Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
All aspects of cloud computing are covered in the Librarian ' s Guide to Academic Research in the Cloud. From capturing and storing information, to writing and communicating information, this book delves into the tools that will enhance and help you to get started with cloud computing.
As an academic librarian who uses these tools daily, I originally picked up this book thinking I was its target audience. Academic Research – tick. A Guide for Librarians – tick. However, I found when I opened the book that it was a beginner ' s guide to cloud computing, written by an academic librarian. I felt a little deceived by the title, which, maybe unfairly, did not make a good start as I opened the pages.
The author does a good job of logically structuring the book, looking at technological platforms that assist researchers and information seekers as they move through the research lifecycle of information capture, writing and then knowledge dissemination. Here however, there is a “but” as this is a print book and thus already out of date with the fast-paced world of technological advancement. Some of the technologies mentioned are out of date, or have been enhanced or changed quite dramatically to be almost unrecognisable. Other, more recent services available through the cloud are not even mentioned.
A snapshot of the services mentioned in the book include the usual suspects of Dropbox, Google Drive, Twitter, Evernote, Zotero and Mendeley. Others like SpiderOak I had never heard of, and some like OneDrive are not mentioned. Others mentioned were a surprise as I had thought them obsolete and out of date in today ' s computing environment. Text chat services such as AIM and IRC don’t get mentioned much anymore so their inclusion in a book like this one was unexpected.
The authors Linux OS bias is also visible in the book, especially in the final chapters. He espouses the return to thin clients running Linux and open sourced software. Given the dominance of Apple in the current market, it is an interesting position to take, and while his point of proprietary software being closed and rigid is a good one, the rise of API ' s and companies encouraging open source advances to their software seems to counteract his theory. However, please note that my opinion is certainly not a fully researched one, but just one of a layperson interacting in the current environment (from the comfort of my computers using Dropbox to move the word document to and from my PC to my Mac).
If you are new to cloud computing, or want to get a snapshot of where cloud computing is at in the present climate I would recommend this book to you. If you are after a more advanced tome dealing with copyright, legal, hardware and corporate governance issues of cloud computing then this book is not for you. It is a guide for the public (and maybe researchers) who want to know about cloud computing written by an academic librarian.