Thursday, December 27, 2007

librarian, for realz

I'm a real librarian now. Job, already started two months ago - I'm a public ya + reference librarian. Done with my grad work, all but a pass/fail class finalized (and no worries on that front).

Today I taught a kid how to tie his shoes.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

a press release from my favorite online community doing good stuff . . .

LibriVox makes it to 1,000!

LibriVox, the free audio book project has just cataloged it's 1,000th book: "The Murders in the Rue Morgue," by Edgar Allan Poe (read by Reynard T. Fox). started in August 2005 with a simple objective: "to make all public domain books available as free audio books." Thirteen people collaborated to make the first recording, Joseph Conrad's "Secret Agent."

Two years later, LibriVox has become the most prolific audiobook publisher in the world - we are now putting out 60-70 books a month, we have a catalog of 1,000 works, which represents a little over 6 months of *continuous* audio; we have some 1,500 volunteers who have contributed audio to the project; and a catalog that includes Jane Austin's "Pride and Prejudice," "Moby Dick," Darwin's "Origin of the Species," "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland," Einstein's "Relativity: The Special and General Theory," Kant's "Critique of Pure Reason," and other less well-known gems such as "Romance of Rubber" edited by John Martin. We have recordings in 21 languages, and about half of our recordings are solo efforts by one
reader, while the other half are collaborations among many readers.

We are always looking for new volunteers! Come join us.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

young Librarians in the Chronicle of Higher Education

What I like most about this article, which is largely a response to the New York Times article from the not so distant past on Hip Librarians, is the thoughtfulness of the process and the simplicity of bringing together a bunch of very very smart folks and allowing them to speak for themselves. Instead of manipulating quotes and sound bites into a pre-formed article, author Scott Carlson provides the forum, some good, open questions, and lets the words and formed thoughts roll. And, bonus, some audio as well.

(and don't it feel good to be able to link to the NYT?)

A vision of students today

from the Kansas State University Digital Ethnography folks, another brilliantly conceived, planned, and executed video.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

a little more spresent testing

that last thing went well, and for bloggy size the built in size is well and good, but i'd like to go bigger. Can I?


(which thus far is wicked awesome, btw)

Sunday, July 22, 2007

What book are you?

Only a very few quickly answered questions . . .

You're Catch-22!

by Joseph Heller

Incredibly witty and funny, you have a taste for irony in all that you
see. It seems that life has put you in perpetually untenable situations, and your sense
of humor is all that gets you through them. These experiences have also made you an
ardent pacifist, though you present your message with tongue sewn into cheek. You
could coin a phrase that replaces the word "paradox" for millions of

Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

copyright and fair use

brilliant video "explaining" copyright law and the need to exercise our fair use rights so we don't lose 'em:

synopsis: Professor Eric Faden of Bucknell University provides this humorous, yet informative, review of copyright principles delivered through the words of the very folks we can thank for nearly endless copyright terms.

more info here.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Firedoodle - Fun with demonstrations

Firedoodle - Turn the web into a whiteboard

free fun Firefox add-on - what a great little thing to use when giving demonstrations on using a database or website - you can circle or highlight to really make sure your viewers are seeing what you want them to see. Good for screencasts, too.

Friday, April 06, 2007

TeacherTube - "Teach the World."

TeacherTube - "Teach the World."

TeacherTube! What a fabulous idea - a great collection of videos created by educators, with all the commenting/favoriting/flash-love goodness of YouTube. How much you wanna bet this is blocked by my work?

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

some thoughts from Karen Schneider

these are quotes from a piece Karen wrote on the ALA TechSource blog as an open letter to the LOC regarding a meeting they were holding at Google headquarters - no comments from me, just using this space as mental storage backup.

It is both ironic and poignant that librarians are still worrying about “bibliographic control,” after ceding so much of the same to the companies that now rent them journal access per annum at usurious rates, digitize their book collections into DRM obscurity, or sell them ponderous, antiquated “management” systems that on close inspection do little more than serve as storehouses for the metadata specific to the formats of bygone eras, bold days when we saw our central roles as defenders and curators of our cultural heritage.

We have moved from the librarian as information artisan—a professional creating and using tools to manage information—to the librarian as surrogate vendor, facilitating what is essentially the offshoring of thousands of years of information into private hands.

However, I would caution the committee that tinkering around the edges of how we as a profession do our old-world business—buy a book, create a record—is to miss the point. Small upward bumps in traditional book circulation, coaxed by major redesigns of traditional tools—however important these redesigns--are no more comforting than brisk sales at a masking-tape store in a mall going out of business (to invoke an old Saturday Night Live skit).

To paraphrase Andrew Abbott's point in The System of Professions, we are behaving like the train companies, who thought they were in the train business, not the transportation business, and like them, there are already signs that the “train business” we do is on artificial life support. We are not even close to being the first service of choice for information seekers; we are pretty much down there with asking one's mother. Libraries across the country are increasingly asked to justify their existence in order to receive continued funding, and some have been unable to do so.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Freedom and Innovation Revitalizing US Entrepreneurship Act of 2007

via THOMAS (Library of Congress)

well, the details look good to me. Decriminalizes hacking DRM to make mixes and mashups for personal and educational use, and re-asserts that just because a device can break copyright, as long as it has legal uses, the device and the device makers cannot be held responsible for criminal uses.

I say it looks good to me, but I don't have a whole lot of experience reading these things, and really wish there was a ready made plain language translation.

I read about this due to one of my newer rss feeds - the US Copyright office's copyright legislation page. The copyright office, a division of the LOC, has really sexed up their website - slick, clean, and useful.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Cyber School Day

Queen Anne's School, a prep school in Maryland has a system in place so that if school is cancelled because of inclement weather, every student and teacher logs on to the internet and they have Cyber School. The headmaster talked about IM, and they seem to have a really serious and involved Virtual School system. And they've been doing this for 7 years.

There has been some talk of late amongst state level administrators about trying to plan for the possibilities of epidemics - bird flu being the inspiration behind these conversations - and trying to deal with what can be done if school needs to shut down for months at a time. This *could* be done, but there are about a gazillion steps between us and Queen Anne's School's readiness.

Heard on NPR (only 3 minutes)

my favorite quote - "As headmaster, I can tell you that I know more about what goes on and can really validate the worthwhile nature of it on a cyber school day than I can when they're on campus."

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Library Ninjas

I love the short sweetness (and mad styling) of this video - books aren't always better, but really, with questions like this, they are often faster. It's about choosing the right source for the right time - info literacy, yo.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Hillary Clinton in Dover, NH

I'm a YouTuber now - I went to see Hillary speak at a nearby high school and it suddenly occurred to me I could do this with the digital camera I was carrying.

Some disparate thoughts: I think these came out pretty well for a little digital camera, and I suddenly am understanding where a lot of the YouTube videos are coming from. Sorry I was slow on the recording, and I was very sad when the sd card ran out of memory when Hillary was talking about her gay rights stance. Living in NH means I get to be a spoiled voter for the next year (after primaries the two candidates won't come back) and now that I've realized I can do this, I hope to do this more. Not being originally from NH means I appreciate how spoiled I am and how not normal it is to be able to see all of the candidates multiple times. This is blasphemy up here and I may be drawn and quartered for it, but I do think it is ridiculous that this little white NE state has so much say.

And on Hillary: I am excited for her to be running. I think Obama is enormously appealing, but has some experience to put on - like a lot of other people, I'd love to see him as her vp candidate. What impressed me most about her talk yesterday was the way she engaged the audience in complexities. When asked about how she views universal health care coverage actually happening, she talked about several options and talked about needing to decide as a nation. She took several audience polls (informal hand-raising) about what the audience wanted to see - and then, and this was really amazing - pointed out that what the audience said they wanted from one question to the next was contradictory - in other words, she is willing to say that it is going to take dialog, and there are no easy answers. Another questioner asked her why she wouldn't apologize for previously voting for the war in Iraq. To which she responded (paraphrasing here) that she takes responsibility for her vote, and that she voted to the best of her ability and knowledge at the time, and if it was that important to a voter to have someone reneg on their vote, there were other candidates. Other candidates!!! It takes a gutsy politician to basically say, look, if you don't get it, go vote for someone else. I was stunned, and I really respect her for not pandering.

This choppy video was Hillary's response to a question on DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) and might she consider repealing it. Her answer didn't address repealing it, and I have no indication that she would try - she is fairly conservative and middle of the road on gay issues. This at times very much bothers me - but there aren't any viable candidates with better positions on this issue, so I hope people keep asking the question, I hope we can change the mainstream mind.

This was in response to a question about why Hillary is choosing to vote for funding for the war, when she is against the war and other politicians are saying we shouldn't fund it:

Monday, February 12, 2007


I seem to gave gone all YouTube happy, and mad apologies for those who read at work and are blocked from the content

Although this is a joke, the underlying message is very real - all new things, as simple as they seem to ITpeople/the implementers/whomever, require some explanation or training - sometimes they require intensive explanation and intensive training, and that depends more on the user than on the new thing.

Monday, February 05, 2007

The Machine is Us/ing Us

This video response to the concept of web2.0 from the Digital Ethnography Center at KSU really hits the nail on the head for me - giving a nice balance of concrete and theoretical. I'd love to hear some responses from people who are just beginning to fool around with social software, or aren't yet - how clear is this? Does the amorphous thing that is 2.0 have more shape for you now? (Because I'd love to gank it for intros to presentations on specific things like rss, blogs, wikis, etc. - might be a nice way to be able to get to the concrete w/o totally skipping the very important theoretical)

Saturday, February 03, 2007

because a bad librarian can ruin a library

Doug Johnson thoughtfully digs through an issue that has been on my mind a lot lately, as I get closer to finishing library school. Going into library school, I had a pretty bad attitude about what I might learn after 4 years working in a high school library.

(I have learned much, probably not as much as many of my classmates, but more than I expected because I never before (nor will again) read much informational behavior theory. And my cataloging class was such an unmitigated disaster that ever since I feel much freer to break all sorts of rules in an effort to make the catalog more accessible - guerrilla tagging, if you will.)

But the thought on my brain of late is that library school didn't turn me into a dynamic librarian who will change the world. I was already that way. And most of my classmates came in with that attitude, too, but others don't have it. It bothers me that the training/education doesn't even attempt to get at/address what is most important to success for our students and profession. As Doug says, and I thank him so much for mentioning it explicitly, these thoughts come from believing in libraries for students, not in our jobs. This isn't about outreach/promotion for the sake of us, but for the sake of the kids who need information literacy now more than ever.

This is also on my mind because a colleague at another school has been struggling. She treats the job as an 8-3 thing, and doesn't go out of her way for anything or anyone. Not in a stingy, mean way, but just because it isn't her personality. There is such a thing as giving too much of yourself without compensation - most of us are guilty of that. This is the opposite of that. I encourage my colleague to do more for her students, but my words are not having much of an effect. If this colleague stays in her job, teachers and students alike will loose out on the learning experiences they need.

Blue Skunk Blog - Librarian-proofing library programs

Sunday, January 28, 2007

A free speech/fair use/satire case at Binghamton U.

Pipe Dream on the Web

The question centers around the use of the University's and art gallery's logo and design and whether it it fair use not in terms of education but in terms of parody and satire.

I find it a bit chilling that they simply shut off the creator's electronic access w/in the university system - no email, no access to her files. How does one stay a member of a University community, for 4 months so far, w/o these forms of communication? W/o these tools that are so integrated into our lives?

Saturday, January 27, 2007

public domain images

found via Lifehacker

As a librarian and an educator, I am all over responsible use and re-use of media. Thanks, Wikipedia, for making it easy and keeping it real:

Wikipedia:Public domain image resources

Friday, January 26, 2007

Monday, January 15, 2007

LibraryThing does Novel List - and it's free

Suggester is Library Thing's Novel List. I say on the whole it is just as good - it is much much faster - no log in, no seven screens to nav through - although you don't get the ability to customize things like subject headings you care about v. those you don't. Given all the options though, you end up with a fast and good starting place for book suggestions/readers' advisory. Novel List is nothing more than that - a starting place - anyway. And, LibraryThing being as fun as it is, there's the Unsuggester (bad recommendations), too.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

2 items of note from the Praxis

I took my Praxis a week ago, an odd experience given that the GRE is way harder, but I need it in pursuing alt certification in NH to speed up the process of getting a decent paying job.

  • the Dewey Decimal system helped me get two answers right. Two questions involved comparing long numbers with multiple digits after the decimal point, like 456.9819 and 456.99. If not for shelving, these questions would have taken me a while to figure out (to put it mildly, I am a late bloomer in math).
  • On the essay section, in the second sentence I wrote, I used the word skilz. Literally, I typed skilz for skills. I don't end all my words in z or misspell often in type, but I do use the word skilz, especially in reference to mad skilz, ninja librarian skilz, etc. It all comes from a Croatian who lived in the same boarding house as I did (over ten years ago now) in DC when I was interning at the American Folklife Center at the LOC. Thankfully, I picked up on my use of skilz in the wrong context quickly (like 2 sentences later). I could only laugh and chide myself for being a big dork.