i have a lot of stuff to update everyone on, and i will find time to do so very soon.
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.
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.
maybe libraryland has been too passive for too long and that’s why folks think they can bully us? maybe we don’t market ourselves well enough so folks don’t understand what we do and how we do it? or maybe folks just aren’t capable of handling critical discourse?
Edwin Mellen Press is suing Dale Askey (and McMaster University, his current employer) because after evaluating their products and finding them lacking, he had the audacity to blog about it. apparently, an academic with an opinion is earth-shattering. (something something if you worked with academics regularly this wouldn’t surprise you at all something.)
before joining libraryland i worked in publishing – newspapers, magazines, trade publications and scholarly publishing – for 14 years. i understand the business models. i see the challenges. i paid my dues. and anyone who knows me well will tell you i love, LOVE, the publishing industry. (sure, some of it is broken and needs fixing, but i truly do adore it.) so as someone who loves publishing, and still considers myself part of the industry, this whole thing embarrasses me.
awhile back i wrote a post about libraryland partners. this is another example of the screwy power dynamic we have with our “partners”. librarians vet resources all damn day – we are experts when it comes to this stuff. we get tenure based on this expertise! we share this information with colleagues because that’s how it works in academia and libraryland. if you have a crappy product, we will call you out on it because it gives you the opportunity to make it better. or not, as the case goes. if we’re all in this together, the appropriate response to criticism is discourse, not legal action.
McMaster must step up and support Dale. academia must step up and support Dale. libraryland MUST step up and support Dale. blog about it. tweet about it. tell your faculty and colleagues. sign this petition. but most of all, fight for academic freedom. fight for true partners.
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.]
it’s the time of year where everyone is pimping out their SXSWi presentations. so…
HI I’D LIKE TO GO TO SXSWi AGAIN!
actually, this year i’ve got two proposals in the hopper. (yes folks, that’s how much i love bbq, beer, and bats.)
What can libraries, one of the original community-centered, non-profit organizations, teach others about building online communities?
What can libraries learn from online communities that were built for other goals?
How do you build an online community when you have few resources?
If I am online using social media, various search engines, and commercial services to get my e-content, why do I even need the library in the coming years?
What can I do to make sure my local library is a relevant, practical resource for me?
the other is Collective Conscious for Gathering Information with Tinamarie Vella (CUNY Graduate School of Journalism) and Marsha Iverson (King County Library System).
What kind of tech tools can be used to gather reliable information?
What are some of the ways to train individuals to strengthen gathering skills?
Where do you turn for reliable information?
What do you see as the main value of information institutions: journalism, libraries and post-secondary education?
How can journalists, librarians, and educators combine their help our communities learn how to find better information?
so much going on in the world these days affecting libraries, some of it so enraging that i just want to SMASH. SOPA/PIPA. RWA (not my high school, the Research Works Act). Golan v Holder. (and i know these are all American bills/decisions, but given the political climate in My Home and Native Land these days, there’s no reason why we couldn’t enact similar legislation.)
until i can calm down enough to be less Rambina, i’m going to quote from David Weinberger’s post about the blackout yesterday by a buncha organizations (Internet Archive, Wikipedia, lots more).
First, This is our Internet. We built it. We built it for us, not for you. We get to turn off the lights, not you.
Second, we are better custodians of culture than are culture’s merchants because we understand that culture is what we have in common. We feel pain every time something is held back from this Commons.
Third, just as we can make someone famous rather than having to passively accept the celebrities you foist upon us, we can make an idea politically potent. Going dark was the self-assertion with which political engagement begins.
Fourth, there’s a growing “we” on the Internet. It is not as inclusive as we think, it’s far more diverse than we imagine, and it’s far less egalitarian than we should demanand. But so was tbe “we” in “We the People.” The individual acts of darkness declared a start of the We we need to nurture.
the internet is ours and we must fight those who seek to impede our access to it. be outraged.
dear aggregators, ILS vendors, publishers, computer companies, library-equipment companies, and various “cooperatives”:
some good friends in libraryland are having a rough few weeks dealing with you. this makes me unhappy. first off, i appreciate that:
- for the most part you are in this for the benjamins while we are in it for our communities.
- to stay competitive you can’t tailor things down to meet absolutely everyone’s needs.
- you are responsible to your board members who are mostly concerned with #1.
given all of that (and i’m more “appreciative” than some) i still demand an explanation for the abominable customer service, foggy service contracts, condescending sales reps, tech support folks who treat libraries like guinea pigs for a new bug-tracking system, or ridiculous charges for “packages” (mpow has the economist from 8 different sources – it’s a great mag, but, srsly?).
consider this your notice, this will not last much longer. librarians are learning. learning that we can do a lot on our own. learning that it’s worth finding partners how really listen to us. learning that it’s okay to name names and call people out for their craptastic behaviour.
OH! and these librarians? they are moving into upper management (aka: where the buck stops).
so it’s your call really, continue to treat us poorly and then face the inevitable smackdown when i’m running the library. or up your game now, and become a true partner.
canada lost an inspirational leader on monday. i’m still a bit gobsmacked that jack layton, the man who said “we can look after each other better than we do today” and “don’t let them tell you it can’t be done” died of cancer.
for those of you who have not read his final letter to canadialand, please click here.
i was pretty upset about jack’s death, and on monday, i posted to facebook that “i wanted to live in [jack’s] canada.” i was reminded, by my awesome friend barb, that not only could we live in his canada, but “we must… we have no other choice.”
and she is right. if i want to live in the canada jack talked about, it’s on me to do all i can to make that happen.
political fire, ignited.
so i’m not new to the internet. it’s been, errr, over 25 years since i’ve been talking to strangers through my computer. i’ve also met a bunch of friends, so you know, the good outweighs the bad.
and i use social media a lot. A LOT. i have talked and blogged about how i fully believe that twitter got me my first job. and how it has helped me meet awesome folk. and how it inspires me daily. so i understand social media. and, not being a n00b, i realize that this diagram, is fairly accurate:
but i do expect social media companies to be straight with me. to tell me when terms of service change, and to tell me when other things, things that are way more important to me than money, like say, WHAT I SHARE WITH PEOPLE, changes. so recently… this happened.
INORITE? i never thought these guys would get all sneaky. but if you have a linkedin account, be sure to check out this post and be aware of which groups can use your name and photos in their ads on linkedin. (note: read the updates – especially if you run a group.)
alright. i’ve had lots of issues with facebook changing privacy settings on me with no notice. so much so that i now check them every 2 weeks, cuz i don’t trust them. this change is making the rounds now, but i feel like this was actually enabled in the winter? anyway, now all of the phone numbers on your mobile are synced with facebook. you did kinda agree to this by installing the app, but you probably didn’t notice. anyway, to nuke it, just follow these instructions.
all this to say
read everything. i never read the terms of service for itunes, and i’m pretty sure steve jobs n’co now own my house and my first born. i was willing to take that risk in the past, but you know what? i might actually want to keep my first born! if i can’t have a monkey butler, the least i can do is have a kid i can train to get beer from the fridge – right?
so i vow, from this day forward, to read TOS and all the small print for all social networks, and i think you should too. cuz while i like sharing most of my life with everyone, there are somethings my mama don’t need to know.
NB: i’m less worried about facebook these days, since Anonymous is set to take them down on november 5.
i really can’t wait to see what happens.