fun thing: wordnik

amy posted this October 22nd, 2010 | filed under: 2.0 fun, booky things, conference-y, discovery, innovation, inspire me! | Tags: | 1 comment »

i have the good fortune of attending Books in Browsers at the Internet Archive (also known as the “fathership” – assuming the “mothership” is the Library of Congress). the conference was attended by librarians, publishers, authors, developers, and other people who are interested in making sure stuff that’s written gets read.
one of the presenters is none other than Erin McKean. if you haven’t seen her TED talk yet, i’ve embedded it below. one of my all-time faves.
Erin’s new project is called wordnik.

Wordnik is a place for all the words, and everything known about them.

in her presentation she explained that since dictionaries try to cover the most useful words for the largest group of folks, they frequently leave out the newest and rarest. Wordnik does the opposite. essentially it is a crowdsourced dictionary (including real-world sentences) that aims to have all of the words in the English language. amazing. a context-driven dictionary? i think i’m in love.

but the best part? IT HAS AN API. (and soon there will be an iOS SDK.)

8 questions meme

amy posted this August 26th, 2010 | filed under: booky things, general, meme, moi | no comments »

cc licensed flickr photo shared by Gilderic

la bella ali tagged me for this awhile back… (sorry babe!) i skipped a few Qs as i am currently sans kids.

so here we go.

1. Is there anything you’ve ever eaten that was so delicious that you think of it and go kind of misty-eyed to this very day?

  • my mom’s yorkshire pudding tastes like joy. (and at a zillion calories, why wouldn’t it?)

2. Are you a city person or country person? Half and half? Why?

  • until my mid-teens i adored living in the suburbs. lachine was filled with parks, kids playing in the streets, and a real sense of community. and when i think of raising kids, i would want to do that in the ‘burbs, at least for the first few years. (note: i didn’t go to high school in lachine. best decision i ever made.) (not because lachine high wasn’t a great school, but because it got me out of the usual.)
  • as an adult – city. please.

4. What’s the loveliest place you’ve ever traveled? Could be wildly exotic or comfortingly local.

  • loveliest would be a tie between barcelona and guadeloupe. as for my new fave place to live? edinburgh. in a heartbeat.

5. Okay, same as Sigrid: Laundry tips? Please?

  • a rag sprayed with white vinegar stops almost all static in the dryer.
  • wash bright blue items with white items to increase the “whiteness”.

6. Do you have a life plan, or do you just sort of truck along?

  • everyday i want to be happy – adjust life accordingly. when that fails, review life, adjust accordingly. (basically – i roll with the punches.)

7. Would friends of the teenage you recognize the current you? Would you still get along?

  • i think they would definitely recognize me. and for the most part, we’d still get along. and like ali, i’m still friends with a bunch of them. (including ali)

8. Any novels to recommend for an almost-seven-year-old girl? What were your favourites? Which are you looking forward to sharing with your own kid(s)?

  • ali’s list is pretty good. i could prolly pull together a list from some youth librarians for you. these days, graphic novels are very popular and they have been proven to build literacy skills just like traditional texts. </endofmyliteracyspeech

larry lessig and copyright

amy posted this November 12th, 2009 | filed under: booky things, general, inspire me! | 1 comment »

given that my new gig at mcgill revolves around scholarly communication, copyright is something i deal with on a daily basis.
for the record, i believe:

  • copyright is important and artists should have their works protected so they can make a living
  • [speaking as a scholarly communication chica] university presses help authors make the best of their work, through peer-review, copy-editing, and layout (check out MQUP‘s books – attractive scholarly texts? NOT kookytalk!)
  • copyright law in canada (and the u.s. since i hear about that regularly as well) is in need of a kick-inna-pants because it is no longer protecting culture but inhibiting it
  • a lot of scholarly presses are burrowing their heads in the sand in lieu of evaluating their business models

larry lessig (he of creative commons) gave a talk at educause this year, and not only is it one of his best talks, but it looks at the issue of copyright in an academic milieu – something which (i agree) needs re-evaluation.

“who are you upsetting?”

amy posted this May 19th, 2009 | filed under: booky things, discovery, general, inspire me! | no comments »

so despite being a librarian, i read very few books. i get most of my information from blogs, magazines, journals, podcasts, and talking to people (some of whom are writing books). some days i think this is a huge failure on my part, and i remember hearing something about multitaskers actually being unable to focus on anything for longer than 5 minutes…

<bad pun> wow, i’d really like some candy right now. </bad pun>

i own Clay Shirky‘s Here Comes Everybody – but i read maybe a few pages at a time, because they are just so dense. (i’m not the only one that feels that way. one of the Media Hacks guys – Mitch Joel maybe – faces the same issue.) and i have a copy of Seth Godin‘s Tribes (bit of a fangirl since seeing him speak at SLA last year) but again… yet to break the spine on the book.

but TED just posted Seth Godin’s most recent chat about tribes, and it rocks as much as i hoped it would. at the end he posts three questions about leading a tribe.

  1. who are you upsetting? if you’re not upsetting anyone, you’re not changing the status quo.
  2. who are you connecting? cuz that’s what a lot of people are in it for.
  3. who are you leading? cuz focusing on the leading is where change comes from.

i need to think about a few things…

book pr0n

amy posted this February 20th, 2008 | filed under: booky things | 4 comments »


for those of us with too many books and too little space – this is pretty hawt.

quick – make friends with a carpenter!

(swiped from