coming late to the webinar game

me at a webinar looking like The Swedish Chef

So in the past month I’ve done something I swear I would never do. And I did it twice. I’m taking about webinars. I swore them off in 2008-ish when I did one that was an end-to-end hassle of software, hardware and personal communication. I felt underutilized and underpaid and definitely didn’t feel like I got my message across effectively. A lot has changed since then. Software has gotten better and I’ve gotten a bit better at working with whatever I’m given. Here’s a little rundown on the two events.

First talk was for NJLA, a little virtual keynote talk about Open Library. We used Adobe Connect software which was pretty straightforward to use even though it meant transferring my Keynote slides into PowerPoint. I got to give a talk, keep up with a chat window and answered questions afterwards. I thought it went well and I got to talk about Open Library to a lot of people without leaving my house. The talk is archived for NJLA members but otherwise not available online. Since I’ve been talking about Open Library a lot lately I’ve made a landing page for the various talks I gave.

The second talk was more complex as it was part of a multi-hour event called Library 2.016 with a subtopic called Privacy in the Digital Age. This one used Blackboard’s collaborate software which was a bit more of a hassle (could not use my presenter notes at all, had to read my talk from my laptop at home) but did allow for recording of the entire event so it could be played back, chatroom at all. My talk was short, twenty minutes, and then we had a brief Q&A session. The sponsor of the event, San Jose State University’s library school, made the odd choice of not making links to the recordings or the schedule of the event available to people who didn’t register. However, the link to the recording is a public link, so if you want to hear my talk, you can do that here. I’ve also put my notes and slides online in the usual place.

In both cases, the webinar format worked decently even if the software was a little clunky to get to know. Unsurprisingly, the trickiest issues were the human decisions that went into how to run the webinars, not the actual software or hardware. IU had a decent enough time and am going to consider maybe doing another webinar before another eight years pass. Big thanks to Allen McGinley and Steve Hargadon who made both events happen.

Talks and talking in 2015 to date

Librarians need to know... how porn drives technology

This has been an odd year. Not only am I teaching college as my major job now (HTML and CSS, but I’m an adjunct so I swear I won’t be making a thing about it) but I’ve been doing a lot less of the usual talk circuit talk stuff. I just got back from CLA (California Library Association) which was a totally great time. I gave two talks (a major talk and an Ignite session which is pictured here) and won at Battledecks which was a dream come true. I enjoy the Ignite format and I’ve give three Ignite or Pecha Kucha Style talks this year.

One about Open Library that I gave at VLA
One at NELA about the Vermont Passport Program (and I swear I will write an article about it real soon now)
– The last one about porn driving technology adoption which is not only true it’s an amusing talk topic. That was for the CLA After Dark part of the program at a specific Ignite session called the Haters Ball including suck topics as I Hate Library Tours And You Should Too.extremal-board

I also spoke to my local Rotary club about the Digital Divide and got a good conversation started in my community about what we can be doing to help the people who need help. This is all coming on the tail of some aggravated shoulder stuff that’s been keeping me away from the keyboard for the past few months except when necessary (read: for work) which is finally getting resolved. So hey how are things?

I need to find a public domain image of _______. How do I do that?

commemorative cricket plate

Reference question of the day was about finding public domain images. Everyone’s got their go-tos. If I am looking for illustrations or old photos specifically I’ll often use other people’s searches on top of the Internet Archive’s content. Here’s a little how to.

1. Check the Internet Archive Book Images feed on Flickr. What I often do is search (which finds the words that surround the images) and then click straight through to the book (which is always linked in the metadata) and then fish around. For example…

Not the Avengers of librarianship. Thoughts on the DPLA/White House/FirstBook/IMLS/ALA thing

It could have been the Avengers of librarianing. All these powerhouses working together to help increase low-income childrens’ access to good reading material. But I don’t think that’s how it worked out. Here are my thoughts on last week’s press releases about this new set of programs. Written for The Message.

Aren’t libraries already doing that?

Why SpaceX photos aren’t public domain (yet)

Sometimes people who license their digital content aren’t really thinking it through. They may have something else on their minds or copyright nuance may not be their thing. I think it behooves us copyright advocates and activists to (at least) politely try to push the envelope towards more open content licensing. Here’s the example I enjoyed from today.


This is interesting especially because Flickr uses Creative Commons licensing, but does not use CC-0 which is an intentional choice. Photos from cultural heritage organizations which are in the Flickr Commons have an additional “no known copyright restriction18comixoption that is only available to specific accounts, not any Flickr user. There are many ways this specific issue can be resolved but just the fact that it’s generally a hurdle that has to be overcome indicates that there is still a good role for copyright reform advocates to play. More supporting links: Original article & SpaceX photos on Flickr.

Update: I made this into a longer Medium post.

Why SpaceX’s photos (maybe) aren’t public domain