Friday, December 28, 2007

TED and Charlie: Ideas worth watching and spreading

One of my absolute favorite sites:

Concise, freely accessible videos of thought-provoking talks given at TED conferences by the world's foremost thinkers and do-ers on anything and everything.

Presenters include: Steven Pinker, Malcom Gladwell, Jane Goodall, Steven Johnson, Bill Gates, Erin McKean (of the Oxford American Dictionary), Sergey Brin and Larry Page, Seth Godin, Lawrence Lessig, E.O. Wilson, Chris Anderson (of "long tail" fame), Richard Branson, Jimmy Wales, Steven Levitt, Will Wright, Nicholas Negroponte and on and on...

Talk themes include:
Global Issues

It seems most videos are somewhere between 3 to 20 minutes long and new videos are added every week. The length and content have made them a favorite distraction of mine while folding clothes.

For a more in-depth treatment of similar and other topics, check out the website for the Charlie Rose show on PBS - As far as I can tell, you can freely watch the entirety of every single segment Charlie Rose has ever done over the show's 13+ year run from the site! You name the thinker/doer/politician/entertainer of consequence and they have likely been on the Charlie Rose show.

Videos from the Googleplex at Google Video also offers some excellent, extended thought-provoking talks.

And some quick questions for discussion:
What is a library's role in highlighting these types of resources for users?
They are freely available to anyone with an Internet connection, but given that presumably most are unaware of their existence, would highlighting them as an institution fit with a 21st century definition of our traditional mission of "providing" resources to our users? (Since if we don't "provide" them by highlighting, the resources in a sense, will likely not exist for our users.)

And generally as "print people" (stereotype alert!), do we have to make a special effort to realize the value these non-print resources may have for our user population?

Enjoy viewing, and best wishes to all for a happy and healthy New Year!

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