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Hoping data isn’t just the next big thing collecting dust (insight from Dropbox)

September 23, 2013, 1:11 pm

I recently criticized Wired but I have to commend them for a great October issue.  One of the articles outlines the ambition of Dropbox, which is to become the “pervasive data layer.” I love that phrase.

The key quote:

 Going forward, the company wants to power a new breed of syncable apps that would let you share any kind of data with anyone across any device. In theory it’s an epic shift that would put Dropbox at the center of everyone’s digital life, turning it into a powerhouse on the level of Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Apple.

Any file with anyone on any device! That’s a powerful vision. It’s the heart of the new web infrastructure that is being built and it is the red-hot topic in research libraries. Good whitepaper: research data services. Libraries are offering new services and creating new positions, and I hope someone is working on a compatibility feature with Dropbox and similar tools.

This is the quote in the article that got me thinking about libraries:

 Dropbox is “easily misunderstood as being about storage,” Schreier says. “But you realize it’s not about storage. It’s about accessibility. It’s about availability.

Which then got me thinking of Margaret Hedstrom’s comments on libraries:

 “It’s not enough to preserve and provide access to data and information; people want to do things with data and information.”

I hope we don’t just evolve from being book warehouses to data warehouses. I really like the ethos of  “and doing stuff too.” If we don’t do it, someone else will.

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