INTEROP: The Promise and Perils of Highly Interconnected Systems

Just got my copy of the new book, INTEROP: The Promise and Perils of Highly Interconnected Systems, by John Palfrey and Urs Gasser, and if you haven’t yet read it, you should, since it discusses subjects that are the life’s blood to librarians (and many others) in the 21st century. The authors discuss a wide range of issues surrounding interoperability, including:

– Interoperability hot-button questions: What are the pros and cons of streamlining systems in the global marketplace and individual businesses; health care and electronic patient records; social media; cloud computing; global disaster response; and the smart grid and the impending energy crisis?;

– The preservation of knowledge: How do we ensure that the information of today ‚ accessible via PDFs, e-books, mp3s, and websites ‚ is available tomorrow?;

– Too much knowledge: More information is being created and disseminated now than ever via blogs, e-mails, newspapers, and text messages, but how do we decide what’s worth keeping?;

– Consumer empowerment: How does the individual influence the business world and the design of consumer based electronics (from battery chargers to smartphone apps, Facebook, and Twitter)?;

– Nurturing technology and complexity: How do we get our systems working up to their potential, and what are the risks created by opening up access to data?;

– Remembering SOPA: What are the differences between government approaches to policing technology and non-regulatory approaches by the private sector, and why are both important?;

– Intellectual property rights in the digital age: How has new technology such as cloud computing changed how we own things and how we innovate?

See what I mean? And since it’s written by Palfrey and Gasser (the co-authors of Born Digital: Understanding the First Generation of Digital Natives) it’s well-researched and a pleasure to read ‚ even though it does bring up some possibilities about interoperability that may cause concern. I think this is a book many will be referencing for some time to come, and I strongly urge you to take a look as soon as you can ‚ to be well-informed about the issues we face in libraries every day.

More as it happens,

Cheryl LaGuardia About Cheryl LaGuardia

Cheryl LaGuardia always wanted to be a librarian, and has been one for more years than she's going to admit. She cracked open her first CPU to install a CD-ROM card in the mid-1980's, pioneered e-resource reviewing for Library Journal in the early 90's (picture calico bonnets and prairie schooners on the web...), won the Louis Shores / Oryx Press Award for Professional Reviewing, and has been working for truth, justice, and better electronic library resources ever since. Reach her at, where she's a Research Librarian at Harvard University.