December 31, 2008

Hello and Happy New Year!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — tsladmin @ 5:37 pm

As 2008 comes to a close (where on earth did it go?), I want to take a moment to reflect on this past year.
When I think about everything I was lucky enough to do this this year, what stands out the most are the people I met during my travels, both online and offline. The best thing about social network sites is the social part, and this year my network expanded to include new friends and rediscovered old ones. In fact, that’s definitely been one of my highlights for the year – reconnecting with folks from my pre-online life, which to me is an indicator that online networks are definitely going mainstream. I’m seeing so many more non-techie friends there, and I really appreciate being able to connect with them in this way. I still don’t have a lot of time to spend on Twitter or FriendFeed, but I’ve gone back to Facebook more and more because that’s where I’m finding a lot of these folks. Plus, it runs at a speed that works well for me right now (something I’m going to write more about it in an upcoming post).
This was especially true this year when I had so many projects going on at work. I haven’t written about my job at ALA here very much, mainly because I’ve been too busy to blog much at all. However, this was such a productive and progressive year at my job that I want to highlight a few of the things we accomplished. While this is by no means an exhaustive list (and it’s certainly not reflective of the work done across the organization as a whole), these are just a few of the things that were personally gratifying for me in 2008, because I played a role in helping them happen. In chronological order:

  • Gaming in libraries
    The year started out big for us when we learned about the $1 million grant from the Verizon Foundation. It’s allowed us to move this topic forward very quickly, and soon we’ll start posting the tangible outcomes. Watch for more to come from this grant in 2009, which will help build on our general successes around gaming so far. In 2008, we launched the Games and Gaming Member Initiative Group, ran a big game at our Annual Conference, started a new Games in Libraries podcast, held a second successful Gaming, Learning, and Libraries Symposium, and coordinated the first annual National Gaming Day @ your library. All in all, a very good year for gaming in libraries.
  • In April, Library Technology Reports published Gaming and Libraries: Broadening the Intersections, my second issue dedicated to the topic.
  • AL Focus launched an incredibly popular series of videos for National Library Week. Full credit for these brilliant pieces goes to Dan Kraus.
  • In August, we launched the READ mini-poster generator that does just what it sounds like it does. We’ve gotten a great response to this, and you can see some of the results in the READ Flickr pool.
  • In October, American Libraries magazine celebrated Open Access Day by opening its archives and making the current issue available to everyone for free. In 2009, watch for HTML versions of current issues (not just PDFs) and expanded content. Congratulations to Leonard Kniffel and his crew for taking such a big step!
  • At the same time, the AL folks decided to open up their weekly email newsletter AL Direct and let anyone subscribe. I don’t have anything at all to do with the production of it, so I don’t think it’s self-promoting to say that I think this is one of the most valuable current awareness tools in the profession. Full credit for the content and delivery goes to George Eberhart, and my involvement has been mainly to advocate that *everyone* should be able to benefit from his hard work. Now that can include you, even if you’re not an ALA member.
  • Finally, ALA Connect just completed alpha testing, and now we’re preparing to start beta testing next week. This is one of my really huge projects at work, so it’s quite a relief to finally be at this point. It’s been a long and…educational road to get this far, but we’re getting very close. So far, the feedback has been pretty good, and I’m looking forward to launching it soon. This is one of the things I’ll be talking about more here in the future but for now, I’ll just say that I couldn’t end the year on a better note.

This was also an amazing year of travel for me, including special trips to the Netherlands (and the wonderful DOK), southeast Asia, and London. I know how lucky I am to be invited to speak in these places, and I’m thankful for the people I’ve met and the experiences I’ve had along the way. It’s easy to get tunnel vision about location, region, type of library, or the profession in general, and my travels reminded me of the bigger picture and dedication we all share.
I also traveled a lot domestically this year, and while I know times aren’t easy, I hope we never lose the face-to-face connections that are so valuable to our professional and personal development. Long live the conference, unconference, regional meeting, or whatever type of event brings us together. I hope that we as a profession can find the right combination of online and offline to feed our professional connections and growth.
Before this turns into one long verse of Kumbaya, though, there were hiccups in the year, and there are some things I hope to change in 2009. I’ve gotten much better about not spending too many hours just working or working only on the computer, but those changes came at the expense of reading my RSS aggregator and blogging here. I’m again examining how I spend my time to try and figure out a way to do more of both of those things. While I won’t go back to working more or give up the time I’ve gained for family and friends, I do hope to redistribute some of that time to get back to blogging more.
So hopefully you’ll see more action here in the coming year. In the meantime, I hope 2008 was a good year for you, and that 2009 is even better!

December 2, 2008

Karolien Selhorst – Online Information Presentation

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — tsladmin @ 7:46 am

Setting Up a Tool for Knowledge Sharing in a Public Library
December 2, 2008
works on knowledge management at the Public Library of Vlissingen in the Netherlands
the Library also provide service for the local hospital and have opened services in elementary schools
they want to be a two-way library where their users are, adapted to the needs and wishes of their users
digital library is becoming more important because fewer people are coming in for books
have to share knowledge efficiently, making use of hidden staff talent
did a “knowledge scan”
found that the intranet wasn’t meeting staff needs
their wiki is internal only because they want to excel internally before they might open it up for users
six steps to implementing a wiki
1 – planning the wiki
actually the most important phase of all
many important questions need to be answered, including is your internal culture ready for something like this
are people stimulated to share their knowledge or are they prevented from sharing it?
what do you want to get out of it?
which users do you want to contribute to it? what will the scope be?
they decided to involve all of their users because sharing knowledge is important to everyone
early involvement of future users is important – involve them as soon as possible
also gets you feedback
use to find appropriate software for your project
decide hosted vs on your own server
they started out on their own server but went to a hosted service when they realized they didn’t have the in-house technical knowledge they needed
2 – designing the wiki
used an external visual designer to make the wiki use their current brand (he happened to be the son of a staff member)
created the initial structure of the wiki but let it grow organically
seeded it with initial content (no “empty box”)
created documentation and policy rules for the wiki (“wikiquette”) but don’t focus on the rules
created a sandbox area where people could experiment and play without feeling like they could mess things up
3 – Testing the wiki
used early adopters who were already familiar with wikis
test basic functions, proofreading initial content, test links and wiki usability
let future users test the wiki
4 – Launching the wiki and training users
found it important to do this officially so need to communicate it to everyone in an official way
have lots of “communication moments”
tell people what the wiki can do for them and integrate it into daily work practices
pay more attention to “slow adopters”
create a good handbook
5 – Managing & maintaining the wiki
appointed a “wiki gardener” to be responsible for moderating discussions, reviewing content, reviewing wiki structure to makke content easily accessible by everyone
important distinction that she has no effect on actual content – she isn’t a “wiki dictator”
technical support is maintained by the hosting company in their case
6 – Wiki evaluation
they’re in this stage now
using statistics and user surveys
showed a screenshot – it’s simple because it’s focused on the content
“teams & clusters”
they are now developing new software that will complement the wiki by handling reference inquiries from the public
answering questions will become based on team expertise, not individuals
this is a revolutionary new way of working in a Dutch public library
they will see the first demo of the system next week, so just in the initial phase
wiki lessons learned (practical tips)
– the success of a wiki depends on user contribution and enthusiasm
– involve your end-users from the beginning
– reward people for contributing to the wiki, acknowledge experts who share
– a wiki complements, but does not replace, face-to-face sharing; it’s not about the technology or the tool, but the people
– seed the wiki
– integrate the wiki in daily working practices
q: which software did you use?
a: moin moin was their first choice, but installing and configuring it required more technical skills than they had, so they moved to Plone; users don’t need any technical knowledge
q: was the goal to replace or complement the intranet? and can you give examples of making the wiki practical for staff when explaining it?
a: the Library has different geographical locations, so it can be difficult for teams to meet physically, so they are also implementing a chat function within the wiki

Clay Shirky – Online Information Keynote

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — tsladmin @ 7:44 am

Every Piece of Information Is a Latent Community
December 2, 2008
Clay Shirky’s keynote talk to open the 2008 Online Information Conference
“group action just got easier” = 5-word summary of his book Here Comes Everybody
the ways the media environment is being transformed now that consumers are first-class participants
the overlap of all of the patterns in one environment is the big transition we’re all living through and trying to figure out
showed a picture of a truck in a parking lot at sunset on Flickr – HDR photography (technique, not just software)
don’t need to see what’s going on in the comments to understand what’s going on there
people start inserting photographs into the comments, which turn to a technical discussion
a user group is assembled on the fly
used to be gather then share – used to have to identify the people who would be interested first and then organize/share
Flickr reversed the pattern – share and then gather
they didn’t identify themselves before they saw this page
Flickr had the infrastructure to let these people create a community on the fly
once the users created this, it wasn’t evanescent anymore – it was permanent now
shows that every URL is a latent community – potential value that people looking at it might find value in it
not all will see community grow, but the potential is there
can have many more communities of practice at much lower cost because the old distinction between conversation and publication is no longer true
why pick? Flickr gets more value out of not having to decide in advance what a piece of information might be used for
even on the Flickr picture, other conversations can take place in parallel
Flickr gives users the tools to add value
there are large patterns we see (not every service on the internet has these, but some large ones do)
– share
– collaboration
– collective action
in this order, because how much does the individual have to give up to get value?
takes more effort the higher you go on the ladder
showed Bronze Beta – the Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan club site
back when WB sold the rights to Buffy to UPN, UPN didn’t want the community group online, so they shut down the server (UPN: we don’t want it because we’re in the television business)
the users, however, wanted the community to continue, so they raised money and commissioned a new service to move to
they explicitly decided they didn’t want any “features” – no ratings, rankings, etc.
they just wanted to type in text, and now it’s just a giant scroll of conversation
the community is still going
these new social technologies are the first time where later generations of technology have fewer features than older versions
the simplicity in the tools has to do with a mindshift of the computer as a box to a door
for individually-oriented software, a long list of features is good (Photoshop, Word, etc.)
but when we want to collaborate, fewer features is better; we need the same mental model of what’s going on
the complexity is in the user, not the software
in Bronze Beta, the complexity is in the very long list of rules created by the users (“no colored fonts”)
showed the Wikipedia entry for Doctor Who – it’s been edited almost 9,000 times by more than 3,000 people
the breadth and depth of participation is quite extraordinary
“hive mind” – people that use this term almost always don’t understand what’s happening
these folks aren’t part of a community in any sense because most have only edited it once or twice
someone, though, has edited it thousands of times; every article he’s touched on Wikipedia is about Doctor Who
there is no coherent average behavior, although the commonest behavior is one edit, one user
we’re used to counting noses – how many people watched my TV show, read my book, etc.
but here, there is no one common user behavior; instead, there’s this tiny group of fantastically engaged users
imagine going to your boss and trying to convince them to plan this
it’s not everybody pitching in like a barn-raising; it’s not collaboration
it’s like a small, self-appointed editorial board
collaboration involves real synchronization
it’s not just you share and I share
collective action is the most difficult pattern to get going because the whole group has to commit to it and either stand or fall together
two examples – HSBC
they recruited college students with penalty-free checking accounts
proved to be popular, but then they changed their minds and added a penalty
gave users 30 days to get their money out
thought they had the information and coordination advantage
in the summer, the students should have been outclassed by HSBC’s tools
but they didn’t count on Facebook
a user starts a page, which goes viral
for the first time, college students are dispersed but active
they started sharing documentation – good banks to move to and how
once one person solved the problem, the information was available to everyone
goodbye to HSBC’s information advantage
then they organized a real-world protest, but it never happened because by then HSBC had caved in
HSBC backed down because the students were upset AND coordinated
“thinking is for doing”
there is an analagous transformation that publishing for acting
the newspaper could only report HSBC had changed the deal, while Facebook could actually encourage users to do something
publishing and action is no longer a choice – can do both
now have a response without managerial control
example two – flash mobs
they were promoted in “emails by bill”
wanted to prove that hipsters would do anything you told them to
hits belarus – eating ice cream in Minsk Square
the police showed up – the group became a problem (not the group eating ice cream)
it had been made illegal to act in concert – to be a group
when they entered the square, they weren’t a group
the livejournal page led to action – it’s a full cycle; they didn’t just bring their ice cream – they also brought their cameras because they wanted to document the state’s response
in less than 3 years, flash mobs went from being something to mock a certain class to political protest
we tend to underestimate the potential of these tools because they tend to look frivolous
we don’t understand their potential
anything that allows group formation is political
so much of the meaning of the tool is in what the user does with it once it becomes social
what is all of this doing to the media landscape as a whole?
we’re living in the middle of the largest increase in the social expression of the human race
1 – printing press/movable type
2 – point-to-point communications (telegraph, telephone)
3 – capturing sound and video
4 – broadcasting spectrum (radio, television)
curious asymmetry to them – the ones that are good at creating conversations are not good at creating groups and vice versa
there was no medium for creating two-way conversation among groups (many-to-many) until now
there is no longer a distinction between consumer and producer
giving someone the ability to receive email means they can send email
the audience grows and becomes varied
the 5GB generated this year will be at the edges
the internet is also the mode of carriage for all previous media as it’s digitized
it’s also adding social dimensions to all existing media
to produce something for a lot of people to watch, read, etc., I have to take on a big burden for production costs
if I’m wrong, I lose a lot of money
in an era of gutenberg economics, I decide which books are good and I publish them
all following media have had the same economics problem
filter and then publish becomes the model – see what’s good and then publish it
now, anyone can publish to anyone with a marginal cost of zero
it’s the first medium we’ve had that works with post-gutenberg economics
anyone can say anything to anybody and they frequently do
it’s too much content to filter in advance, and there’s no economic reason to do so
the question for a 15-year old today is not “why publish” but “why not publish?”
many of the huge businesses built on the back of the internet have at the core of their business model a post-publication filter
get to the good stuff after the fact, not before
the users are now well and truly engaged in the publishing environment
the user as publisher model:
1- Gnarly Kitty
a fashion-obsessed Thai student who posted about a fishing game
why would anyone publish that?
because she’s not talking to us – she’s talking to her friends
we’re not used to seeing things that are public but not in the public
then a coup happens in Thailand, and the government tells the media not to report about it
but Gnarly Kitty publishes the first picture of tanks in front of the parliament house and she is now the go-to source
people are now flooding in and she becomes a global resource
then she posts about a phone she’d like to own
the users get upset and want more about the coup
she responds with a post that it’s *her* blog and it’s about her life
zuckerman: journalism has gone from being a profession to being an activity
she committed acts of journalism; she just did it while she was a concerned citizen
not connected to self-definition
this model is new
she doesn’t need the money to be a global publisher
she gets thousands of new readers and she tells them if you don’t like her content, then leave
2 – Howard Forums
early blog about cell phones
can”t answer people’s questions about their phones, so he says hey, you all talk to each other and he puts up a forum
is up to a billion pages this year because the expert users are solving problems for the new users
tech support reps from phone companies will refer callers to the Forums
they have access to “reality,” which the engineers don’t
the kinds of questions that can only be answered when A has part of the answer and B has the other part and they collaborate
users creating detailed technical documentation
it’s not all tech all the time, because users have gotten to know one another and they hang out here together (they post pictures of their pets)
as a publisher, it’s easy to see that you’d get rid of the pictures of cats
but that misunderstands what is going on here
that both of these things are coming from the same web
they’re not doing one in spite of the other, but rather because of it
it’s the fact that the users care about each other is what gets them to do all of this
communities have to be for the members
the satisfaction comes from membership and recognition from the communnity
hosting that isn’t amenable to crowdsourcing solutions
communities need to get to know each other and share all kinds of things in order to do the technical documentation
3- showed a still shot from Joss Whedon’s new show, Dollhouse
fan experience is that his shows get canceled, so they’ve already created a site to save it from cancellation before it even airs
in the past, they’ve organized protests
they don’t trust the marketing department to explain to people why they should watch it, so they do this themselves
there is no aspect of the information industry that users aren’t crawling into, including the marketing department
users don’t always do this well
the pattern is usually extract the signal after the fact
they do always do it differently, though
grappling with that difference is the big question we have to deal with now
one of the big changes is that anybody in any part of the information business is now part of the entire information business
no longer i work in television and you work movies – it doesn’t matter anymore
no longer that we produce the content and then the users go off and talk about it somewhere else
creating community and arranging action are now part of production
not every organization should get into every part of the business, but publishers can now be conveners of community
can allow amateurs in to extract value – that’s what we’re grappling with
it’s not a move from A to B but from one to many
the landscape itself is expanding
when the printing press came out, it wasn’t that people looked at it and said, oh now we need a printing industry and this is what it will look like
little things turn out to be big deals
making books smaller meant more people could carry them (creation of octavo size)
if it’s hard for a thief to get a book out the door, that’s a feature
that little intuition sparked a revolution
everybody is everywhere and all the walls have fallen
everybody can see each part of the business; it’s all horizen and no barriers
what’s the next good thing to do?
the answer is most certainly to explore
experimenting our way into the future is what will show us what works
there is no roadmap for the period we are entering
q: what is the role of the professional librarian
a: liz lawley says libraries are “happiness engines;” the whole of the world that deals with traditional publishing is now dealing with the split between lovers of the page and lovers of the book; it’s easy to see the role of librarians as hosts of books, but if you see sociable libraries as happiness engines, then the question becomes what set of things done in libraries now would increase the happiness; one of the obvious answers is “collaborative filtering” – helping the user find the next thing to read, watch, etc.; libraries have typically serviced users one-to-one, but there are groups of people coming together and talking with each other in the library; ideas make people happy, so what resources do we have to extend that; one of the big resources we have is that we have “convening power” – it’s unmatched in civil society; the cross-section that goes into a library is quite extraordinary; it doesn’t have to be one-to-one, and there is a great deal of potential in experimenting with many-to-many; even in the corporate world, libraries can join up people who should be talking with each other; IBM example – “DogEar” plus a one-way mirror; allowed researchers to tag URLs, although they’re not sharing the tags back to the world; two geographically-dispersed research groups there discovered each other because they were tagging the same resources, clearly with the same ideas; they actually called each other and then pooled their efforts; this would never have happened from the top-down; “research is a famously upside-down problem” so there’s no way one person at the top could have said these two groups in two different countries will work together; when the users can see what each other think (don’t apply the ontology in advance), people with similar world-views can be connected; connecting users because they’re looking at the same information
q: if we spent our lives organizing information as a community, how do we tackle all of the new information being created?
a: you can’t; you only have 2 chances to actively organize things – moment of creation and moment of use; at creation, can try to add metadata, but at use stage, you can involve the user and have them modify or verify the metadata; the problem becomes a little bit of effort gives you a high degree of leverage, so have to find the right point where this happens; there’s no way to apply the metaphor of the shelf to cyberspace; they have to do with automatic extraction, inviting users to upgrade metadata at the point of use
q: what does this tell us about human nature that we might apply to things we do?
a: that is THE question, in part because it’s the one we need to answer but can’t; used to think that the world was changing because technology was changing, but now thinks we’re just not used to explaining human behavior without being paid or other extrinsic motivation; we used to think the market was the public sphere and the household was the private one, but that’s changing; Wikipedia makes no sense at all; what critics have missed is that human nature contains an enormous amount of Gnarly Kitty motivation;public and private sphere are existing side by side, can’t be explained purely by the market
q: the idea of expertise as opposed to popularity
a: if your skull is going to be cut open, you want it to be done by a trained professional; the reverse is that you don’t need to buy music only in the presence of a record store professional;
the closer things to come to life and death and one-off decisions with no reversability, the more we want expertise; the places where there is an obvious right answer that is independent from the social view; changes here are coming about in the end of the spectrum where what people believe changes what is true; are SUVs a truck or a car? that decision was socialized, which got us to a better answer than letting Washington decide; there’s no general “get ouf jail free” card for experts; very often, the really interesting hybrids are where professionals and amateurs come together; in most but not all cases in the information industry, it’s headed to hybridization because it’s not the critical one-off decision; how many different strategies can we apply to see where the cost versus value curve is
q: should we be worried about efficiency? should we be worried about experts? one of the problems of community is that there are maturity issues that affect newbies (keep learning or does everyone become an “expert”)
a: the social origin of good ideas; putting experts and amateurs together improves both groups because when the expert has to teach, he learns; it’s the conversation between the two turns out to be more powerful than pure amateur aggregation or pure expert knowledge; these systems work not because they’re efficient because they’re effective after many fruitless tries at low cost; resources don’t get tied up in the failures because it’s easier to identify them; we’ve all been in that meeting where we realize we’ve expended more energy talking about the idea than we would have if we’d just implemented it; most Flickr pictures don’t have comments but it doesn’t cost Flickr anything; that’s why these new systems look so strange to us

November 19, 2008

Go Online

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — tsladmin @ 6:40 am

I’m lucky enough to be speaking at next month’s Online Information 2008 conference in London, where I’ll be speaking about new media channels for libraries (in other words, getting your content out in front of users where they already are). I’m in the Brave New World for Libraries and Publishers track on day one, but there are many sessions at this media conference that should be of interest to librarians. I’m looking forward to seeing sessions in the Order Out of Chaos: Creating Structure in Our Universe and Information Professionals Surviving and Thriving in the New Age, among others. I’ll also be moderating the Knowledge Structuring in a Semantic World session on day two.
The conference organizers have just posted a podcast interview with me, which is just one in a series with some of the speakers. They’ve organized quite a line-up of presenters, starting with conference opener Clay Shirky (hear his interview here). If you’ve never heard Clay speak, I encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity. I guarantee you won’t regret it.
Please feel free to submit questions ahead of time, and if you’re attending, please introduce yourself. Also, I’m still looking for examples of libraries taking advantage of RSS to display their content on external sites. If you know of any, please leave me a comment here.

November 15, 2008

Go Have Fun at the Library – It's National Gaming Day!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — tsladmin @ 2:13 pm

A reminder that today is National Gaming Day @ your library. All types of games are included, and not just for teens, plus 150 libraries participating in videogame tournaments (you can watch one of the brackets online to find out who wins!). The tag for tracking afterwards is ngd2008.

National Gaming Day @ your library logo

There are more than 600 libraries on the map, and I’m sure there are more we don’t know about. It warms my heart. 🙂
Have fun everyone!

November 13, 2008

John Palfrey: "Born Digital" Presentation

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — tsladmin @ 12:17 am

Notes from John Palfrey’s talk for the MacArthur Foundation at Google Chicago
point of the book Born Digital was to bust some of the myths and look at differences in behavior between digital natives and people like their grandparents
shouldn’t treat everybody the same way just because they have the same technology – may not use it the same way
how they define this specific group of kids (not all millennials) – born after 1980, access to the technology (only 1 billion people), skills to use it
5 characteristics
1. “I blog therefore I am”
express their identity online and offline – they don’t distinguish between the two
avatars as another version of identity
one difference is “subscribe to *me*”
2. multitaskers
a lot of debate over multitasking and what it is, but they’re doing multiple things at once
example of game in which boys tried to maintain as many IM conversations with as many girls as they could at once
3. consumers to creators
interact with digital format – seems self-evident, but presumption is immediate access because digital (eg, digital camera vs a disposable one); movie theater vs YouTube, print vs searchable text
presumption of media in digital form and that it’s social and shared
held a contest to design the logo for “Digital Natives” project at Harvard Law School – got 136 entries (32 from the kid who won), just for the glory (no prize)
4. mash up different media, putting different forms of media together
comes down to a series of technologies – RSS, Google Docs, lightweight collaborative tools
5. an international perspective
“couchsurfing” Google Maps mashup – 89,000 friendships created
(I think these were the five characteristics, but I wasn’t paying attention to numbering until later)
Issues: Security
security – Internet Safety Technical Task Force (Texas is the only state not participating in this!)
“stranger danger” is number one fear
data shows kids are not any less safe than they were 10 years ago (fewer incidents), although some kids do meet their attackers online (it’s become a public park in some ways)
bullying is borne out by the data, though – clearly an increase in this, although maybe it’s more that adults can see it now, as opposed to in the past (it’s asynchronous and persistent now)
social networks:
– unintended audience
– replicability
– persistence
– searchability
– unintentional contributions
adults on dating sites are just at bad as posting too much personal information as kids are on myspace, etc.
his big fear now is “digital dossiers,” which start as early as sonograms
sidebar: what is a book? why take digital information about digital behavior and put it in print?
didn’t write the book for kids, because they won’t read it
the book started as research posted in Basecamp
put chapters on a wiki
Issues: Privacy
kids like 3-5 minute videos, so this summer they gave some money to a few interns and had them remake each chapter into a video that they then put on YouTube
showed the video on “digital dossiers”
Issues: Intellectual Property
copyright piracy – notion of “sticking it to the man” still an excuse
kids that did get music from iTunes used gift certificates (often from parents), so they were actually kind of downloading it the same way – for free
remix issues – enormous confusion on this score
once a kid sees the artist, or once they become a creator, they start to think differently about piracy
but there’s an enormous range of understanding about this
played the video of the piracy chapter
Issues: Credibility
misinformation, cheating, hidden influencers, blogs, wikipedia
generally, kids don’t go to the library unless forced to go there
“I went to the library on a field trip once”
Harvard libraries are packed but with kids using laptops, not books
information overload – is it real? can you get addicted to this stuff?
thinks we have to take seriously the idea that you need filtering tools for all of this
there are corresponding benefits and opportunities in each of these problem areas
creativity, media literacy, social production, semiotic democracy
a world where people can remix culture and history – it’s much more powerful outside the US but still important for democracy here
knowledge creation, equity/democratic, participatory
empowering individuals, access to information, information creation
join the Facebook group
ended book on the chapter on activism – some young people are very involved with using these skills and tools to change the world and participate
Obama campaign as an example
have to choose how we embrace these things while fighting the worst of them
– what was the cutoff point for the upper age of kids since those born in 1980 would be in graduate school now
– older kids were actually more sophisticated and thoughtful about issues like privacy, showing that kids do learn; bigger concern might be the gap in the understanding of parents and teachers
– parents who didn’t go to college have less experience in this area for educating kids about this stuff or showing them how to be creative with these tools
if this is a crucial life skill, then we need to rethink this
– attitudes from the data about news?
– they asked a lot of questions, and kids don’t read the NYT cover to cover or watch the evening news (this is a big generational difference – everybody doesn’t get the same truth anymore); they graze for headlines (which might be through RSS, a Facebook feed, on a mobile device, etc.) – getting lots and lots of facts; a smaller number of them would “deep dive” and click on the link; fewer still engaged in a feedback cycle (post it, critique it, etc.); if the net effect is that we have everybody getting a shallow version of the news & the most sophisticated ones are doing the most with it (triangulating data, etc.), then that’s problematic; asked if anyone has ever edited a Wikipedia page – only a few had ever done edits, and they were usually to fix typos – didn’t find this recreation of the knowledge store
– did your research show what might happen when digital natives become old enough to change our IP law, fair use for example?
– copyright law used to matter only to map makers, etc., but now it matters to everyone; long way from being changed

November 10, 2008

Banking 2.0

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — tsladmin @ 1:39 pm

Banking 2.0
Originally uploaded by The Shifted Librarian

I love that my bank is making it easier for me to do business with them by no longer requiring me to put deposits in envelopes. I can just imagine the committee meetings for this one:

  • But we’ve never done that before.
  • But it will mean more work for our staff.
  • But we don’t know what crazy thing might happen.
  • And on and on

This makes my user experience easier and more convenient, which I really appreciate. And of course, those who still want to use envelopes can do so.
What small things can your library do to make your services (both in your building and online) easier and more convenient for your users?

November 4, 2008

Some Quick Gaming Notes

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — tsladmin @ 9:42 am
  • I thought I had blogged about National Gaming Day @ your library, but amazingly I haven’t – sorry about that. This is a national event coordinated by ALA on November 15 that celebrates the opportunities libraries offer for play between diverse groups of people in a safe, non-commercialized environment. To help promote this event, Hasbro is sending a copy of the game Pictureka! to every public library in the U.S. (thanks, Hasbro!). The shipments have gone out so if you’re at a PL, you should automatically receive your game in the next week or so. Suggestions for how to use the game (and others) are available on ALA’s Games and Gaming Resources wiki, and Scott Nicholson has made a great video showing how to play the game, which also suggests other NGD activities, too.
    In addition, Wizards of the Coast donated two gaming kits to libraries that signed up to receive them (sorry, but that offer expired last week), so I want to thank them, too. It’s *very* easy to participate in National Gaming Day, so I hope to see your library on the map. If it’s too late for you to do something this year, you can start planning now for next year’s event on November 14, 2009.
  • The ALA TechSource Gaming, Learning, and Libraries Symposium ends today, and the tag is GLLS2008 so you can track it on sites like Flickr and Twitter. What a great group this has been. Thank you to everyone who came – you all rock! We’ll be collecting slides from presenters and posting them online, along with whatever audio we could capture (not possible in some cases). Give us a few weeks to get all of this posted, but watch the ALA Techsource blog for more info.
  • I also want to highlight the 6th Annual Chi TAG conference for folks in the Chicagoland region. This is “the only toy and game fair open to the public,” and it will take place on November 22-23 (Saturday-Sunday) at Navy Pier. The show’s founder, Mary Couzin, is an amazing person, and she’s offering librarians (and educators) free admission to the event. (There’s also a discount parking coupon you can print out from the site.) This is different from a trade show, as it’s a chance to literally sit in the aisles and play boardgames all day. ALA will have a booth there, but I’d be going anyway just to see all of the different games. If you’re in the area, this event is going to be a blast, so come join us!

October 9, 2008

The Read Menace

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — tsladmin @ 7:26 pm

Colbert Report – Communist Library Threat

October 6, 2008

Using Video Games to Bait Newspaper Readers

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — tsladmin @ 10:40 pm

Using Video Games as Bait to Hook Readers

“Mr. Bagley, now a senior, was so addicted that he sometimes abandoned friends in the dining hall to return to the game. But the story was never the attraction. Both the narrative and the characters, he said, were too simplistic, and he gave up “World of Warcraft” in his sophomore year.
Video games, said Mr. Bagley, 21, ‘certainly don’t have the same degree of emotional and intellectual complexity of a book.’
Some people argue that video games are an emerging medium likely to undergo an evolution. ‘I wouldn’t be surprised if, in 10 or 20 years, video games are creating fictional universes which are every bit as complex as the world of fiction of Dickens or Dostoevsky,’ said Jay Parini, a writer who teaches English at Middlebury College.” [New York Times]

I’m disappointed in this article, not because it isn’t a “rah rah, video games are great” piece, but because I don’t think it reflects what would have come from eight months of research, which is how long the author spent on it. Several librarians, including me, have talked with the reporter since January, and I think we all expected something a little deeper, regardless of the viewpoints expressed. The excerpt above is indicative of the back-and-forth, “one said good, the other said bad” piece. I don’t think this article adds anything new to the debate, and I expected a series titled “The Future of Reading” from the New York Times to offer something more in-depth.
In the end, I think this article is a rorschach test for how the reader feels about video games. If you’re against them, you probably feel like this article validates your objections. If you think video games are okay (or even beneficial), you can also find quotes to support that perspective. Certainly the comments get interesting and continue the “good versus bad” debate, but I keep wondering when we’re going to get past extremes in this discussion in order to figure out how to integrate a format that is clearly here to stay into our kids’ media diet (and into our libraries) in a balanced way.

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