fun thing: six links worthy of your attention

amy posted this January 19th, 2013 | filed under: discovery, innovation, inspire me! | no comments »

i frequently find myself drowning in libraryland/academic blogs. so much to read. so much echo. so much of the rest of the world that i’m ignoring.

thank jeebus for the  weekly “six links worthy of your attention” post. it collects the recommendations of some seriously awesome folk (yes, two of them spoke at Access2012 this year. yes, they rocked. yes, you shoulda been there.) in terms of what is good and great to read on the tubes each week.

 

[ya they are all montrealers. i might be biased. if you lived here, you would be too.]

 

 


if not now, when?

amy posted this January 16th, 2013 | filed under: inspire me!, moi, ranting, revolution | no comments »

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 educationDon’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.]


be kind. think big. laugh.

amy posted this September 15th, 2012 | filed under: moi | no comments »

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:

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.

 

remembering a friend

(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.

 


come to montreal!

amy posted this August 20th, 2012 | filed under: conference-y, innovation, inspire me! | Tags: | no comments »

 

we’ve opened registration for Access 2012 and i think you should all register to join us for what is sure to be one kickass conference.

 


wonder if they’ll let me do it again

amy posted this August 13th, 2012 | filed under: conference-y, discovery, general, ilovemyjob, innovation, inspire me!, presenting, ranting | Tags: , , | no comments »

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.)

the first is We Build Online Communities. Really, We Do with Michael Porter (Library Renewal) and David Lee King (Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library).

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 please mosey over to the panel picker and vote. be sure to check out all the #sxswLAM proposals!


get your publish on

amy posted this May 18th, 2012 | filed under: general | no comments »

i’m thrilled to announce the inaugural issue of the Journal of Librarianship & Scholarly Communication. this journal came out of a fantastic series of meetings sponsored by IMLS on library-based publishing. i was fortunate enough to go to the University of Utah to share how my experiences in publishing pre-libraryland are helping me as i work on McGill’s epublishing initiatives. there i met Isaac, and a number of other kickass-types in libraries and scholarly publishing. also, Salt Lake City has some yummy beer.
anyway, JLSC was founded after those meetings by Isaac and Marisa who saw the need for a venue to discuss the issues relevant to scholarly communication and publishing librarians (and IR managers, and those involved in digitization, and and and…)

basically i kinda feel like this journal was created for my job, specifically. HOW LUCKY AM I?

i was fortunate enough to be invited to be part of the founding editorial board, which, kinda blew my mind, and my mind continues to be blown during every editorial board conference call. ya, a conference call that i actually look forward to – who woulda thunk it?

so, check out the inaugural issue. then think of something to submit to get your research out there! (naturally, we are an open access publication, cuz research shouldn’t live behind pay barriers.)


wow. that worked.

amy posted this March 13th, 2012 | filed under: conference-y, discovery, ilovemyjob, innovation, inspire me!, presenting, revolution | Tags: , | no comments »

speaking of doing things that scare me


cc licensed flickr photo shared by jambina

it worked. people came to the session. people asked questions at the end. people followed us out into the hallway to keep talking to us.

i’m not going to go into how awesome it was to present with Char Booth, Nate Hill, and Michael Porter, but, wow, possibly my favouritest panel ever.

here’s the full slidedeck for perusing. i challenge all of you out there in libraryland to submit a proposal to SXSWi next year.

UPDATE
now with audio!


day four of #libday8

amy posted this February 2nd, 2012 | filed under: ilovemyjob, inspire me!, meme, moi | Tags: | no comments »

well today was much better than yesterday, thank jeebus.

headed into work a bit early to triage some email prior to a morning spent with a jobtalk and interviewing a candidate for an gig chez moi.

had a meeting that ran extra long so missed a conference call for SLA Eastern Canada (i’m president-elect) which bummed me out since it was my first thinger in an official capacity. grrrr.

inhaled lunch prior to the selection committee resuming to discuss the morning’s candidate. our committee is made up of folks from all around the library, so it’s always interesting to hear other opinions and figure out what is important to people. sometimes i agree, sometimes i don’t, but the insight is hella valuable.

spent a chunk of the afternoon reviewing the schedules for the 7 students i hired last week. coordinating it with the two digitization projects they are working on, as well as making sure no work station is double-booked… well, let’s just say i’m a big-picture person so will have one of my team members have a look at it and make sure i didn’t monkey any of it. (i probably did.)

met with ed to further develop the workplan for digital initiatives. we’ve built a plan that will take us to september. i think ed calls it “optimistically ambitious” – which means we’re planning to get way too much stuff done by the end of the summer, but that’s kinda how we roll. we seem to be pretty good at getting things done in a miraculous fashion, except when we don’t.

answered a bunch of copyright questions, set up some meetings for a few digital projects we’re working on, and iced my ankle a few times.

towards the end of the afternoon, collections services brought me a few rare books to have digitized as part of an islamic manuscript collection. we chatted about next steps and planned a meeting for tomorrow. the books were just sitting on my desk and so i started wondering about them. looked them up in the catalogue – all three were over 350 years old.

yikes.

now, those of you who know me know that i’m the reason we can’t have nice things. i lose favourite pieces of jewellery, dribble food on fancy clothing, and cause sparks to fly out of expensive machinery.

so i decided it was best to call it a day and get the hell outta my office before i tried to take a swig of water out of my sippy cup, only to have the lid explode off the top, somehow hitting a sprinkler on the ceiling, breaking that little doohickey that if you break it (say, by hanging your clothes from it on a cruise ship because they need to dry and there’s no other place to hang things from since you’re living in a 6’x8′ cabin for 7 months – or so i’m told) sets off the water, thereby drowning my office, and these precious and unique books.

 

 


day three of #libday8

amy posted this February 2nd, 2012 | filed under: ilovemyjob, meme, moi | Tags: | no comments »

freezing rain + me in a hurry = ouch.

leaving the house this morning i wiped out, but good. slipped on the 2nd step down from my apartment and rode the rest of the stairs down on my ass (manoeuvring the curve in the stairs, thank you very much) and totally crunching my ankle at the bottom on the sidewalk.

so i did some work from home while lying prone and taking a few muscle relaxants cuz my back was not at all happy with the slip n’slide.

not much to report cuz the meds made me a bit loopy so i kept napping… read some blogs. sorted some emails. mind-mapped my job to try and get all the pieces to fit together into a cohesive picture.

hopeful that i’ll feel good enough to go into work tomorrow. i’m on the selection committee for a bunch of librarian positions, and there’s an interview & job talk tomorrow that i do not want to miss.

 


day two of #libday8

amy posted this January 31st, 2012 | filed under: ilovemyjob, inspire me!, meme, moi | Tags: | no comments »

fell asleep early last night (so. much. indian. food.) so i woke up hyper early (well, for me). caught up on the blogosphere while listening to cbc. (i haven’t owned a television for over 10 years, so my life revolves around cbc radio.) (and i don’t not own one because i’m a hipster, i don’t own one because when i moved to bc 10 years ago it wasn’t worth shipping our gargantuan console tv.)

cbc is still talking about the horrific Shafia trial. (please don’t follow the links unless you want to be saddened, and likely read some crazytalk by some anti-immigration folks.) having worked in the newsroom of a daily newspaper, i understand the media, and the importance of discussing current events. that being said, i’m up before 8am and so i switch to the top 40 channel and just listen to the weather, cuz my brain is only kinda ready for this stuff.

meet with a faculty member to discuss collaborating on grants together. being tenure-track faculty at mpow, i can apply for all kinds o’research things. that being said, i still have a 9-5 job throughout the year, so it’s not like i’m a regular prof. BUT i know the library has a crucial role to play in many of the fun things happening at mcgill, and i’ll be damned if posted work hours stop me from doing things i truly enjoy and that will place the library as the hub of awesome that it is.

2nd meeting of the day is with my practicum student from the library school. she is looking at what actually makes an IR “successful” (because i don’t think that just having lotsa stuff in it = success. if it ain’t used, it ain’t successful.) she is wicked smart, asks the right questions, and is so interested in repositories that, well, i feel like the library school has come a loooong way since when i was there.

the rest of the day was me locked in my office, with breaks for coffee with ed:

  • finalizing the setup of the room for the retrospective digitization project (and by this i mean actually moving tables, and liaising with the movers)
  • updating various faculty on repository/digitization projects
  • setting meetings about digital collection sites
  • sending in bio and info for the ABQLA conference in May 2012 (battledecks, yo)
  • yelling at people on the internet (pretty standard for me)
  • sorting out some travel issues for CiL2012
  • looking at some metadata for a collection we are contributing to a promising linked data initiative with Library & Archives Canada
  • setting up a lot of meetings for the coming week and a half. a lot.
  • finalizing the coordination of having a friend talk at the library school. i like being able to do this for the school, because students should talk to librarylanders as often as possible, and i know some pretty awesome librarylanders.
  • reading some books for that thing i have to go to. ouf. it’s gonna be tough. (reading, not going to the thing.)
  • evaluating some other grants for a meeting that my partner-in-crime (prof @ the library school) and i want to hold next year
  • dealing with more emails
  • chatting with a team member who totally scored and found 2 large format scanners that had been “retired” but are still very functional, so we’re gonna set them up
  • telling a friend about my conference plan for june and july. his response “good gawd woman.” he was right. re-planning.
  • meeting two colleagues for drinks after work. we have a bunch of branches, so i don’t get to see a lot of my favourite people regularly. i consider this essential and part of my workday.
  • finally getting home and started poking at some sxsw stuff. we present in 6 weeks (WHUT WHUT?) and i’m psyched, but have also dropped the ball re: group prep so i’m working on that.
    also i ate a bucket of roasted rapini. that has nothing to do with being a librarian, but much to do with my happiness in life.
i like these libday things. i still get asked weekly what i do all day. it’s nice having a semi-recording of it. thanks Bobbi!