Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Word of the Day

Today's word is in silico. According to the Wikipedia, this term means performed on a computer or via a computer simulation. It is coined by analogy with the Latin in vivo and in vitro, meaning experiments done inside or outside of living organisms. And possibly in pano, a sandwich, unless I am wrong about the Latin.

I am not sure why Tom Cochrane used this term in his presentation at the current IATUL Conference, on the subject of technological literacy (the ability to understand and evaluate technology). But it was an enlightening presentation, exploring not only the vocabulary of escience or eresearch, but also some thoughts about where libraries might go in their relationship with "new science", or science involving a massive advance in the use of data and computation. Not only is there a new vocabulary to be learned - we are doing that - but choices for libraries about where we want to position ourselves. Tom suggested that rather than increment forwards, we would be better embracing an aggressive transformation in role. The library without walls now the library in silico?

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