I went out to Oregon to give a talk to the people who staff L-net, the 24/7 virtual reference service for the state of Oregon. They have a yearly conference which is a lot of fun. Video from the talks will be available at some point, but I figured I’d link to my talk now. I talked about Ask MetaFilter and a little bit about what we do there and how it is and is not like other forms of virtual reference. Lots of stats. Lots of anecdotes and sample questions. The Slideshare version doesn’t seem to have the notes attached and functional (attached yes, accurate, no), so while I hammer that out from them, you can also go to the talk’s page on librarian.net and download whichever version you want. Thanks to all who attended on Friday.
Archive for the 'me!' Category
Talking about the digital divide in Connecticut is a lot different from talking about it in Texas, or even Vermont. Unlike most states I’ve looked at, Connecticut really doesn’t have a large population of people who live in an area where they can’t get broadband. I’m sure it has the same numbers of offline people, generally speaking, but whatever their reasons for being offline are, they’re not for lack of access. I admit, I played this for laughs a bit at my CLA since I know that people aren’t going to confuse broadband access with technological know-how and will still see that there is work to be done.
All my talks went well. Here’s what I’ve been up to recently
- Last Thursday I was on a panel with some interesting people including the soon-to-be-president of ALA Molly Raphael. We answered some provocative questions about the future of libraries and mostly had a great time.
- Friday I gave my talk about developing a technology curriculum for libraries. For those of you used to my usual stuff, this was a departure. Not heavily attended–it was in one of the last timeslots of the conference–but I was pleased with it. If you’re considering a technology curriculum, you might be interested in my short set of notes/slides. I got to present with Anna Fahey-Flynn who is Curriculum Development Librarian at Boston Public and it was really interesting to see how their tech instruction program is coming together.
- Over the weekend I walked around in the sun in Massachusetts and then headed to CT for the CT Library Association conference. Before attending the conference I was interviewed for public acess TV in Manhattan about the Google Books project and copyright and a few other things. No idea when this will go live, but if you think you’ve seen me on tv talking about Google Books, you may have.
- Tuesday I gave a talk about myths about the digital divide, similar to my Texas talk but with some local examples.
As usual, I also got to attend some great presentations including a talk by BPL and the Internet Archive [at MLA] about how they’re working together to provide digital access to library content via Open Library. This may be a personal thing, but I’m always excited when libraries test boundaries and tell us “We checked with our lawyers and they think this is an acceptable level of risk.” I also saw a CMS smackdown/comparison [Drupal vs. WordPress] by Polly-Alida Farrington and Shanon Clapp which was full of good information and delivered with a friendly “you can do it!” approach. I also saw John Palfrey’s closing keynote talking about the digital divide and some of what Harvard’s Library Lab has been up to, and the DPLA and other things. I’ve mostly seen him in contexts where he was talking to non-librarians so it was fun to see him explaining a lot of these big idea projects on my home turf.
I’m home for a bit, back to teaching my Know Your Mac classes, staffing drop-in time, filling in at the public library and waiting for my book to be in print [this week, here's hoping] and then travelling to Portland at the end of the month for the Oregon Virtual Reference Summit.
Speaking at library and library-type conferences seems to mostly keep me busy for March – May and October – November. This week I’ll be headed down to Danvers MA for MLA and then on to Stamford CT for CLA. In both cases I’m speaking but also trying to attend as much of the conferences as I can given my night owl tendencies. Here’s where I’ll be, please say hi if you see me, or come to one of my talks.
- MLA – Thursday the 28th at 1 pm – I’ll be on the Future of Libraries, or, What the Heck are You Thinking? panel along with Scot Colford, Kieth Michael Fiels and Maureen Sullivan which is sure to be interesting and probably fun.
- MLA – Friday the 29th at 10:30 I’ll be talking about Curriculum Development for Public Libraries along with Anna Fahey-Flynn from BPL. Sort of a new direction and I’m looking forward to it.
- CLA – Tuesday May 3rd at 2:40 I’ll be talking about the myths we believe about the digital divide and offer some researched based statistics as to what’s really going on.
In june I’ll be doing a talk for NELA-ITS and heading over to Oregon for the Oregon Virtual Reference Summit in The Dalles. This is all a good way to channel fidgets since I’m all “EEeeeeee” waiting for my book to come out. Thanks in advance for saying hello.
I was at an NHLA business meeting talking to people about why they might care about what I had for breakfast. It’s a flip way of talking about the whole “Who cares about Twitter/Facebook/Social?” stuff that I feel I hear softly filtering down from offline populations who mostly know about this sort of technology through print media and TV. So, given an opportunity to talk about what I do all day, I explained how social media permeates and penetrates the things I do.
My employer, MetaFilter, has a strong social component as well as claiming over 200 librarians among its members. While the site itself is fairly restricted to bloggish interaction, we have some super-organized members who like to compile Best Of sorts of lists over on our wiki. I think I’ve mentioned this before, but the Read Me page on the wiki now has links to over 1000 threads worth of book recommendations.
Last week I was down at Simmons where I gave a really short talk about … talking. Basically talking about what public speaking entails and offers in the larger world of librarianship. It’s called “You Do What For A Job?” and you might like it.
So, since I was sticking around town working this month I didn’t go to Internet Librarian or most of NELA, and a few smaller conferences. It was fun to read other people’s summaries, and occasionally real-time reactions, for all the presentations. I’ll be making a sort of “what I learned from not going to conferences” post sometime in the next few days. For now, I’m done with public speaking until March and I’m pretty okay with that. It’s been a fun Fall season.
I mentioned it on my personal blog, but I’ve finished writing my book and submitted the draft to my editor, Barbara Ittner from ABC-CLIO/Libraries Unlimited. Assuming everything goes well, it will be available at the end of January. This is the first time since April of last year that I have not in some way been writing this book, though most of the actual writing took place in the last six months. I lenjoyed writing and I am enjoying not-writing. Here’s a little bit of reflection on the book writing thing.
1. The book’s title is Without a Net: Librarians Bridging the Digital Divide. The book is already for sale on Amazon. This is sort of weird, watching its sales rank soar and plummet six months before its even available. I set up an author page there, but I’m not sure what to do with it. I’m aware that the book is expensive. I’m aware that I could sell it more cheaply if it were self-published. I know I don’t really need any of the statusing that comes along with publishing with an established publisher. I’ll probably grouse that I could have made a better cover. However, I don’t think I would have written this book without an external deadline, even though I think in many ways this is the book I’ve been “meant to write” for some time now. So, thank you to Barbara for suggesting it and helping make it a reality.
2. I really cocooned while I was writing. I stopped reading my RSS feeds for about the first time ever. I kept my IM client off. I’d peek at Twitter and try to remember to keep adding things to my blog. I sort of checked out from my online and offline communities except for work and occasional Twitter updates. It was an odd thing to do.
3. I woke up every morning determined to write at least 1000 words and would tell myself “I chose this.” but it was still really difficult. Some days the words just flowed. Some days 1000 words would take eight hours. I type about 90 words a minute, when I’m on a roll this would all go fast. I had to keep reminding myself that in many ways I am the expert on this topic and so it was okay to speak from a position of authority and not have to cite statistics all the time.
4. I felt like I was becoming a total dullard. “How’s it going Jessamyn?” “Pretty good, I’m writing a book.” “Still?” This became easy because after a while I just didn’t feel that I had the free time to go out. I’m working on re-entry, it’s going okay.
5. The book has my voice which means I say that some things work and some don’t. I’m sure people will have strong opinions about some of it and I mentally prepared myself for a lot of pushback, more than I will likely get. I make a lot of assertions about how I see the digital divide and what I think is working and not working to mitigate it. I hope people don’t get bogged down in nitpicking. I hope no one that I mention feels that I was uncharitable.
6. I asked for and received a lot of help from people–editing help, requests for pullquotes, some open Twitter requests for information, proofreading–and it’s weird to me that only my name will be on it. I have an extensive “thanks” section. I’m sure I’ve forgotten as many people as I’ve included. It’s odd, in a lot of ways the path I’ve chosen has room for a lot of showboating, doing public presentations, talking on my blog about what I’ve been doing or thinking about, and yet I get timid when there’s actually a situation where it’s useful to be all BUY MY BOOK.
That is the report about the book. You can buy it or not. I think it will be good.
I gave a really fun talk in Utica, New York at the MidYork Library System lately. It was an overview of social tools [mainly how libraries are using Twitter and Facebook] with the added “how to make a widget” aspect that I think helps people envision real live things they could do with it. I used feed2js to make a new sidebar on librarian.net for New York Times Best Sellers, all right in front of them. Without doing anything more complicated than copying and pasting. I’m happy that all the “bla bla RSS” talking we’ve been doing is now meeting web tools like My Yahoo and Google reader [and other standalone products] so that people can really quickly and easily set up revolving content on their otherwise static websites.
You can see my notes and slides here. Success with Social Networking. Thanks very much to the nice people at Mid-York for setting up such a fun day.
The University of North Texas Library & Information Sciences Student Association has a little blog where they interview library professionals as a resource for students to learn more about the world of work. I answered a few questions for them over there.
Hiya. I’m preparing for a talk on Social Software that I’m giving in Utica, New York next Friday. I’ve been travelling significantly less and staying home writing much more. It’s been going well. I noticed last night on facebook [thanks Trevor] that I appear to be cartoonified and on the cover of this month’s Library Journal. Of course this is the post-Reed Business LJ, so I can’t find the cover on their new website and Trevor confirms there’s no actual mention of him or me in the actual article, but hey why pick nits? Interested folks can head over to his facebook profile and ID all the other luminaries on the cover including Emily Sheketoff, Nancy Pearl, Toni Morrison, Ginnie Cooper, Jill Nishi, Salman Rushdie, Mario Ascencio, Trevor Dawes, Camila Alire and Keith Michael Fiels floating away holding on to some balloons.
I always skip my blog’s birthday because it’s 4/20 which is on or near Earth Day, the holiday of stoners everywhere, and usually school vacation. So hey, my blog is now eleven! And I write in it much less than I used to. Partly this is because I’ve got a 1000 word/day minimum writing deal with myself getting my book out the door. I just noticed you can pre-order it from Amazon which sort of freaks me out. I set up a page for the book but there’s really nothing there yet. I hope the cover looks okay. Partly I’ve been doing a lot of other things. Though my crazy six weeks of travel is over — with a whimper, not a bang, since I didn’t get to PLA which displeases me — I’ve been doing my tech work in town and started riding my bike around a lot more. Spring is delightful here.
I’m still answering a lot of library-type emails (someone looking for a copy of DDC 20, got one?) and working at MetaFilter which contains more than its share of writing. I seem to be pouring more of my “this is why the digital divide is important” efforts into the book, though I’ve been pulling out little snippets here and there.
And I gave a talk about Open Source and why it’s important to small libraries at a local conference for educators recently. The notes for the talk are here: Solving Problems with FOSS- What works and doesn’t work in Vermont’s Libraries. It was a great talk but I think I aimed it for more of a library-ish audience and teachers and IT folks have different goals. I did get to talk to a lot of people in my region about what sorts of tech things work and don’t work, and saw a great presentation about MYTH-TV, an open source alternative to home DVR stuff. Fascinating stuff. Interesting times.
As most of you know, I’m working on a book. As many of you likely don’t know, I can be a terrible procrastinator though I tend to deliver content on time if I can (my deadline’s been extended til June). So I’m spending the next few months being a perfectionist, noodling with Scrivener, and talking to my computer about the digital divide and how libraries and librarians can help people cross it. I may send out some queries for some personal feedback and/or anecdotes at some point.
In the meantime I’ll be reading offline more, writing here less, and not travelling out of state again for work until summertime. Thanks to the wonders of RSS, you’ll know when I’m adding more content here [and I've added my twitterstream to the sidebar] but I sadly won’t be heading to Computers in Libraries. Hope it’s fun.