The murmur of the snarkmatrix…

Bob Stepno § The structure of journalism today / 2014-03-10 18:42:32
Anne Field § The booster pack / 2014-02-15 16:15:39
Josh Rubenoff § The booster pack / 2014-02-09 04:29:20
David Lang § The right flavor of fame / 2014-02-07 15:13:49
Robin § The booster pack / 2014-02-06 16:41:42
Navneet Alang § The booster pack / 2014-02-06 03:40:31
Sam M-B § The booster pack / 2014-02-06 03:32:35
Chris Baker § The booster pack / 2014-02-06 02:38:57
G Love § Conversation Media / 2014-01-30 07:26:22
Navneet Alang § Calculating the Weight of the Object / 2014-01-26 16:07:58

Bookdrop tagging
 / 

This little mockup almost speaks for itself:

20100104_bookdrop

Almost… but not quite. The story it represents is really remarkable. Nina Simon explains:

Haarlem Oost is a branch library in the Netherlands that wanted to encourage visitors to add tags [...] to the books they read. [...] To do this, the library didn’t create a complicated computer system or send people online. Instead, they installed more book drops and return shelves, labeled with different descriptors like “boring,” “great for kids,” “funny,” etc.

Is that great or what? Physical tagging! It feels like the informational equivalent of turning a dance floor into a piezoelectric power generator. But alas—the library has now abandoned the system. Why?

[...] people were using the system so seriously that it took them a lot of time per book to decide where to place it. That caused some logistic problems in the (small) building, especially as they have some peak times.

It’s clear to me that this is a totally beautiful, clever mechanism—it makes me want to use the too-snooty term of art “intervention”—that just needed a little extra engineering. There’s a great comment thread over at Nina’s blog that dives in even deeper.

One comment

So, this made me realize that we’ve been doing this for years with garbage and recycling. Some cities have revamped their tagging system several times (Toronto had blue bins and garbage, then blue bins, black bins and garbage, then blue, black, green and garbage and now blue, green and garbage).

There’s a mixture of crowd sourcing and then expert curation (the experts are poorly paid workers at facilities sorting through our coarsely sorted garbage).

The snarkmatrix awaits you

Below, you can use basic HTML tags and/or Markdown syntax.