Looking At Controversy Through The Eyes Of Britannica and Wikipedia

The argument about Wikipedia versus Britannica continues to rage in libraryland. The questions are about authority and the likelihood of outright deception, of course, and a recent round brought up the limitations of peer review as exemplified in the 1989 cold fusion controversy, where two scientists claimed to have achieved a nuclear fusion reaction at […] » about 700 words

Six Weapons of Influence

Ken forwarded me this podcast of Robert Cialdini speaking on his Six Weapons of Influence, which he lists as

  • Reciprocation
  • Commitment and consistency
  • Social proof
  • Authority
  • Liking
  • Scarcity

Cialdini’s book is in its fourth edition, and has apparently been adopted as a text for more than a few classes and the concepts have worked their way into everybody’s marketing seminars. Motivation speaker and marketing yakyak Patricia Fripp summarizes those six weapons like this:

  • The Old Give and Take–and Take
  • Hobgoblins of the Mind
  • Truths Are Us
  • The Friendly Thief
  • Directed Deference
  • The Rule of the Few

Academics often feel uncomfortable mixing marketing in their fields, but isn’t it worth a look?

Findability, The Google Economy, and Libraries

Peter Morville, author of Ambient Findability, stirred up the web4lib email list with a message about Authority and Findability. His message is about how services like Wikipedia and Google are changing our global information architecture and the meaning of “authority.” The reaction was quick, and largely critical, but good argument tests our thinking and weeds […] » about 400 words


Gary Wolf wrote in the June issue of Wired about how smart mobs in New York’s World Trade Center outbrained the “authorities” and enjoyed higher survival rates because of it. Wolf is talking about the NIST report on Occupant Behavior, Egress, and Emergency Communications (warning: PDFs). There’s also this executive summary and this looks like […] » about 300 words