September 2009 Archives

Premature Obsolescence

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polaroid.jpgI miss the Polaroid camera.  With instant photography, Polaroid Inc. made huge profits with their patented film technology.  In 2001, Polaroid declared bankruptcy.  Digital photography was far more appealing than expensive polaroid film, and Polaroid profits plummeted.  Chris Sandstorm has a great presentation here that explains why Polaroid went under.  I do see that they have a new product available, however, which is essentially a mini printer for producing bite-sized pictures instantly. 
Libraries are constantly faced with the idea of obsolescence.  For instance, I would agree that digital data is superior to microfilm, but our library is lucky to have rich collections of rare primary source material contained on microfilm reels that might never be digitized - due mainly to the constraints that copyright can create. Collections on microfilm are not yet obsolete.  It is interesting to see how copyright is slowing down technological progress, in a sense.  Sometimes slowing down change is not a bad thing because I would hate to be missing the printed book the way I miss the Polaroid.  
Photo By: randomix on flickr (creative commons)

New 7th Edition of MLA Handbook

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mla.jpgThe new 7th edition of the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers has a few changes from the 6th edition. One of the most noticeable changes is the size of the book itself.  The handbook has eliminated the use of endnotes and footnotes for bibliographic information completely (footnotes are still used for further information on a topic).  This has simplified the citation style somewhat.  Another interesting change is that they are no longer encouraging adding URLs to web citations.  This seems like a logical decision since often URLs change or they are session-specific.  URLs should be included when the website might be difficult to find, or there is not much bibliographic information to help a user track the site down. 
The Weldon Library has several copies of this handbook, and it's also available for purchase at the bookstore. 

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