OPLIN 4Cast #250: Truth and YouTube

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

Once again this week, there was big news affecting the ebook business (launch of the Kindle Fire), but since you’ve certainly already been bombarded with that news, we’re going to avoid the ebook subject altogether. Instead, we found some items of interest concerning the accuracy, or assumed accuracy, of information on the Internet. Of course, the Internet is not one homogeneous thing, and the accuracy of information found there depends very heavily on where you are looking. The studies below, for instance, indicate that information from Wikipedia tends to be pretty reliable, while YouTube can be a rich source of misinformation.

  • Cancer information on Wikipedia is accurate, but not very readable (Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson University Hospitals)  “The research revealed that Wikipedia updates faster than PDQ [National Cancer Institute’s Physician Data Query]; however, the hyperlinks embedded within Wikipedia take the user to more dense information. PDQ takes you to more simplified explanations on the content a user clicks on for more information.”
  • Movement disorders on YouTube — caveat spectator (New England Journal of Medicine correspondence)  “For patients with a movement disorder, the information available on YouTube may be misleading and may provide an inaccurate impression of the disorder and its treatment. One video described as showing facial dystonia showed different patterns of facial spasm that appeared to be triggered by an electrical stimulator, and it suggested that dystonia could be alleviated if the patient wore cotton clothes and avoided radiation.”
  • Is the internet rewriting history? (BBC News/Catrin Nye)  “Closest to the heading ‘Trust’ the pupils placed YouTube; somewhere near the heading ‘Distrust’, they placed the government. As part of the exercise, the pupils were asked what kind of videos they had viewed online. A lot of discussion ensued about various conspiracy theories. All the pupils had seen videos about 9/11, but were not sure who had made them. ‘Those ones are true,’ said Aminul Islam, 16.”
  • Conspiracy theories rife in classrooms (Demos press release, 9/30/2011)  “The report argues that the amount of material available at the click of a mouse can be both liberating and asphyxiating. Although there are more e-books, trustworthy journalism, niche expertise and accurate facts at our fingertips than ever before, there is an equal measure of mistakes, half-truths, propaganda, misinformation and general nonsense.”

Digital fluency fact:
The Demos think tank surveyed teachers in England and Wales and found that 75% of them think Internet-based content is important in the formation of their pupils’ beliefs, but 50% rated their pupils’ ability to recognize bias or propaganda in online information as poor (34%) or very poor (16%).

OPLIN 4Cast #193: VOD vs DVD

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

Video On Demand LogoAccording to the rumor mill, Blockbuster video is set to declare bankruptcy sometime in September. Some video-industry commentators are wondering if this is not just one more step along the path to replacing DVDs with video on demand (VOD). Many libraries, of course, still loan VCR tapes, so it’s not likely that DVDs will disappear from library shelves very soon. In fact, “hard” copy VOD, like Redbox, will probably continue to prosper for a while. In the long run, however, a shift in the video distribution industry that bypasses any kind of physical medium will certainly affect library circulation numbers.

Netflix soars as Blockbuster plans bankruptcy (CNET News/Greg Sandoval) “This month, Netflix penned a five-year deal worth nearly $1 billion to stream movies from Paramount, Lionsgate, and MGM. And digital distribution of movies and TV shows is barely in its infancy. Services such as Hulu, YouTube, and Boxee are still developing. Apple is reportedly working on some kind of new digital-video service perhaps tied to a new generation of Apple TV. While we still have a long way to go, it doesn’t look like brick-and-mortar video stores will be making the trip.”

Studios Giving Up on DVD (NewTeeVee/Ryan Lawler) “…the vast majority of film titles are now being released on cable VOD the same day-and-date that they’re available in stores. In 2006, the typical window between DVD and VOD release was 30 days, with some titles lasting up to 45 days before they became available. As recently as 2009, the average wait between DVDs hitting shelves and films being available on VOD was still 21 days.”

YouTube to launch pay-per-view movies (MediaBeat/Dean Takahashi) “Negotiations have been taking place for a few months, but they have taken on more urgency because Apple could be launching its own counter-move this week. Rumors suggest that Apple will upgrade its ailing Apple TV service this week at a press conference in San Francisco on Sept. 1. Google will likely have to compete with Netflix and Hulu as well.”

Libraries top Netflix, Redbox when it comes to loaning DVDs (Yahoo!News/Ben Patterson) An older article (from July), but still pertinent.

Little-known Fact:
YouTube has actually been offering streaming movie rentals from a number of smaller studios since January. (Ars Technica)

OPLIN 4Cast #158: Reflecting and projecting

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009


Here, we sum up the last year and as a bonus, give you a glimpse of 2010.


Twitter isn’t going away, and 2009 seems to have set that in stone.  OPLIN follows a few libraries on Twitter, but it’s certain that we are missing some.  Follow us so we can follow you!  Twitter articles of interest:  2009 As Seen Through Twitter Hashtags and How Twitter Conquered the World in 2009.

Is your library on YouTube yet?  YouTube in 2009:  One Video That Ruled Them All

To sum up 2009 technology, here are the Best and Worst Tech Gadgets of 2009 from Business Week Magazine.

And now for 2010:

Cool fact from the 4Cast:
In summing up the past decade, the New York Times offered this:  Picturing the Past 10 Years.
Bonus link:  Care to guess the Single Most Innovative Product of the Decade?