Links of interest: May 20, 2011

Welcome back after a hiatus (due to a combination of various things, including not having that many links I wanted to share for a week or two.)

The question of attribution:

The news about the death of Osama bin Laden brought up a somewhat unexpected string of posts – about how to properly identify the original of a witty quote. The Atlantic took it on in a post, but I also like Teresa Neilsen Hayden’s approach, which digs more deeply into some other examples and theories of why people assume that certain kinds of statements come from a handful of mouths.

Thinking about libraries in new ways:

Andy, at Agnostic, Maybe has two great recent posts. The first is pretty straightforward – a roundup of five TED talks that he thinks are particularly relevant to librarians. (He’s thinking about making this into a series, so if you like that kind of thing, you might keep an eye out.) Videos, of course, but one of the reasons I like TED so much is they do transcripts of all their talks.

Andy also takes on another current discussion. Seth Godin made a post on 16th called “The Future of the Library” (and while it’s not obvious from the title, he’s mostly talking about public libraries.) He’s gotten a lot of commentary from various corners (though, personally, I agree with his basic premise: the future of librarianship is about the role of connecting people to resources they didn’t know they needed or need help using, not so much in how we store materials.) I liked Andy’s take a lot, too. Buffy from The Unquiet Librarian has a great take, too.

Doug Johnson also links to and excerpts two different approaches to talking about libraries, and thinks about the differences. (One focused on the nostalgic ‘here’s what it did for me’, the other talking creating spaces for learning and understanding.)

A totally gorgeous look at a day in the life of the San Francisco Public Library. (Image heavy – give it some time to load…)

Buffy Hamilton at The Unquiet Librarian links to and talks about a TED presentation on why search algorithms aren’t enough (and what they miss…) She’s also got a great list of what she’s been reading that inspires her professional life.

Jenica talks about the path to being a library director – and the costs and rewards – in a compelling post (something we definitely need to think about as we look at the new ways libraries are going to need to function.)

Aaron Tay also has a roundup of posts that are making him think about the future of librarianship, too.

Practical guides:

Joyce Valenza has a great roundup of tools to suggest what you might want to read next based on what you liked recently. Some of the standards (GoodReads, LibraryThing, Amazon) are there, but she’s got some that were new to me, too.

Joyce also links to some really awesome animations of United States battles and wars. I tested this out by watching the Lexington and Concord one (I grew up the next town over, so it’s a topic I’ve learned about over many years.) I really loved both how the animation’s designed, and the way the information is broken down with natural pauses – it’d be a great tool for class discussion.

I really liked the take David Lebovitz took in a recent post on recipes and copyright – it’s always nice to see a thoughtful post that looks at copyright in a way that’s sensitive to both the legal issues and the community issues. Especially when it ends with a nice round-up of resources and guides for practical use and some additional ideas and resources in the comments.

A bit of delightful syncronicty brought the next one – I did a quick trip to Iowa to meet up with my older sister and mother (my sister was out there doing some research). On the way down, surfing from NPR station to NPR station, I caught a great interview with Andrea Weckerle, founder of Civilination, a site focusing on civility in digital discourse that offers ongoing commentary and resources. (You can download the show from for the near future – it was on May 10th.)

The US Government has recently launched a new site focusing on digital literacy. It collects links to other resources, mostly.

Ever wondered how you might explain the Kindle to Charles Dickens? A design student, Rachel Walsh, came up with a way to do just that.

Health literacy is a huge topic (and one I’ve been thinking about more this week – it’s one of my sister’s areas of interest, so of course it comes up whenever we see each other.) The Our Bodies Ourselves blog has some great thoughts and links to resources.

And last, but certainly not least, the CDC has used a potential zombie invasion as a great source of education about emergency planning.

I understand that one reason they picked this topic is that choosing a fictional emergency means that people quibble less about the details of what might happen when. Of course, if like me, you’re reading the countdown to Mira Grant’s (aka Seanan McGuire) second book, Deadline, about an epidemiological disaster that creates zombies, it does take on a slightly different tone. (She’s doing a series of short fiction posts before the second book comes out – we’re 11 days out. Start reading at the beginning of the series of posts for ultimate impact. I adored Feed, the first book, and plan to get Deadline as soon as it’s out.)

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Hi, I’m Jen

Librarian, infovore, and general geek, likely to write comments about books, link collections, and other thoughts related to how we find, use, and take joy in information.

I'm the Research Librarian at the Perkins School for the Blind

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