newspapers and libraries*

amy posted this January 26th, 2011 | filed under: discovery, general, inspire me!, moi | no comments »
* nope, not a post about how newpapers are filed in libraries, how newspapers are part of  library collections, nor about libraries in newspaper organizations…

cc licensed flickr photo shared by aplumb

i used to work at the Montreal Gazette. i worked in the newsroom for about 8 years. i started off making photocopies and delivering faxes in my CCCP tshirt (the newsroom manager didn’t worry too much about dresscodes, so long as i was dressed) and ended up compiling the scoreboard pages til the wee hours (while dealing with crank calls from editors phoning me for the cricket score for “team birdy num-num”).
it was a tremendous experience. i worked with many awesome folk, and every day was different because, ya know, that’s what it’s like in the news biz.

  • the 1995 referendum (with a livestream of the newsroom).
  • Princess Di’s death (dump everything planned for the front section and update coverage between editions. at 5pm she had been in an accident, by sports final, she was… dead?).
  • 9/11 (well, that was just crazy. did everything that day including drive a reporter’s car to his house in the plateau because he was en route to NYC with a photog and he would have gotten a ticket outside the old gazoo bldg).

thanks to working in a newsroom, i am also most productive between 10pm and 2am, comfortable with crazy deadlines, and a stickler for the usability-side of the media (note: if the index has an inaccurate page for Ann Landers, your boss will be pissed. and if you mess up the Expos boxscore in the scoreboard page, don’t bother showing up the next day.)
i have a deep affection for the media, and especially newsrooms.
before leaving the Gazette i said that the only job i wanted there was publisher, but it’s hard to get that gig straight from copy clerk. i used to joke that i was going to start a competing newspaper in Montreal and hire away all of the best people from the Gazette. i didn’t want to do this to force the Gazette under, but because competition is healthy, and the Gazette was infinitely better when the Montreal Daily was competing against it for subscriptions. if you’re the only anglo daily in a city, there’s no reason to bring your A game, is there?
BEFORE YOU YELL AT ME… the folks at the Gazette up til now have been trying to bring their A game. but the entire concept of media is all over the place right now and old industries have a hard time adjusting. now i’m not for propping up these industries so that they don’t have to change. screw that. if libraries can move from huge tomes chained to desks to producing open access resources for the world, everyone else can learn a new trick too. but i do think we can’t dismiss the concept of the newspaper simply because “everything is online now”.
good newspapers aggregate and curate information for their local readers. they simplify or enhance, when required. they think about the local population when going through the sked. the go out in the local area and solicit feedback from people. they are the record of a place, a time, a citizenry.
good newspapers and good libraries have a helluva lot in common. i have always thought we should be working together more closely. how can we do this?

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.)

copyright bill c-32 just dropped

amy posted this June 2nd, 2010 | filed under: discovery, ilovemyjob, innovation, open access | Tags: | no comments »

and it’s really REALLY important that everyone read it.
i’m going to spend some time with it (me = not so good with legalese) and then post some thoughts.
you should do the same!

Copyright Bill C32

libpunk is as great as it sounds

amy posted this April 28th, 2010 | filed under: discovery, innovation, inspire me!, moi | Tags: | 1 comment »

cc licensed flickr photo shared by sashafatcat

libpunk was a term coined by kathryn stemming from jim’s term edupunk. she has a killer definition on her blog – so go check that out.

i took it to mean “building libraries out of whatever you have handy”. be that wordpress, scraps of paper, or just a really smart dude who is willing to connect folks to information. voilà – library!

i have to say that i’m less concerned with the mechanics of libpunk. you don’t need to hate corporate ‘Merica to be libpunk. some library vendors give a damn. you don’t have to hate tenure, conferences, or the boringest parts of your job to be libpunk

what you have to be, to be libpunk, is willing to critically evaluate everything and look for non-libraryland answers that suit your needs. other folk have solutions to our problems, just as we likely have solutions to some of theirs.

i see libpunk as the opportunity to break-free from libraryland-only talk. break-free from reinventing the wheel. break-out of silos. break-up with partnerships that don’t help our users. but mostly, BREAK THINGS AND MAKE THEM BETTER.

off to Monterey!

amy posted this October 23rd, 2009 | filed under: conference-y, discovery, general, innovation, inspire me!, moi, presenting | Tags: | 1 comment »

heading to Monterey today to attend Internet Librarian. not only do i get to catch up with my friends, but i get to hear about all the awesome ways libraryland is taking advantage of the web to better meet the needs of library uses.
tomorrow is the first ever LibraryCamp at IL and i’m really looking forward to facilitating that with Jenica Rogers.
i’m also giving a talk on cloud computing with Kendra K Levine and Laura Harris.
finally, i am participating in BattleDecks on tuesday night with folks who are wicked fun.
this is gonna rock.

come to Library Camp Monterey!

amy posted this September 10th, 2009 | filed under: conference-y, discovery, innovation, inspire me!, moi, presenting | Tags: , , , | 4 comments »

cc licensed flickr photo shared by kendrak

Internet Librarian is holding it’s first unconference/library camp/barcamp session – and you should be there!

Jenica Rogers and i will be facilitating Library Camp Monterey, the morning of October 24, 2009 in the Monterey Public Library, and we’d be thrilled to have all of you join us.

This will be an interactive discussion about people, technology, and libraries. Bring your war stories and your questions and be prepared to share as this is definitely NOT a “sage on the stage” event. (PowerPoints are forbidden!) This unstructured conversation may range from web development to info commons to everything in between, in all types of libraries.

Head over to the wiki to add your name and any topics that you’d like to discuss.

See you October 24th!

hello SLA2009!

amy posted this June 14th, 2009 | filed under: conference-y, discovery, general, innovation, inspire me!, library skül | Tags: | no comments »


i’m in town for the SLA Centennial Conference. i love the SLA conferences – it’s always wild to meet librarians who work in “non-traditional” gigs. this year i’m on the boards of two divisions – IT and Academic – so i’ll be getting my first glimpse at the inner machinations of things.

more soon!

etig library camp – superfunhappytimes!

amy posted this May 19th, 2009 | filed under: conference-y, discovery, innovation, inspire me! | Tags: , | 2 comments »

there are still spots available for the ETIG library camp this coming May 29, 2009 in Montreal (hosted at my loverly place of work – McGill Unversity).
so come hang out with Jessamyn West, John Fink, Jason Hammond, and a bunch of other really awesome folks for one day.
it’s cheap (40$).
we’re going to talk about fun things.
and there’s a surprise gift for those who attend. (seriously, there is. i’m not just saying that.)

hope to see you there!

“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…

i love this quote

amy posted this March 23rd, 2009 | filed under: discovery, inspire me!, moi | 3 comments »

In order to be really good as a librarian, everything counts towards your work, every play you go see, every concert you hear, every trip you take, everything you read, everything you know. I don’t know of another occupation like that. The more you know, the better you’re going to be. – Allen Smith, PhD

i found this quote via a shared item from my friend Wendy Brown (who took me bowling once at this awesome place in Jamaica Plains), but it’s originally from the Bilingual Librarian blog.

i think this may be a reason i am so happy in this profession – everything matters.