Infoglut and technology dependence
Everyday, we are exposed to a flood of information that increases anxiety, reduces our analytical capacity and leads to wrong decisions. Overabundance makes information more harmful than beneficial because we cannot handle the myriad impulses we receive. With the conviction that technological advances improve our quality of life, we turn to technology in search of a solution, even though technology itself is part of the problem; instead of giving us more free time, it's actually pushing us to do everything faster.
In this month's edition, the cover story of the journal Revista 21, specializing in social, cultural and family issues, is «Infoxicated: in the age of technological dependence». In this issue the writer Maria Angeles López Romero offers an insightful article that delves into the phenomenon of information overload and in which I've had the pleasure of making some contributions.
Fresh holidays in Göcek and Fethiye
Now that the dog days of Summer have arrived, we have gone to cool off in the radiant Turkish coast, between the Aegean and the Mediterranean. We've enjoyed the hot Turkish days immersed in the fresh waters of the Gulf of Fethiye, with its amazing coves and islands which are a hidden paradise with green pine forests and pristine beaches.
Documentary today: 5 years of Sense ficció
It has been 5 years since the documentary strand Sense ficció, presented by TV3, began its broadcasting. This program showcases the best in international documentaries and also self-produced documentaries that have created a distinctive style. It is a landmark of special significance, since no other public television of southern Europe has such a commitment to documentaries in prime time.
This is why the program team and we, the Faculty of Library and Information Science, have joined together to celebrate it in an open academic event about the growing importance of this television genre in today's society. In the morning, the Faculty auditorium hosted a lecture delivered by Nick Fraser, editor of BBC's Storyville, and a round table conducted by Joan Salvat, editor of TV3's Sense ficció, on the role of documentaries in today's society. In the afternoon, a series of master classes have been given by various professionals from TV3 documentaries section.
Round table: Tono Folguera, Nick Fraser, Joan Salvat, Joan González and Jordi Balló
Visiting TV3 documentation centre
Each television manages its audiovisual material really differently. This work varies according to the objectives of the TV company, the resources available and the needs of its users. However, it's the task to which documentation centres assign more resources, both human and material, because the economic value and heritage of audiovisual documentation is enormous. To confirm this in first person, my students from Audiovisual Documentation Management have visited Televisió de Catalunya (TV3) documentation centre.
New visit to the ancient Lisbon
There are cities that one never gets tired of visiting. Lisbon is quite an example. Sitting on seven hills that overlook the Rio Tejo, its delights can be seen from above. Up there the panorama invites to go down and discover the old quarters along with the yellow trams rattling through the narrow cobbled streets.
Somehow, it was time to go back, and this time we've gone with plenty of time to get lost and photograph a lot of lovely places, including the beautiful surroundings; indeed, places like Sintra, Cascais and Belém seem to have been built on purpose to make visitors enjoy taking pictures. Besides, it has been a perfect chance to finally visit the Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian and the Oceanário de Lisboa.
Jardim da Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian
Working breakfast session at TERMCAT
On Tuesday 17th TERMCAT held the working breakfast Fem xarxa, organized as a meeting point for all who collaborate with this organization that promotes Catalan terminology development. The meeting gathered a number of professionals related to the creation and dissemination of terminology.
I was invited, since I usually cooperate in the area of computer science and online communication, but I couldn't attend because of my teaching duties. However, I knew that translators, editors and language consultants had breakfast there, and they took the opportunity to strengthen professional ties that bind us and nourish the many projects developed by the institution. I'm sorry I could not attend. I promise to be there next time.
A picture of the event — © TERMCAT
Information overload: more is less
We live inundated with information, but we're scant of really useful information. Overabundance makes information harmful, because it's excessive; we can not handle the myriad of inputs we receive every day, so we become overwhelmed. As I've studied this phenomenon, which I contributed to popularize in the press, I've had the good fortune to be interviewed, together with Alfons Cornella, for a news report shown on TV3, the Catalan public television station, which tries to explain the causes and effects of information overload.
The ideas explained remind Nietzche's Human, all too human (1878-1880), so current: «There is no time for thinking, and no rest in thinking. [...] With the tremendous acceleration of life, we grow accustomed to using our mind and eye for seeing and judging incompletely or incorrectly, and all men are like travelers who get to know a land and its people from a train.»
As a specialist in information management, I lecture at the University of Barcelona, where I teach Library and Information Science and where I'm also involved in a series of research projects.
I'm the author of various papers on digital information handling and related topics. Helped by special technological aids, I'm interested in user experience and in personal information management.
Among the numerous hobbies I enjoy, worth mentioning is my devotion for trekking, photography and travelling. And I have a passion for music: I'm an occasional composer, arranger and performer of contemporary music.
Participating in Tempus IV programme
Professors M. Àngels García, Mario Pérez Montoro, Lydia Sánchez, Sergio Villanueva and I are working closely with professors from other universities in the framework of the Tempus European programme. This programme supports the modernisation of higher education in the Partner Countries of Eastern Europe, Central Asia, the Western Balkans and the Mediterranean region, mainly through university cooperation projects.
Our project, «Journalism and information in Tunisia» is funded by the European Union, coordinated by Unimed and led by Lydia Sanchez on behalf of the University of Barcelona. In December we will travel to Sousse (Tunisia), where the first interim partner meeting will take place, which will certainly be a memorable experience.
Sousse — © Graham Currey
Digital photography workshop
The University of Barcelona is organizing a series of training activities aimed at Middle and High School students to ease their transition to college. Within the framework of this proposal, the Faculty of Library and Information has scheduled for January 2015 the InfoCom Week, a series of morning conferences and workshops to introduce technical and practical aspects of information management and audiovisual communication.
As a teacher of both disciplines, I will lead the participatory workshop «Digital photography: get the most out of your camera», that will teach the basics of choosing and understanding a camera, the most effective photographic techniques and the usefulness of the various accessories.
The registration period is open, subject to available seating.
New composition in the works
I've embarked on an attractive art project: I'm writing music for a contemporary choreography. Composing music to serve the purposes of a ballet is a challenge I always wanted to take on, and a golden chance has come up. The project also involves a dancer and choreographer, two visual artists, a multimedia artist and a location scouting expert. The show will hopefully be premiered in the Netherlands over the next year.
Music for a videoart piece
«This beauty has a thin skin. Scratch the land and imagine, if you can, what lies buried beneath today.»
The Unimaginable, an awesome video art piece directed by ferrie=differentieel for which I've had the chance to compose the soundtrack, has made its worldwide premiere. Deeply sunk in snow and frozen surfaces, beneath a wintry, idyllic, apparently untouched landscape, there is the terrible effect of a war that was thought never to come again. In the production of this short film, framed within the project 100x100=900: 100 videoartists to tell a century, Jimmy ThePeach and Jöran Maaswinkel (filming and editing) have also participated.
The soundtrack can be heard separately.
Jorge Franganillo. «Los desafíos de la información cuántica». ThinkEPI, 4 December 2012.
Resumen. Quantum physics, the science of the infinitely small, is so surprising and mysterious that it sounds like science fiction since it certainly defies common sense and forces us to radically change the way we perceive reality. The results of its experiments are irrefutable and they revolutionize even the world of information. Now scientists are studying how to use fundamental laws of quantum physics to improve information transmission and processing, which promises exciting new technologies in the future. Yet, it is not without its difficulties and limitations nor it suggests that
quantum computers might somehow replace conventional electric computers.
Jorge Franganillo. «El aparente declive del correo electrónico». Anuario ThinkEPI: análisis de tendencias en información y documentación, 2012, p. 250-253.
Abstract. Some companies have started to restrict the use of email with the conviction that the resulting information overload undermines productivity. However, the problem is not the tool, but excessive exchange of messages, often with irrelevant information. Therefore, the real solution is to establish appropriate management strategies and avoid excessive communication. Some initiatives are committed to moving corporate internal communication to social media, although it tends to fragment the information required to complete tasks.
Jorge Franganillo. «HTML5: el nuevo estándar básico de la web». Anuario ThinkEPI: análisis de tendencias en información y documentación, 2011, p. 261-265.
Abstract. In late 2009, the W3C stopped developing XHTML 2 and focused on HTML5 instead. Since then, there has been some confusion and heated debates about the proper markup language for future web development. HTML5 has been conceived with the aim of simplifying the designers' work and improving the sites' performance, especially on mobile devices. This paper analyzes the final draft of the HTML5 specification and discusses the most significant aspects: syntax, DOM, information gathering and presentation, and multimedia processing.
Sílvia Argudo, Andreu Sulé, Jorge Franganillo, Teresa Mañà, Anna Rubió. «Introducción de la semipresencialidad en el grado de Información y Documentación: evolucionando con la sociedad». Congrés Internacional de Docència Universitària i Innovació (2012: Barcelona). Paper.
Abstract. From the 2011-2012 academic year, blended learning is being introduced in the Information and Documentation Degree of the University of Barcelona's Faculty of Library and Information Science. All first-year subjects are offered in this format for a group of 30 students. The planning has involved establishing the conditions and degree of the blending, creating teaching materials on a virtual campus, and setting up indicators and mechanisms for monitoring and evaluation. First results suggest relevant differences with respect to the on-site model.
Mireia Ribera, Bruno Splendiani, Miquel Térmens, Marina Salse, Irene Llerena, Jorge Franganillo, Miquel Centelles. «Accessible teaching documents». Congreso Europeo de Tecnologías de la Información en la Educación y en la Sociedad: una visión crítica. (3rd: February 2012: Barcelona). Paper. Barcelona: Esbrina, 2012, p. 504-506.
Resumen. «Accessible teaching documents» is a second step on an initiative to promote best practices in the preparation of accessible teaching material by university professors. This initiative started with the publication of the Guide to accessible digital content, which explains basic techniques to make accessible office documents. «Accessible teaching documents» goes further on this initial objective, providing templates for the creation of office documents, and easy procedures to create alternate versions of them. Those alternate versions will include changes in color, fonts or other presentational attributes and also conversions to different digital formats, thus promoting inclusive education in the university by the integration of alternative formats in everyday contents.
Jorge Franganillo. «GPS, o la lección del Dakar». Uno, 2 January 2012, p. 18.
Abstract. Dakar is a competition that stands out from other motor events because of its countless peculiarities. An example of this is that drivers are not allowed to use GPS to find their way. Instead, they must follow the directions written on a paper roll. GPS, which is useful in innumerable areas, is held by the U.S. government, which can disrupt or modify the signals if they want to, as it has done on occasion. One day it might happen that our dependence on this positioning system, whose absence in the Dakar makes this adventure even more adventurous, causes a massive disorientation.
Jorge Bello, Jorge Franganillo. «La bona ciència i la bona escriptura». Pediatria Catalana, vol. 71, no. 4, 2011, p. 174-175.
Jorge Franganillo. «En la ciencia de lo secreto». Uno, 7 December 2011, p. 17.
Abstract. Cryptography has had a significant historical influence for over two millennia. It's an ancient science which was already used by Romans, among others, to keep their communications safe from enemies. For centuries, until the 1970s, it was a black art practised by only a few governments and armies. It is now a well-established discipline that is taught in universities, it's available for use by businesses and individuals, and it protects many areas of everyday life. This ancient technique now faces the threat of quantum computing, which might cause the collapse of the cryptographic techniques known to date.
Jorge Franganillo. «El correo electrónico está de aniversario: cumple 40 años». Uno, 20 January 2011, p. 16-17.
Jorge Franganillo. «Documentación audiovisual en televisión». Revista española de documentación científica, vol. 36, núm. 4, October-December 2013. Review of the same-titled book by Jorge Caldera and Pilar Arranz.