes, the “truth” about the digital future will be the absence of the Orwellian Big Brother and the Ministry of Truth. Orwell’s dystopia is the dictatorship of the State; the Web 2.0 dystopia is the dictatorship of the author. In the digital future, everyone will think they are Orwell (the movie might be called: Being George Orwell).
  6. Digital utopian economists Chris Anderson have invented a theoretically flattened market that they have christened the “Long Tail”. It is a Hayekian cottage market of small media producers industriously trading with one another. But Anderson’s “Long Tail” is really a long tale. The real economic future is something akin to Google a vertiginous media world in which content and advertising become so indistinguishable that they become one and the same (more grist to that Frankfurt-Prague-BuenosAires triangle).
  7. As always, today’s pornography reveals tomorrow’s media. The future of general media content, the place culture is going, is the convergence of self-authored shamelessness, narcissism and vulgarity — a self-argument in favor of censorship. As Adorno liked to remind us, we have a responsibility to protect people from their worst impulses. If people aren’t able to censor their worst instincts, then they need to be censored by others wiser and more disciplined than themselves.
  8. There is something of the philosophical assumptions of early Marx and Rousseau in the digital utopian movement, particularly in its holy trinity of online community,individual creativity and common intellectual property ownership. Most of all, it’s in the marriage of abstract theory and absolute faith in the virtue of human nature that lends the digital utopians their intellectual debt to intellectual Casanovas like young Marx and Rousseau.
  9. How to resist digital utopianism? Orwell’s focus on language is the most effective antidote. The digital utopians needs to be fought word-for-word, phrase-by-phrase, delusion-by-delusion. As an opening gambit, let’s focus on the meaning of four key words in the digital utopian lexicon: a) author b) audience c) community d) elitism.
  10. The cultural consequence of uncontrolled digital development will be social vertigo. Culture will be spinning and whirling and in continual flux. Everything will be in motion; everything will be opinion. This social vertigo of ubiquitous opinion was recognized by Plato. That’s why he was of the opinion that opinionated artists should be banned from his Republic.”

Andrew Keen, che ha condensato nel Manifesto idee espresse in forma più articolata all’interno di The cult of the amateur, si dev’essere perso qualche passaggio: d’altronde il suo incredibile ciuffo anni ’80 testimonia di una qualche forma recidiva di discronia.

Il web 2.0 ha ucciso la cultura? Chissà che ne direbbero gli espressionisti o magari Nietzsche, che credeva ormai un bel po’ d’anni fa che il morto fosse addirittura Dio…

La cultura è morta già da un pezzo, lunga vita alla cultura. Do you know situationnisme? (ma anche L’opera d’arte nell’epoca della sua riproducibilità tecnica forse gli insegnerebbe qualcosa…)

Invece di strapazzare Adorno per finalità tutto sommato risibili gli consiglierei una lettura approfondita del Tractatus: ciò che si può dire si può dir chiaro; su tutto il resto si deve tacere.

Il commento che mi trova più d’accordo l’ho letto su un blog olandese:

“we have a responsibility to protect people from their worst impulses”

People have bad impulses? I thought we had thrown out Sigmund and Anna?

Certo, la foto di Michael Gorman in home page su After TV che testimonia la sua untrust nel web 2.0, è un bel colpo: un Bibliotecario con la B maiuscola (dunque custode del Sapere, della Cultura etc.) che fa da testimonial al Keen-pensiero…

Il web 2.0 ha rovinato pure l’economia? Dai un’occhiata a Wikinomics, Andrew. Certo, capisco che come tanti pionieri del web 1.0 possa sentirti un tantino scalzato e detesti quei giovinastri superficiali, incolti e burini che hanno invaso il prato all’inglese delle tue granitiche certezze (mi ricorda qualcuno, questo Andrew, qualcuno di italico…), ma temo ci si debba abituare, a quella brutta bestia del tempo che passa e tutto porta via…

Sono consapevole che in questo post il livello di argomentazione sia minore o uguale a zero ma davvero detesto sentire nel 2007 qualcuno fare dei ragionamenti così filosoficamente ingenui e piccini e passé che in qualsiasi facoltà di filosofia verrebbero smontati dalla prima matricola presa per caso nei corridoi…

E poi questa altezzosità da modernista che crede nell’ordine ontologico delle cose e che vede svanire intorno a sé i simboli sacri del mondo che fu… Ma crede davvero di parlare con dei pischelli che passano il loro inutile tempo a scrivere sul blog pensierini idioti e, giusto nei ritagli di tempo, leggono quelli dei loro amichetti senza porsi di continuo i problemi della qualità, del livello culturale, della serietà, della credibilità?

Questa contrapposizione tra 1.0 e 2.0 in termini di Cultura e Zeitgeist mi ha così stufato e la trovo così artificiosa, costruita apposta da menti polemiche con l’unico scopo di alimentare polemiche, che non ne posso più di leggerne e parlarne…

Aggiungo per amore di un minimo di argomentazione ragionevole il commento radicale di Alessio De Luca, un lettore di Marketing usabile, sulla vicenda:

Il problema è che il web 2.0 è comunque una reazione a una crisi della comunicazione istituzionale in rete.

“Contributions by intellectuals lose their power to create a focus”, ma nel web sono stati anni di continui cliché…una produzione di contenuti uno-a-molti davvero significativa probabilmente avrebbe frenato la voglia di “partecipare” e accentuato quella di “ascoltare”, facendo sentire molti inadeguati alla produzione…ma con la qualità media dei contenuti sul web, è davvero difficile che qualcuno si possa sentire inadeguato :)…

C’è anche qualcuno che, sì, si è preso la briga di rispondere colpo su colpo, anche se purtroppo non si tratta di una confutazione filosofica, l’unica di cui Andrew Keen avrebbe veramente bisogno, e infine da segnalare la ormai mitica conversazione tra Keen e Weinberger sul Wall Street Journal.

VuFind: the open source OPAC 2.0

20 luglio 2007

It has been released the Next-Gen library catalog browser, VuFind, open source code under the GPL and hosted on Sourceforge.

Currently out of the box the software works with the Voyager catalog, but the developing team at Villanova University Library is working on adding additional drivers to work with more ILS, comprising Evergreen and Koha.

VuFind is currently in a beta stage of development but probably all necessary functionality will be completed by the end of the summer and it’ll have a stable production release by the Fall semester.

Interesting features are the facets to refine search results, the tagging system, the possibility to add reviews and notes to the records and cite them, the availability infos inside the record itself, the similar items and many more. You can check them out at the live demo of VuFind.

Have a look and try the software at

[tnx to an email by Andrew Nagy on NGC4Lib mailing list]

Google acquista FeedBurner al motto di “more for free”!

12 luglio 2007

E Google acquistò anche FeedBurner e liberalizzò alcuni dei servizi un tempo a pagamento… TotalStats e MyBrand ora sono utilizzabili gratuitamente da tutti gli utenti di FeedBurner. Il primo è un servizio di statistiche – uno dei tra i più accreditati – relative ai feed RSS mentre il secondo permette di personalizzare la url dei feed, visto che questi ultimi, una volta gestiti con FeedBurner, sono (erano) soggetti alla riscrittura dell’url (del tipo: piuttosto che

Da Burning Question, il blog di FeedBurner (grassetti miei):

FeedBurner has always been a publisher-centric company. We built the company around a central theme and hypothesis that distributed media present publishers with immense opportunities as well as spiraling complexity.

The vision is straightforward: publishers who successfully promote distribution and measure consumption will be in a position to derive more value (aka make more money, gain more influence, etc.) from media distribution. Feeds present a simple and ubiquitous opportunity for publishers to embrace distributed media, but content distribution standards without metrics, publicity tools, and monetization engines are ultimately of little value to individuals and organizations whose businesses depend on an ability to maximize and measure reach.

E ora per gli utenti di Blogger si aprono buone prospettive: intanto si comincia con l’integrazione dei servizi di FeedBurner con il CMS di Google…

Direi che in questo momento prevalgono in me i sentimenti di gioia esultante ;-) Magari domani comincerò a pensare alle conseguenze… Sul web le conversazioni già fervono, e, certo, ciò che dice l’ammirato su Shannon (un bell’esempio di giornalismo tecnologico 2.0) non è sbagliato…