To find the key influencers, The Wall Street Journal analyzed more than 25,000 submissions across six major sites. With the help of Dapper, a company that designs software to track information published on the Web, this analysis sifted through snapshots of the sites’ home pages every 30 minutes over three weeks. The data included which users posted the submissions and the number of votes each received from fellow users. We then contacted scores of individual users to find which ones are tracked by the wider community.
My mother was surprised to hear the other day that we don’t subscribe to our local newspaper and that I think that in my lifetime, news will be printed to hard copy only on demand. The next day, I saw this article from Ha’aretz (an Israeli newspaper) in which Arthur Sulzberger, owner, chairman and publisher of the New York Times, is quoted as saying:
“I really don’t know whether we’ll be printing the Times in five years, and you know what? I don’t care either…”
Sulzberger says the New York Times is on a journey that will conclude the day the company decides to stop printing the paper.
“These costs aren’t anywhere near what print costs,” Sulzberger says. “The last time we made a major investment in print, it cost no less than $1 billion. Site development costs don’t grow to that magnitude.”
This makes me think of a few MLIS students I have met who seem shocked and disheartened when they realize that many library resources previously stored on dead trees are moving to digital platforms. Other benefits aside, it is a matter of economics not terribly dissimilar from those which caused earlier dead-tree archives at the public library to be abandoned in favor of microfilm and microfiche- but some MLIS students I have met seem repulsed at the idea that they need technology skills in order to pursue a career in librarianship.
Just to re-state: The owner of the New York Times is planning to stop printing on paper. He’s not preparing for the possibility– he knows it will eventually happen and that the only question is how fast it’ll happen.
Those technology skills you’re being encouraged to gain in library school? They’re not optional if you want to be employable.