CAL2006: "The Long Tail" and the Growing Social Nature of Information

Heather Clark, BCR

  • How technology is changing how we understand information and in the economy
  • Book by Chris Anderson, Editor in chief of Wired magazine
  • How does this apply to the library world
  • Web 2.0
    • move from retreival to interaction on the Web
  • Original article in 2004
    • why the futurs of business is selling less of more
    • theory of change in economics
    • paradigm shift regarding hits and misses
  • The Long Tail
    • [long tail graphic from www.longtail.com/about.html]
    • the low sellers in total outsell the total of big sellers
    • brick & mortar, focuses on the head, selling many of a few items
    • amazon focuses on the long tail as the space requirements are lower
    • Comp tech is causing a move away form hits to niche markets
    • counter to the 80/20 principle
  • Long Tail Themes
    • Niche markets
    • Disaggregation of content
      • smaller bits
      • new revenue streams
    • Tyranny of Geography
      • marketing
      • shelf space
  • Long Tail Principles
    • Democratize production
      • new tools
      • new producers
      • increases amount of content/product
      • motivation is not necesarily monetary
        • “exposure culture”
    • Democratize distribution
      • amatures can produce and distribute
      • aggregators as warehouses
      • Internet is central distribution center
      • examples
        • Amazon.com
        • eBay
        • YouTube
        • Tecnorati
    • Connect supply and demand
      • connect supply and demand
        • social sharing of information
        • the hyperlink phenomenon
      • filters
        • search engines
        • social services
          • Google page rank
          • Amazon recommender services
          • NetFlix user reviews
  • Libraries have lost the battle when it comes to the distribution principle
  • Libraries need to be the connectors
  • Long Tail Assumptions
    • Ubiquitous computing
      • not everyone has access
      • not everyone knows how to use ths access
    • Entertainment-centric model
      • people will purchase w/o tactile input
    • Low costs of networking
      • storage
      • intensive bandwidth
      • system maintenance
      • “infinite shelf space”
  • Positives
    • richer culture
    • “pull together parallel tribes”
    • easier for artisan & global producers to market their goods
  • Negatives
    • eroding local culture
    • loss of shared culture
    • archive for future
    • physical items still need shelf space somewhere
    • truly profitable?
  • Libraries are the long tail!
  • Long Tail & Libraries: Currently
    • collections
      • robust & rich
    • reader’s advisory and reference services
      • original recommender sevice
      • no matter the format
    • built-in fodder for filters
      • MARC record
      • obsolete outside the library world
    • physical serendipity
  • Long Tail & LIbraries: Needs Improvement
    • making discovery happen readily
      • improving OPAC search functions
      • link to local
    • expediting delivery
      • NetFlix model?
      • rethinking resource sharing group
      • Find it / Get it browser plugin
    • Reader’s advisory
      • recommender services to patrons
      • blogs
      • patron reviews in OPACS
    • copyright implications
  • Conclusions
    • will it change the economic world as we know it?
      • not dramatically in her opinion
    • what about libraries?
      • how well do you know your community?
      • what can a small library serving a small population can gain from this?
        • put up a wiki for a local group then let them add content
      • academic
        • get your local info to your students
        • blackboard
        • MySpace & Facebook
    • Your environment should guide your application of these concepts
November 11th, 2006 by
xxxfullfilms