i have a lot of stuff to update everyone on, and i will find time to do so very soon.
i know it might sound nuts, but i live in ‘Murica now. i work at the University of Chicago where i hope to build some supershinyawesome digital scholarship services. i’ve been here about six months (yes, i know, you can update a blog more often than biannually, tyvm) and what i can say for sure is: my colleagues are so damn nice, and private universities are very different from public universities… especially quebec public universities.
just thought i should let folks know. canada, tu me manques. déjà.
my online community, my friends-in-the-computer, my go-to for libraryland info and insight, all use friendfeed. sure they also use facebook and twitter and flickr and instagram and ello and hellzbellz there’s probably still an orkut bunch, but friendfeed is where we really share.
friendfeed may be shuttered by the time this post goes up, so i just wanted to publicly state to all of the friendfeeders, and especially all the LSWers, if you (even remotely) think i am a good librarylander, please know that you had something to do with that. i am forever in your debt.
i had a long post planned for today… about how i grew up with logowriter and BBS and quickly learned that the computer does only what it is told to do. and about how i tell people that i don’t code but that i was a serious math geek from K-11 (we don’t have 12 here) and learned turbo pascal in grade 8 and did everyone’s homework. and that i still don’t consider myself super-techy but when i say that i don’t mean it in a self-deprecating way i mean it because i know a lot of people who are way techier than me so in comparison i am not. and that i’m still amazed at the sexism i face professionally (yes, even in libraries, even in academia) and that we all have to work together to end that crap.
but instead i’m just going to write that i support the Ada Initiative because they want to make the open technology world a better place for absolutely everyone, and that’s something worth doing. you can help by spreading the word about the Ada Initiative, and if you have the means, by clicking the link below to donate.
i’m excited, and terrified, and eager to meet everyone who is joining us in Austin (in March, in the sun – i’m no dummy) to talk about leadership, technology, and gender.
on a personal level, preparing for this reminded me of my BA, which i re-started about 10 years ago when i decided i wanted to jump through the MLIS hoop and join this world. (i have a minor in women’s studies [shout out to the Simone de Beauvoir Institute, where i did my first “libraryland” work converting the library’s card catalogue to a spreadsheet] and a major in poli sci where i focused on the media’s representations of female politicians and athletes for, uh, all of my work.) i’m not going to lie, i’m really itching to get back to that kind of discourse. i’m also much more aware of the world, especially the academic environment, than i was back then.
i like tough conversations. i like learning. and i especially like knowing this isn’t going to be the last time this topic is discussed by my colleagues.
okay. mostly, i’m excited.
Jim DelRosso and I will be presenting a pre-conference CE workshop on digital repositories at the New York Library Association’s Annual Conference this year. The date is September 25, and here’s the low-down:
Half Day PM 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM
This workshop addresses key issues surrounding the creation, maintenance, and cultivation of digital repositories. Drawing on the latest literature, case studies, and personal experiences, speakers lead a discussion that covers planning the digital repository, selecting a methodology for its establishment, populating it with content, marketing it to the library’s constituencies, and meeting the various challenges and questions along the way. Participants have the opportunity to bring their own experiences to bear, as well as engage in group discussions regarding how to get the most out of a digital repository.
Jim DelRosso is the Digital Projects Coordinator for Cornell University’s Hospitality, Labor, and Management Library, where he is responsible for such projects as [email protected], the digital repository for Cornell’s ILR School. A digital librarian since 2009, Jim is also the President for the Upstate New York Chapter of the Special Libraries Association, and has served as the Communication & Social Media Chair for the SLA’s Academic Division.
Amy Buckland is the eScholarship, ePublishing & Digitization Coordinator at McGill University Library, where she is responsible for scholarly communication, publishing initiatives, and making rare items from special collections available to the world through digitization. She loves information almost as much as Fluevog shoes, and thinks academic libraryland is ripe for a revolution. You can find her online at informingthoughts.com and in most social networks as Jambina.
So, if you’re heading to NYLA, or just thinking about it, give us a look. We’ll be entertaining and informative!
[ya. i totally swiped this from Jim. plagiarism is love.]
But sometimes… sometimes what’s happening in the world around us is just so egregiously bad that there’s no choice but to misbehave.
one of my favourite librarylanders, dorothea salo, gave a commencement speech today to a group of babybrarians. please read it. then start some trouble.
we are looking for a Digitization & Preservation Librarian…
The McGill Library seeks an innovative, autonomous and resourceful librarian to manage the current digital collections and work with the campus community on digitization and preservation of the material and the library’s special and circulating collections of the Library of one of the world’s most prestigious research universities.
it’s an awesome gig, but you’ll have to work with me. (sorry!)
i am not an eloquent writer. i have friends who are, and it is something i genuinely admire. me? i write like i speak. (i was once told that beers with me was basically my twitter feed brought to life.)
this lack of eloquence means i have spent the past week debating how to write about the angry broken heart i have for the death of Aaron Swartz. “ME ANGRY. LIBRARYLAND DO SOMETHING.” is the best i had. (have?)
i have never met Aaron, but he was a huge part of my libraryland. he had a hand in many of the tools i use every damn day (RSS? Reddit? Creative Commons?). he fought against SOPA and PIPA. he helped build the Open Library. he fundamentally believed in access to information. he freed up tonnes of public legal info and gave it to public.resource.org.
and yes, he downloaded a chunk of JSTOR (for which he was charged as though he was some kind of terrorist) and he also wrote a Guerilla OA Manifesto. both of which i adore, because every revolution needs someone willing to push the boundaries when those boundaries are rooted in tradition and blind to the future. (watch Aaron talk about this. now.)
and though i fear this will sound trite, he was one of my heroes.
so i read Jonathan Rochkind’s post about Aaron’s life, and information, and libraries, and most importantly, libraryland’s silence and lack of support for Aaron during the JSTOR lawsuit and i got angry. angry because i feel this is a call to arms, a time to FIGHT (now, now now now) and i fear we will just move on doing as we do – talking and not doing. (and i know that a lot of you do things, but FFS, as a cohesive unit, we’ve not done what we ought to.)
i resolve to start doing. more. anything i can. and you should too. WE MUST.
thankfully the awesome BCLA came up with some ways for us to take action. my faves (as an academic librarylander) are:
TAKE A STAND on political issues affecting access to information, literacy, intellectual freedom, and education. Don’t rely on tried-and-true cop-outs like “this doesn’t affect my work” or “I can’t see how I can make a difference”. High level information policy decisions affect all of us – as citizens, scholars, and human beings. Aaron saw this, and he did what he could – whatever he could – to stand up for what he felt was right. Which takes us to:
Don’t be afraid to have feelings about what is right and wrong, and don’t be afraid to stand up for them. Attempts to disenfranchise and intimidate people should not be tolerated – silence is acquiescence at best and endorsement at worst. Get involved in conversations and advocacy around these issues on Twitter, on Facebook, on Reddit, on your blog, in the press…everywhere. Advocate to your users, to your colleagues, to your friends, to your Board, to your elected officials. Advocate to everyone who will listen – and especially to the people who won’t!
If you work at an academic institution, lobby enthusiastically on behalf of Open Access journals and in support of robust – and binding – requirements for making the products of faculty and student research freely available through institutional repositories. Don’t be afraid to stand up to bullying from copyright and publishing cabals. If somebody tries to sell your institution garbage while insisting it’s lemonade, tell them so – and tell everybody else who will listen.
all this to say… i don’t really know what to say. i am sad and angry and think the best way to deal with this is to fuel it into libraryland projects that expand access to information. i have talked a mean game for too long. Aaron just did it.
if not now, when?
[two posts in a row where i talk about the loss of a hero. grrrrrr.]
today is the memorial service for Lee and Judy Dirks, so i thought i’d do some remembering myself (though i have thought of Lee daily since waking up august 30th to a fb message from a good friend asking if i had heard the news about Lee).
i was introduced to Lee by Peter Brantley after, well, yelling on the internet. (social media can be your friend, kids. if you’re willing to own your words, and listen to what others are saying, you’d be surprised at who lets you join the conversation.) the twitter convo stemmed from Peter’s post about the frustrating state of affairs in academic libraryland. i don’t have the whole back n’forth, but ultimately it led to this tweet:
— Peter Brantley (@naypinya) September 1, 2010
lots and back n’forth happened after that. me with my crazy ideas, finding out that there are lots (LOTS) of others out there willing to take risks on crazy ideas in order to make things better. the first being Peter, the second being Lee.
i finally got to meet-meet (as opposed to Skype/email-meet) Lee when a road trip took me through Seattle in April 2011. he hosted us (moi, Kendra & Meg) at Microsoft Research for an afternoon of talking about academic libraryland and offering us sneak peeks of fun tools including chronozoom. i spent the afternoon in awe of how friendly and warm Lee was (we had only chatted a few times before this) and how open he was to working with librarians to just make things better.
(i have zero pix of Lee and i together, but my visitor pass is still stuck to the bottom of my Mac, where i put it after leaving MSR. later at SXSW, many many jokes were made about “tightening security” before i arrived, and that normally they just let anyone in but because i was coming suddenly everyone needed to be signed in and out.)
the academic revolution plans were put on hold (though Lee’s passing has lit a fire under many asses to get this going, so watch this space) but we kept in touch. shared some Lone Star together in Austin at Open Repositories 2011 (my gawd, THE HEAT), repeatedly heckled each other on fb, and tried to always meet up at conferences.
we were both in Austin again for SXSWi 2012. before i even got there, i was involved in many planning emails from Lee for bbq, beers, and bat-watching. i had only met one other person on the email list, but almost all of the names were familiar – familiar in the ZOMG I GET TO MEET HIM/HER!?!? way. i have since learned that this was Lee’s way of building community – get everyone he knows and likes together for fun, and watch the relationships grow. so there i was, still a babybrarian, sharing the plans for SXSWi with folks that i had professional-crushes on. (and please don’t think i was all smooth’n savvy or anything. i got some pretty hilarious blowback for telling Lee to “just Google it”. hey buckland, he works at MSR and is inviting you to crazy stuff you’d never normally go to. the least you can do is remember it’s Bing, you monkey.)
SXSWi arrived. two memories that i will have forever:
1. organizing and speaking on a pretty successful panel with awesome librarylanders.
2. what i now refer to as “The Broken Spoke Night”. the tl; dr version is:
Lee’s friends + texmex + honky tonk + two-stepping + Johnny Knoxville + eleventyfour people in a minivan = one of my favourite nights of all time.
so so very fun.
Lee may not have realized it, but he had become a mentor. whenever work was getting me down, or i was seeing things happening in libraryland that just made me want to permanently become Rambina, he would remind me that i can change it – that i should change it – especially if it makes me want to smash things.
he encouraged me to think big. and that when i failed at something (“which you will, and hopefully in a spectacular fashion!”) that meant i was doing it right.
he taught me that seeking out people interested in moving forward (and not wallowing in what is wrong) is the way to build a community. it would be hard work, but imagine what could be done if i was surrounded by folks who liked laughing, honky tonk, and fixing broken things?
it goes without saying that i will miss Lee, so i’m going to do my best to channel his kindess, enthusiasm, open-mindedness, and community-building in my libraryland travels. i challenge all of you to do the same.
cheers, Lee. you truly rock.
Lee and Judy left behind two daughters. if you are so inclined, a support fund has been setup for them. please consider giving.