Thursday, May 26, 2011

What I've been working on and what it looks like

This is what I've been working on in my library for the past almost two weeks. What was supposed to be a simple reorganization jaunt has turned into a massive reorganization and weeding. Those piles above, and following. That's about 80% of what is being weeded out. There's other books that haven't been added to the fairly epic Library End-O'-The-Summer Sale stack. I've been the solo librarian here for three years and I'm don't konw when the last time previous to me any sort of weeding had been done. So, here we are. Most of these are redudnant copies (as in the third or fourth) or simply outdated. Late 1800/early 1900 extremely esoteric and poorly aged religion and history stuff. I will be going through these and pricing them properly. My hope is that we can generate a decent amount of cash to fill the space left by these with some more quality works.

The whole goal being to make this, the upstairs of the library standing in for the whole place, better. You can kinda see there's already books on the shelves which we've been moving from the basement, where most of the volumes are kept to the upstairs to help make them more visible. I've also integrated the reference section directly into the circulation collection. The main reason is that students were super-confused by the reference section location and placement. The four stacks on the left hand side of the photo used to be the reference area. Students would get up from the computers with call number clutched in hand to wander about the reference section until I asked them if they were finding what they were looking for. The answer to which was 9.5 times out of 10; nope, so hence the moving around. The reference books won't circulate and they still have the 'REF' tag on each book.

This is my office. I'd like to say it is this messy because I'm working on my presentation for the Metrolina Library Association's 6th Annual Information Literacy Conference on July 16th in Charlotte, NC but this is a pretty standard state of operation. I'm really excited to be presenting there and will be talking about the keys for doing/attempting information literacy as a solo librarian. There's a bunch of other really good talks lined up as well which I'm pretty stoked to go learn from.
Here's the view from my chair. If I ever have to move back to a cubicle or smaller office space it's going to be really hard. Yes that is a vintage reel-to-reel player and a coffee pot.
Additional book shelves plus my window of library, reading and DFW related comics. Also, my notes. It's way fun to write on the glass. Try it.
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Thursday, May 12, 2011

Da' Web(s).

Tim Berners-LeeI have just finished reading Siva Vaidhyanathan's book The Googlization of Everything (and why we should worry) (Pub. 2011) while also concurrently reading Tim Berners-Lee's Weaving the Web (Pub. 1999). This combination made for a interesting sort of Internet-as-past and the future-of-the-Web and where is it all going type of thoughts.

The vision that Tim Berners-Lee outlines toward the end of Weaving the Web directly connects and present an interesting backdrop to read in juxtaposition with the Googlization of everything that Siva Vaidhyanathan lays out. Equally compelling is Vaidhyanathan's vision for the Human Knowledge Project where he proposes an international group of involved and concerned citizens take responsibility for the judicial care and access to the world's information rather than leaving that assignment to corporate entities claiming benevolence. Not to sound all over the top about the corporate thing but seeing/reading where Berners-Lee suggests that the early beginnings of the Web should go and where Vaidhyanathan describes where the Web is presently and surmises where it might be heading, there is a certain quandary about who or what is actually driving the development of the Web now and what that means for our daily Internet use/access and other parts of living. Really the Internet/Web has not quite ended up the free place that Berners-Lee calls for. While there is still a good chunk of this there are corporate entities that one do it better Google or lock out those things which they view as detrimental to their bottom line. (Comcast started blocking PirateBay, again.) Berners-Lee writes that "the Web must allow equal access to those in different economic and political situations; those who have physical or congitive disabilities; those of different cultures; and those who use different languages with different characters that read in different directions across a page." (P. 165) And it seems we've has accomplished this through the use of and reliance on corporations such as Google whom serve " an embedded guide to navigating choices, associations, tastes, and the world around us." (Vaidhyanathan 200)
It is truly fascinating to read Berners-Lee's account of the beginning of building the web as different people put servers online and the slow burn that caught on, through much sweat and blood on Tim's part, to become this massive "network of networks" called the Web. While CERN gave the Internet a place to start, it wasn't corporations that took the initiative in pushing the Web. It was people who were interested and motivated to build something that allow for different kinds of communication then were previously available. While WC3 works(ed) to suggest protocols and standards for HTML/XML content was not their issue and the Web in the late 90's was an incredibly messy, weird place. As Vaidhyanathan very nicely illustrates, Google cleaned up the Web and provided clear and safe paths throughout the Web; Google became navigational instrument, like a watch, rather than a supporting technology, like a pacemaker, that we the users have found ourselves not to be able to live without.

Siva talks about his book, corporate responsibility and Google at the Strand and at Harvard.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Two Machines

So I'm a huge fan, by proxy, of this bag making company out in Columbus OH, called Seagull Bags. While I don't actually own one, yet*, the designs are gorgeous with some absolutely impressive thread/embroidery work. Seriously, these bags look amazing (and waterproof).
Anyway, while trolling and drooling over bags came across a pretty fantastic effort/ministry that Rory and Nicole Taylor are spearheading, called Two Machines. "In the summer of 2010, Two Machines teamed up with Bittersweet Ministries to install two sewing machines in an impoverished canyon community outside of Tijuana, Mexico." The Taylors went back in January and the machines have really made a huge impact on the community. They are doing ongoing fundraising, and are working towards becoming a legit non-proft, so any support would be appreciated.


*Because I do have a fantastic Chrome bag that has yet to fail me. It's like a second skin and we go everywhere together. The Seagull designs are just mouth-wateringly fantastic. It's hard not to covet. Extremely hard.