When I wrote on the WebKit Revolution in August, I didn’t find the good graphic below, I think because of the way it was titled and placed in excellent articles by Jason Grigsby (@grigs). So, thanks, Jason, and I hope you don’t mind that I’ve tweeked the text accompanying the pie graph, to show more clearly the platforms involved.

The graphic is a bit dated, since it doesn’t include the iPad, and no doubt a more current version would show a larger share for iPhone and Android. Also, the recent introductions of a WebKit browser on the Kindle 3 would make the WebKit dominance even more noteworthy. But the graphic still does a good job of showing the strength of WebKit browsers on mobile devices. Note >> All the pieces of the pie in shades of BLUE (all but Windows/Others) are based on WebKit.

[Text: 2009 Smartphone Market Share (Gartner). Phones currently shipping or projected to ship using WebKit ... Symbian (Nokia) 47%, Blackberry 20%, iPhone (Safari) 14%, Android 4%, WebOS (Palm) 1%, Windows/Others 14%]

Eric Rumsey is at: eric-rumsey AttSign uiowa dott edu and on Twitter @ericrumsey

Twitter is notorious for having a short attention span – Trending topics tend to last for just a few days — The iPad has been a remarkable exception to this — Since it was introduced in April, its popularity on Twitter just seems to continue on and on. I experience this clearly myself because my tweets on the iPad are invariably the most popular ones.

With so much being written on the iPad, I often search in Twitter by combining “iPad” with another word — libraries, librarians, schools, learning, healthcare, medical etc. I’ve been surprised that combining iPad with library-related words consistently retrieves very little. So I did a little survey, counting the number of tweets retrieved in Twitter searches for some of these words, as shown in the graph at left (details on method below).

I don’t want to read too much into this quick-and-dirty little survey — Maybe it’s just a matter of time before the iPad surge filters down to libraries. But I still have to wonder … The apparent lack of interest in the iPad in the library world is especially surprising in view of the search figures in the chart for books, magazines, newspapers, and ebooks – the content of libraries.

As I was writing this post, I happened upon Brian Kenney’s article encouraging libraries to join the party and get into the “eBook game” like their patrons are quickly doing. The advice about libraries and eBooks in his catchy title fits the iPad also: You have to be in it to win it! – With the iPad having quickly established itself as the most popular device for reading digital books and magazines, and with its booming sales predicted to hit 28 million in 2011, isn’t it time for librarians to join the iPad party?

Methods — The numbers in the chart are the average of two searches done on Thurs, Aug 19 and Fri, Sept 3, each of the searches going back four days. I counted the number of pages for each search and multiplied by 10, assuming 10 tweets per page. For library related words, how about “library”? — I didn’t include it because of the varying contexts of the word — in particular iTunes library and iPod library — which are unrelated to libraries that are run by librarians. I did do a close examination of the 172 hits for library (on Sept 8th) and found that about 22 seemed to have some connection to the desired context, which would have raised the numbers in the chart a bit, but not enough to change the overall impression that the iPad is not mentioned much in connection with libraries. So I’ve chosen to stick with simple unambiguous words, especially so that the test can be easily repeated over time.

Eric Rumsey is at: eric-rumsey AttSign uiowa dott edu and on Twitter @ericrumsey

With the new possibilities for multi-media storytelling brought by the iPad, Jean Gralley’s 2006 essay gains new relevance. I haven’t seen Gralley mentioned in recent talk on the eBook revolution, maybe because she writes as a childrens’ book illustrator. But I think many of her ideas resonate with recent commentaries on digital books more generally, so I’m excerpting extensively from her vivid language. Here are her words, with screenshots from the accompanying Flash video  > >

> >  I love everything about the traditional picture book art form. But when I discovered a hidden world of picture book artists who are creating traditional books in radically nontraditional ways, I was fascinated and hooked. As I played with these new computer programs, it dawned on me that my very thinking was being re-wired. Story ideas came that didn’t work well on paper.

It’s ridiculous to make a monitor do what paper does better. But the problem is not that things have gone too far but that they haven’t gone far enough. Let digital be digital. Let the digital medium create stories that can’t be told as well on paper — or told on paper at all. Imagine a story progressing not by page turns but by proceeding up, down, to the right, or even to the left. … Recognizing that our commitment is to the story and not to paper is powerful fuel for picture book creators; it’s all we need for liftoff.

Imagine words and pictures appearing, receding, and gliding into place. Envision stories that might proceed by unfolding like a flower, or sinking as if into a black hole in space.

As illustrators are loosening our paper bonds, so, too, can picture books. We’re able to create digital books because we’re becoming technologically and psychologically ready to create them and because our imaginations are lifting off the page.

The reader should be the prime mover. Just as in a traditional picture book, no matter what the digital book is capable of, the reader should direct the experience, determining the pace, backtracking or even skipping ahead. The reader should read. Unlike watching a video, the child won’t passively watch pictures while a text is being “told” via an audio file.

E-Books, with their fantastic ability to cross-reference, layer, and update information with ease and speed, are already being embraced, especially in academia. But developing their unique promise as a visual medium could make us re-think what a book is, in truly revolutionary ways. It makes sense that we children’s book illustrators would be the ones to take this step. We love to play with materials and forms. … Now some of us are thinking of leaving the page altogether.

For me, the concept of digital picture books is less about “embracing the future” and much more about our now. If we once framed the cosmos with a black-and-white sensibility, we are now swimming in a vivid Technicolor reality. If we once perceived the world as flat, it is now understood to be dimensional. Why shouldn’t our art and our stories reflect this?

The printed book is a beautiful, ancient, enduring form that will continue to exist. But these new tech tools are exquisitely appropriate for our time. To resist them seems to me to be not quite present. Although different tools may produce different kinds of tales, we are simply furthering the narrative of our one long tale. We are still moving along the age-old thread of storytelling. > >

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Meta-story (How I came upon Jean Gralley’s article) – Recently Roger Sutton (@HornBook), the editor of the childrens’ book magazine Hornbook, followed me on Twitter. As I often do when I get a new Twitter follower, I poked around doing some googling on his website to see what there is about the digital thing, and came upon Gralley’s article — A real hidden gem, that confirms my idea that childrens digital book people have a lot of good things to say on digital books more generally.

Related articles:

Eric Rumsey is at: eric-rumsey AttSign uiowa dott edu and on Twitter @ericrumsey

Steve Jobs & the Future of Mac OS X

Will the Mac have an OS XI? In this article I discuss two topics that relate to this — In the first part of the article, I’ll discuss the name of the current Mac OS — Is it Mac OS X (letter X) or is it Mac OS 10 (number 10)? This is a well-known subject for long-time Mac users, but I haven’t seen other talk about my suggestion that Steve Jobs carefully crafted the “OS X” name as a brand that he and Apple won’t give up easily. In the second part of the article, I discuss how the iPad changes the game for the Mac OS and my prediction of what this means for Apple.

Is “Mac OS X” a Steve Jobs Pun?

The story of Steve Jobs’ firing and “second coming” at Apple has been told many times. For the purposes of this article, the highlight of the story is his founding of the Unix-based NeXT computer (when he was away from Apple), and then, when he returned as CEO, his fostering the adoption of its OS, which became Mac OS X. The Unix base of OS X was a large break from the previous non-Unix “Classic” Mac operating systems 1-9. … This is all common knowledge, but one aspect of the advent of OS X gets less attention (at least in writing) and that’s the name “OS X” –Why is it X instead of 10? A little digging reveals that the letter “X” has particular significance in the Unix world — When Unix people see a word with “x” in, they take notice because Unix-related words often have an “x” in. So it seems likely that the X was chosen with Unix in mind — A cute Unix insider pun. Surprisingly, though, I can’t find anything that describes the naming of OS X as a pun — Googling for “mac os x” pun or “mac os x” name pun or “mac os x” “double meaning” should certainly pick up something, but it doesn’t. I suspect that there was discussion of this when Mac OS X launched in 2000, and that I’m missing it. Talk on the Web was not nearly as well-developed then as it is now, though, so maybe it’s not there.

So why is this little pun important? Because it brings up the much more interesting idea – Where did the pun come from? Who thought of it? Was it Steve Jobs? If he didn’t think of it himself, he certainly would have been involved in its adoption. It seems likely that there was deep thought given to the name, that it didn’t “just happen” casually. How interesting and serendipitous that when Jobs brought Unix to the Mac, the versions of the OS just happened to be at OS 9, set to advance to … OS 10 >> OS X. But — Suggesting that the weighted meaning of “OS X” had been a long time in the planning, one commentator says that Apple pushed along pre-OS X versions from 8 to 9 so that the version number would be at “10″ when the new Mac-Unix OS was ready to launch. With this sort of long-range planning, it’s unimaginable that CEO Jobs would not have been heavily involved. It’s also an indication, I think, that Apple has a heavy investment in the name “OS X” and that they won’t be quick to move on to another name/version.

After the iPad – Mac OS XI or iOS?

Part of the phenomenal success of the iPad is that it’s created a new category. Before the iPad, “mobile” meant a device you could hold in one hand. The operating systems of such devices were different from those on laptops and desktops. But the iPad is nudging into the laptop category and it uses the same iOS operating system as the iPhone. So there’s been much recent speculation that the future operating system for Apple computers and devices will in some sense merge into one. The downsizing of Mac OS X is already starting to happen, with the smaller footprint of its newest version (Snow Leopard), and the trend will likely accelerate as iPad/Tablet computing increase.

With Mac OS X about to reach its 10th birthday (Xth birthday ;-) ) in March 2011, its interesting serendipitous life continues — Who would have ever guessed that it would persist for 10 years, right up to the next stage of computing, which is being ushered into existence by … Apple Computing with iPhone and iPad? Did Steve know all along and that’s why he held on to the “X” brand for so long?

My Prediction – I’m not taking sides in the debate about whether OS X is a version of the Mac OS or whether it’s a separate OS, and what the next Apple operating system will be called. What I am predicting is that the Mac OS and iOS will grow more alike, which is not original with me, as noted above. I’ll go a step further, though, and predict that around the 10-year birthday of Mac OS X in March, 2011, Steve Jobs will make some sort of announcement about the future direction of the Apple operating system — It’s just too good an opportunity for Steve miss it — The stage is set for the next episode in … the serendipitous life of Mac OS X.

Eric Rumsey is at: eric-rumsey AttSign uiowa dott edu and on Twitter @ericrumsey

Keith Peters used his new USB microscope to take pictures of magnified text, snips of which are below. His article on this included the pictures and a discussion of iPad and Kindle. He says little about the book and magazine pictures, and they’re far down in his article. I thought they added an interesting comparison with the iPad and Kindle …

The voluminous comments to Peters’ article, mostly on iPad vs Kindle, are interesting, with many heated opinions and citing of tech issues like dpi, bit depth, resolution and contrast. The arguments give an indication of how little scientific proof there is on what makes text readable/legible — Seems to be a case of who can shout the loudest! Not only is it difficult to define clear criteria to judge text on computers and eReaders, it’s also surprisingly difficult to find evidence about text on print vs computer – Googling for subjects like readability screen and readability screen print turn up little that’s relevant (Please email me if you’re a better googler than I am!) In Wikipedia, the most relevant subject seems to be Typography, but it also doesn’t speak much to the issue of print vs computer.

Eric Rumsey is at: eric-rumsey AttSign uiowa dott edu and on Twitter @ericrumsey

Is it because of mixed feelings about Google that librarians don’t talk much about Google having its origins in the library world? As described in the quote below, it’s well-established that Google PageRank is built on librarian Eugene Garfield’s citation-analysis work done in the 1950′s, which led to the standard library reference tool Science Citation Index, and later Web of Science — So why are we not shouting it out? – Google grew from library roots!

Guy Gugliotta’s 2009 article in Wired does a good job of connecting Garfield’s work with Google (boldface added):

The science citation revolution began more than 50 years ago. Eugene Garfield, then a young librarian pursuing a PhD in structural linguistics, started wondering about that most prosaic of bibliographic tools: the footnote. Most people think of footnotes as reaching backward in time to a document’s sources. But Garfield realized that they could reach forward, too—future footnotes would cite the original article. “The citation becomes the subject,” says Garfield, now 83 and enjoying his stature as the founding father of modern citation analysis. “It was a radical approach to retrieving information.”

Some three decades before the concept of the hyperlink and the World Wide Web crossed anybody’s mind, Garfield had figured out how to connect the immense body of scientific knowledge into a network. In the early 1960s he began publishing The Science Citation Index; Garfield sold the first edition, five volumes of arcane hard-copy reference, to academic libraries for $500.

Citation-based ranking schemes … are increasingly the coin of the online realm. Understanding and quantifying reputation is the best approach to navigating the tsunami of information on the Internet. That’s why Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin cited Eugene Garfield in their academic work on PageRank, the algorithm that powers their company’s search engine.

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Why I’m calling Garfield the “grandfather of Google” — Gary Price, in 2004, seems to have been the first to refer to Garfield as The Father of Citation Analysis (which is repeated in the quote above) — So, if he’s the “father” of citation analysis, and citation analysis played a key role in the development of PageRank and Google, it’s a short step to … Garfield as Google’s grandfather.

*Garfield as a “librarian” — Although he apparently never worked in a library, Garfield did have an MLS and is often referred to as a “librarian,” as he is in the Wired quote above. In his early career, he had especially close connections in the medical library world, as this profile of him describes.

Picture of Garfield from Indiana University.

Eric Rumsey is at: eric-rumsey AttSign uiowa dott edu and on Twitter @ericrumsey

As is obvious from the screenshots here, the Google Revolution was about more than good searching — It’s also about design — It seems hard to imagine now that the busy design on the AltaVista page below was the standard for web pages before Google, but it was.

The Google Design influence went further than the home page — The home page was a sign of the whole approach of Google, a beacon for savvy designers that told them the Google search engine would be looking for sites that followed the Simple Design Way of Google. And of course, it’s worked — Simple design is the standard now, and pages like the AltaVista 2000 homepage look like … something out of the last century.

Related articles:

Eric Rumsey is at: eric-rumsey AttSign uiowa dott edu and on Twitter @ericrumsey

When Google first came out its ability to find thousands of links and to put the best of them at the top of the list was considered downright spooky, in the words of one doctor. We’d never had anything like that — Before Google, the choice was a human-generated list — either a relatively short list of subjective “best links” or a long, boring alphabetical/classified list — or, even worse, a search-engine list, that often seemed to be totally random.

And then there were Tor Ahlenius’ elegant lists of Diseases and Disorders at the Karolinska Institute Library in Sweden. Tor had  the uncanny ability to make relatively lengthy lists with the best  links at the top. There  was never any indication about the criteria used to choose the “best,” but it was clear that the  top links  were, in some sense, “high quality.” Often, these were links that I had come across on other peoples’ link lists, but sometimes there would be gems that I had never seen linked anywhere else.

When Google revolutionized searching with its PageRank technology, I had the uncanny feeling that I had gotten a pre-taste of Google in Tor’s lists — His simple, understated lists were just like Google’s — “Give me all the sites on the subject, and put the best ones at the top.” And, of course, it was all out of his head. Tor’s pages resonated with Google not only in the quality of their links but also in their simple design — just the links on a spare white page.

Another part of the appeal of Tor’s link lists for me was that he tended to put sites with good pictures toward the top. Although I’ve never seen this written about, I think Google has a similar tendency. And, as I’ve learned from Hardin MD stats, pictures are indeed popular.

At the recent Medical Library Association annual meeting in Washington DC, I learned from Tor’s friend Arne Jakobsson, who was attending from Norway, the sad news that Tor died in early May, after having retired a few years ago.

Tor had the mind of a scientist – He had a PhD in Quantum Chemistry and had done computer programming earlier in his career. As someone has said, if there were enough really smart people, computers wouldn’t be necessary — People could do it all. Of course that’s not possible in the real world. But Tor was a shining example of how its not so unimaginable. In the height of his list-keeping, I’d take the lists generated by his brain over Google anytime.

Tor’s lists are still available — I suspect he continued to work on them until the end.

Thank you to Tor’s family and Ylva Gavel at the Karolinska library for the picture of Tor.

Tor was part of the inspiration for a series of articles I wrote soon after his passing, on the superior Web work of people around the world:

Eric Rumsey is at: eric-rumsey AttSign uiowa dott edu and on Twitter @ericrumsey

I’ve been following discussions in two different worlds this week. The first of these is based on an article by Brian Mathews, in which he discusses the effect of mobile cloud computing on libraries. His ideas especially drew attention when the Chronicle’s Wired Campus blog pulled ideas from Mathews’ speculations in an article with the provocative title If Libraries Remove Computers, Will Anyone Come? This was such a good title ;-) that the LISNews blog also ran a follow-up article with the same title. My thoughts on the discussion are well-summarized in the title of my comments on the LISNews article – Removing Computers is Moot: Mobile, Cloud & iPad are Coming! My point (and I think Mathews’ point) is that mobile cloud computing is coming, and when it does, there will be little need to have computers in libraries because students won’t be using them.

The other discussion I’ve been following is based on a talk given by Mary Meeker of Morgan Stanley (AKA “Queen of the Internet”) — Mobile Internet Will Soon Overtake Fixed Internet. Her talk was much-discussed and her slide below was much shared on blogs — It’s relevance to the Libraries Removing Computers discussion is apparent — Mobile is going to overtake Desktop by 2014. What will libraries be like by then?

Eric Rumsey is at: eric-rumsey AttSign uiowa dott edu and on Twitter @ericrumsey

It’s well-known that narrow columns are easier to read. So it’s surprising that I can find almost nothing (except this) that connects that observation with the unexpected success of the iPhone as a reading device.

Newspapers and magazines, of course, almost always have narrow columns. With the iPhone, books do also — Could that be one of the reasons for the iPhone’s success?

Here are examples of reading on an iPhone, from a Stanza eBook and the NY Times:

Eric Rumsey is at: eric-rumsey AttSign uiowa dott edu and on Twitter @ericrumsey