Stacks up

When I went to library school in 2001 I think we all believed librarians needed to morph into some sort of computer geek.  We would be studying new systems and functioning as fleshy index operators.  It was a good 5 years since the Net was settling into it’s then publicly accessible.. INFORMATION SUPERHIGHWAY.  La. La. Laaa! La. La. La. Laaa!

Librarians were trying to be happy.  Not at all muttering behind their hands… “Oh man.  The internet!  Why didn’t we think of that!”


In 10 years since my degree and 20 years since I started in libraries I do get bemused we have come full circle.  After the 90’s obsession with getting out of closed bookstacks and getting people into the physical materials we are right back to locking knowledge away.  The picture above has been my lens for library service for that past year and a half.  Closed or open?  Connected people? Or information zoo? Are we working with objects or are we working on access?

I again am looking for the direction of library work.  What are we ‘supposed’ to do?

If you were cursed enough to have me assigned as your prof in library school you would have to endure this rant on what makes a real librarian.  We are NOT computer geeks (tho’ those who are I value most highly) we are instead more often in the role of information tasters… I like to say.. like Casanova.  If you did not know that Casanova was a librarian, well, he was. As youth passed him by the man ended his years as a personal librarian. Casanova worked for a frustrating, uninspiring Bohemian Duke; cautionary tale for librarianship right now. Who do we serve? People who know what they want? Casanova worked as a solo librarian, largely unconnected, toiling away in the employ of the privileged, meting out a sense of value to the wise or ill publications that drain us in an environment on information onslaught.


Moving Images

I am working on a list of well loved documentary and educational film sources that are open to users today.  Poor Leanna learned this morning that I am a bit of a digital access Eyore… very concerned that the trend to open content (especially for video) is a luxurious but perilously brief window in the global economies of information.  I like to push this content option to students, librarians and instructors.. possibly in some hope to preserve it.  We’ll see.  Here are some of my favorites. 

National Film Board

CBC Doc zone

Documentary Heaven

Open Culture

Internet Archive Video

New to me.  Still appraising:

Poetry Everywhere

What about you?  Have some recommendations??…





Openness and me this week

I continue to rush through a few jobs to working my OiE work, next month WILL be better I promise.

For this week I have to rest on my fear that after 10 years in teaching, learning, libraries and education my posture here appears to reflect my overall attitude as a… pundit.  Oh golly!

I would really rather be reading and commenting again this week than blogging myself so I will head off to engage with everyone on #opened12 right after this .. but it’s not like i have done nothing this week.

1. I spent hours preparing lessons for students at my University with more aspects of retro-librarianship than I like.  My gut quavering in fear that MPOW is so ingratiated to the resource economy that we are still saying use this scholarly resource when we mean.. prefer a proprietary one!  One of our fellows here raised that.. I’ll go comment over there… stand by…

2. I attended the event from Simon Fraser University Called big ideas for libraries in communities.  10 persons, not necessarily librarians (phew), each had 5min to present ideas to embed libraries in community.. which is of course a euphemism for increase relevance of [insert your demi-victorian-waning-socialwelfare-public service here]…. In the top 3 audience picks were libraries supporting rare, unique publications; digitization of local photographs on an open platform; #mooc for digital literacy for citizens from the public library.  I could write a paper on the politic, economics and sociology (never mind the history ; >) of open education embedded in the dialogue there.  Maybe I’ll do that… soon. #wishfulthinking

3. I was engaged yesterday in the #opendataLS Open Data Learning Summit from the BC government and the BC Libraries CO-op.  One more heartbreaking conference where the potential of some great leap forward is envisioned within a crippling silo of likeminded people.  I have a really strong track record with that, which is made even stronger by participating in the business of K12 education, Higher ed, public libraries, IT service and gov’t at one turn or another over the last 18 months.  Like I say… heartbreaking… but still we try.

I think especially of the question from the remarkable journalist and coder @coppinr can libraries be aggregating data sets in the spirit of openness.  We didn’t admit it.. but the answer is no.  IT service management and libraries is more than often a disaster, library skills with collection management is something that is at odds with technical services sustainability and the tenor of datasets so although we keep saying we’ll change this any day…  we are NOT there yet.  Our service mode is sustaining too many old services to offer these new ones..

Please go visit the archives…instead! Where they might be smidge better off infrastructure wise but will lack the opennesses you sense so rightly from public libraries.. or worse yet leave publics for ‘the university’ where brand and ownership will infect datasets to their very core within minutes :<

Thank you  Rhiannon Coppin  your question is so important.

And a thank you too, @haigarman for his data visualization talk and math + aesthetics advocacy.  A wonderful after talk with him about the painful history of literacy over numeracy in the North American psyche…  I could probably write a thesis on “the language of instruction” how literacy and the tyranny of books kill collaboration, innovation and equity in learning extended Canadian edition #ohcanada #languagefight


Image Credit for banner pic

I must thank my long time blogging compatriot James Griffioen who has allowed me to reproduce this image of his for my #bookend thoughts for a few years now.  James writes here and has an important display of his photographs here:

It is as it was at the end of the age of Rome.  I thank so many people who help me question (and sometimes answer) “what do we value?”


Openness in education

This is my workspace for the Fall #mooc for #oped12.  I am hoping to put a good measure of op into the discussion.  Look forward to landing some of the buzzing in my brain about the following into the openness opining, including:

Textbook cartel theory in Canadian educational history

Multimedia resource use in learning

Strength of community tools for online openness for Kindergarten and up

Social media theory and the disruption of publishing

Information consumption versus content creation in the learning economies

Mini dark age of knowledge in the digital shift

Hmmm.. maybe other things.