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May 31, 2007

The 8 Things Meme

Wow, both Jessica and Amy have tagged me with the "8 Things Meme" so I guess I'll need to come clean and list 8 facts/habits about myself.

1. I have trouble going to bed. Not going to sleep, but actually deciding to go to bed.

2. When I was in high school I wanted to be a member of the Glass family. I still do. I imagined sitting at the dinner table discussing art and politics and whether religion really is something god sicked on us because we had the gall to accuse him of having created something so ugly.

3. Since I was a teenager I have held Woody Allen's films in very high regard. There's something about the witty satire, angst and humor that I have always adored.

4. I often wish I had been a writer and photojournalist in 1920s and '30s Europe -- a part of that Lost Generation.

5. I don't like straws. Unless I must use it in the car I will not use a straw in my drink.

6. I abhor sweet tea. And, I live in Atlanta.

7. I never understood war re-enactments.

8. I loved Carl Sagan. I think he understood the need for openness and questioning, change and self-examination. And I think he tried, perhaps better than anyone, to open science to everyone, to make accessible and exciting that which had been opaque and difficult to understand.

Hmmmm, who should be tagged next? I'm not sure who has already been tagged (these memes can get huge) so here are my eight: John, Leslie, Chris, Veronica, Curtis, Darren, Meg, and Sylvie.

De-Dewefication Begins

Last discussed here in May of 2006, de-Dewefication has begun at the new Perry branch library in Maricopa county, Arizona. The library will open without using Dewey classification. Their books will be shelved by topic.

Maricopa County officials say the Perry Branch library will be organized like a bookstore. Instead of assigning them numbers, the tens of thousands of books will be shelved by topic.

County librarians say it's time to do away with the century-old Dewey Decimal system.

They say it's too confusing for people to hunt down books using those long strings of numbers and letters.

The idea to get rid of Dewey came from Marshall Shore -- an adult service coordinator for the Maricopa County Library District.

He says that patrons are frustrated by the old cataloging system. He says that the libraries must adapt to their customers needs.

Articles here and here

May 24, 2007

Good Google Laugh

Go to Google, enter "New York to London", click maps. Look at step #21.

(Thanks Meg!) 

May 23, 2007

Serieteket, Stockholm's library for comics and graphic literature

Serieteket, the library for comics and graphic literature
Originally uploaded by Michael Casey.

"Serieteket, the library for comics and graphic literature, is still unique among Swedish libraries. During our first ten years we have constantly strived to broaden our own and the reading public’s conception of what comics can achieve as an artform. We want to be a place where you can read and check out comics and books about the rich history of the medium, and provide new impressions regarding graphic literature’s potential through our exhibitions and special events."

Link to website

"in a new light"

From the Editorial Correspondence section: 

“The democratization of media through Web 2.0 technologies is forcing companies and individuals to look at themselves and the work they do in a new light. It’s forcing us all to have a healthier relationship with our customers, clients, and business partners. And at the end of the day, honesty and transparency are an important component of any relationship.”

    -- Jeff Rohwer, Los Angeles, Wired, June 2007

May 19, 2007

Off to Stockholm

I'll be in Stockholm all week, enjoying the beautiful Scandinavian spring and, on Thursday and Friday, participating in Bibliotek 2.0. Look for pictures here!

May 18, 2007

Gmail and Tags

Is there any way to add my own tags to Gmail emails? I know I can add labels but if I could add my own tags to my emails it would make searching the archive so much easier.

May 17, 2007

Gotta Love It!

ImaginOn Bathroom
Originally uploaded by hblowers.

Way to go Helene!

May 14, 2007

Thinking of Michael and Jake

Ice cream for Jake
Originally uploaded by mstephens7.

May 07, 2007

Wow! Take a look at the newest PEW/Internet survey

PEW Internet Survey
Originally uploaded by Michael Casey.

View Report as PDF

And be sure to take the QUIZ.  If you're curious, I scored as an Omnivore.

May 05, 2007

A Dangerous Book

Karen G. Schneider on ALA TechSource has an excellent review of David Weinberger's newest book, Everything is Miscellaneous

Weinberger hits very close to home throughout the book, but nowhere closer than when he remarks, “We've only forced ideas into unambiguous categories through authority and discipline.” On reading this, my mind roved uneasily toward the meetings currently being held by the Library of Congress Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control. What would Weinberger make of a group of librarians imagining they can control information? One hundred years from now—hell's bells, ten years from now—will we laugh at the idea that we even play a role in the third order? We have barely heeded our own canaries in the mine. When we start hearing from canaries in other mines, it is time to fly toward new theory or be buried by the weight of our anachronisms...

...This is, I repeat, a dangerous book. Ban it, burn it, or take it to heart. The most dangerous part of this book is not that Weinberger says these things, and so much more: the danger comes if we don't listen.

I'm on my way to the Dacula branch library to pick up my hold copy today! 

May 03, 2007

Pre-MySpace Social Networking

My daughter, Sophia, is 8 and is in love with Webkinz. I bought her her first stuffed Webkinz toy about three months ago and ever since she ripped off the tag with the online code she has been going online several times a week to play with her virtual puppy. She has to care for and feed her little dog, and she has to earn money to buy things for it. She earns this money by playing one of many games offered, and most of those games are educational. I wouldn't admit it to Sophia but I actually enjoy one of the games where you have to form words based on an arranged group of letters, with points coming from forming more complex words.

But it's more than just online play. Many of Sophia's classmates also have Webkinz. She comes home after school and can "play" with her friends online, caring for their animals together. This social aspect is teaching her all about online interactions and how to balance the real with the virtual. She can chat with those people she adds to her friends list, but the safeguards that Webkinz builds into their site is impressive. I'm quoting here from the Webkinz FAQ:

First, users cannot chat with you unless they are added to your friends list. If you get a request to join your friends list from a user that you do not know, rejecting that request will prevent any chat from occurring. You can also delete any user from your friends list at any time, and we will remove you from the other user's list as well. Also note that nowhere in Webkinz World can another user discover your user name. Users may guess a user name, but we do not display them anywhere on the site.

Finally, our chat is entirely constructed. There is no way for a user to type what they want, nor ask or say anything inappropriate to any other user. We control everything the users are able to say. We have designed our dictionary of choices to put safety first. There is no way to exchange any personal information of any sort.

With the immense popularity of MySpace and other online social networking sites it is important for parents to introduce their kids slowly to the world of online social networking. Webkinz, and other places like Clubpenguin and IMbee, all serve as introductions to this online world.

Today's New York Times has a good article, My Daughter, the Burger-Flipping Penguin, about ClubPenguin and online sites for elementary aged kids. The article discusses the role these sites play in kid's lives and what parents can do to be a part of that online life:

It’s parents who can’t keep up. Even after being reassured by representatives of these sites that they guard my child’s privacy and by psychologists that sitting at a screen for hours won’t kill her imagination, I wonder what she’s doing, whom she’s talking to and — here’s the part I find most mysterious — why it’s fun.

This is a generation gap I may never bridge, having grown up in a time when typewriters roamed the earth and grazed alongside rotary dials. When I was Clementine’s age, we had a telephone exchange named “Terrace” and my phone number was TE3-2748.

Am I the only parent lost in the 21st century?

“No, but it definitely complicates the parenting process,” Marjorie Taylor, the head of the psychology department at the University of Oregon, said during a phone interview. “Children fairly quickly are surpassing their own parents’ expertise in understanding online worlds.”

“It reminds me she’s going to surpass me in all kinds of other ways, too,” I said. “I was hoping to be dead, or at least very old, before that happened.”

Professor Taylor commiserated. “These are new territories we’re exploring here with this generation of children, with technology moving as quickly as it is,” she said. “We tend to think they can’t understand the difference between fantasy and the real world, and that’s just not true. Here’s a way we can see them moving back and forth.”

What really stands out in my mind about Sophia's enjoyment of Webkinz is how much she has learned in the past few months about being online. Sophia has had a computer of her own since she was six, and even though she is restricted in what she can do with it (yes, I use an internet filter) she has a large selection of games and online sites she can visit. But her use of the computer has changed in the past few months. She now goes online with a purpose, with a specific site to visit and with the expectation of interacting with her friends. She'll often ask to call one of her friends so that they can go online and play with her. Her keyboarding skills have improved and she is comfortable using online search to find answers to simple questions. I still try to spend time with her while she's online, but I'm growing more confident in her ability to navigate around the online world.

Disgusting: LAPD Attack Press Photographers

May 02, 2007

Turning "No" into "Yes"

Turning “No” into “Yes”
Library Journal -- May 1, 2007

...These dual issues of “the culture of no” and “the culture of perfect” are not easy to address. Alone, they can cause serious damage to the library. Together they spell real disaster—public relations nightmares, financial debacles, and, perhaps most damaging, the complete loss of trust between staff and administrators. This last rending is sometimes near impossible to repair.

Fractures that run this deep in an organization require structural change. Setting up vertical teams with staff from all levels of the organization is one of the first things that can be done. Strong vertical teams engender trust and solicit buy-in. They make front-line staffers actually part of the solution, and they allow everyone from the top-level administrator to that desk staffer see the big-picture issues the library faces...

Link to full column