A learned man is a sedentary, concentrated solitary enthusiast, who searches through books to discover some particular grain of truth upon which he has set his heart. If the passion for reading conquers him, his gains dwindle and vanish between his fingers. A reader, on the other hand, must check the desire for learning at the outset; if knowledge sticks to him well and good, but to go in pursuit of it, to read on a system, to become a specialist or an authority, is very apt to kill what suits us to consider the more humane passion for pure and disinterested reading.
- Curious about Charles Cronin's thoughts about the idea that a library might "respond to both modes" by allowing pivots and exploration, whether for reading and research. Something that the web is so wonderfully suited to.
- Curious about how the bazaar metaphor effects display/temptation of readable/instructable/exploratory wares.
- Manufacturing vs craft.
- "Libraries should reallocate resources spent on programming to creation, acquisition and distribution of works in electronic form, and their literacy programs should focus on electronic literacy." - Return to the individual voice, self-expression of librarians/curators, each experts in their own "produce" or collections? (Yay!)
- Loving the idea that word of mouth - "Roger makes the best cream puffs!" - could affect access to electronic, global collections.
- Interesting connection to Matt Jones' recent thinking on Data as Seductive Material* blogged by Herr Rodenbeck over at premier information cartographers, Stamen.
- "We shape our tools, then our tools shape us." - McLuhan
It's the way we learn. By exploring and uncovering paths we choose to follow. This was also the theme of the brilliant Ways of Learning edition of Lapham's Quarterly.
As Henry David Thoreau said "my desire for knowledge is intermittent, but my desire to bathe my head in atmospheres unknown to my feet is perennial and constant." (Listen to Lapham talking about learning at abc.net.au - it's a good interview, and summary of the volume. My love affair with him continues...)
* Splitting hairs, I'm not entirely sure that you want your data to seduce. I mean, if seduction is successful it leads to copulation, and potentially even procreation. Copulation requires homogeneity (for most of us), and I think all the data we wade through is far more diverse than that (heterogeneous, if you like). Perhaps a more suitable adjective might be "persuasive" or "engaging." I'd love to talk with Matt what copulation with winsome data might mean, over a few pints of course ;)