a little thing I wrote

I wrote 5000 words about writing 100,000 words. Here’s my essay on In the Library with the Lead Pipe about thoughts I had on writing for print in an era of digital content.

happy birthday to me, from the writer’s desk

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.

Photo is from this post at inhabitat about this art exhibit.

the beginning of school

I’m adding another microjob to all the microjobs I have. Starting next week I will be the super-part-time IT lady at the vocational high school that I work at. This means that I’ll be the triage lady between the IT troubles at the school and the expensive tech consultants that do the networking and account management and mail server for the school. This is good news for me. I’ll even, sort of, have a classroom because there’s an empty one. I’m going to dial back my adult ed teaching in the evenings for a semester so that I can be around at night. So, for anyone curious or keeping track at home, here is my “what I do for work” list at the moment.

  • I run MetaFilter – I am one of two full-time moderators. In addition to the guy who owns the site and the coder who builts a lot of it, we’re it. Running Ask MetaFilter has taught me a lot about how people look for information and how they do or do not find it.
  • I give talks – as other people have observed, public speaking opportunities seem to be dropping off somewhat. I was turning down offers last year because I was overbooked, now I’m doing maybe one a month? Works out well for me, but it’s hardly a reliable income stream.
  • I am still automating the Tunbridge Library using Koha. It’s slow going. Some of that slowness is me, some is not. I work a few hours a week on it. We’re at the point where everything’s got a sticker and now we’re linking records to items. Exciting.
  • I’m writing a book for Libraries Unlimited about teaching people to use computers over on this side of the digital divide. Due in March and I’m doing my own index. Wish me luck!
  • I’m still doing drop-in time at the local vocational high school which is a different job from the IT job though also just a few hours a week.
  • I got a royalties check from Mcfarland for about $20 so I guess that’s sort of like a job.

I’m sure there are other things I’m forgetting. As usual, librarian.net is just a hobby blog and not something that brings in any money which is AOK by me. This is post #3001 after 10+ years of doing this.

what it’s like to be an NPR librarian?

NPR’s blog As a Matter of Fact should help you figure that out, and learn some neat stuff besides. Though really, using the OED to answer a question about Twitter? [via]

wordpress 2.5 upgrade complete

Hi. I’ve just updated to WordPress 2.5 and while I find the admin interface horrible, the web site seems to look okay. This upgrade fixes some pretty nasty vulnerabilities that the 2.3-ish version of WordPress had. Do yourself a favor and take the time to update. If you notice anything gone kablooey about the blog post-update, please leave a comment here or drop me an email. Thanks!

nyplblog

The New York Public Library is blogging. A little more backstory from Jay and Josh at the labs. It’s really neat to see the blog being used to surface content from the collection, not just fancy images, but all sorts of stuff: NY history, ephemera and even a little conversation.

booktruck on Gorman

I haven’t been digging too deeply into the Gorman back and forth because I’ve said my piece and unless he says something radically different, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. It’s been fun to read a few more spirited responses than mine, I like what booktruck has to say.

[H]e has an opportunity to fulfill a role as a public intellectual talking about libraries, archives and information topics that are important to the public, and he blows it on a self-referential argument chasing some bygone ideal of what it means to have reasoned discourse (bypassing, like, the last 70 years of western thought!), and in a needlessly puffy and alienating style that would (in a perfect world) never pass muster in a “real” scholarly setting.

Also don’t miss a counter-essay from Matthew “An Unquiet History” Battles. What is particularly interesting about his response is the bizarrely snooty comments it receives especially the first few.

[I]n the end, we’re still left with a Wild West ethos on the Web where kids armed with a powerful new toy (yes, yes, the toys and tools are “creative” too!) can hide behind anonymity, shirk responsibility, pretend to be professors of Church doctrine a la “Essjay” (in the recent Wikipedia scandal), and trash and defame the character of a John Seigenthaler. All with impunity and in the name of progress, creativity (there’s that word again!), and “wildly individual consciousnesses” (Battles is too good a stylist to float such a phrase).

If that’s the high-level discourse so often lamented to be lacking from “blogs” then I can say I don’t much miss it. It’s just blogging with a bigger vocablary, truly. Wouldn’t it be sad if the Britannica Blog just turned into another “you think you’re so great but you’re really not so great” back and forth? “Where Ideas Matter” indeed!

LoC Blog

Two neat things. Library of Congress has a blog. Librarian.net blog is on its (currently two items long) blogroll. Woo, we love LoC! Now please consider replacing the subject heading Hermphroditism with Intersexuality. Thanks.

a new kind of book blog

Barbara Yates makes lovely books out of wood and other recycled materials. My favorite one post blog ever. [thanks peacay]

just in case you thought this place was highbrow

I would like to direct your at5tention to Babes With Books. Subtitles “Smart girls are hot! — Nothing but pictures of attractive literate females. A book blog like no other.” it even has a post with (a few) scenes from libraries. [thanks paul!]