The Shifted Librarian -

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* Thursday, May 31, 2007

Links to Me Talking about Gaming in Libraries

A couple of months ago, Jared Newman interviewed me for a story about gaming in libraries that appears in the current issue of The Escapist. Eli and I come off pretty strongly, but then we're also very passionate on the subject.

Dewey Decimals and Dance Dance Revolution

"Three years ago, Eli Neiburger was just an IT guy at the Ann Arbor District Library in Michigan. It was no secret at work that Neiburger loves videogames - he has a Triforce tattooed on his arm - so when Erin Helmrich, a librarian who focuses on teens, wanted to bring gaming into the library, she turned to him for advice.

Less than a year and about $8,000 later, Neiburger and Helmrich had set up one of the first and largest gaming tournaments at any municipal library in the country. Kids came out of the woodwork to play Mario Kart: Double Dash and Super Smash Bros: Melee. Roughly a quarter of them had never been to a library before.

According to Neiburger, 'One kid told us videogames are gateway drugs for libraries.'... "

For the record, "overlord" is Jared's term, not mine, although the next time I order business cards.... :p

An essay I wrote called Gaming and Libraries: A Perfect Fit (PDF) just appeared in the June issue of the ILA Reporter, too.

And while you're at it, don't forget to watch If You're Not Gaming, You're Losing, the documentary our Dutch colleagues Erik and Jaap recorded when they visited the Chicago area in February. It's online in four parts. I hate watching myself, but that's my house, my Wii, and me beating Clare at Guitar Hero in the opening. :)

It's also very well done, and I'm looking forward to working with Erik and Jaap on another potential project!

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Vote for LibraryMySpaceStudy!

Chicago's MySpace Popularity Contest

"There are eight terrific MySpace pages remaining in RedEye’s MySpace popularity contest. Time to get rid of four of them.

With a berth in the Final Four on the line, it’s time for the contestants to start scrounging for votes wherever they can. Sure, they sent their brother and sister an e-mail asking them to vote but what about Great Aunt Esther who just discovered the Internet? It’s go time.

The Elite Eight will end on Friday, June 1 at noon. Remember, the overall winner will be featured in RedEye's new Weekend Edition." [Red Eye]

Two Dominican library students in the GSLIS course Research Methods, Kelly Reiss and Lisa Schoblasky, made the Library MySpace Study page in order to study how public libraries use MySpace. You can help them win the contest by clicking here to vote for them!

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* Wednesday, May 30, 2007

How Public Is Your Privacy?

Two different takes on privacy in the 2.0 age.

  • Teen Tests Internet's Lewd Track Record

    "Three weeks later, Stokke has decided that control is essentially beyond her grasp. Instead, she said, she has learned a distressing lesson in the unruly momentum of the Internet. A fan on a Cal football message board posted a picture of the attractive, athletic pole vaulter. A popular sports blogger in New York found the picture and posted it on his site. Dozens of other bloggers picked up the same image and spread it. Within days, hundreds of thousands of Internet users had searched for Stokke's picture and leered....

    'Even if none of it is illegal, it just all feels really demeaning,' Allison Stokke said. 'I worked so hard for pole vaulting and all this other stuff, and it's almost like that doesn't matter. Nobody sees that. Nobody really sees me.' " [Washington Post]

  • Say Anything

    "...More young people are putting more personal information out in public than any older person ever would—and yet they seem mysteriously healthy and normal, save for an entirely different definition of privacy. From their perspective, it’s the extreme caution of the earlier generation that’s the narcissistic thing. Or, as Kitty put it to me, 'Why not? What’s the worst that’s going to happen? Twenty years down the road, someone’s gonna find your picture? Just make sure it’s a great picture.'

    And after all, there is another way to look at this shift. Younger people, one could point out, are the only ones for whom it seems to have sunk in that the idea of a truly private life is already an illusion. Every street in New York has a surveillance camera. Each time you swipe your debit card at Duane Reade or use your MetroCard, that transaction is tracked. Your employer owns your e-mails. The NSA owns your phone calls. Your life is being lived in public whether you choose to acknowledge it or not.

    So it may be time to consider the possibility that young people who behave as if privacy doesn’t exist are actually the sane people, not the insane ones. For someone like me, who grew up sealing my diary with a literal lock, this may be tough to accept. But under current circumstances, a defiant belief in holding things close to your chest might not be high-minded. It might be an artifact—quaint and naïve, like a determined faith that virginity keeps ladies pure. Or at least that might be true for someone who has grown up “putting themselves out there” and found that the benefits of being transparent make the risks worth it." [New York]

Be sure to read that second article, as I think it's very eye-opening if you're over the age of about 40-45, just because it's such a different way of thinking. It's the total opposite of how I was raised.

Would the second article have helped with the first situation? Maybe. I'm starting to believe that part of a parent's role is to register their kids' names in various places just to prevent others from doing it. What would that entail, and how would you ever keep up? Can the public library help with education in this area? Right now, as a parent, I would register my child's name as a domain name (if it's still available) and in myspace, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, LiveJournal, Xanga, Bebo, the IM networks, and gmail. Sure your child will probably use an alias anyway, but it's kind of preventative identity theft.

Maybe adults should be doing this, too.

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* Tuesday, May 29, 2007

1 Thing to the Next Generation

There's been a lot of talk online lately about finding the time to keep up, the tsunami of email we all face, and balancing work, home, and online life. Of course, this isn't the first time these issues have come up. Both Michael Stephens and Steven Cohen have talked about this a lot, always encouraging others to take breaks and get away from it all. So in that sense, this is very cyclical.

However, I think what we're seeing right now, is an acceleration of our online options, as well as an unprecedented number of tools to try and keep up with. A year ago, who would have thought that folks would be using tools such as Twitter and Meebo Chat Rooms to meet and stay in touch at such a micro level? It's difficult to be everywhere at once, even virtually, and there are a lot more bloggers saying that out loud now. And it's not just bloggers or early adopters - now it's everyone. I'm having trouble, just like everyone else. It's tough to juggle it all, and it's exacerbated when you feel like you're not doing well enough in any one area.

After reading Michelle's post, though, I realized part of what I want to say about all of this. A couple of months ago, Jennifer Graham wrote a really great post called 5 Things to the Next Generation that should have become a bigger meme. I didn't contribute at the time because those who had already responded covered what I would have said. While there are multiple pieces to this discussion, in the spirit of Jennimi's post, here is my "1 Thing to the Next Generation" for the blogging/online issue.

You can't do it all, and admitting it is okay. This online stuff, it's great. We *love* living in this time, right? It's fun, it's constant learning, it's empowering and alluring if you love learning and information. All of those tools at our fingertips to learn about and play with, all to help people. It's beyond cool.

But it's not your life, nor should it be. You have to learn to let some of it go and then be okay with that (which is the hard part). Michael Stephens talks a lot about how librarians need to let go of the "culture of perfect." For the younger bibliobloggers I will add that you have to learn to let some of the pressure go. You physically cannot keep up with it all, so beating yourself up over failing to do so is pointless.

When you've been at this long enough, that gets easier. My first blog - The Librarians' Site du Jour - spanned 1995-1999, and one of the hardest things I've ever done was to give it up. With the phrase "du jour" in the title, I felt like I had to post every weekday, and it was a long time before I was able to skip a day, let alone not plan ahead for a vacation. By 1999, I needed to re-focus on my family life, so I made a choice to stop blogging, which turned out to also be very freeing. When I started this blog in 2002, that experience helped me realize that it's okay to post irregularly and I no longer apologize for that.

I haven't been able to answer every email for years or keep track of every new tool, and while I wish this was different, I don't let it eat me up anymore. I do what I can, and last year I started cutting back on the number of speaking requests I accept (it's great to have so many librarians speaking about 2.0 topics now!). You can find that balance that works for you as long as you don't let yourself get sucked into believing that you are your blog and your blog is you. There is much more to you than just your website or your online profiles, and you need to spend equal amounts of time - if not more - cultivating the rest of your life. It would be a bad thing if you spent *all* of your time doing any one thing, not just being online. Remember that it's all cyclical, and that some days will be online days, while others will be offline ones.

Most people I know don't have a problem taking a break from their online lives; where they have the issue is in learning how to be okay with the breaks. It doesn't help if walking away for a day or a week just puts more pressure on you. The ability to accept not getting it all done is much harder, and that's something I wish I could pass on to you. It's not that I don't care, it's that I'm doing what I can and that's good enough. So I come in late on comments on a post, I'm bad at responding to email, and it's better to reach me through IM, and I'm okay with all of that.

In my mind, I've blogged every day since that first post in January 2002. In reality, I'm lucky to blog once or twice a week anymore, and I've accepted that. It's like admitting it is the first step on the road to recovery. One of the most frequent questions I get these days is how I decide what to blog about, and the answer is that it's a pure luck of combination that consists of 90% time and 10% topic. I have a million topics but no time, and I'm not going to give up the personal parts of my life to make more time.

Part of it is the tools, which will get better. For example, Flickr gets it right, in that I can post some private pictures for just friends or family, but it doesn't go far enough with granularity. Hopefully that will change. Twitter gets it right, in that I can access it via multiple methods (IM, text messaging, the web, etc.), but it doesn't let me specify which friend updates I want to receive on my cell phone the way Facebook does. Facebook gets that *so* right, but it doesn't let me put my news feed in my aggregator. All of these tweaks combined would make me more efficient and would help my friends track me better, but until they get there, we continue to struggle.

So that one thing (back to the point) - it's that it's okay. You don't have to be superlibrarian at work. You don't have to be superblogger at night. You don't have to know everything about online tools just because you're the techie or the 2.0 person or the youngest person on staff. You don't have to answer each and every email. You don't have to be on Twitter or Meebo every day. You don't even have to be online every day. As someone who has been blogging for 10 years, trust me on this. Take a break, for a day, a week, or a month, until it's fun again instead of pressure.

And remember that saying no to something is actually saying yes to something else.

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* Saturday, May 26, 2007

Dell XPS M1210 Rocks!

A couple of months ago I bought a new laptop, and I love it so much that I want to post a review for anyone searching for information about it. The Dell XPS M1210 has been amazing, and so far I haven't experienced any problems with it. Some of the reasons I bought it:

  • Dell XPS M1210 It's a lightweight laptop, although not an ultralight. My eyes are straining a little on the 12.1" screen, but that's partially due to the fact I'm getting older and the decrease in weight has been heavenly. Even with the added weight of the extended battery I purchased, it is still light enough to carry on the train to work.

  • Despite the small size, it's a powerhouse. A brickhouse. It has a 1.83GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, along with a screaming 2GB of RAM. This puppy is so powerful that I could run Second Life on it and listen to music in Rhapsody, surf the web, watch Joost, and read email, all at the same time if I wanted to. As someone recently said to me, "It moves as fast as you do!"

  • I tricked out the laptop overall, which might make this an unfair comparison for others, but I highly recommend it. This is the first time I've ever splurged and gotten pretty much everything I wanted. Well, I did give in on the 4GB RAM, but I'm still thrilled. So the hard drive is a very comfortable 160GB big, and I got the 256MB NVIDIA GeForce Go 7400 Turbocache video card. All of this stuff combined makes for a very sweet machine in a very small package.

  • I can watch movies or listen to music without booting up, although the boot up time on this laptop is so much faster than on my old one that I don't even mind doing that. Dell XPS M1210

  • It has an integrated SD card/Memory Stick reader, so I don't have to carry around an adapter for my camera or Treo cards. Very much appreciated.

  • Not that I'll ever need them all, but four USB ports! Plus S-Video out.

  • The full A/V package gave me a DVD burner, not just a reader, so I can burn DVDs on the road now.

  • That extended battery I mentioned gives me 5+ hours of battery life, a whole four more than I was getting with my 3-year old laptop. I'm still getting used to not having to carry my power cord everywhere.

  • Dell XPS M1210 The keyboard has all of the keys in the right places. For example, I hate it when the upper-most right key is not the delete key, or when the control key is not the lower-most left key. It throws off all of my keyboard routines, which makes me less efficient. No such problems with this the M1210, and the keys (and wrist rest area) are a good size.

  • The speakers are decent, and they're at the bottom of the screen, not the bottom of the laptop, which makes it easier to hear the audio. They do pretty well, all things considered.

  • There's a little switch I can toggle on the left side of the laptop to see if there is wireless without having to boot up - another nice touch.

  • Like the new Macs, it has a built-in camera for taking pictures and videoconferencing. The Mac camera offers a higher resolution and the images are larger, but my camera rotates so that I can sneakily take pictures of others. I love that, although so far I've been fairly judicious in my use of this feature. So far. :) Dell XPS M1210

  • It doesn't get overly hot, something I was worried about given the performance packed into something this size. It does get warm, just like any laptop, but it doesn't fry eggs like some of the others I've tried.

I'm sure I'm missing things, but those are the pieces that have impressed me so far. I highly recommend this little gem. When I was at the Massachusetts Library Association conference earlier this month, I was holding it out in the hallway when a woman walked by and said, "M1210, right? I love mine!"

I'll also note that it is running Windows Vista, the thought of which really scared me at first. I was sorry I hadn't ordered the laptop sooner when I realized I could no longer order it with XP, but I've been pleasantly surprised. It's not nearly as bad as I thought it would be, although I don't think I'd be ready to support it in an organizational context yet.

Dell XPS M1210 It's a lot more-Mac like, with widgets built into the desktop and Mac-like windows. I was grinning from ear to ear when I first booted up and saw the RSS icon on the desktop by default. For four years now I've been doing presentations about RSS, describing how it will be built into everything in the future, including operating systems. Now I have my visual proof! I know Macs have done more with RSS in the past, but I believe this is the first time it's been on the desktop by default. Further vindication! :)

The only problem I've really had with Vista is that "quick install" doesn't work for my Treo. Regular install does, though, so this isn't a big deal. Otherwise, it's been pretty smooth sailing, even with Office 2007. I haven't used Word or Excel much, but once I got used to the new Powerpoint, I fell hard. There are some nice, new features in there, as well as better organization of the existing ones. It takes a while to adjust to it, but it's worth it.

So to summarize, in case you can't tell, count me in the "I love mine" camp for the Dell XPS M1210. I hope I'm not jinxing myself by posting all of this (given my past history with digital devices), but if you can afford a tricked out M1210, I can't recommend it enough!

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* Thursday, May 24, 2007

Gaming and Libraries Symposium Enthusiasm (#2)

Here's installment #2 for why I am so excited about the 2007 ALA TechSource Gaming, Learning, and Libraries Symposium (#1 is back here).

Some unique sessions:

  • What IF: Gaming, Intellectual Freedom and the Law
    Katherine Fallow (Jenner & Block)
    "Video games are under scrutiny around the country as some parents and special interest groups raise concerns about the topics and themes contained in some games. Some groups call for laws regulating access to games based on their content; others advocate for an outright ban on violent games. Several states have passed laws restricting minors’ access to 'violent' video games, but every such law has been invalidated by the courts under the First Amendment.

    These organizations and individuals are likely to turn their attention to libraries as libraries begin to add games to their collections. Join us for a presentation on applying intellectual freedom principles to games and gaming activities, and a discussion about video games and the First Amendment. We’ll discuss recent court decisions addressing minors’ access to video games, the legal status of game ratings, and policy developments."

  • Digital Downloads for Gamers
    Beth Gallaway (InfoGoddess Consulting)
    "Circulating video games and software is one way to serve gamers, but without community and staff storage, buy in, theft, damage, and storage can be major hurdles. Discover alternatives such as downloadable games and subscription-based game services from a variety of vendors, and hear about libraries are implementing digital and mail order game services! We will also examine the potential of mail order gaming services from vendors such as Red Octane and GameFly, and show other digital services with appeal to gamers for libraries to consider."

  • ToxMystery: Using a Game to Make Learning about Chemicals Fun for Kids
    Stephanie Publicker, Martha Szczur (Specialized Information Services Division, National Library of Medicine)
    "ToxMystery ( is the National Library of Medicine's interactive learning site for 8-11 year old children. It provides a fun, game-like experience while introducing potential environmental health hazards sometimes found in the home.

    'Toxie' the cat helps find the hazards hidden in each room, and offers hints when needed. The objective is to find all the hazards. Players are treated to fun animations when they complete each area. When all the hazards in the house have been discovered, Toxie delivers an animated celebration, and players can print a personalized certificate.

    ToxMystery's 'Parent Resources' page provides more detailed information about everyday environmental hazards that can be harmful to one's health. A 'For Teachers' page contains more than ten downloadable activity pages that can be used in elementary school classrooms."

  • Gaming for Adults
    Martin House, Mark Engelbrecht (Public Library of Charlotte Mecklenburg County)
    "We would like to present a synopsis and findings from a current LSTA grant the Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County received for PC-based gaming in libraries. These events are focused on adults and include laptop-based gaming, board games, Xboxes, and an educational component based on the theme of the event. This grant funded program started in October 2006. The funding includes a research component to determine whether adults are drawn to the library by gaming programs. We have some preliminary findings to present, which will include:

    • The type of user who is drawn to gaming for adults

    • Income Level

    • Age Groups

    • Are they already library users?

    • Favorite games

    • Various Demographics

    • Focus Group feedback which will include:

      • Opinion of the library hosting gaming events

      • How has their opinion of the library changed due to these events?

      • What kind of library user are they? AKA: Why do they use the library?

      • Are gaming events a draw for them?"

    But wait, there's more! View all of the sessions here, and check out the preliminary program is here.

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* Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Cicadas Mosaic

Cicadas Mosaic, originally uploaded by The Shifted Librarian.

The cicadas are *everywhere* around my house! I alternate between being fascinated and grossed out.

This is also making me think about where I was in 1990, the last time the cicadas were above ground, and where I will be in 2024 when they return again.

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* Tuesday, May 22, 2007

[Public] Libraries in 2010 - What Happened?

"Share your knowledge with everybody."
By Andrew Finegan
More info and videos here.

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* Sunday, May 20, 2007

20070517-05 Mike Eisenberg

A Library WOT and SWOT: What’s Out There and Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats

Is obsessed with the library search box
Everything we’ve talked about today is irrelevant 20 years in the future

Last week, Bill Gates said reading will go completely only
Mike: wrong
Newspapers are in decline, not libraries

Not saying that technology is the answer, because need to know the question
the question is what do people want and how can we give it to them? Users, plus nonusers

showed the “Web Is Us” video

When you’re talking about policy, the linking people is the next thing
rethinking: copyright, ethics, governance, privacy, etc.
ALA has to change, we have to change
We look at the world through information-colored glasses” – now the rest of the world is starting to do that, too!

Library as:
- THE information institutions in our communities and organizations
- services
- collections (in the real world and in the virtual world)
- personal digital devices (is where the collections need to be)
- access (why aren’t we tying into Gates work on world health?)
- place (the library is the signature building in Seattle); library as place on digital devices, because I trust “library” and it meets my needs
- services: anywhere, anytime, any form – a parallel information universe; if it’s an information universe, libraries had better be part of it if not running it
- search: why didn’t we think of the single search box?! WorldCat is a step in the right direction, but it’s still too many clicks to full-text; and we pay and tolerate our vendors doing this to us

- we need to all stay up-to-date
- need to be open and accepting of technology (cough, cough, Wikipedia)
- think about real world and virtual world
- need to team up to provide better access, resources, and services
- take a new approach to vendors
- don’t wait, get in the game!
- have fun!

The really important collection in a school library is the periodical database
students judge periodicals and newspapers lower in credibility than websites and databases (books still come out on top)
the vendors are our face to the public
ipods are favorite among teens
teens know social networking is dangerous so they don’t do “open SN”

Implications – LIS education:
- there is no crisis in library education, schools are thriving
- need ALA to promote the library schools, to take pride in what they are doing, not trashing them
- are close to and aware of various constituencies, including libraries themselves and LIS students
- curricula are responsive and generally up-to-date. Are trying to balance theory and practice, providing knowledge, and skills for today and tomorrow. Are teaching policy.
- as with libraries, are using the technologies to deliver to real world and provide education in virtual worlds

Respondent panel: Howard Besser, Mary Ghikas, Janice Tsai

those who don’t understand history are doomed to repeat it. We’ve been through all of this before.
- we’ve already had the debate about whether libraries should carry paperbacks in the 1960s-70s.
- already debated who we should serve – latchkey kids, unemployed, nonusers
- already debated should we go outside of the library to jails, hospitals

None of this is new, although it does present itself in a different way and they’re not outside of our experience

Being on the leading edge
- digital imaging, folksonomies, posting about massive resources on the internet before there was a web browser, recommender systems
- all of these things were responding to situations before they were apparent, but they took an enormous amount of energy. They weren’t the kind of thing that just anyone can do.
- yes, someone has to be trying all of these new things, but if you’re running a conventional library with a conventional budget and you have to cut the budget to keep basic services, you can’t afford to be on the bleeding edge. Have to build something sustainable. Can learn a lot from experiments but probably can’t sustain them.
We have to know what business we’re in. google thought it was in the search business, but now they know they’re in the advertising business
- diversity of information, protection of privacy, etc.
LIS education
- we are missing critical things like treating concepts separate from skills. Separate how to organize and catalog information from cataloging using LC
- to understand technological development
- to understand what is going on in the world in a contemporary way and to teach our students about that (how to read headlines/news stories in the context of libraries), critical thinking

issue of information
her focus is privacy on the internet
dichotomy because as people, we want to know about everyone else, but we don’t want everyone else to know about me
have to figure out what kind of trade-off we’re willing to make
as librarians we need to embrace Wikipedia, but as educators, we need to be wary of it

in terms of LIS education, they should emphasize nontraditional careers
cost of library school versus entry salaries when you’re done
current legislation and policy is driving people to library school
new librarians need to have an understanding of technology at the local and state level, as well
need to be able to monitor more local legislation

Coming from a different direction
2 institutions have shaped how she looks at the world – libraries and associations
shaped her views in the same ways
- both are inherently optimistic
- both are about persistence in the face of radical change
- both are about contextualization and the socialization of knowledge
- both are about aggregating knowledge and people
- open up the possibility of discovering something we didn’t know we wanted to discover

There are discussions we are having and this is a good start
for the first time in her career, she is concerned that both of these great institutions that she cares about are in danger of losing their next generations

we’re not really talking to each other about changes that challenge ways some of us have grown to think and believe over the years, our preferred litmus test values (we need to be able to talk without a litmus test for participation in the discussion)

Thinks that there are a number of areas we need to have conversations about curricula, practice, and between the two groups (pushing practices in LIS education into the field)
need more and better conversations about what we do and don’t adopt, on what basis do we make those decisions, what are the consequences, how do we respond to those consequences?
move to a very active policy
need to talk about user-centered design for libraries and associations, multicultural world
how do we recognize agency in the institution
need to think harder than we do about our role as librarians in sensemaking – how do we fulfill an interpretive role, in making sense of policy, technological changes, etc.

Mike: the norm has moved in a more positive way (the joy of experimentation) in terms of LIS education. Agrees with Mary we need a joint conversation based on respect
The policy piece is very important, look for it when looking for faculty

Aaron: what does a library do? You can’t give them everything even of what you offering? Who is doing what libraries used to do? That’s an important question.
Mike: you open it up to the community. It’s very contextual and you can’t do it all. We all say we don’t have the time or money to do everything, so let’s find others who are doing some of these things and work *with* them. Bring in the users

Dottie: ALA has been a real source of conversation, criticism, and discussion over the years so what can we realistically expect from our organization over the next few years?
Mary: my first response is where do you want it to go? It ultimately goes where its members take it, either by deliberation or by absence of deliberation.
Dottie: are you saying that those who are complaining are complaining about their colleagues?
Mary: if you want to change it, get in there and change it. There is no substitute for engagement. We don’t spend much time actually talking to each other, doing actual dialogue with actual listening. How do we take this conversation today and drive it through a very large, very segmented organization? How do you engage in a discussion where we may have a conflict about values in an atmosphere of mutual respect without a litmus test for participation? We need to figure out how to do a better job of this
Janice: also need to figure out how to engage new library students. A lot of folks can’t or don’t want to go to conference – how can ALA engage these folks? Emerging Leaders program involves people who are already involved.
Howard: students used to attend conference, but now Howard finds money wherever to send all his students to professional meetings that shows librarians have a history, a culture, etc. if you’re signing up for this master’s degree, you’re a part of that and you need to be a part of it
Mike: in Washington, they take advantage of the student rate to join and have a great relationship with the Washington Library Association now (which is recent) because they sat down with them to discuss working together. But let’s turn this around another way – what about virtual space? Thinking about how we can all work together in virtual space.
Mary: agrees about the virtual world, but it’s resource-intensive. Mentioned the ALA Members Ning site ( and how folks friend her there; it’s a great way to meet new people with whom she/we can have a conversation. How do you then re-examine all of the things you’re doing and offload some stuff elsewhere?
Nancy: the whole topic is really participation and what is it. In many ways, ALA gives too many ways to participate and it’s overwhelming.
Aaron: cross-talk between people doing the same thing should be one group
Nancy: so we don’t bridge communities? Or it’s not active participation?
David L.: sometimes organizations define themselves by boundaries; need to open them up and make them permeable. Are we equally comfortable turning these tools that we use with patrons on ourselves?

Sherrie: thank you to everyone. We’re better informed now at a higher level.

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20070517-04 Beth Jefferson

Caveat from Jenny: Beth is hesitant to publish her data yet because she still needs to validate it, so please take the numbers in here with a grain of salt until she is able to do that. At the meeting, we all pounced on the numbers because they're pretty amazing if they're right, and Beth knows that's exactly what everyone else will do. She has graciously agreed to let me post my notes anyway, so please make sure you check with her before using these numbers anywhere else.

Also, what Beth is doing is fascinating (see BiblioCommons for just a tad more, and if you ever have the chance to hear her speak, I highly recommend you go. She's got some very powerful ideas about inserting social tools into the "my account" section of the catalog. I think she's on the right track, and any funders out there should definitely talk to her. As someone else said at the meeting, Beth was clearly the dark horse, surprising all of us with a really great presentation. These notes represent a fraction of what she said, as she talked even faster than Siva!

I was a respondent on the panel afterwards, which is why there are no notes for that. I didn't say everything I should have during the panel, so I'll try to write up what I should have said in a future post. If Beth lets us post her slides (maybe without the statistics?), I'll definitely point to it. All of the presentations were interesting, but I don't think it takes away from the others to say that this one was the clear favorite, and as David Lankes (a fellow respondent) said afterwards, it was nice to be on a panel where everyone was so passionately in agreement. :)

Libraries & the Social

Here as a practitioner, not an academic
a framework for product development, not a manifesto
Reframe the question – shift risks to possibilities and what web 2.0 allows

3 categories:
- communication
- collaboration
- collective intelligence (where we learn from others)

All of which has been on the periphery of the catalog
Social search and social discovery is at the heart of rethinking the information landscape
harnessing the collective intelligence – O’Reilly
“the social network as filter” – currency of judgments
A new divide between the interacting and the interacted
computers will soon be as ubiquitous as television
the people who have voice, and the people who listen
As libraries have focused on providing access to bridge the digital divde for the first decade, can now bridge the empowerment divide

1. Participation inequality
- could be at the heart of social search
studies from Pew and Forrester (“Social Technographics”)
there is a growing participation of users who are using these new tools, but the interesting thing is the flip – who *isn’t* using them, including the way they use them

Forrester says 52% are inactive and don’t use any of the tools
contributors vs. inactives
technology optimism, whether they say they are a natural leader is related to whether a person is a contributor or inactive
small portion of overall users, though
1 creator, 10 synthesizers, 100 consumers
the 2% actively contributing frequently are having a big impact on the rest, and yet we know that they aren’t representative so we’ve got a big disconnect there
forrester says boomers and seniors need more relevant content and services

So what’s the unique role for libraries in all of this?
when you ask people what they are more comfortable sharing, the stuff they talk about are ratings, favorite books/movies, discussion forums, all things that the library does
likelihood of contributing content – library versus online bookstore
almost 50% of their respondents said they would be more likely to contribute to a library than n online bookstore, more balanced in age responses
libraries can be a safe gateway to participation in the social web

Expectations of quality of content were higher for the library than an online bookstore in their survey
lots of untapped energy and willingness to engage

How we build that architecture of participation
from the beginning, think about the pathway to participation
architecting participation – reward f(effort, risk)
- cognitive load
- time

Lower threshold for point of entry
be in activity streams

Showed a power law of participation
Enabling “critics” and “collectors”
writing a review sounds easy, but it’s actually daunting for participants
ratings are much easier, they tag, they create lists, which have lower thresholds

Found a phenomenal amount of time users are spending logging into the catalog to view their records
gives us opportunities to insert into their workflow
40% of online users report checking account several times a week or more!
collectively, we’re getting 1/3 of MySpace’s hits! Have to think of ourselves collectively
have to put ourselves where the user is and make them quick and easy to use
2 billion items circulated annually, 10x what Amazon sells in a year

OCLC report found that users don’t want to share what they’ve checked out
ratings and reviews were given as most likely place users said they’d contribute
“I might share it if….” What?
- if I trusted the service provider
- if I saw benefits
- if I could have control
Saw photos as more personal than ratings/reviews

Expectations for care taken to safeguard privacy of data for library vs. online bookstore is again an opportunity for libraries – they trust us
other piece is making sure users have control – want to give you permission but want to be asked
give sharing options at a granular level
desire to opt-in
need to let them share that in other places on the web

Motivations to contribute:
- make sure my voice is heard: they laughed at this idea
- connect with users who share my interests
- top reviewer status
3 clusters of motivation:
- personal utility, benefits
- opportunity to help build a better catalog (about 1/3 of users expressed this)
- earn community credits toward fine reductions, special borrowing privileges
don’t need to give them much, but they would like something (even if it’s earning 1,000 points which gets them $1 off fines)
could be important for a certain number of users

2. Attention inequality
“hits,” like it or not are here to stay – chris Anderson, which was different than what he first proposed in the article
“the rich are getting richer and the poor – there are more of them”
the midlist is where authors earn a living

How do we develop mechanisms to distribute attention because this is inevitable unless we redesign the algorithms (and the algorithms are not objective)
microstructures within the long tail – not just other customers who bought this item, but other customers *like you* who bought this item
gets away from the “tyranny of the average user”
want to be able to add trusted sources like me who then feed me recommendations, inform my search and discovery process

The return cart is one of the most popular social tools in the library!

Compared a statement from NetFlix’s founder with Ranganathan!

It’s not a false dichotomy – we just need to give them tools to find something else

3. Connections inequality
What kinds of connections are these tools enabling?
nodes around college, work networks of people you know and you invite friends
end up with similar communities – are we going deeper into our own communities or broader into other types?

Instead of content organizing community, community can organize content
library can help you broaden your connections on shared interests

4. Inequality on filtering capacity
Focus has to be on enabling users to connect with each other
Web 1.0 => using computers to assemble clues
Web 2.0 => enabling people to share meaning
Content – Communities – Conversations

Take these tools and bring them into the core of the library, not the periphery

The heart of the library is “my account” – that is where we can have a real impact

Our users are here, but we’re pushing them away. We tell them to come back when you know the title you’re looking for
75+ million active library users, far more than Flickr, etc.
need to systematically address theses four inequalities

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20070517-03 Yochai Benkler

The Networked Public Librarian

Started with the Diebold evoting case,
bbv puts out the materials and a call for help
a New Zealand site picks up on it
distributed ad-hoc network of people start working with the code
cache of emails from Diebold gets replicated, so it becomes useless for Diebold to keep sending out DMCA take-down orders
an ecology of replication, preservation of institutional, non-institutional, commercial, noncommercial, organizational, individual archives
this is very different than the traditional “Pentagon Papers” model
this process affected the structure of how we deal with these things, not the law (which eventually caught up a year later)

Radical decentralization
- research & analysis
- archiving, storage, retrieval
- accreditation through self-selected peer review, critique
- radically decentralized
- done by individuals, for individuals
- alone and in ad hoc networks of diverse longevity
- not impervious, but reasonably robust to censorship, corruption, loss

“Daily Prophet” website, started by a 14-year old girl
let kids write their own newspaper about harry potter
the publisher tried to clamp down on her, so she had to organize a protest with other kids; it politicized her – “we can do this together”
- starts a literacy campaign a few years later, database of fan fiction
- asks readers to send in antique books
- the ambition, the sense of self, the empowerment

The underlying economics that make the first and second story feasible, as opposed to just a silly idea of a young girl

Showed a screenshot of “The Daily Herald” from 1835, when it cost $10,000 to start a mass circulation newspaper
15 years later, it would cost $2-1/2 million

Move to industrial information economy that stabilizes for the next 150 years

In 2002, a Japanese firm takes over supercomputer spot from US, flip-flops back and forth for a few years
everyone ignores SETI project of 4 million computers working together

Move to a networked information economy
in the hands of 600 million – 1 billion people on the planet
computation resources + human creativity
behaviors that were once on the periphery (social motivations, cooperation, friendship, decency, etc.) can now be solved at an individual level by acting together

See commons-based production
- production without exclusion
- individual or collaborative
- commercial or noncommercial

Commons is important as an institutional base. When the technology distributes the technology to the edges, authority is what’s left

Peer production and sharing
- organized around social relationships, not traditional money role
Free/open source software is the most well-known model of this
imagine that in February 2001, he had said Jimmy Wales had put up 900 short stubs that anyone can edit and that in 5 years, anyone could have a plausible argument that it would be as good as Britannica, he would have been laughed out of the room

4 transactional frameworks (graphic)
- market-based vs. non-market
- decentralized vs. centralized
library is in centralized, non-market

what we have now is the addition into the ecology of social sharing & exchange under decentralized, non-market
can be an opportunity for businesses, but wants to focus on the fact that it can be an opportunity for those in the centralized, non-market space (like libraries)
- Allows NGOs to produce more effective library services
showed the Internet Archive
- Google
- subsidization of reading
books will decline in importance over the next decade; only barrier right now is the quality of the display
what will be the transformational move of that role?
- anchor wireless broadband availability
- particularly in small towns
- digitization of collections
- space for storage
- location for distribution
- universal access roll
- machines: more important in poor urban than rural? (audience says no)
- public, broadband, committed to openness
- fiber provisioning around incumbents to a POP
- local redistribution through wireless
- expertise, skills
- geographically local
- selection/curation – less significant as an inclusion strategy, EXCEPT as a new major dimension of;
- navigation: with abundance, navigation, selection
- training
- networked
- craft values and commitment generalized to the networked population as a whole, through networked collaboration
- as counterbalance to commercial values driving change

How important is it for the librarian to remain in the role of pulling information/knowledge in different ways for people who are increasingly organizationally-embedded?

Respondent panel: Nancy Kranich, Joe Janes, and Claudette Tennant

Nancy K.:
This move to commons-based production affects democracy, which comes from communities. Without the social capital that we need for individuals to come together in a community, we lack those social networks. How do we take those atomized pieces and bring them together to make strong ties, not weak ties, that build community and democracy?

Individuals tend not to be participants unless they’re embedded in social networks
so how do we take these diagrams and turn them into real social networks?
how do we do this democratically, be a 14-year old and do it, without an intermediary?

First question, then, is what do these networks mean for building social capital and democracy?
what are the key roles to participating in democracy?
going from a push economy to a pull economy
now we can have customized products that serve local and specialized needs, creating a whole different economy that the long tail fits into

second question is how does this long tail of products affect us?
- unique items
- openness
- creating shared resources
also has a great impact on libraries in a negative way because we have to find our place

third question, what role should we play and how should we embed ourselves into these types of networks and commons? It’s a role we really need to think through, because it creates different governance, financial structures for us
it does not preclude us of still needing the institution, which still has a place – safe places

Simplistic way of looking at things to make it as easy as possible
why did we become a place for storage and distribution?
- sharing
- efficiency
those values still exist in this new space, even if storage and distribution are changing
But doesn’t think it’s a binary choice
people read for a number of different reasons
the assumption the book will go away is based on an assumption everyone who is reading wants to use a machine
people read for a variety of reasons, not all of which can be addressed by putting a machine in that transaction
tension between being part of the binary and human network have to both exist and we have to be in both places
- authority to act
- ability to act

A large number of people still need us to do these things

Was trying to imagine what many of the librarians he knows and have talked with would take away from what Yochai said
thinks it would scare them because they would “see” what they do as being gone, even though that’s not what Yochai is saying
could be reduced to credentialed vs. not-credentialed
comes down to “says who”

in the networked world, it’s a very different question
we are used to authority, depth, quality, etc., all of which are very different in the networked world
Diebold story wouldn’t have happened if we had relied on mainstream media

Wikipedia still has a structure, an owner, etc., whereas the internet doesn’t
authority to act is different than authority to know
authority to act brings with it responsibility
the library has to be somewhere and everywhere – has to also be a place
we’ve done a good job of this

implicit in all of this is what is the conceptualization of the library?
it’s anytime, anywhere people are engaging in “stuff” – help, values, stuff
in the world that is depicted here, that is a world in which it is not hard to imagine the concept of the library not arising
it keeps arising – internet, Second Life, etc. – but if it hadn’t been around in this highly decentralized world, would it be possible?

Are we pushing something on people they don’t want? It’s a question worth asking.

Howard: unpacking the word “library” – what is a library and what are the kinds of activities, functions, social roles, that will survive, be reshaped due to technological changes? This is what he’s struggling with. If you don’t answer the bigger question, it’s harder to answer the question you’re discussing.

- there are actual functions of retrieval of basic collecting that may be up for grabs to a larger community… this is clearly in the realm of what you said will be replaced… but there are other things… digital libraries are not libraries because they lack services, traditions (such as equal access, representing a diversity of opinions and content, an authority for authoritativeness)… these seem like the kinds of functions libraries can still serve
Yochai: hasn’t thought about the library as an institution in a remote sense as you have, but one of the things that this perturbation requires is an examination of what is foundational… place, playing a role for people to come together… I hadn’t thought of this, I can imagine the role of place mapping onto the question of equal access being very different in different communities because of social space people have at home to be readers, learners, people who think… I wonder to what extent place is subsidiary to the question of the professional ethic, the idea of services, authenticity. It’s striking to me that you used the example of digital libraries not offering services versus libraries because that is exactly the kind of tension I see between “stuff” and “help,” with the professional ethic. In a broad matter, I would say look at what is foundational, how much does place really play into communities of interest who might be spread out geographically, all over the world even.

Nancy B.: intrigued by the idea that the authority to act means having the capacity to act
just being able to help a senior citizen fill out a form online, it’s not just the initiative to do it.

Not sure if the book is really here forever. Her son has the same affection for his iPod and cell phone that she has for the New York Times and a paperback book. Loved Joe’s idea of stuff, place, help, and values – but the “stuff” piece is likely to change a lot in the future.

The thrust of the telcos to get broadband in every home – when every home has it – then some of the use of public libraries is going to decline, so we need to look at how to increase emphasis on help and values

Joe: you’re right about the primary piece and that it will drive the others as it changes. As stuff becomes less physical, the nature of the stuff changes, as does place and even values. But those values don’t exist in a vacuum, but in an environment. The other ones move in response to “stuff” moving.
Nancy: so how can we help libraries move emphasis and prepare for this?
David I.: we’re in a come-from-behind fight to get a shred of net neutrality and yet you persist in this notion of the collective human spirit – why are you so damned optimistic when they’re all out to get us?
Yochai: going down the road to meet with the FCC, whose question is what is broadband? A lot of the reason why he writes is because he is not a determinist, although he is an optimist. You know better than anyone else the set of threats in terms of architecture, enclosure, etc. 1995-98, we lost every single battle in terms of intellectual enclosure (WAPO treaties, DMCA, No Electronic Theft Act, Sonny Bono Act, etc.). Practically no one else was fighting these things at that point, other than the people in this room, but database protection didn’t pass, trusted computing, etc. Things started to change, even if it was just blocking action, which is significant giving the trajectory of where it looked like we were heading.
When companies like Sun, IBM, and HP see their interests aligned with of librarians and access advocates (even temporarily), that ads dollars behind moral force, which is always a good thing to have on your side. Processing continues to grow quickly, as does storage, the economics of building fast, capable machines continued to proceed in this form. The culture, the sense of agency that is growing with it, is becoming important on our issues.
Jorge: the stories began to change around 2000 from protecting property and aspects to the dynamics of innovation, what had to be protected. That brought more people into the fold.

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20070517-02 David Isenberg

Comments on the Future of Technology

Held up two pieces of fiber cable that sat in his drawer for 5 or 6 years
fiber to the library would enable virtual presence, super videoconferencing on gigabyte throughputs
if every library had fiber optic facilities coming to it, then communities would understand what big bandwidth applications are all about

What’s a gigabit? Enough throughput to carry more than 10,000 conversations. In the busy hour in telephony, you engineer your plan so that 10% of your phones will be off-hook at any given time. So a gigabit serves a city of 100,000 people. On the fancier Macs, you get a gigabit interface.

Fiber technology has far outpaced demand. It can serve the conventional telephony of 1,600 cities of 100,000 people with less than two fibers. So we can win the scarcity argument. Imagine fiber cables instead of what we have in our neighborhoods now, and we could have infinite bandwidth. We’d all get 5 or 6 fibers, which could serve many cities. We have the technology today to never be bandwidth-limited again. We’ve heard of electricity too cheap to meter, cars that get hundreds of miles to the gallon, the perpetual motion machine, etc., but this one is real. We can do this.

We can blast these fibers 1500 meters without regeneration. Even without that, we could make the entire northeast into a single local area network meshed together without hubs. And it’s more reliable than copper.

The technology/research stopped in about 1998-99 when there wasn’t enough capacity. So why isn’t the telephone company selling it? See Mike’s presentation.

So then the question arises what kinds of applications we do on big bandwidth. That’s a harder one.

Did inventors of the book know it would be used in unintended ways? As a booster seat, to prop things up, to press flowers, to shade your eyes while you’re napping at the beach, etc.? It’s unlikely that they did. And in fact, sometimes applications you think might have a life don’t emerge. Google search for failed products – edible deodorant, ben-gay branded and flavored aspirin, webvan, apple newton, history of the picturephone.

His fantasy application is the wireless data transceiver for cars that is integrated with GPS and the car’s dashboard system. Networked cars that exchange data as they’re going down the road – traffic jams, speed of traffic, etc. Reasons why he doesn’t think this will happen – no business model, no standards, etc.

Talked about some history at AT&T when he tried to start new products that they didn’t pursue that become profitable services when others implemented them (“quick nickels versus slow dollars”)
- for example, AT&T actually had a precursor to the iPod, but didn’t do anything with it

What does AT&T’s experience teach us about anticipating new applications?
once an ecology of applications develop, a company can contribute, but one company cannot create that ecosystem
nevertheless, new applications are foreseeable on the horizon
for example, television
thinks the future of television will be similar to what audio podcasting is like today
the combination of user-generated content, automated syndication and downloading, faster than real time delivery, and a new device for playback has defined this new audio-on-demand environment that presages a new video-on-demand environment that has the potential to weaken or destroy the cable companies
new Vuze bittorrent client that may be a precursor
wants a better recommendation engine

What we won’t know until it’s too late is who the key players are and what part they’re going to play

Respondent panel: Carol Henderson, Bob Bocher

Seeing more capability on circuits
laptop sales have overtaken desktops
the reason public libraries have people lined up to use computers is because there is no physical space to meet the demand, nowhere to put them
most will be going to laptops to help alleviate this problem

this also has implications for the consumer market because more and more patrons are coming in with their laptops, which puts pressure on the library to offer wireless access (half of PLs don’t offer this yet?)
strong open records laws in most states, with complementary records retention laws

there’s a real issue on data retention, especially in regards to email (especially when you’re dealing with spam!)
how many hoops do you want teachers or librarians to go through when determining what email needs to be retained?
do we just archive *every* email for 7 years? That may be the direction we are heading in
agrees it will be difficult to predict which players will be around and play a part

some libraries have robust bandwidth, but their PCs are 6 or 7 years old – try running an interactive video on them – can’t do it

under No Child Left Behind, see the need to track student assessments, standardized scores, attendance. Most of these processes are being outsourced, which means you need to have a robust connection to the internet.

Is in an organization that is trying to make life better, especially intellectual life, for retirees. Hitting only about 1% of that population, so as they grow, they have to decentralize. In one place, they are using a church but it is a dead spot in terms of wifi

Have considered expanding to sites in 55+ retirement communities, but could also partner with libraries if they had this fiber connection David spoke of. Especially the video conferencing capabilities – could piggyback on this to transmit trainers’ services and contents, interactivity with materials
need robust, easy-to-use, more compatible hardware and software that doesn’t require having a technician on-site

upcoming paper suggests library as point-of-presence, which would help them as a lifelong learning institute partner with libraries
their own instructors use libraries a little, but run into barriers
get that older, archival material online, because you’d be amazed at the uses to which it could be put

she encourages her students to use the library for their background for stories
- these are casual users, so they have to know to go to “databases” rather than the online catalog, then do this, then do that
- you ought to be able to do a google-like search of everything

Adam: how long will it take for a standard 2-hour rich digital movie to go down that fiber pipe?
David: snapped his fingers

Howard: surprised that he heard little hints about some of these technologies, so if you could elaborate on that – handheld devices (cell phones, Blackberries, MP3 players, PDAs). Within the context of a library, there are huge possibilities here, particularly if you put them together with some of what David mentioned, like GPS. The ability to have someone in the library start an information query and then have a machine guide you (go to “databases” not catalog). Announcements of events, etc.

Bob: as the chips shrink smaller and smaller and you get more processing power, you’ll see much more integration on one device (iPhones). Form factor on physical size may be the bigger issue – can’t manipulate the buttons because they’re so small. Battery power will be an issue. But will keep packing in more features. So you can go home and continue that query you started at the library
Carol: with her audience, the ability to manipulate those little keys and see the screen, adaptations are going to have to be made
Bob: you see this in military and gaming, might see intelligent lenses/glasses. Could develop 3-dimensional views in the next few years
Howard: still baffles him to see people slightly younger than him reading large amounts of texts on these small devices
Adam: voice recognition technology
Nancy B.: loved Adam’s question because there is a disconnect between what the technology allows and what the telcos are willing to deploy. Whenever we talk about all of these great things that libraries can do, there are a huge number of libraries, particularly in rural areas, where the digital divide is libraries who can and cannot access information. A year ago when video streaming exploded, it killed library bandwidth. At 3pm, the bandwidth slows down, so libraries can’t do training, etc. in the afternoon. This has to be solved. Telcos say it isn’t profitable to put the bandwidth in small towns.
David: that’s true – they’re being honest

Nancy: so then how do we win the scarcity argument you made
David: there are two answers to that. One, we can subsidize these small libraries to buy the bandwidth, but the richer libraries are still incredibly impoverished in regards to bandwidth. Even they can’t get the services the technology offers. need a national policy discussion that goes so far beyond the issue of net neutrality, which is a come-from-behind compromise, we need to get out in front of the issue. The telcos aren’t even close to providing what the technology can do, so what do we as a nation need to do to fix this? The US invented the internet and we’re now piddling away whatever economic advantages that afforded us. We need to have a discussion beyond rich and poor libraries and have a discussion about what a telephone company is for and the public good.
Nancy: noted a comic that goes from “here” to “there” and in the middle panel, it says “a miracle occurs”
Bob: how many people knew Bush said every home would have broadband by January 1, 2007? It isn’t happening in rural areas because the revenue isn’t there.

David L.: I’m a systems geek, so I look for bottlenecks. I’m hearing storage, bandwidth, computing power are not bottlenecks. The electrical grid is a bottleneck, though. CEO said the five major search engines have 2million computers working together. What we’re really going to run into is a lack of power. The policy – absolutely. But can’t ignore the power grid. Has seen schools blow out the transformers when trying to do things.

Jorge: the power grid is an important issue that falls within a larger context – how we think about what we deliver. As long as we are tied to asking questions like shouldn’t we have a TBA, we’ll be tired to the resources of the previous era. In the information age, the internet is a way to deliver services to just a few. Is that what we want? We’re spending money on other things (like Iraq), but we need to have a national discussion about this.
David: for under a $100 billion, we could fix this if we were willing to make this our national priority
Mike E.: it sounds like a bunch of library whining to me. There’s technology everywhere. Every student he knows has some device of some kind that they’re using in innovative ways. If libraries provide the valuable services, resources, etc., they’ll find a way to come and get there. If we wait for our federal government and our society to give us these things, it will never happen. Why are there 100 million Facebook accounts? We should stop whining and start doing compelling things. Library search sucks. Google search is okay. If library search improves, people would start to use it. None of the librarians he knows start with library search. They start with google.

Howard: there are two issues here. Simplicity of search and when they know that they’re going to get the full-text.
Mike: sure. Is this just another meeting where we say we need the government to give us more money? Yes, Iraq. But it’s not like if we stopped the war tomorrow all that money would come to us. We couldn’t even make a compelling argument to Gates to continue funding technology in libraries, let alone at a higher rate. Get the librarians out on the streets, use the technology and excitement around it.

Bob: looks forward to a LITA trends panel where most of the panelists don’t say “my OPAC sucks”
Adam: the issue is not whether the libraries should request help from the federal government if the real task is to build structures in the library and world universe. Telcos shouldn’t determine those structures. There is a macro message to be delivered by more than just librarians, although we can lead in crafting this message.
Nancy B.: we must get the infrastructure in place for all libraries now. The federal government is just one and we can’t wait for it or libraries will die.
Linda: Adam said what I was going to say but in a much better way. When we were talking earlier and Joe said it’s difficult to get librarians to coalesce around a single issue. She thinks it’s broadband. That’s the issue and it’s everywhere.

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20070517-01 Mike Godwin

After the Revolutions

Where we’ve been
Revolutions that happen in 10 year increments, so we’re about due for one
- microcomputers (1976)
- Internet (1986)
- First Amendment revolution (1997)
- a coming of age culturally
- librarians were ahead of the curve on this and fought in ACLU v. Reno
- what will be next?
- will it be positive or negative (backlash)?
- most revolutions experience a backlash

First wave of computer/internet panic centered on crime
law enforcement geared up for a problem that never happened, so they started looking around for new issues

Second wave of computer/internet panic
- encryption (wiretapping)
- notion that computers and networks need to be limited, policed, or controlled
- explosive growth of Internet usage 1990-95 compounds the panic; television wasn’t adopted as quickly
Third wave of panic = objectionable content
- sexual content, porn
- “dangerous information”
Reno v. ACLU (1997)
- Supreme Court holds (9-0) that the First Amendment applies to the internet
The real threat is that computers are efficient copying machines and the internet networks them together
- if you have a model that rewards creativity based on the idea that copying is difficult and hard, then the natural response of industries based on that assumption is that we have to somehow seize control and put the genie back in the bottle
- sea change – instead of outlawing behaviors, outlawing (or otherwise limiting) technologies

Have laws for “attempted” copyright infringement, not just the infringement itself

Redesigning technologies
- broadcast falg and digital watermarking
- closing the analog hole
- trusted computing
- focusing on hardware interfaces
- wiretappability and data retention
- discrimination as to uses of the network

Troubled by open technologies because it means people will use them in new ways all the time and this is difficult to predict what they’ll do

Pipes and policies – telcos and cablecos don’t like open pipes because they can’t “extract rents” for these new uses
Common carriage has been a tradition but is not a requirement for many carriers. Even when it applies, common carriage is about content, not applications
- is this the revolution for 2007?

What consequences to a counterrevolution?
- creativity has flourished due to flexibility in copyright law
- computer/network design and applications have flourished due to flexibility in technology
- what happens when we reduce flexibility in law and technology?

Long-term Consequences
- copyright law could become irrelevant if digital rights management and other technologies lock things down so much that your legal options don’t matter (because they are governed by the code)
- Free speech practice may change with design at the pipe level (consider Google in China)
- Privacy expectations may change with design changes (centralization of services)
- Tiered speeds and services plus special deals for some info services (always pitched as “helping the consumer”)

Challenge is to recognize forces in play
- Law enforcement
- Industry
- Carriers

Can’t let these external forces have their way because we might be shutting off the pipe of individual innovation (not Microsoft or Apple, but what we can do personally with these technologies politically and economically)

Sharing of information has already been immensely productive for us – do we want to do away with that world?

What now?
- our job is to make conscious choices about what kind of future we want for computers and for us, their users
- a controlled, “safe” future (safe for telcos and cablecos, safe for content owners, safe according to law enforcement)
- a dynamic, open (but less safe and predictable) future

For libraries and librarians
- we now have a generation of kids who reflexively look something up
- increasing focus on assistance in “ordering” and finding information online; kids reflexively looking online, but the information isn’t ordered; help them to search the resources they have
- decreasing focus on archiving
- they are important, but because they’re not as easily searchable on the open web, these budgets might be cut in the future
- open internet means increasing opportunities for developing new services ourselves
- closed internet essentially locks down our 2007 understanding of information services
- long-term mission of libraries and librarians requires commitment to open yet privacy-conscious internet
- openness to open architectures is critical to the future foundation of libraries

Respondent panel: Jorge Schement, John Berry, Adam Eisgrau

Mike is asking about framing
when immutable facts evolve
- the First Amendment is in an era of transition, contraction
- living in the era of transition; the boundary of property and commons is in flux
- democracy in transition (blogosphere, etc.); sum of statements by anonymous individuals

Frame 2
- brought uninvited friends in addition to invited ones
- what do Americans want and what do they really mean?
- pornography was one such uninvited friend but it drove

Frame 3
is this the revolution and am I dressed appropriately?
- every American enjoys their right to live at *the pivotal moment* in American history
- love to reinvent our institutions
Moral for librarians and our basic principles and metaphors
- use these to tell stories and shift the discourse

international forces that are at play here
2 phase summit in 2003 and 2005 on information
the 2003 summit flew under the radar in the US and didn’t really appear in the press here

in 2005, though, the summit hit the press here because of internet governance (became about human rights)
smaller nations challenged the US and the west for their role in internet governance and policy
the US State Department, which led the delegation to both summits, had the attitude that we built it, we own it, get used to it
naturally there was pushback
they created an internet governance org that met for the first time last year and will meet again late this year
they are now discussing:
- openness
- free flow of information
- security
- diversity (local content and multilingualism)
- content
- policy
- cost

China brings a lot to the table
will become the biggest internet user in the world, displacing us
about a month ago, they announced another round of trying to control access

had the advantage of not knowing anything about this ahead of time
was an advocate in the messaging wars
how does the community do this? What are the arguments? What are the words? How do we take the debate back in the face of powerful economic forces?
doesn’t have the answer, but has some thoughts

is a recovering deconstructionist
think civil rights and the concept of justice (which Siva referred to last night)

typically there is a leader and a group coalesces around this person
outrage as an opposite of fear can emerge
many forces at play

Dan: if the internet is closed off and becomes a corporate entity, our children and grandchildren would be stuck in the services of 2007
- thinks the picture is better than that and worse than that because the internet is affected by global forces
- the US might be frozen in time, but the US would fall behind until we realize this is happening

Janice: telcos think people have an infinite amount of money to pay for online services
doesn’t know how far people are willing to pay more money

Mike: RIAA is in meltdown because their strategies didn’t work. By contrast, the studios have segmented their markets to a very fine degree and they take every opportunity to extract revenue from every possible point. They like the idea of multiple revenue streams and they hate that the internet may erase some of those silos. So the comment about money applies more to video than audio because they know they’ve already lost

Jorge: have been tracking consumer spending on entertainment for years, and over 100 years, it’s pretty flat, maybe a 2% increase, of spending on information and its goods and services. That ceiling isn’t fixed, but it’s been stable for a long time

Bob: How do you counter the arguments from the carriers that they need control and maintain the pipes (traffic)?
Mike: wrote a paper for OITP in which he argues that maybe they need to manage it at the application level. If we tackle them on that ground, they win by framing the argument. Need to argue it on the principle of a level playing field. In other words, don’t make that special deal with Google, Microsoft, etc., where we can argue about preventing monopolies, which is a winning argument in the legal arena. In the long run, though, their arguments are spurious. They’re always going to be managing and expanding their networks, but he doesn’t want to take their scarce resource terms, which favors them.

Nancy: wants to make sure we remember to keep in mind how can we be a force and a framework. We are a big force to contend with and we need to make sure we’re shaping the debate.

Mike: agrees. We have to be proactive and not just talk about all of the standard arguments (distance education, fair use, etc.), it helps us to think about general concepts such as openness. Need to always be showing up saying we want more people to be able to do more things and push for that to be able to happen. Talk in that broader term.

Duane: concerned about the mission of the new library. Concerned Mike didn’t refer to mass digitization efforts
Mike: mentioned it in regards to archives. It’s good this is being done, but at the same time, archives are a good backup source. There are pieces you can’t turn into digital information.
Duane: faculty don’t care if there is a preservation of history, just want access to what they need right now, which affects funding

Mike: you have to start the religion of archiving now, if it hasn’t been already
Duane: we’re approaching it as an insurance policy, but that’s not a sexy sell

Alice: was unclear that archiving meant digitization in Mike’s presentation
Mike: should have been clearer. Often we can find stuff but we’re not sure if it’s relevant, don’t know if it’s digitized or not. We have to be very proactive in how we plan, pitch, and sell the archiving function.

Howard: thinks we are using the term archiving somewhat interchangeably with preservation, which is a problem for some of us, but you’re not from our field. Getting back to Duane’s point, one of the most important things we can do is to inject into the discourse all of the bad stories, all of the things that we have lost. Need to have the library making this case to the faculty on every campus. Is also disturbed that in the policy arena, we tend to be reactive rather than active. Even when we get active, it’s in a reactive way.

Feels like we’re always in some kind of disaster situation and we’re always trying to dig ourselves out of the tunnel. Can we get out of this reactive mode and into one where we really set the agenda and be more aggressive at stating what things should look like policy-wise?

Adam: yes, we can, should, and must. But we can’t do it alone and not without a bazooka. It takes resources, commitment, and ability. We need to get on the bike we’re walking with that we thought we didn’t have time to get on. If we want to build alliances that broadly shape a large agenda, we need to make the door-to-door sale with other groups, why we should work together

Jorge: Adam is talking to the power of stories and metaphor. Liberals have tended to focus on the policy world as a structure of laws that need to be changed, and that’s a fundamentally reactive starting point, whereas conservatives approach it as storytelling. That’s what we haven’t done very well. Need to reinterpret the environment we want to live in.

John: we got a lot of libraries, museums, and archives working together, although it was reactive. It takes a lot of resources to play in that arena globally. IFLA has tried, but their budget is stretched so that they can’t be at the table all the times they want to be.

David L.: in terms of archives and preservation, the massive scale of storage. We’re in the era where we can spend 20cents per gigabyte so we can store everything. Unintended consequences of that. In regard to ordering information, the focus of ordering information, means bringing voice to it to prioritize it. Who do we work with to create that voice? Is curious, as we look at policies, access to these discussions (likes “net equity” rather than “net neutrality”), what about the idea that filtering in schools can become the credibility legislation that prioritizes views of information? This is very concerning, that we can worry about how much they’ll charge us, etc., but more worried about the fact that once I get my bandwidth, however I get it, that there will be policy that says you will expect “this” and what you can do with it. Prioritizing one context over another. The response to “there’s bad stuff on the internet” don’t just get filtered out, but the viewpoints do as well.

Mike: when I said ordering, I meant that as opposed to prioritizing. What I do when I order information is make it easier to access, not assigning value or prioritizing. Agrees that we want to resist the prioritization. The search engines now are quite democratic in a ridiculous, low-level way, but they’re pretty random. They’re not necessarily useful because the decisions are made by machines. Just mean “structuring” the way libraries have always done it. Must resist privileging and making value judgments.

David L.: that view of ordering is naïve. Alphabetical is one thing, but other methods are still affected and can be value-driven.

Joe: to go back to Howard’s question about taking initiative, we have so many stories. It’s almost a problem. If we got to set an agenda, would our priority be intellectual property, privacy, equity, or what? Trying to wrangle our crowd to pick the story we would want to fight for…it would be fun, but it would be a real challenge. It’s not a bad idea, thinks it is the right idea, but how would we figure out what to fight for in a proactive (rather than reactive) way?

Jorge: tell different stories in particular arenas? When conservatives began deriding the term “liberal” for no particular reason, they reframed the debate. Librarians deal with some specific things – democracy, freedom, etc. – but in the long term these things make sense to people and that is where the storytelling can have its greatest effect. If this conference were held around storytelling, it would be very different.

Adam: “freedom is not for sale” would be a powerful story

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* Thursday, May 17, 2007

"The Future of Technology and Libraries" Meeting

I'm in a forest in Maryland for the "Future of Technology and Libraries" meeting, hosted by ALA's Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP). I haven't seen anything at all about this meeting online, so I can't point you to the participant list (which is being crushed by the collective brain weight that is here), expected outcomes, the agenda, etc., but I am hoping that the documents we participants have will get posted on District Dispatch, the Washington Office's blog, soon.

To sum up what I think we're going to do, we've been given five papers written for this event to discuss. There is a respondent panel for each one, along with general discussion. I am still trying to see past the blinding light of David Lankes and Aaron Dobbs, who are my fellow panelists for a paper Beth Jefferson wrote, titled "Web Applications/Social Networking: Potential Opportunities and Pitfalls for Libraries." My contribution will most likely consist of, "Ditto," and "What they said."

I plan to blog the whole day, although I will set down my laptop and enjoy the roast for Rick Weingarten tonight. Rick has decided to leave a huge void as head of OITP and force some poor soul to try to follow in his footsteps as he retires (view the job description if you're interested to try). Rumor has it there will be video of the roast posted online.

I *plan* to blog the whole day, but I've had trouble connecting to the internet here. In my room, which is quite lovely and you can't beat the setting so I'm not complaining, I couldn't get past the terms of service page. I kept trying to agree, but the little circle just kept spinning and spinning. I called tech support, and the guy said, "You're encountering the sign-in page problem." I refrained from saying "duh," especially because he then worked to authorize my laptop to connect. Unfortunately, somehow our phone call got disconnected, so I don't know what he was able to do or not do.

So when I got to the dinner, I couldn't get on the wireless there, either, so thank Mr. Dobbs for last night's blog post, as he gallantly retrieved and lent me his laptop (not to mention giving me his food). You see, *he* can get on the network just fine and even Twitter and Meebo. Me, I can now connect in my room via the ethernet cable, but I can't log in to any 2.0 application. Gods 2.0 are not smiling upon me.

So I can't read Twitter updates, I can't log in to Meebo (although I can run Trillian - go figure), and I can't log in to Flickr to upload pictures. I was discouraged enough to stop trying after that.

But this points out to me one way to describe the difference between Web 1.0 and Web 2.0. I can do most 1.0 things, including read web pages and email via the web (not by installed client, though). But that's not enough for me. I keep thinking to myself, "But I can't *do* anything" (except blog). And that's what has changed. Rather than just being a passive reader, I can't *add* anything, I can't contribute to the communities I've joined, I can't log in to applications like Joost where *I* choose what I want to see.

It worries me that this is how our patrons feel when we dumb down our computers. Walking into a library, expecting to be able to do all of these things, and then finding that social networking sites, instant messaging, games, etc. are all blocked is a barrier. As Mike Eisenberg points out in one of the papers for this event, "it sometimes seems that the policy emphasis is on the restrictive side--on library as enforcer of narrow intellectual property and access rules and regulations." He rightly states that we need to work to "increase the range of services, resources, systems rather than to restrict use."

So I am looking forward to hearing how these folks think we can do that, what ALA's role is, what OITP's role is, and where we're going over the next decade plus. I'll blog the sessions here and hope that OITP is able to start an interactive space for feedback for the event. Aaron Dobbs has already set up a Meebo Room for us at, where I *hope* to hang out today. If a topic strikes you and you want to do more than just comment here, feel free to start a discussion over on the ALA Members Network on Ning. I'll monitor over there, too.

And finally, since I can't run Joost, extending invitations is on temporary hold until I am home Friday night. Apparently I've never had more than 250 comments on a post before, because I didn't realize there was a limit to how many will display publicly in YACCS. This means I can't even ask others to take over (as they have graciously offered to do), as I am the only one who can see all of of the comments numbered 251 and higher in the admin module. Luckily, I am in the process of migrating to Wordpress (thanks to Jessamyn), but basically please be patient and I'll get those invites out when I can. Alternatively, if you're really jonesing for some Joost, you can resubmit your request over at the lo-fi librarian (thanks, lfl!).

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* Wednesday, May 16, 2007

20070516 - Future of Technology and Libraries: The Perils of Technofundamentalism

- Siva Vaidhyanathan

(Siva talks *fast,* so I missed a lot....)

told a story about North Korea testing a nuclear missile
when it failed, Bush said military advisers told him they could have shot it down
he expressed a dangerous level of faith in unproven technology

anti-missile system is a waste because can easily thwart them:
1. overwhelm the defense with dummy warheads
2. shift warheads to low-flying missiles where satellites can't knock them out
3. put missiles in backpacks, on trains, etc.; put them on humans (the opposite of rocket science)

every test of these systems have failed over the years
US military stopped testing rather than admit failure
Bush still "just believes"
this is an example of technofundamentalism
the belief that we can - and should - build a machine that will fix the problem

the sense that invention is the best of all possible methods for resolving human problems
we currently pay a heavy price for technofundamentalism
bigger roads to relieve traffic, drugs to solve medical problems, Moore's law that falsely predicts computer power will double every 18 months
most dangerously, we neglect real problems with real structures, such as the New Orleans levees
now it is the operative ideology in national security policy
don't need to depend on credible military threat, human intelligence, etc.
using technology to solve these problems - scanning, ID cards, etc.

empiricism deficit in the US today (evolution, etc.)
Americans put immense faith in technology but don't believe in science
decisionmakers ignore facts and research, which means fundamentalism wins out
must employ our critical faculties
with our tradition of public engagement, we're ideally positioned to fight technofundamentalism

noted Twain's protaganist (Morgan) in "Connecticutt Yankee" and his technofundamentalist moment about patents

from the beginning of the US republic, we built our community around faith in redemptive, dramatic, urgent, unavoidable, get-with-it-or-get-out-of-the-way, unidirectional progress (patent office, like Morgan created)

since the rise of global digital networks, most of the systems in our lives have been in flux

Kevin Kelly wrote what happens when all of the books become digital and networked
1 - books on the margin of popularity will become marginally more popular than they are now
2 - the universal library will deepen our understanding of history
3 - new sense of authority; if you can incorporate all texts ever, then you have a clearer sense of what we as a civilization and species know and don't know
4 - (I missed this one)

there's no agency in Kelly's writings
Google tells us we must merely trust them and the process
Updike followed up with a lamentation that Google's digital book dream would come true; never really addressed what Kelly advocated and described or questioned it

all of this depends on copyright, because the current plan will kill their plans
lost in the debate is the status of rights and workers
obscuring the labor that builds its foundations
voices crying for freedom in every direction, but justice in none

John Henry challenged the machine that was to replace him to a race
he outdrives the machine, but when he dies at the end, we're left wondering what do we do with this?
what is a human being for, now that the machines do all the work?
fortunately, we have tools

the sociological imagination by Mills
the presentations tomorrow will employ the technocultural imagination
this asks these types of questions:
- which member of society gets to decide what technological tools get implemented
- what are the cultural and economic implications of how technology works in the world
- to what extent do social phenomena effect technology?
- what are the social costs of raised expectations?

none of these questions (or answers) are simple?
when confronted with so many questions, we can't lurch for the easy answer, which is, of course, that technology will be the answer

question: when you talk about technofundamentalism, it's a loaded term - blind faith. what's the opposite of that, the common ground?
answer: we can all believe in progress, although not everyone does. innovation doesn't necessarily equal progress or that progress follows innovation. I live better than my grandfather in almost every way... is there progress? sure, our species wins. am I sure my grandchildren will lead better lives than I do? I'm not sure. just because I live better than my grandfather did doesn't mean my grandchildren will follow that pattern. blind faith in sewers to solve cholera problems wasn't the answer; finding the answer to cholera and not relying on one specific technology was the best way; there are problems we could solve if there were certain proposed answers that didn't end with "just let the innovators solve the problem"

question: thinks Kelly's vision for the long tail of books isn't necessarily utopian; seems to him he is correct about communities around books; the digitization of books and making them more widely accessible is close to Kelly's vision
answer: bringing discrete and highly disaggregated individuals who share an interest and have to find each other, that's a tremendous phenomenon that is happening already, digitizing of books or not; doesn't mean it wouldn't help to have them universally accessible; the problem with Kelly's argument is that Google isn't really making the books accessible, and Kelly's argument is incorrect in that Google won't just give us the books; thinks we need a large-scale effort to
question: the limitations on what Google is doing is limited by the same copyright regime you are critical of
answer: but that's why they shouldn't be doing it - the Library of Congress should be doing it; they're the wrong agent to do it for a dozen reasons

question: one of the issues is the determinism that it is inevitable that technology will take us on this particular trajectory; this is interesting if you think back to 1980, a year after Three Mile Island, Star Wars technology is being proposed by Reagan, etc. we think it's only going to bring us bad things
answer: yeah, but I was playing pong
question: but we thought technology would take us in a negative direction; you used the term "imagineer;" all of the science fiction from that period is distopian, not utopian; it's all the warnings about universal ID, police state tactics, etc. and yet today, the discourse around technology is really governed by Silicon Valley and this utopian vision
answer: disagrees in that some sectors of our discourse are difficult to puncture, but thinks Washington is just as much to blame, which is a greater threat and problem; there's a conversation going on around the country that centers on this, and it actually comes out of the evangelical notion of the redemptive nature of work; it's so familiar to us, we don't have to go far to find other versions

question: seems Americans understand themselves in terms of resilience; if I take religious fundamentalism and its impact on the military, where officers are religious fundamentalists... tell me something about technofundamentalism that would help me frame it
answer: I'll have to get back to you

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* Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Fun Findings Thanks to Joost

Wow, there sure are a lot of librarians that want to play around with Joost. Yay! I love that, even though it meant more work for me. ;) At one point, I thought to myself, "Hey, I'm doing all of this work for Joost. What's up with that?" Then, as one commenter noted, it turned into a great opportunity to meet some of my readers, so I am thrilled. I tried to visit every website listed in folks' contact information, so I thought I'd share some of the nuggets that I found there.

  • From Paul F. Olson's site, I noticed a "Please Support the Arts" badge that solicits donations. Apparently it was generated from the Network for Good site, and anyone can create their own badge for their own cause. Hmmm....

  • Rachel Vacek, a woman I know through ALA's Emerging Leaders program and who has become a great Facebook friend, has what I consider to be a very inspiring summary of herself on her personal page at Vanderbilt. The following gives me great hope and is exactly the kind of attitude I would be looking for if I was hiring these days.
    "Hi! I'm Rachel, Technology Coordinator/Information Services Librarian in the Walker Management Library (WML) at the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt University. I'm very active in WML and throughout the Vanderbilt Library system. I truly enjoy playing with emerging technologies and incorporating them into my work and how I live. Also, improving both my colleagues' and the users' experiences through new and exciting services and means of communicating, is very rewarding. I thrive on being in a progressive, creative, team-based, and innovative environment where my imagination can run free and support the greater good."

  • I also loved MacDara Conroy's page, subtitled "Self, aggregated." Many of us will have a page like this someday.

  • In a post titled Annotating the Web with Stickis, Caroline thinks out loud about using this free, online tool for a work project. "I just signed up for a Stickis account, hoping that it might be useful as we’re planning for our new OPAC. I’d like to be able to share annotations of other libraries’ OPACs across the project group." What a great idea!

  • Check out the UCD Library 2 Go blog which highlights "helpful virtual study aids." It's like InfoDoodads (or the lo-fi librarian's weekly roundup of "useful tools" - example) but it's aimed at the library's academic community. Another great idea!

  • The Luther Jackson Middle School Library helps illustrate how 2.0 tools really can make your job easier while also providing more information on your website. Check out their home page with the display of "What's New" books, courtesy of their LibraryThing account. Dare I say it - another great idea! I also like the heading "Create" in the left-hand column, under which you will find links to Podcasts/Videocasts and Tech Tips and Tutorials (look at all of those online, multimedia tutorials!).

Thanks to everyone that shared and requested - this has been a fun experience! (And you can keep submitting invitations requests for Joost as a comment on that post, too....)

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* Monday, May 14, 2007

Learning 2.0 Goes to School

Check out the School Library Learning 2.0 initiative in California!

"This tutorial is brought to you by the California School Library Association (CSLA) School Library Learning 2.0 Team. On the following pages, you will encounter the tools of the new Internet: Web 2.0 tools that are bringing our kids in touch with the entire world through social networking, video, audio, and gaming sites. The CSLA 2.0 team encourages you to take time this summer to explore and enjoy all the tools of this new Internet."

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* Friday, May 11, 2007

Monday, 14 May 2007 Is a Day of Unity for the Illinois Library Community to Demonstrate Our Opposition to House Bill 1727

Public Policy Committee's Action Plan Regarding Proposed Mandatory Internet Filter Legislation

"In response to the Illinois House of Representatives passing House Bill 1727, the Illinois Library Association's Public Policy Committee met yesterday to determine the library community's response. ILA requests that libraries communicate and/or demonstrate the negative effects of this legislation. Because the association is a strong promoter of local control, we are recommending that local libraries determine the most appropriate action for their community and act accordingly. The committee did, however, declare:

Monday, 14 May 2007 is a day of unity for the Illinois library community to demonstrate our opposition to House Bill 1727, the mandatory public and school library Internet filter legislation. On Monday, 14 May, the committee recommends the following possible actions:

  1. Communicate with your Senator. Write, fax, and call. Please do all three. If you do not know your Senator or don't know the Senator's phone or fax numbers please go to this site type in your zip code and you will find your Senator's contact and biographical information.;

  2. Turn off the Internet. If you proceed with this option, inform the public by posting signs in the library explaining why the Internet is turned off for the day. Possible language for the sign follows: If HB 1727 becomes law,

    • Your library will be forced to filter all public computers.

    • Your library will be forced to provide a companion over the age of 21 for any minor requiring unfiltered computer use for homework research.

    • Your library will be required to attest to compliance in writing (and since we know how easily filters can be comprised, we cannot in good conscience attest to this) or lose the state per capita funds and any state grant funds.

    Given the requirements of HB 1727, your library may need to remove all public computers due to:

    • the legal liability incurred by attesting to compliance when we know that filters do not work in all instances;

    • the costs of filtering software, and installation and maintenance costs for that software; and

    • the cost of the additional staff required for providing supervision of any minor using an unfiltered computer for homework or other research and for the removal of filtering software whenever an adult has a legitimate, lawful need for using an unfiltered site.

    • This is an unfunded mandate.

  3. Download and install a demonstration filter. Be prepared to show how this filter blocks legitimate research use; and

  4. Maximize filtering software usage. If your library uses filters and if this legislation is passed, libraries will need to maximize the filter settings in order to fulfill the legislation's intent. If on Monday, 14 May, your library maximizes your filters, this will demonstrate to the public both the problems with excessive filtering and the need for local control on establishing reasonable settings for your community.

Each library is encouraged to participate in some way to demonstrate opposition to HB 1727. To share what your library is doing for Day of Unity in Illinois Libraries go the or Use the form to describe how you are participating in the Day of Unity. Be sure to include your name, library, and phone number.


As stated in the previous ILA Update #9, House Bill 1727 was amended several times prior to the final Illinois House of Representatives vote. However, the basic mandated requirement to install filters on all public access computers was not changed. One amendment added a provision requiring loss of all state funding for noncompliance (for example, per capita grants from the state library), but also removed enforcement by civil lawsuits, fines, and perjury prosecutions. Another amendment allowed unblocking of a computer for a minor, but only if the library makes sure a minor is continuously supervised by someone over twenty-one years old.

Talking Points

  • ILA Supports Local Control. Local officials -- library trustees, librarians, and other professional library staff -- are the most qualified to decide how Internet access should be provided to their patrons. House Bill 1727 overrules all local decisions and imposes a "one size fits all" approach.

  • Filters Don't Work and Provide a False Sense of Security! Study after study has demonstrated that filters consistently block important information on science, health, political, and social issues and regularly allow objectionable material to get through.

  • Filters are Expensive. Paying for filters diverts scarce resources from limited technology budgets. Money that could go to buying more computers, and paying for more reliable and faster Internet access. Typical network installation is $10,000, plus about $3,000 per year. This is enough to buy twenty computers and pay for Internet access.

  • Filters are Inflexible! Filters don't know if the person using the computer is 5, 21, or 65. This "one size fits all" approach treats adults, even senior citizens, like elementary school children. The user doesn't even know what they are being prevented from accessing. We can't expect patrons to ask to unblock computers when they don't know what that particular filter has blocked.

  • Filters are Biased! Private companies and groups with commercial, political, or religious agendas design filters to block what THEY find objectionable, including political candidates, social causes, basic health information, and even information on their own product's faults.

  • Filters Hurt the Poor! Less wealthy communities are the most in need of technology because more of their patrons lack these resources at home. This legislation forces less affluent areas to choose between filling this need or spending money just to block access.

  • Tailor Your Talking Points to Your Library. For example, in FY 2004-05, there were 54,500,000 visits to Illinois public libraries, how many of those visits resulted in cases or arrests for unconstitutional Internet usage?

  • This Bill is ill-conceived with Five Amendments. It is a moving target, and it does not reflect thoughtful or constructive action to address the problems it seeks to solve.

  • This is an Unfunded Mandate!

Illinois Senate
The bill has now been sent to the Illinois Senate and Senator Randy Hultgren (R-48, Winfield) is the Senate sponsor. All bills are first assigned to the Senate Rules Committee. A bill discharged from the Rules Committee is sent to a substantive committee for a public hearing. If House Bill 1727 is discharged from the Senate Rules Committee, we anticipate that it will be assigned to the Senate Judiciary Civil Law Committee. The members of that committee are:

  • Co-Chairperson: John J. Cullerton (D-6, Chicago)

  • Vice-Chairperson: Don Harmon (D-39, Oak Park)

  • Member: William R. Haine (D-56, Alton)

  • Member: Michael Noland (D-22, Elgin)

  • Member: Ira I. Silverstein (D-8, Chicago)

  • Member: A. J. Wilhelmi (D-43, Crest Hill)

  • Co-Chairperson: Kirk W. Dillard (R-24, Westmont)

  • Member: Dan Cronin (R-21, Lombard)

  • Member: Randall M. Hultgren (R-48, Winfield)

  • Member: Matt Murphy (R-27, Palatine)

Based on the current Senate schedule, if House Bill 1727 is assigned to the Judiciary Civil Law Committee, it would most likely be heard in committee the week of May 14. If approved by the committee, the full Senate would then consider it in the last two weeks of May.

ILA will continue to inform the Illinois library community of any developments regarding this legislation."

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Joost Invitations

I have Joost invitations galore. If anyone wants one, just leave a comment here. It's a fascinating glimpse into the future of television. You can see a few screenshots here.

Update: Wow, there is a lot of pent-up demand for Joost! Theoretically, I have an unlimited number of invitations, so keep adding your name (and I need your email address to make this work) to the comments. It will take me a while to send all of these out starting tonight, so please be patient. I promise I'll get to them all during the next couple of days!

Second Update: Apparently YACCS only displays the first 250 comments, even though you can keep submit way more than that. So when you leave a comment requesting an invite, you won't see it appear, although the number of comments will increment by one. So don't worry about your comment not appearing on the screen, and please don't submit a request twice. Thanks!

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* Thursday, May 10, 2007

Different Communication Strokes for Different Folks


"Jenny's talking about instant messaging now, and one of the librarians at my table just said 'can't they just call?' That's pretty much what my staff think about meebo, too. Meebo is something I have set up for my library, and I'm starting to get more and more questions on it. Yes, people could call, but they don't want to. We have to go to where our users are... We have a Google calendar, too, and I'm happy to say that at my last knitting program, 2 people came after seeing the event listed at our on-line calendar." [Sturm Haus]

I wanted to highlight this paragraph because I think it's important to recognize that not everyone communicates the way we do. In this case, it's important for librarians to realize that there is a group of their users out there who prefer methods of communication that we may not.

Personally, I'm right on the edge. It took me a while to warm up to instant messaging and texting, but now I prefer them to email and some types of phone calls. I used to think these preferences put me on the front of the bell curve, but lately I'm realizing that's not so much true anymore. I'm noticing how others are using these and new tools for communication and feeling not quite there myself.

For example, if you're instant messaging (IM) buddies with Jessamyn West, you know how great her away messages are. She uses them like updated voicemail, like an in/out board on steroids. When we were at the Massachusetts Library Association conference last week, we made plans to have breakfast the next morning. Now that she has a cell phone, I said, "I'll text you when we're up." She said, "I might not see that, so just check my IM status and leave me a message if I'm not up yet." How many librarians think of IM in general, but particularly IM away messages, as this type of communication tool? Do we automatically think, "Can't we just call?"

I also had an interesting conversation with a 21-year old college student this past winter. Since she's about to graduate and head off into the real world, I asked how her communication habits were changing. When she was in high school, she was on instant messaging a lot, ahead of the adult bell curve. When she started college, though, she had a cell phone and she and her friends moved to texting as a primary method of communication. I asked if she still IMs as much, and she said, "No. Why would we IM? We have Facebook now."

Which took me a while to grok, because I just don't use Facebook in a way that I would even link those two methods as being equal.

So in this sense, it's important to do the cliche and "think outside of the box" of how we ourselves might view communication. Even when we do focus groups or informal surveys, it tends to be with library users, who might not be that different from us. Therefore, we might miss patterns like these that show a shift in how the outside world communicates.

Does it mean libraries have to use every possible method of interacting with patrons? Of course not. But we can spot some trends and be ready when they hit a critical mass. Certainly we are at this point with IM, and we're at or approaching one with texting (which is one reason I continue to find Twitter interesting as a trend indicator for libraries). Maybe we'll end up saying that libraries don't need a presence on sites such as Facebook and MySpace, but there's certainly a large number of users who view this as a communication tool, so how will that expectation evolve for them? Where is the potential intersection that shifts our services to where our users are, rather than expecting them to adapt to us?

I think this is a key question when evaluating any new technology, tool, or format, and I am glad to see so many librarians (especially bloggers) scouting for this on the horizon. It's a valuable service you provide, and hopefully it will help others in our profession turn the "why can't they?" question around to "why can't we?"

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* Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Gaming and Libraries Symposium Enthusiasm (#1)

I'm *totally* biased about the 2007 TechSource Gaming, Learning, and Libraries Symposium because I helped put together the program, but I'm also very proud of the sessions we've got lined up. They run the gamut for how to start a program for gaming newbies to information about digital downloads for gamers for more experienced staff. With three concurrent tracks on the main day, there's something for everyone.

To help illustrate what a great program I think it is, I'm going to highlight a few of the sessions every so often. They're all listed here, and you can view the preliminary program here.

So with that, here are some of the sessions I'm looking forward to because I know so little about these topics myself.

  • You See an Interactive Fiction Game in Front of You...
    Chris Harris (Genesee Valley BOCES)
    "This session would be a perfect fit for anyone who wants to bring gaming to school libraries or forge a game-based partnership with a school. Interactive fiction, also know as text-based adventure gaming, combines the mental stimulation of gaming, the challenge of game creation, and English Language Arts standards. Using the free tools shared at this session, your gaming group will be ready to begin creating a new world with a primary focus is on content instead of a complicated graphical engine."
  • Developing Teen-oriented Game Design Programs for Fun and Learning
    Brian Myers (Wilmette PL)
    "Digital game design is emerging as a multidisciplinary and collaborative educational framework combining computational fluency, mathematics, storytelling, graphic design, and analytic thinking, among other disciplines. This program will provide an overview of current trends in gaming and education and a survey of recent constructivist literature demonstrating how hands-on design activities promote media literacies and other valuable 21st century skills.

    Participants will learn how easy and inexpensive it can be to implement a computer game design program for teens in their school or public libraries. Everyone will be provided with the tools and know-how to implement a highly popular, inexpensive and easy to manage (i.e., "no programming required") game design program for their teen population."

  • Big Fun, Big Learning: Transforming the World through Play
    Gregory Trefry (GameLab
    "Big games offer exciting ways to transform the world through play and simple games. These games can turn a library into the site of mystery, a cellphone into a game controller and the street grid into a gameboard. Big Games take place in the real world, with players running around real places. They encourage exciting new interactions with the environment and other players. Games in general are powerful learning tools, teaching through probing, experience and application. Big Games that engage everyone from kids to adults with the space around them have huge potential to draw in people and teach through play and revitalize public spaces. This session will offer an overview of learning through games, big game examples and potential applications."

  • We’re in UR Library Bein Ur Books: Making and Using Book-based RPGs with Middle Schoolers
    Kit Ward-Crixell (Student, MLIS program, Texas Womans University)
    "If you turned LiveJournal upside down and shook it, Harry Potter role-playing games [RPGs] would fall out. An LJer myself, I was intrigued when I read this characterization of LJ and went on a cursory search of LiveJournal communities. Not only did I find hundreds of RPGs based on the fictional world of JK Rowling, I found a myriad of RPGs based on other books, or RPGs in which characters from different authors’ works interact. LiveJournal, a blogging website and online community, is also a hotspot of book-based role-playing.

    Although there’s no way to determine the ages of the people creating and playing these games, many of them appear to be kids and teens. In other words, many, many kids are using their free time to write, and read other people’s writing about, book characters. For fun. Could this get any better?..."

If you find these sessions as interesting as I do, register for the event and come hear these speakers for yourself!

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Big Library or Small Library?

Thanks Rural Libraries 2.0!, originally uploaded by mstephens7.

Traverse City, Michigan, has a new fan - me!

The real reason Michael Stephens and I were there, though, was to give the keynote presentation for the Rural Libraries 2.0 Conference. We had a great group of people, especially our hosts!

I'm experimenting with SlideShare, so here is my piece of our presentation. I don't think it translates well, especially given the physical size of the slides here, but folks who attended can page through it pretty easily and everything should be clickable. You can get the full PDF on my presentations wiki. Basically, we played a game called "big library or small library," with the correct answer being "any size library, as in "2.0 makes your job easier and levels the playing field for small libraries."

I also wanted to clear up one thing. During the "Flickr and kids" question at the end, when I referred to the woman who was in her late 30s/early 40s as "older," it was in relation to the kids that we'd been talking about previously, not the general population. :) I was emphasizing the point that privacy expectations are changing in general, not just for "these kids today."

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* Friday, May 4, 2007

Better Know Your Association!

For the gaming workshop I did with Aaron Schmidt at the Computers in Libraries conference a few weeks ago, I created an online quiz called Better Know Your Association.

I wanted to show how much more engaging this type of tool is than a paper-based multiple choice quiz, just to provide a small glimpse into how gaming can be used for assessment in addition to literacy and learning. I downloaded some free, easy-to-use software called, even though it doesn't really include a component for individual assessment. It's more a proof-of-concept at this point, but I think participants had more fun and were more engaged by shouting out answers than just having me spout factoids standing in front of them. (Note that I'm not espousing that as a classroom technique.)

This might be a fun tool for libraries to use in general, and there are lots of software options for this kind of thing. We could argue about whether or not this is really "gaming" in the traditional sense of the term, but I do think it shows that we have tools that help us to better handle things like assessment in a way that is more engaging to a large number of users, not just younger people. There are a lot of users whose learning styles are more interactive and experiential than ours, and I worry that our tutorials, classes, and resources don't work well for them. Of course, the next step (in my spare time) is to experiment with Game Maker and Scratch.

Feel free to take the tongue-in-cheek test and see how much you know about ALA.

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* Thursday, May 3, 2007

Belated Thank You to Berliners!

I'm trying to ride my vacation buzz for as long as I can, which is one reason I've been quiet lately. The catalyst was a week-long, honest-to-god vacation in Berlin with no internet access and no cell phone, quite possibly a first for me in the 21st century (I've always had one or the other).

I enjoyed this trip much more than I thought I would (pictures here if you're interested). I think my generation was the last to grow up with the cold war, so my expectations were straight out of my high school textbooks. Reality turned out to be the exact opposite. The city is beautiful, schizophrenic, very green (at least at this time of the year), and interesting at every turn.

I highly recommend Berlin, even more so Berliners. Very nice people, so you can imagine that the librarians are even nicer. A big shout-out to our hosts, who were beyond kind and generous with their time and efforts. We hope to be back soon!

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