Trying to get this out before I head off to Computers in Libraries this weekend, as I suspect I’ll acquire further links.
Libraries and Librarians:
- People keep asking me for advice about the profession. There’s a thoughtful (and thorough) article from Library Journal that addresses a lot of the things I try to talk about.
- In the course of my wandering on the ‘Net, I found this post from 2009 that’s a reminder that not everyone has hot and cold running Internet at home. (This is a reality for a bunch of people where I live.)
- There’s a really interesting alternative for OPAC terminals – I don’t think it’s hugely relevant for my place of work (because we use ancient machines because they still work, and we’ve got them), but I find the idea fascinating.
- There was an interesting NYT piece on the problems of online college classes (I continue to say “Idea decent, but can we talk more about how people use or don’t use the Internet before relying on this as the Next Big Thing, please?)
- John Scalzi’s personal history of libraries.
- The Northstar Digital Literacy modules test basic computer skills in a really well-done way. (Free, but site sponsoring has some additional options/benefits)
- “Just stand there in your wrongness” has a great take on learning from mistakes (and being smart people who mess up sometimes) via lessons learned from the West Wing.
- Doug Johnson revisited his “tech skills for incoming freshmen” (as in high school) recently, with an update for 2013. How many of these are you good with?
- Jenica Rogers has very smart things to say about the librarian tech skills gap. (And I really want to come back to this topic. When I’m done going to library technology conferences twice in a month.)
- Nancy Sims talks about releasing images to the wild, and the weird things people ask her about permission to use them.
- I have a bunch of saved links about the Edwin Mellen press issues (brief recent events version: they asked a blogger to take down posts that included criticism of the press. It gets more complicated after that) but rather than try and sort them out today, TechDirt has the best one-stop summary I’ve seen.
As you’ve probably heard by now, Google Reader is shuting down as of July 1. I currently very much like Reeder (which has said they intend to have a non Google Reader dependent version by July) but I’m still considering what I want to use for the professional blogs I read. Everyone and their cousin has an opinion about the options: if you’re looking for ideas, check out posts from LifeHacker, Doug Johnson, Steven Abram, CNET, Bryan Alexander, and the Gypsy Librarian.
Keeping track of all the bits:
- My current favourite version of explaining citation and how you do it (and why you care)
- I’m in the slow stages of poking at a project that will involve lots of reference and cited materials. I found this post on using Zotero and Scrivener (my long-form writing tool of choice) handy reading.
- I’ve also been doing more with Evernote. This post on tips and tricks and this student guide to Evernote both had some new things for me. And this LifeHacker post had some good bits too.
- I’ve been spending more time with Excel than I used to – here’s some interesting tips for manipulating date and time data.
- Someone on one of my harp (as in instrument) lists has been doing video tutorials of ForScore, a digital sheet music app for the iPad. (Digital sheet music was the “Ok, that’s why I actually need an iPad” thing for me, though I have not been as diligent about getting music on the iPad as I’d like.)
- One of the better descriptions of microbarriers in sharing information I’ve seen recently .
Information is good:
- I didn’t know that the PhD Comic had a YouTube channel, but they do, and there’s fascinating stuff in there.
- Is giving to get ahead good? Fascinating article, both for the research and for the presentation.
- Want a map of every meteorite strike on Earth? Here you go!
- Interactive historical maps, and historic maps of cities.
- I’ve been meaning to link to the really awesome info about the discovery of Richard III since it happened, so here, have the departmental website and data. (I’ve been pro-Ricardian since reading Elizabeth Peters and her Murders of Richard III in high school.)
Very pretty things:
- I got to see my very first real aurora last month (living in the rural north has benefits!) It was not nearly as flashy as the following link, but it was still stunningly amazing. It does mean I’ve been clicking on aurora pictures even more than usual, though, and I particularly liked this post from Phil Plait over at Bad Astronomy with a time lapse movie made from aurora still shots in Norway by Nicholas Buer. Click(and as Phil says, full-screen) if you need 2.5 minutes of beauty in your day.
- Also, the 21 best astronomy images of 2012.
- (And the one a friend sent me on Wednesday, a gorgeous image of Saturn. And the Milky Way and a lighthouse. Look, I like pictures of stars and planets and stuff, okay?)
- If you are looking for something to read, the MeFi wiki index of questions about books is extremely comprehensive.
- The power of the books you read at 12.
- I’m not sure if this goes in books or culture, but how do you deal with fantasy agricultures (specifically, how do you grow wine in a country with seasons as messed up as Westeros?)
- Why we need comfort reading.
- Curious George’s great escape. (I half knew some of this, but it’s an amazing story.)
Copyright, so complicated:
Community and culture:
- AskAManager had a recent conversation about class – what things you need to know to work in a white-collar environment that may not be obvious if you’re not familiar with that kind of setting. It’s a sort of imperfect discussion, because the topic is So Big, but as someone who works with people from a variety of backgrounds, I think it’s a good start.
- Ann Patchett on independent bookstores. Specifically, starting one.
- I keep chewing over Anil Dash’s “The Web We Lost” in the way that makes me think there will be more writing from me about it eventually.
- Vienna Teng’s draft of the hymn of axciom – fascinating both for the content, and for the fact that technology makes this kind of sharing possible.
- TEDx and Bad Science: there’s a fascinating article from the TED folks about how to vet for bad science in TEDx talks – interesting both for the specifics, and for the general “how do we talk about evaluating stuff”. Bad Astronomy talks about it a bit more, too.
- 250 year old codes. Society of the Golden Poodle. Secret societies. What more do you want out of a story?
- Also in the history department: a Ponzi scheme for flappers.
- The Lying Disease: truth, lies, and the Internet.
- How Pompeii perished (and the misassumptions about the nature of geology that pervade our ideas about it.)
- The history and implications of the Zapruder film.
Comments to one of the posts I linked to last week (Denise’s post about why LiveJournal has been such a major free speech tool in Russia) brought up a link to another great post, this one from a 2008 speech from Ethan Zuckerman (formerly of Tripod) about how technology use can shift – the Cute Cat Theory of Activism. It’s well worth a read.
The future of libraries:
Several interesting posts this week about the future of libraries.
Other ways to teach:
Michael Stephens posts comments about what’s working and not working for two different MLIS students in online programs, and solicits ideas from others – some interesting stuff!
Gwyneth posts a great series of library orientation exercises using QR codes that were particularly accessible to ESOL students.
And Cat Valente (author and prolific blogger) shares a really great story from her own education, and about how a week of class time had a lifetime impact on her sense of story and narrative.
Copyright resources update:
I’ve added two new links to the copyright video resources page – one from YouTube about copyright (as you might guess, pretty heavily on the side of content creators, not remixers), and one from Rocketboom about how to dispute a takedown challenge (and what kinds of uses might be fair uses.) More on the copyright videos page. I have some more additions planned, but due to other commitments, it may be about two weeks before I get a chance to both watch the new videos and write them up.
There may or may not be links post next week: I have a day-long interview in a totally different city on Thursday, so it’ll depend on things like travel delays and the amount of focus I have after that.
Problematic editorial responses:
There’s been a lot of discussion in the past week or so about Wicked Pretty Things, a young adult anthology focused on ‘dark fairy romance’. Seanan McGuire, originally part of the anthology, posted a very good summary of the problem: namely, that the editor had rejected a story that included a gay romance (in ways that were otherwise tasteful and appropriate to the age group.) As Seanan says:
And here’s the thing. There is absolutely no reason to censor a story that was written to the guidelines (which dictated how much profanity, sexuality, etc. was acceptable, as good guidelines should). If Jessica had written hard-core erotica, then rejecting it would have made perfect sense. Not that kind of book. But she didn’t. She wrote a romance, just like the rest of us, only her romance didn’t include any girls. And she didn’t get a rejection; she got her story accepted, just like the rest of us. Only while we got the usual editorial comments, she got “One of your characters needs to be turned into something he’s not.” And that’s not okay.
She continues to talk powerfully about why she feels the need to stand with the people who resist bullying through exclusion.
But the story doesn’t end there: along with a lot of other online discussion, and statements from the anthology editor (not particularly satisfying) and the publishing house (ditto), the publisher used an opinions essay in Publisher’s Weekly to scold the original author (misrepresenting what she’d done, for people who didn’t know the background, in the process.) That part? Really not cool. Good thing there’s a ‘Net with more information, really. Dear Author has a post about this, including a link to the essay and additional background.
Cleolinda has been doing a series of posts with far more exhaustive links: part 1, part 1.5, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5.
Professional challenges and changes:
Joyce Valenza links to a great project from the librarians at McPherson College, who came up with a short graphic novel called Library of the Living Dead to explain library services to new students. It has me thinking of all kinds of great ideas (and glad that generally libraries are not zombie-infested.)
Doug Johnson has a post on the reality of paraprofessionals taking on roles previously filled by MLS-degreed professionals brought on by an email asking for help. This is one of those painful situations where everyone’s got a point, but I always wonder who we’re serving by pushing people into a role they’re not prepare for. Many paraprofessionals (as I was, when I was one) are great at the day to day stuff, and I suspect everyone reading this knows places that would never work without them.
But where the MLIS degree focuses is on looking at larger issues and how to navigate them over years or decades. As with most things involving learning a new way to look at the world, that’s not an easy thing to pick up on the fly, while trying to do two people’s jobs. Some people will manage – but what happens to those served by the people who don’t? I’m not just talking here about them not offering the kinds of services our students need and deserve – but also about the costs to them in trying to do a complicated job without adequate staffing, support, training, or time for reflection and renewal.
Jessamyn West, Fiona Morgan, and Justin Grimes did a presentation at SXSW 2011 on the digital divide in rural areas. Lots of great notes and resources, too.
Brian Herzog talks about some of the challenges and triumphs of dismantling their reference section – and why they did it.
Troy Swanson has a great guest post at Tame The Web about how libraries need to look at how they use social media a bit differently – and how it can bring employees in a library who don’t get to see each other in person into a common community.
Denise, one of the co-founders of Dreamwidth had two great posts recently. One, in her formal managerial hat, is about development decisions there, and specifically how they’ve been spending a lot of time paying down technical debt (that’s the stuff you do because you need to get it done, but knowing it’s going to need to be fixed later). It’s got me thinking a lot about the equivalent in the library world (and I hope that’s going to gel into some writing sooner than later.)
She’s also made, from her personal account, a very powerful post about recent issues with LiveJournal, where she worked for a number of years (and where I volunteered under her direction.) I’ve had a number of online homes over the years, but LiveJournal is one of the longest-lasting: I’ll have had an account there for 10 years in May, during which time I’ve posted thousands of entries that help me follow threads of information and connection through my life. (These days, I focus more on Dreamwidth, because I want to specifically support some of their priorities, but due to cross-posting and other tools, still am around LJ a lot.)
Anyway, LiveJournal became, for various reasons, the pre-eminent free press outlet in Russia, both before being bought by the Russian company SUP, and since. Denise explains some of why this was, how it raised complex issues questions on a practical level, and how the site’s contributed to free expression in Russia in a variety of ways. (The reason this is relevant this week is that LiveJournal’s been under substantial DDOS attacks and other problems that have made use of the site more complicated (like lots of spammers.))