Links post: August 13th, 2010

Want an idea of exactly how huge the change in information literacy, research skills, and other related topics are between 1999 and 2010? Joyce Valenza and Doug Johnson have released the chapter they wrote for administrators about how environmental scans of information have changed. It’s readable and a powerful reminder of just how many things we’re doing that are new, engaging – but also have some major differences from research in the past. Check out See Sally Research: An Environmental Scan

One of the things that interests me is a particular problem of folksonomies – user-created tags and other sorting devices. The problem is that when they get large, they get unwieldy. There’s an interesting recent post from StackExchange about how they’ve handled this on their site.

And finally, looking for something great to read? I really like the Seattle Public Library’s Shelf Talk blog‘s thematic posts.

Links of Interest – July 16th 2010

Two fascinating links from Harvard related sources this week. One is their Open Collections Project on Reading. And there’s an interesting article from the Harvard Magazine titled Gutenberg 2.0 about changes in library practice in the Harvard libraries around digital access.

And to go with that, a recent article from Smithsonian Magazine about the ways that technology changes (or might change) the basic act of reading.

danah boyd again has a great post – this time on the implementation of a panic button on Facebook, and whether it’s going to do what people hope (namely, allow teens to report predatory behavior). danah, quite reasonably, points out that the problem is a bit more complicated than that, and that for this to work, there needs to be some sort of sustained, meaningful, response to reports.

Links of interest: July 9th, 2010

(I missed last week’s both because a bunch of travel for a job interview threw my schedule off, and because I’ve been in the midst of the Real Name posts.)

Related to the link a few weeks ago about how browsing the stacks is dated, here’s a very nice counter example from Barbara Fister on Library Journal Online who makes a case for mindful browsing as peer-to-peer review.

If you’re like me (and many of my generation) who learned a whole lot from Our Bodies, Ourselves, you might, like me, be delighted to discover that the Boston Women’s Health Book Collective has a blog. Recent posts include information about a revised scale for maximum heart rate for women, and about proposed changes to visiting rules in hospitals (especially of interest LGBTQ folks, but of use to many others as well.) That post includes the links on how to make comments on the formal proposal and other good things.

A discussion on Metafilter about bookless libraries. It’s rather more anti-library than might be productive, but I think it’s also useful to be reminded that different libraries serve different purposes. (I particularly like Hildegarde’s comments, in terms of explaining that.)

For people unfamiliar with libaries, donations not only require time to decide if they’re appropriate additions, but they also require staff time and resources to process – cataloging, labeling, property stamping, adding a protective cover, and so on and so forth. The library I previously worked at, this comes out to a dollar or two of supplies, and probably 10-15 minutes of someone’s time per book: it doesn’t seem like much, but it adds up fast when you’re talking more than a handful of books. (And when that someone has a bunch of other stuff that they also need to do…)

And a great slideshow from a researcher at Google (Paul Adams) talking about the challenges of social networks in terms of how we actually form and have relationships with people. Great stuff.

And finally, Blizzard has announced that they’re retracting their decision to require real names on forum posts: much more information on the WoW forums. (I still plan to continue with the Real Name series, don’t worry, because we all know this is going to come up again.)

Links of interest: July 2, 2010

Many fun things this week:

First, the things that need little commentary:

Visual Economics takes (financial) information and synthesises it into fascinating pictures and infographics. Check out their graphics for the cost and effect of the BP oil spill, and how the world spends its time online.

My web host posted a nice summary of spam filtering techniques – you might check it out to see if anything in there applies to your web host (if your host uses CPanel, chances are good, but there’s some other useful info in there.)

A fascinating post from Geek Feminist titled “Scientists are ‘normal’ people, some children discover“which has some really intriguing data about how taking children to meet scientists (at least in this particular iteration) drastically increased the number of girls who drew their idea of a scientist as a woman. (There’s some interesting discussion in comments about why this might be the case, and some thoughts about why it was not true for the boys.)

danah boyd publishes a draft of the 2010 literature review of risky behaviors and online safety that builds on the 2008 literature review done for the Internet Safety Task Force. As she says, unsurprisingly, not much has changed. I’m looking forward to digging into the material.

And finally, a story from this year’s Merritt Fund banquet at the ALA conference. The Merritt Fund is designed to provide support to librarians dealing with freedom of information related legal issues, and this year’s winner (Carol Brey-Casiano) told a story about a Patriot Act issue that’s chilling.

Links of interest: June 26th, 2010

Welcome to this week’s collection of links of interest. This weekend, I am off at the Fourth Street Fantasy Convention, for lots of great conversation about books, writing, reading, and almost certainly a wide range of other topics. (I’ll have my computer, but may be a tad slower to respond to comments than usual.)

danah boyd announced the publication of some fascinating essays about risky behavior and online interaction, as part of her work with the Harvard Berkman Center Youth and Media Policy Working Group Initiative. I’m particularly fascinated by the article “Moving Beyond One Size Fits All With Digital Citizenship” by Matt Levinson and Deb Socia, but all four of them are worth reading.

The Swiss Army Librarian blog has a great overview of a presentation at the Massachusetts Library Association 2010 conference by Warren Graham on dealing with difficult patrons. (the blog post is from late April, but I only just stumbled across it.) Excellent tips on designing and enforcing appropriate library policies that create a space that remains useful for a wide range of library needs.

There’s a fascinating post from Brent, a young gay book blogger, talking about his experiences trying to find LGBT-related books in his school library. He’s very articulate about why libraries need to serve *all* of their users to the best of their ability. (Check out the comments for some other specific recommendations, too.)

The Seventeen Magazine Project traces one high school senior’s project to spend a month living according to the rules set out in Seventeen Magazine. She’s got some interesting insights. You can start with the first post here, and the sidebar has links to the others.

Links of interest: June 18, 2010

First in a series of collected links of interest, of posts I’ve found particularly intriguing over the last week or so:

The myth of browsing (an article from American Libraries, the journal of the American Library Association) takes on the idea that being able to browse a collection is essential for scholarly knowledge. I’m of two minds: I adore browsing for the sheer joy of it, the things I find that are also of interest to me, outside of my research in a particular focused topic. But I do agree with the issues of storage and practicality, and the point that a browseable collection of 20,000 volumes might do very well in almost all circumstances.

I’m a huge fan of danah boyd’s writing, and particularly liked her recent post on How COPPA fails parents, educators, youth for a clear explanation of why all these websites require you to be older than 13 – and why it’s not as helpful as you’d think.

For people who love both libraries and lists (via Jessamyn at comes an article from American Libraries about a new book by George Eberhart called The Librarian’s Book of Lists. Check out the lists article for a few samples.

Starting accounts on various sites can be complex, but so can leaving them. A nice round-up of the steps and relative complexity of deleting accounts on a whole bunch of commonly used sites is a handy thing to have around. (I like their explanation of why you can’t delete accounts on some sites, and what you can do instead, too.)

And, in the realm of ‘being better humans helps everyone’, a link came across my line of sight that’s been making me think ever since: it’s about how sick systems develop, how to recognise them, and ways to remove yourself from them. Most people I know have been in such a system at one point or another in their life (whether that’s in a relationship, family of origin, work, or some other commitment), but I found the description and analysis here particularly clear and of potential use. Check out How to keep someone with you forever .

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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