Tuesday, December 12, 2006

registry of online identities

I've got huge problems with the idea that once we've released people from prison we still treat them like criminals when what we really need to do is completely fix the multitude of problems associated with sex offenders (which makes me like the McCain plan better). But this is a fascinating idea and one that takes a semi-legit view of the problem, for once, from my perspective. Instead of simply saying no, it's too dangerous, we must simply scare everyone away from anything collaborative, let's look at the details of the (overblown and inflated) issue of safety on the internet for our kids. This on the heels of last weeks announcement from MySpace saying they will be checking their records against registries of convicted sex felons, which came with an acknowledgment that it wouldn't work if people didn't use their real names (from the NYT):

December 12, 2006
Virginia: Registry of Sex Offenders’ Online Identities

Attorney General Bob McDonnell said he would seek legislation to require convicted sex offenders there to register their online identities with the state to help MySpace and other Web sites frequented by teenagers more easily block access. Senators Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, and John McCain, Republican of Arizona., announced plans for similar federal legislation last week, but theirs would apply only to those on probation or parole. Mr. McDonnell’s plan for Virginia would apply to all convicted sex offenders. Hemanshu Nigam, MySpace’s chief security officer, applauded the Virginia announcement. “This legislation is an important recognition that the Internet has become a community as real as any other neighborhood and is in need of similar safeguards,” Mr. Nigam said.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

yay! a NH library blog!

The NH state library system has been a tad slow to blogging - so it is with gusto that I share this new one, Book Notes from the NH Center for the Book:

Book Notes New Hampshire

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Portsmouth, NH public library

The old library is closing today and the new one will open December 18th. On December 9th there will be a meeting at city hall - the city is asking the public what should be done with the old building.

Friday, December 01, 2006

ETS's ICT test - first results are in

a nice round-up of the preliminary findings of the new ICT test over at the AASL blog:

AASL Weblog - Working together towards information literacy

Thursday, November 30, 2006

the opac may suck, but you can make it suck less

Pop goes the library has a few smart suggestions on cataloging dvds so your patrons can find them. Most of the suggestions apply to non dvd items as well. Yeah, it takes more time in cataloging. Time well spent in my opinion - if they can't find it, then the item may as well not be on the shelf.

Pop Goes the Library: How Do You Solve A Problem Like A DVD Set?

Web 2.0 for Educators: Social Software - NOTES � Multimedia, Teaching & Learning

One of my talks at the Christa McAuliffe Technology Conference was blogged:

Web 2.0 for Educators: Social Software - NOTES - Multimedia, Teaching & Learning

we had a really great discussion in this hands on session, stimulated by the blogger herself and she captures some good notes about the discussion. In essence, how do you make sure you get enough perspective? If you are choosing to read only what you already want to read? Good stuff for thinking. Part of my answer is that I'm getting stuff in my reader that is not only my worldview because of the quantity. Part of my answer is that my aggregator is not my only source of information, and that the linkable nature ensures I travel far and wide in the information world.

CMTC2006 - Look Mom, No Binder: eportfolio considerations, Royce Roberts

  • there are lots of options - this is not the only way to do it -
  • what do we want out of this? we want students to be able to represent themelves in a number of ways, "representation of professional self" - curricular, extracurricular,
  • FEAT - functional, educational, administrative, technical
  • strikes at the heart of assessment
  • functional - tool itself, 'click paths'
  • educational - curriculum, scope, sequence, purpose
  • administrative - policy, budget, planning
  • technical - system conditions, requirements, infrastructure

  • cycling through artifacts, standards, and reflections
    • choose the artifact - what form? best work or baseline for growth?
    • choose the standard - details of the standard? natural fit?
    • reflect on the artifact and standard
  • educational
    • 'formal learning'
    • what gets taught where - standards, curriculum map
    • students are evaluating how their work fits into the standards themselves
  • focus the purpose - don't water it down to try to serve all purposes
  • common or custom - depends on what you'd like to get out of it. really, custom is the way to go -
  • iWebfolio is the tool they use
  • pros and cons to most every design template
  • formal review tied to the advising process
  • timeline - add, reflect, review - add, reflect, review - add, reflect, review

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Kathleen Malsbenden, What is This Thing Called Web 2.0?

  • demo'd skype - video for skype
  • educationbridges.com
  • My Personal Learning Space - social networking site for students
  • Edublogs / LearnersBlog
  • Responsible Use Guideline should incorporate video conferencing and everything else
  • del.icio.us
  • writely
  • zoho
  • imagination cubed
  • webcast academy
  • jotspot, superglu, basecamp

CMTC2006 - David Weinberger, New Sources of Authority: Who Can be Trusted on the Web?

(discussion session - comments from all attendees)

  • old sources of authority are dying, new peer to peer resouces are emerging, how do we teach students to navigate this very very gray world?
  • teachers often put restrictions on internet resources because they (the teachers) don't feel comfortable on the web
  • the other extreme is teachers just saying, find it on the web
  • example: part of an assignment is to print out three webpages that the students used and have them do a reflection on validity of those sources, justify their use of those pages
  • traditional classroom model is teachers have control over the content they provide the kids
  • David: there's sending kids out to find library like resources on the web, and then there's what they are going to do for the rest of their lives which is find blogs and their discussions - its where intellectual life is happening, where ideas are forming
  • "students can now research and put together a paper without ever reading a word"
  • "i think helping them figure out what is good crap and what is bad crap is much easier than helping them figure out how much crap is too much crap"
  • david "maybe you need to teach them how to assess in 20 seconds. im serious"
  • "I know how to do this because I'm an adult" "That's the hitch"
  • David - "The safe harbors are the least interesting part of my intellectual life"
  • David - "The form of discourse that they're being trained in is irrelevant" - down with reports!!!
  • adults don't write reports, why do we make kids write reports???
  • David, "every possible niche of trust is going to be filled"
  • we've moved into an age of good enough information, librarians need to make that jump

CMTC2006 - David Weinberger, Social Software as Teaching & Learning Tools

(came in halfway through)

  • social software needs to have a sense of a persistence for the user (blog url, avatar)
  • edublogs.org
  • other audience members - we can be their guide, they are going to be doing this eventually anyway, we can be there to talk about safety - meet with parents if necessary
  • we are kidding ourselves if we think we can really control internet access by kids - posting to myspace from their cellphones in the bathroom
  • the best thing we can do for our kids is help them understand what is appropriate
  • points to a piece of parent education that is larger than social software - we need to start talking with them about how the world is flat
  • one parent printed out a paper copy of his daughter's myspace page and went to hang it up on the bulletin board at the mall - daughter of course freaked out
  • we have empowered parents to opt out of these things by treating 'technology' as an extraneous thing. no. it is absolutely necessary. it has to be so integrated there is no room for opt out. we need to say to parents , 'you not get the choice.
  • david asked if anyone sets up 'back channels' in their classroom - chatrooms for additional discussion in the background about what is being presented

CMTC2006 - David Weinberger, keynote

Christa McAuliffe Technology Conference, wednesday keynote

(came in half way through) Weinberger's web page

  • talked about the fairly aribitrary way scientists decided Pluto wasn't a planet
  • archaic Dewey decimal system to illustrate how even though it doesn't really function well in our global world, we're stuck with it and that's ok - we can think about knowledge despite it.
  • defining and examining 'knowledge' / 7 properties of knowledge
  • books are bad at linking information - footnotes are pretty ridiculous
  • expensive to produce so the issue of authority comes into play
  • with books - write in private then publish , can't update- model is being flipped on its head
  • orders of organization - first order, actual stuff. second order, metadata (card catalog). third order, everything is digital - content and metadata
  • 4 principles of organizing digital information
    • leaf on many branches - put the book in lots of places
    • messiness is a virtue
    • no difference between data and metadata - search by about or a piece of the thing itself - only difference is data is the thing you are looking for and metadata is the thing you know - now any bit of information can be metadata
    • unowned order - owners of the information no longer own the organization of the information - for the users - used NCSU catalog as example, then del.icio.us
(this is such a turn-on for a lis geek like me!!!)

  • leaving the tree model (everything has 1 info place and only 1 place) and going to a 'pile' of info - new shape of knowledge - everything is connected
  • it is more expensive to exclude stuff than include it - storage is so cheap - easier to keep everything than to make decisions about what to keep
  • preserve everything because we do not know what matters
  • filter on the way out, not on the way in - postpone building the taxonomy, let the user do it and give them the tools
  • 7 properties: one and the same; simple; impersonal; bigger than we are; filtered; orderly; has a knower
  • simple things become complex - simple george w speech, bloggers tease out the history, compexities, links
  • no longer the broadcast era - no longer need to be so simple, blogs allow the conversation to be complex
  • filtered - knowledge has been filtered by experts. there are other experts. used digg as the example
  • authority - "when in doubt, look it up" (britannica)
  • mere presence does not convey credibility.
    • wikipedia - history and discussion pages incredible artifacts
    • discussion pages increase the credibility of the articles
    • increases credibility by letting you know right up front that there is debate about the article
    • encourages authors/readers to increase the conversation
    • beta is great
    • showed a mocked up NYT front page with wikipedia warnings about neutrality, etc.
    • publicly negotiated knowledge
      • the world's greastest authority debates the common man
      • world's greatest authority will leave if her stuff is changed too often
      • the result is not what any individual would come up with, it has been negotiated
      • knowledge is social
(i think i am a little in love with this guy. this is all sooooooooooo up my alley)

      • kids do their homework socially w/ im
      • kids learning social because knowledge is social (individual testing is ridiculous)
  • (some german guy) in order to know what a hammer is, you have to know what nails are, what wood is, what trees are,
  • context context context of info in order to create meaning
  • externalization - books externalize knowledge, calculators externalize arithmatic
  • now in the process of externalizing meaning -
    • everytime you tag you make it possible for people to create meaning
    • no links, no web!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Moviemaker and IMovie workshop

just my notes:

Nicole Tomaselli
held at the Manchester Professional Development Center
workshop website http://www.nashua.edu/tomasellin/multimedia.htm

AIPTEK digital video recorder - records to SD, takes still and audio, BEST BUY, 2gb sd memory card for $40
- quality is totally great and fine!!!!

- movie projects are really time intensive. Be specific about how long the project will go. Be specific about the fact that the quality is not going to be perfect. Learning in stages. 30 sec projects.

- utilize 'found' video - united streaming, google video - repurpose video
- best place to start is to start with existing media

- lapel microphones cost $3 on govconnect

- scientific element infomercials hee hee!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

library website usability

Library terms evaluated in usability tests and other studies

a handy chart of what works, what doesn't summarized from a lot of university usability studies. K-12 librarians, take note! If it's not working with college kids, its not working for our kids, either. What's especially nice is that it turns it around to suggest terms that do work, terms suggested by the subjects of the usability studies themselves - students.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Library Student Journal, Issue 1

The first issue of Library Student Journal is now available.

I am very excited about this concept - though I haven't yet had a chance to check it out. I'm particularly interested in the concept of taking ownership of our education - we already do it, but within limited strictures - we still have to take lame required courses in which Dialog is taught for 10 weeks. I'm interested in the idea of having a formal public space to really talk about why library school is so lame when the field itself is full of such innovation.

From the editor's statemen:
This journal, Library Student Journal (LSJ), starts from two premises that may be contrary to common assumptions but which I feel are decent and defendable. First, that the field encompassing librarianship and information science is not at threat from developing technologies and the evolving ways in which information is communicated, but is well positioned to take advantage of these changes. And, second, that the traditional structures of scholarly publishing face an Open Access (OA) storm so strong that even the hybrid traditional-OA programs to which many of the established scholarly journals are now turning will do little to prevent a collapse.
Our goal with LSJ is to provide a forum for discussion of current LIS education issues and to publish the best student papers in the LIS field, broadly defined, while providing valuable publishing and editing experience to authors and editors alike. But I hope our readers, authors, and editors will also take away this lesson: libraries can be publishers, and librarians can take advantage of our diverse skills and the many resources at our disposal to be directly and actively involved in the publishing of high quality scholarly information.
And ya know what's double-hot? There's comments. Comments on journal articles. yeah.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

SecondLife Law School

Harvard Law School is offering a class in Second Life - wowsers.

via Weblogg-ed

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

YALSA - Free Online Legislative Advocacy Course

As seen on YALSA's blog :

"ALA's Washington Office has just announced a free online course on legislative advocacy. You can read about the details here. “Messaging and Talking with Congress” guides users through the process of developing messages, teaches users to communicate effectively with Members of Congress and other elected officials, and offers strategies on building lasting relationships with Congressional staff. Users may navigate the course at their own pace and download and print helpful worksheets."

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Kids figuring it out for themselves

When Information Becomes T.M.I. - New York Times

an interesting little article chronicling the recent kerfuffle at Facebook. My favorite parts being not only that they realized too much is enough, but that they instantly galvanized, took action, and won. If only they can keep that spirit a few years longer and turn it into real political action -

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Sure it's a toy . . .

But for $300 bucks, is it at least as good as a tv? With built in speakers and dvd player and using cheap lightbulbs? And way more portable?

A DVD Projector Turns Multimedia Into Child’s Play - New York Times

This brings up a common problem I have when wanting to innovate in schools (when spending taxpayers money on techy things) - if only I could get my hands on one, borrow one and play with it. Then I'd know one way or another. There's only so much research you can do. Questions always remain, and you never really know, is this thing going to work?, until you get it out of the box. It's one thing to return something to Beasty Buys as an individual consumer, receipt in hand. It's another when dealing with the world of POs.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Thursday, July 20, 2006

google does accessibility

from the google blog:

Accessible Search adds a small twist to the familiar Google search: In addition to finding the most relevant results as measured by Google's search algorithms, it further sorts results based on the simplicity of their page layouts. (Simplicity, of course, is subjective in this context.) When users search from the http://labs.google.com/accessible site, they'll receive results that are prioritized based on their usability.

In its current version, Google Accessible Search looks at a number of signals by examining the HTML markup found on a web page. It tends to favor pages that degrade gracefully--that is, pages with few visual distractions, and pages that are likely to render well with images turned off. Google Accessible Search is built on Google Co-op's technology, which improves search results based on specialized interests.
I just finished my Rutger's online MLIS Multimedia Design class in May, and granted, there was a lot of great stuff crammed into a really short time, but accessibility was not at all addressed. In fact, we asked our professor, early and often, about questions of accessibility. We wanted to learn it. But our professor, being pretty experiences in teaching the course, knew we didn't have the time. Having taken the course, I can respect that.

My problem remains, though. I have taken two technology-centric courses, both dealing mostly with webby stuff, and haven't learned anything about accessibility in either. No readings, no assignments, nothing. Meredith talks about many people getting through library school without any techy training, and I'm certainly grateful for what I've learned and know that I will continue to learn and will eventually teach myself what I need to know about accessibility. Eventually. When I'm not in school and have the time. In the meantime, I'm creating web content that isn't accessible, and that bothers me.

Shouldn't we be more in tune to this stuff than anyone?

Friday, July 07, 2006

How Students Think (and with good reason)

a quick quote from John Updike's Terrorist [I'm 195 pages in - it is expectedly heavy, but very very good. If you'd rather own than borrow from your library, try Powell's]:

"My students do not believe they will ever need business math (substitute any and all subjects here - SZP) in their heads. They imagine the computer will do everything for them. They think the human mind is on eternal holiday, and from now on has nothing else to do but absorb entertainment." (p. 113)

YALSA - Out of the Closet and Into the Library

YALSA - Out of the Closet and Into the Library

a super excellent conference post from a yalsa panel discussion on services for glbtq teens. excellent links and my own personal take-away: putting glbtq themed reading lists (I've already made one for our library here) inside glbtq themed books. ie, "like this book? here's some more like it . . . " in an accessible but anonymous place.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

dvd discussion group

Pop Goes the Library covers a new initiative from the Stafford Branch of the Ocean County Library (where "Every Ocean County resident uses and champions the library." If true, Ocean County is library utopia) where people watch the dvds on their own time, like a book club, and then come in for discussion. They started it up for Gay Pride Month with several of the recent big gbltq films.

Very exciting. I haven't yet wrapped my mind around adapting such a concept for a high school library - for one thing, movies couldn't be rated R, and it seems so many discussion-worthy movies are, for another, there's the dvds - but I'm wondering if public libraries could really make a concerted effort with older teens in this regard. I'm wondering if R ratings matter so much in that realm. Certainly 20-somethings would be aaaaaalllll over this.

nsa and myspace

or, guess what kids? posting stuff online makes it totally public - to *everybody*

Yet another situation arises that is not only sketchy and angering from a 'why is my government so sucky?' perspective, but also inspires me to ask for the bazillionth time why the teaching of online safety and common sense (yes, we need to teach common sense to teenages) isn't du rigor in public eductation. Instead, we are busy trying to understand the basics of what is happening, finger-wagging, and fear-mongering. We teach stranger danger to second graders. We know how to do this. We just aren't.

Here's a clip from the New Scientist article via Lifehacker:
Pentagon's National Security Agency, which specialises in eavesdropping and code-breaking, is funding research into the mass harvesting of the information that people post about themselves on social networks. And it could harness advances in internet technology - specifically the forthcoming "semantic web" championed by the web standards organisation W3C - to combine data from social networking websites with details such as banking, retail and property records, allowing the NSA to build extensive, all-embracing personal profiles of individuals.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

creative commons and music

via lifehacker, a baby digg-like site that focuses exclusively on creative commons licensed music. Which means students could use these pieces in powerpoints and videos, and in some cases hack them up with garageband or audacity and use them some more. All of which is very very cool. Gotta love musicians (and all artists/creators) who release their stuff under more flexible copyright than the default.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

NHEMA talks 2006

gave two talks at the NHEMA conference this past week. I think they went well, other people tell me they went very well.

The first started out to be an overview of the concept of library/web2.0. I wanted to put '2.0' in the title, but the conference organizers had no idea what that concept was, and said the attendees wouldn't, either. So the talk evolved into a brief overview of social software that will be impacting education soon, if it hasn't already, and a more in depth introduction to rss feeds and aggregators as a way to explore 2.oish concepts in more detail than we had time for. My boss attended the talk, and she seems to be still reeling. All the attendees said they learned a lot, but they looked kind of stunned. My boss said I pushed them, and that was good. Not sure, though. At least they are now familiar with a couple concepts they weren't. But it still weirds me out that things I take for granted are totally new to them, especially in light of the fact that there is so much out there, so many people, who are way more cutting edge are way more knowledgable than I. I was sort of hoping by the end of this talk to get some people excited about maybe making a NHEMA blog. Maybe next year.

The other talk was on digital audiobooks, focusing on our own very successful program, but giving a lot of background information, links to research, and lots and lots of nuts&bolts. It was the kind of talk where I got to say two sentences, then there was a question. Good for audience interactivity, bad for trying to keep up with my own slides. Good for keeping me on my feet.

Wrong About Japan, Peter Carey

I ordered this book because I thought our manga/anime crowd might get into it - they've checked out other non-fiction books about Japan and Japanese culture and can't seem to get enough. They haven't gotten into this book at all - I don't know if they haven't found it, if it's just plain unappealing, or what. So I finally took it home myself, and it turns out to be a great book for educators to start to understand teens' obsessions with all things modern Japan. There's a lot of good detail oriented stuff about manga, with history and culture woven into it all. The writing isn't particularly engaging, but it isn't off-putting either. And the length of the book is short enough. Educators and librarians looking for more background info on manga and anime will be pleased with the content of this book.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

iTunes isn't as mean as it pretends to be

A little bit of talk over on Lifehacker seyz that if something happens and you lose all your purchased music, iTunes may let you redownload it. Mebbe. Never hurts to back it up anyway.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Bloggerific v. DOPA

I had a bloggerific day the other day. A reading class (seriously, it is a class where they just read and read and read - mostly whatever they want. On Thursdays the teacher brings them in to read magazines and newspapers, sometimes they need something non-fiction, and there are all sorts of options for assessment - I love this class) stopped by to read and use the computers to blog about what they were reading. I had already introduced this class to the blog, so that was out of the way and many happily, easily blogged. For others, there was a lot of tech support. You need an email address to be invited to be a contributor of our blog - more than a couple kids didn't have email addresses (?! - we are a mostly wealthy, white district - mostly very connected at home - this surprised me, though a few explained they just use MySpace to communicate with friends - a very teachable moment in both directions). There were kids that kept clicking on the 'create a blog' button v. the 'create a post button.' And so on.

Overall, though, the kids wrote about their books, checked previous posts for comments, read other people's posts, and then went back to reading. It was awesome to read their posts, to see them read the other posts and then be interested in the book the other student-blogger recommended (peer reader advisory!), and to generally interact with the blog in terms of the content, not the delivery.

And then I got home and read about DOPA. Something that blindly would put a kabosh on all this good learning - tech learning, peer learning/teaching, personalized, independently paced, individualized learning, learning relevant to the real(virtual) world- all of which are apparently the big education buzz words and things we are supposed to be emphasizing and doing more of.

Punch in the gut.

Except it isn't any sort of done-deal yet, in fact it is barely off the ground. Action, people, action.

Friday, April 28, 2006

random reflection brought on by malfunctioning technology

Wednesday the wireless went wacky in the apartment. B came home to try to help, but I was prepping food and the house to have people over for dinner, so we never did get it working that day. We did figure out that it was some sort of communication error between lappy and the Airport Express, because everything else worked, including hardwiring the laptop to an ethernet. This was more than awkward, so I decided I could just use B's big bad g5 with dual monitors for the light stuff I'd be doing that day - checking email, aggregator, class discussions - not doing any actual homework.

Getting closer to the point: I have a hella lotta passwords and user ids. I actually had no idea just how many of these things I have going on, because I let the computer remember most of them. I don't let the computer remember anything about my online banking, but that's about it. In the daily course of checking email, aggregator, and grad school class space, there's a lot of *other* stuff I end up doing - blogging, commenting on a lot of blogs, looking at pictures, adding to wikis, writing more emails, looking at a lot of links, looking up books at the library and so on. And a lot of these things require the user ids and passwords I created and save on lappy.

I have probably about 3 core variations on the user id, which also means I'm spawning multiple identities across the net. There's my real name, there's my libraryish screen name, there's my foodie screen name. Then there's the issue of if my screen name isn't available and I need to choose a variation. Sometimes my standard variation of that particular screen name isn't available, so then I have to make up a new variation. So I might have up to 10 different actual user ids.

And then there's passwords. Let's just say my passwords are probably only secure from me. I can't remember which one I've used where, and more often than I like have to go through the process of resetting said password.

I suppose why I found this so interesting (really frustrating as well as I kept getting stopped in my tracks) is that I generally avoid creating accounts whenever possible. I use bugmenot.com in my rabid avoidance of creating accounts for news organizations. But I think its a very telling sign of the interactivity, the 2.0-i-ness, of the web, that someone who generally won't comment on a blog or read an article if I have to create an account has ended up with this long list.

In no particular order, some of the many places I visit and have to login for:

  • bank
  • home email
  • work email
  • grad school email
  • project email
  • flickr
  • blogger
  • grad school class space
  • grad school library
  • grad school grades
  • grad school money stuff
  • yahoo groups
  • typepad
  • public library opac
  • library elf
  • blog aggregator
  • amazon (which i don't purchase from anymore because they donate a lot of money to the republican party)
  • powells
  • zingermanns
  • delicious
  • eat local wiki
  • wikipedia
  • meredith's library wiki
  • paypal
  • livejournal
  • grad school ftp web stuff

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Yet another reason to love Canadians

As if we needed any more . . .

Canadian Music Creators Speak Out Against File Sharing Lawsuits

To quote extensively (hell, I'd love to paste the whole thing here, make sure you check it out - there's only a couple paragraphs more):

Major international music artists based in Canada have banded together to form a group aimed, among other things, at protesting the recording industry's practice of targeting fans with lawsuits.

With Barenaked Ladies, Avril Lavigne and Sarah McLachlan as members, the Canadian Music Creators Coalition stated in a White Paper Wednesday:

  1. Suing Our Fans is Destructive and Hypocritical: Artists do not want to sue music fans. The labels have been suing our fans against our will, and laws enabling these suits cannot be justified in our names. We oppose any copyright reforms that would make it easier for record companies to do this. The government should repeal provisions of the Copyright Act that allow labels to unfairly punish fans who share music for non-commercial purposes with statutory damages of US$500 to $20,000 per song.
  2. Digital Locks are Risky and Counterproductive: Artists do not support using digital locks to increase the labels' control over the distribution, use and enjoyment of music or laws that prohibit circumvention of such technological measures. The government should not blindly implement decade-old treaties designed to give control to major labels and take choices away from artists and consumers. Laws should protect artists and consumers, not restrictive technologies Consumers should be able to transfer the music they buy to other formats under a right of fair use, without having to pay twice.
  3. Cultural Policy Should Support Actual Canadian Artists: The vast majority of new Canadian music is not promoted by major labels, which focus mostly on foreign artists. The government should use other policy tools to support actual Canadian artists and a thriving musical and cultural scene. The government should make a long-term commitment to grow support mechanisms like the Canada Music Fund and FACTOR, invest in music training and education, create limited tax shelters for copyright royalties, protect artists from inequalities in bargaining power and make collecting societies more transparent."
here's another version of the same story, this one with comments/discussion.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Patrons are people, too

Aaron of Walking Paper points out that patrons might like to interact with their library website in cool ways just like they interact with other social software sites - creating content and making it amusing for themselves and others - and in terms of privacy, adults can make their own decisions about such things if given half a chance.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

circulating art

What I like so much about this initiative from the Portland (Maine) public library is not just that they are recycling things into art, but that then they go ahead and circulate the art. And that they accept that things like stolen, lost, and damaged items happen, and treat those situations like any other circulating item. Art is meant to be appreciated, but not treated as too precious to be appreciated by people in their own homes. I *heart* circulating art. Story, from the New York Times, here.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Powells and New Orleans Libraries

Here's an easy way to directly help New Orleans libraries through Powells. One book cost $8.95, you can recommend a book if you want. Powells and the Katrina Project make sure the libraries get what they need. More info on the Katrina Project, including some intense pictures of what floods do to libraries, here.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

more on schools and wikipedia editing

Apparently, our school isn't the only one being blocked on the basis of IP address from editing Wikipedia, and mine aren't the only students taling back and asking that the Wikipedia blockers give schools special dispensation. In this case, Andy Carvin asks the question, what are schools doing to make sure students are editing responsibly? ummmm . . . . nothing. But different in our case, our students do add constructive, though mostly very minor, edits. Probably not enough to balance out the vandalism. But enough to know there are some really cool kids who get it.

Monday, March 20, 2006

my kids rock the wiki house

A student came up to me a few weeks ago, all worked up because our ip had been blocked on wikipedia - he couldn't edit a page he was using for a class. He'd learned something for his project he didn't see on wikipedia and wanted to add it.

So he went into the user talk and made his points - and came back to me 20 minutes later with a few pieces of paper printed out from 'our' user talk page - he got his point across, and the wiki community came up with a compromise. Real world learning on all kinds of levels.

Check this out:
Excuse me, this is a school library IP. Can you really punish the entire school for the vandalising actions of just a few. Seems like an injustice to me, though I do not know the wikipedia's policies on this matter. Thank you. ~Jesse S. of Winnacunnet High School Hampton NH

And the response, a few minutes later:
Okay, the block should have expired now. I did not realize that this was a school IP, if I had, the block would have been shorter to limit the collateral damage. In general, we use blocks to prevent vandalism, sometimes that is the only way to stop it. It is regrettable that it affects innocents, if you have a registered account and your IP winds up being blocked for a long period of time, you will be able to e-mail the blocking administrator, explain the situation and hopefully you will be unblocked soon. Sorry for the trouble. Sjakkalle 15:44, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

The whole conversation.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

we so cool . . . update

so far, so good. there were some trouble-shooting phone calls with my-friend-our-first-volunteer-reader over the weekend - I had given some piss-poor technical directions on one part, which reminded me why testing is such a good idea. Got the file, had to spend some serious time doing various things with it - serious time only because things like uploading .wav files and renaming id3 tags was new to me. It's in the LibriVox forums right now, an editor has claimed it, and soon it will be ready for prime time.

The project manager called the reading "charming." Which made me grin like an idiot. I love it when things work.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

We so cool . . . the testing phase

At work, my boss wrote a grant so I could have some fun - we bought iPod shuffles and circulate them with audiobooks on them, which we get either from iTunes or Audible. Since we were wicked early in this game, we still get a lot of phone calls about this from school librarians all over the country, everything from how-to nuts and bolts type stuff to how to get people on board and believing in the project.

I've also attended a couple talks or conferences here and there where apple set up somebody to talk about what they are doing with iPods in education. Each time the person has mentioned having students create audiobooks - out of current, popular books. Each time I have asked about copyright. Each time the person has answered that it's ok 'cuz they're not selling it. Or, it's ok 'cuz its kept within the school. And the audience usually agrees, and because I'm just somebody in the audience, I bite my tongue while shouting in my head that they are in fact, breaking copyright law.

Fast forward to the good stuff: our new initiative is to try and partner with LibriVox.org, a group of stellar volunteers creating audio versions of out-of-copyright stuff that are really high quality, and available to all online, including us, for free. We're starting to recruit super-kid volunteers, I posted on LibriVox and they were pumped to give it a go. What made it all come together in my head was the LibriVox volunteers started talking about a method whereby people who didn't want to read would edit other people's files. I don't have time to edit these files, and while the super-kids are super-great, they are also super-busy - asking them to read a chapter of a book is one thing, to spend the time editing is another.

We couldn't find an apple product that we could use as a portable, circulating digital audio recorder - I looked. Since the new versions of iPods recently came out, the accessories haven't caught up. And there are angering quality issues. So we purchased a Sony Hi-MD with microphone. We were able to really quickly and easily record onto the Hi-MD, had to use their software to transfer it from device to computer, but for the very first and probably the last time ever, Sony has done the right thing. It recognizes files created on the machine using a line in as being your own. You can import them in their format, and use their software, or you can import them in .wav format. Which means I can then open them in a number of different ways, and convert them to different file types.

Inigo Montoya (as me), "Fezzik, you did something right!"
Fezzik (as sony), "Don't worry, Inigo, I won't let it go to my head."
(best if you can imagine the voices of these characters from the Princess Bride in your head)

This was a point I was really worried about, and could not really and truly know if it was going to work out until I had it in my hand. Very worrisome when you are spending someone else's $385. I knew I'd be able to do it somehow, but had visions of twenty steps. This was three.

So this weekend a friend with experience reading textbooks for the blind is going to be recording Hans Christian Anderson's The Elderbush for LibriVox, using our new toy. This will be our test file for making sure we can upload it and get it to an editor in a reasonable fashion. Then, bring on the kiddies.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Foodies luv libraries

Here's a cool discussion going on over at I'm Mad and I Eat about how to get the most from your library amongst foodies- not really any library insiders posting, just people exchanging info - you can get email holds? I didn't know that - kind of thing.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Call me pimp-mommy master . .

This is a rush job because I am just so damn excited I am posting in the midst of school work: I knew Ask Jeeves had reworked itself. I recently read about Gary Price's new job over there. And so when the class assignment for Principles of Searching had us compare a search using Dialog to a search engine of our choice (what results did they think we were going to come up with? Dialog? Seriously.), I decided to take a break from my love affair with google and test out Ask.

Coolness. Expanded search suggestions on the side, narrowed suggestions, too. I can save my searches? I can save my searches! And tag them!

There are plentyo'things I haven't played around with yet, and a couple features I haven't figured out the point of - like the little binoculars giving me a super small peek at the website I'm going to. It's way too small for me to make any judgements about. (Maybe I just need to put on my glasses.)

But holy cow. Tagging of my saved searches. This is just what I've been looking for.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Weekly Echo

Weekly Echo draws together images of the things/people/events most in the news/blogs/search engines of that particular week. Really interesting for me - I don't have tv, and I read my news in an aggregator and listen to NPR - in other words, I just don't see many images associated with the news (and this is also pretending that entertainment news is actual news).

It's simple but well done - mousing over images gives you a little pop-up to explain the image (and I needed a lot of explaining for some of them), clicking links you to a news story somewhere about the subject of the image. And soon there will be commenting. Social fun.

Friday, February 03, 2006

an interview . . .

. . . but not a job interview.

Heidi over at Quiddle asked me about my lack of membership in ALA and other related stuff. It's good to think these things through a bit more, and the act of answering her questions helped me do that. For now, it seems I am happy to be active on the local level, though I'd like to be more active.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

The World Is Small . . .

So I've told you I applied for a couple different jobs. I also read Heidi's blog Quiddle, which is about a lot of things but is recently mostly about her experiences applying for jobs, the interview process, and so on. Quite excellent for all newer job seekers in the library field.

So the other day she posted about a telephone interview, including the questions and the vague description, "a public library in a small town about an hour away from a major city."

And I thought, nah, couldn't be. Heidi lives on the west coast of Canada. She's applying for jobs all over the country. But I emailed her anyway. And actually, it was one and the same job.

She was really gracious in the exchange, and I learned a lot, namely, a) that if that's the caliber person being interviewed, I'm out. But also b) if that's the caliber person willing to seek out a job in po-dunk NH, I need to step up my game if I'm serious. I didn't know before if I was, and this has only muddled that issue for me. Not the question if I would be serious about the job (I most definitely would be, it sounded fabulous in many ways), but if I didn't get that job, I hadn't really thought through how far I'd be taking this job applying thing. Still haven't thought it through thoroughly, but it is on the brain now.

Sunday, January 22, 2006


Not 1, but 2 library related secrets in today's new batch.

If you are unfamiliar: the author encourages people to send in, anonymously, a secret written on one side of a homemade postcard. They are endearing, they are funny, they are disturbing. They create a connection with a stranger. Mostly, I love the art of it.

Now there is a book.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Small news

When I first talked to my wonderful current boss about applying for a different job, she took a look at the job description, nodded, said she'd be happy to write a recommendation, which she did, wonderfully.

Now another job opportunity has come my way. I went through the same thing, told her about it, asked what she thought, and she got really bummed. Paraphrasing, "I thought you'd go to the interview of that first job and say 'forget it.' The job description showed nothing promising. This position is worth applying for, and taking if it is offered to you." So she will give me the recommendation, and it will be a good one, and she will keep me without reservation if I don't get the job, but she is bummed.

So yeah, I'm applying for a job that looks really good. I didn't set out to do all this, I just needed something to give me a fresh perspective on my own job, which is great but pays poorly and is tiresome and repetative. I think this second job is much more of a reach and I am much less likely to be a super-strong candidate, though I think I'll make candidate status.

As I told my reference writers, I've never applied for a professional position before, so I consider these excercises in that - part of my grad school education.

Other small news - I'll be giving two talks at NHEMA later this spring. My wonderful boss is organizing the conference, so there's that. But there's also something I am still coming to terms with: in comparison to a lot of library folks, I am very techy and cutting-edge. If I compare myself to librarians online, I am ten steps behind. But the people I give the talks to are comparing themselves to me - and I am 20 steps ahead. It's all very weird to me, but since a lot of the stuff I talk to my cool boss about is new to her - and she is smart and in general keeps up with stuff - that makes me sure I have things to share with all these other school librarians. One talk is on digital audiobooks, the other is more generally on "Library 2.0" (gasp! I used that buzzy term! I didn't on the conference thingy though - I entitled my talk, "Keepin' Up With The Kids: The interactive web and how it can work with and for school libraries and their librarians.") So blogging, but also rss feeds and aggregators, social software spaces like LJ and myspace, flickr and other photosharing spaces, and so on and so on. You get the idea.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Thinkin' about moving on . . .

I'm applying to a different job. A public library job.

As I told my boss, I'm not necessarily leaving, and it'll be a miracle if this new little library (just opened last summer) can pay me enough that I can actually go, and on top of that be populated by a director as cool (read: supportive, progressive, risk-taking, relaxed, and able to let people do their thing) as she is. So it's not that I am jumping ship here.

I've just been really run down lately by the little things. The endless non-stop process of asking kids for passes in order to make sure they are really supposed to be in the library is number 1 on the short list of things that are making me look elsewhere. (What happened to the school library being a place for geeks and nerds? Ours is full of those kids, but also is destination central for all kids skipping class. A lot of libraries struggle with bringing patrons in. We struggle with only allowing in a number that can sustain learning.)

Also as I told my boss, sometimes it takes looking elsewhere to know how good you got it where you're at. I've gotten to do a lot of things that library aides like me don't get to do in a lot of places - collection development, cataloging (yeah, I love it, so I'm a dork), book club blogs, knitting clubs, teaching classes, developing lesson plans, bringing audiobooks on ipods to students . . .

But it would be nice not to have to ask for passes all day, and to work in a different and new place (I *heart* change), and mostly, not to have to get to work until 10am.