Chris Harris makes the excellent point that Time Magazine's selection of "you" (us, we, me, them) as their "Person of the Year" excludes our nation's teachers and students.
"When it comes to 'me' as a professional, the place where I spend the majority of my waking hours is rather not 'we.' Or, perhaps it is a bit too 'we' - but the 'we' that schools have created to mean 'us in the corner twiddling our thumbs and pretending that the Internet doesn’t exist.' See, for me, Facebook is forbidden. Second Life is shut down. Amazon reviews are avoided. Podcasts are against policy. Blogs are…well…banned just might not be strong enough of a word. The word that springs to mind is demonized. So how, then, could Time possibly have meant 'me' when they named 'you' as the person of the year?" [Infomancy]
Although he's had several good posts this year, Andrew Pace sneaks in a great entry for "post of the year" just under the wire. Be sure to read the whole thing.
In an email exchange, Jane McGonigal pointed me to Hot Books, an open spaces game created by Nick Reid and played at New York Public Library last September as part of the Come Out & Play Festival. Ignore the first sentence, as we all know it's not true, and wrap your mind around the concept.
"Libraries are dying spaces. Hot Books is a game designed to bring life back into libraries by forcing players to explore, discover and share the deserted and unexplored spaces that make up a library.
A whole different take on gaming and libraries. Imagine if libraries ran this kind of game or came up with their own open space games.
"Ten sessions of exercises to boost reasoning skills, memory and mental processing speed staved off mental decline in middle-aged and elderly people in the first definitive study to show that honing intellectual skills can bolster the mind in the same way that physical exercise protects and strengthens the body.
Great timing on this study, as I wrote an essay for the January issue of "American Libraries" about gaming and libraries and how it's not just for teens.
Besides the obvious implications for video games like Brain Age and Big Brain Academy, it's great to see recognition from the outside world that libraries could play this type of role and provide this type of service.
Talk about continuous lifelong learning...maybe we have a whole new selling point for bibliographic instruction and teaching information literacy if we just repackage it correctly! Learn how to use your library as health benefit!
I'll be in the Web Planning Retreat all day today (in case you try to call me at work and I don't answer). You can find all of the document we have on the Web Planning wiki, and Teresa Koltzenburg has been gracious enough to agree to take meeting notes that will appear there as well.
If you haven't looked at the usability assessment report, it's good reading. There's the whole report, the condensed version, and more. Accessibility advocates will be happy to hear that UserWorks tested the site for accessibility issues and that in general the issue will be a focus in the process.
Staff consensus for favorite comment has to be this one:
"/Section=long-urls&suck=yes (Yes, this is an exact quote.)" (p.12 of the full report)
"...It's a story about community and collaboration on a scale never seen before. It's about the cosmic compendium of knowledge Wikipedia and the million-channel people's network YouTube and the online metropolis MySpace. It's about the many wresting power from the few and helping one another for nothing and how that will not only change the world, but also change the way the world changes....
I've settled into a routine during my commute in which I listen to music and read on the train and then watch video on the bus. The music is from my existing collection or it's new music I've purchased from online sites like AllofMP3.
As I've noted in the past, the video part is a little more difficult. Or at least, it's more difficult for me to legally watch video because my iPod doesn't want to work with the iTunes store. So I have taken to ripping the DVDs I get through the mail in order to watch them on the bus. I don't share the resulting file with anyone, I don't upload it anywhere, and I delete it once I've finished watching it, but technically I'm breaking the law because I'm circumventing the copyright protection on the disc. Personally, I think it's a bad law, and on the scales of justice I liken it to jaywalking rather than murder.
I'm not the only one grappling with this dilemma. Eric Zorn at the Chicago Tribune is asking questions about copying and copyright in regards to libraries and his readers are responding.
I think it's pretty obvious I'm in the "no" camp of responses on his post. Join in the discussion and let Eric know what you think. I think the big takeaway from the discussion is confirmation that in this day and age, corporations lobbying for their own interests have weighted copyright law against the public interest to the point where if public libraries didn't already exist, it would be impossible to even imagine starting them.
On a side note, Andy Rooney clearly doesn't live the digital life, let alone understand it.
At the ALA Midwinter conference in Seattle next month, American Libraries (ye olde magazine celebrating her 100th birthday and getting a face lift next month) and ALA TechSource (ye young home of Library Technology Reports, Smart Libraries Newsletter, and the TS Blog), will be sharing Booth 1713 on the exhibit floor.
Why do I tell you this? Because we're going to have Dance Dance Revolution in da
Oh, and we'll be doing this again at ALA Annual in D.C. in June. ;-)
"First the American Dialect Society picked 'truthiness' as the Word of the Year for 2005 and now voters who took part in an online poll for Merriam-Webster have also picked Stephen Colbert's favorite word as Word of the Year for 2006...." [TV Squad]
He's even modified the MW Dictionary itself - check it out - with a tongue-in-cheek plea to viewers to not add the page to library copies.
From my morning mailbox:
My favorite part is when I went to accept the invitation, instead of calling my unique ID number a "code" or "pin" or some other obscure label, it read "Golden Ticket."
Unfortunately, the screen wanted me to add the ALA L2 podcast feed I created last summer, and it was a single radio button so I couldn't say no. I'll have to see if I can fix that later. I hate to create a new feed URL for The Shifted Librarian, because I don't want to confuse folks.
Now I'm contemplating if ALA can use FeedBurner to create a network of our feeds that we can then use to show our own ads on? I'll have to investigate this further. Actually, we already have some software that could potentially do this in-house and we've started talking about it, but it would also be interesting to organize a network of library blogs in a national marketing campaign.
I have to tell you that I was inspired talking to Ed Vielmetti this week. We came up with a couple of very interesting ideas to pursue just over dinner Monday night.
Have you talked to some patrons lately?
"Just as importantly, Jessamyn is a librarian. I can't overstate how much a site that's about providing information benefits from the presence of a librarian, someome who's an expert at retrieving and disseminating information." [Anil Dash]
Thanks for being such a great ambassador, Jessamyn.
We can't say it enough, can we? So hear you go again - Why You Should Fall to Your Knees and Worship a Librarian.
One of the reasons I feel lucky to be working at ALA right now is that there are some pretty big discussions happening, both internally and externally. Today I am in Washington D.C. for ALA President Leslie Burger's National Library Agenda summit. Folks here will be discussing a coordinated, national strategy for talking about libraries with legislators, community members, etc. I'll be posting notes from the meeting, which starts tonight and runs all day tomorrow. I think I'll probably put the notes on the NLA wiki, and the tag for the event is nla2006.
The following Monday, December 18, I'll be at the all-day Web Planning Retreat in Chicago. The results of the usability study done on the ALA website are back, and you can view the PDF here. This document will be discussed at the meeting on the 18th, but the focus will be on how the ideal ALA site would look and function. It won't be "what can we change about the current site to make it better," but rather how do we provide the best site possible.
If I could change any one thing about the web planning retreat, it would be to make the group more diverse and include a wider range of member representatives, but I am heartened that the discussions will be open and transparent. There is already a wiki where anyone can contribute or ask questions, as well as a blog. I'm counting on all of you to continue providing feedback as the discussions move forward.
Finally, we had a very interesting meeting internally last week where the division heads and other interested parties spent a couple of hours discussing two reports, Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century and Participatory Networks: The Library as Conversation.
I have notes from that meeting, which I will be posting soon. Luckily this wasn't a one-shot meeting, but will be an ongoing conversation that I'll keep you updated on.
A few cool things that have gone out the door at work lately. I can't take credit for any of these - I'm just excited about them.
One thing I can take some credit for is the "hold the date" announcement for the 2007 ALA TechSource Gaming, Learning, and Libraries Symposium to be held in the Chicago area July 22-24. We'll post as soon as registration is open, as I know we have folks chomping at the bit to sign up. I can't even tell you how big this is going to be, but trust me - you don't want to miss it. More details soon!
As you can tell, I've been having a lot of fun with Flickr lately (the ALA Staff Account, making making Moo cards, and now making Zazzle stamps of my LTR cover).
"Casey Bisson, information architect for Plymouth State University’s Lamson Library, has received the prestigious Mellon Award for Technology Collaboration for his ground-breaking software application known as WPopac. The WPopac software will revolutionize the online search process by allowing titles and descriptions of library holdings to be found on the Internet.
Emphasis above is mine, because it's exactly why I was so excited when Casey first showed me WPopac. This project is usually at or near the top of my list when I show creative, innovative thinking (and implementation!) in libraries.
I couldn't be more thrilled about this news - congratulations to Casey and a big thank you to PSU for supporting his work.
Spreading the meme:
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