High Volume Manufacturing

I came upon this video recently, and found it utterly fascinating. Although they seem like a mundane everyday item, aluminum beverage cans are pretty much the ultimate in complex, precision high volume manufacturing. The number of steps required to create a can is incredible, as are the worldwide yearly production stats. Some 500 billion of… Continue reading>

Reflections on Vancouver, 1907

I shared a video link (embedded below) on Twitter recently that I found to be a remarkable historical record of people interacting with a streetscape in 1907. The footage was recorded from the front of a streetcar as it made its way along a route that took it from Vancouver's downtown to what was then… Continue reading>

The Curator’s Code

There's been quite a dust-up in the last few days on Twitter and various blogs over Maria Popova's (@brainpicker) Curator's Code initiative. The Curator's Code proposes a standardized system of Unicode characters for attributing "via" and "hat tip" sources for content used or referenced in blogs, aggregator sites and social media. In her words, it's… Continue reading>


Hope is a concept with which I have a conflicted relationship. I'm a hopeful person, very much a "glass half full" type. Despite my optimism, I always cringe a little bit when I hear somebody saying that they're "hoping" that this thing or that thing will happen for them. I like it even less when… Continue reading>


Imagine a world where researchers in completely different fields interacted with each other freely. Consider how unexpected connections between the humanities and the sciences might inform research projects in new and serendipitous ways. Now think about how college and university research departments so often function within a silo structure, rarely making meaningful cross-disciplinary connections. A… Continue reading>

Holiday Re-run

I'm taking the week off from just about everything, but thought I'd offer up something from the archives that you might enjoy if you missed it the first time around -- Lessons From the Library It's a post about the difference between searching and browsing, and what we've gained and lost as search becomes ever… Continue reading>

Weekend Reading – Christmas Edition

If you celebrate Christmas, I can do no better for a weekend reading recommendation than to commend to you a great classic from Dylan Thomas: A Child's Christmas in Wales. This piece sits somewhere between between poetry and prose, conjuring up rich imagery of Christmas from a simpler time, populated with memorable and familiar characters.… Continue reading>