Friday, September 26, 2008

Information Delivery

I thought this was an interesting way to deliver information, in real time.
The dirty coal industry is planning to launch a major advertising blitz during the presidential debates. The Sierra Club will be keeping them accountable by monitoring the ads and coverage for ‘bogus coal moments’ where they attempt to spread misinformation.

Sign up for text updates via the form below or you can text the keyword DIRTY to 69866 from your mobile phone.

Sign up to receive a mobile alert when a ‘bogus coal moment’ occurs during the debates. The Sierra Club will text you updates throughout the debates and in the future on other major initiatives. You may opt out of these alerts by texting STOP to 69866 at any time.

An immediate response to broadcast media. As a profession how do we find, identify, select, obtain and navigate this information landscape? What about preservation?


Mike Sabat said...

Hi David,

I work for the company that powers the technology behind the sierra club campaign which you wrote about.

Text messaging is a new way to receive, navigate, request and respond to information. In the US this technology is still young, but it has some advantages, and of course some disadvantages.

First, the public always has their cell phone near them. When most people receive a text message they read it immediately, compared with an email that may sit in the inbox for a while. This constant proximity to a mobile phone allows users to access information anywhere. Example - fish phone -

In the non profit world, text messaging can be quite powerful. Advocacy groups can encourage their supporters to make phone calls to congress. to take the Sierra Club direct response a step further, it would be possible to have the supporters making phone calls to a radio or TV station when the topic of coal is discussed.

Thanks for writing let me know if you'd like to discuss applications for libraries and museums.

Anonymous said...

Hello David. Your post piqued my interest. As I can see, this would be hard to place within the various rubrics in AACR2 let alone RDA.

Text messaging is a difficult thing to characterize. The general standard is that such is limited to approximately 140-160 characters. Except as part of a collection, that would be hard to maintain on its own.

I would apply the rules to treat such as something akin to a received letter. That would be where it would seem to fit best. My big problem with that, though, is that any generated record whether in DC or MARC would wind up being bigger than the item itself.

The biggest issue with such is cost. If it is merely a one-off text message, it would be easily missed and hard to justify the manpower hours on cataloging for preservation. If I had to put an irregularly issued serial of fairly small size up against a backlog of monographs, I would be hard pressed to allocate the resources.

Thank you for bringing this up. There is no good answer at this time. One of the things in the US context making it a theoretical discussion rather than practical discussion is how far too many cell phones cannot release text data like that to a computer. Since there would notionally be copyright in the work being held by the originator, would problems erupts through having to transcribe such from a cell phone?