The idea is simple and easily explained: “23 Things (or small exercises) that you can do on the web to explore and expand your knowledge of the Internet and Web 2.0.” Helene Blowers is a librarian, or rather the Public Services Technology Director for the Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County. The project as outlined is a two month project, so you have about eight weeks to learn about two things a week. Best of all, it’s all available on the web, via an easy to read and understand hyperlinked blog, so you can try it out at your organization. Christine MacKensie, the director of the Yarra Plenty Regional Library in Melbourne, Australia (who did a four month version of the program) makes a great point in the Wired Article “The last thing we want is for people to come into our libraries and ask about Flickr or Second Life and be met with a blank look…. And they certainly won’t now.”
This is just to say that I think harassment of other people is wrong. And anonymous online harassment of people is wrong, and cowardly, and deserves to be called out. I agree with Ryan and Walt and Rafe, especially Rafe’s most recent post where he discusses how for many female bloggers this sort of harassment is nothing new. There was an incident that sparked this particular post — well two, one in the blogonets and one that has been taking place over email — but it’s something I’ve been thinking about generally for some time now.
I haven’t gotten a lot of harassing email and comments, but I have gotten some. I have gotten more of them than I would want. When I was running a blog about civil unions in Vermont — a hot topic at the time — I got an awful lot of hate mail including the “I hope you die of AIDS” variety. I’ve only gotten one “I hope you die” sort of email message related to librarian.net and the scary thing about it was that it was not anonymous. I’m also fairly certain that it was not serious, but it sure did creep me out. I get a bit of razzing and eye-rolling from people on other blogs, but the “hate mail” type communication has stopped, mainly since I left ALA Council. Sorry, but it’s true.
It’s a fine line between calling people out on their shenanigans, and starting a fight that you don’t wish to be involved in. I generally try to steer clear of hassling other people and for the most part they steer clear of hassling me. This doesn’t work for everyone, and I always worry that it won’t work for me forever, this “I have all my personal information on the Internet” thing. In any case, that’s all I have to say on this. More update on things librarian this week.
Mazel tov to Walt Crawford on the publication of his new book Balanced Libraries. Walt published this book via Lulu Press and has devoted some space in his most recent issue of Cites and Insights to discussing how the Lulu Experience worked for him.
I’ve spent some of the last week going back and forth with editors of various things I’ve written. In one case an article I’d written had a blurb that I felt totally missed the point of my article, and in another case the changing of an ellipsis to a period made the last paragraph of a book introduction I wrote come across in a way I hadn’t intended. I decided not to continue co-editing a column for Serials Review because the sheer amount of process involved in communicating with Elsevier — making sure each web-page citation was in proper CMS style, getting a ton of automated email, most of which I was directed to ignore — wasn’t worth it for me. Every time, I was working with great editors, but there is only so much they can do between the time an article is written and the time it appears in print. No one enjoys being edited, but I think for most of us it’s the cost of doing business.
Between Walt’s Lulu experience and the books that Rory has been putting out as part of Library Juice Press — which I shamefully confess to having received and not yet had time to read but man do they look lovely — there are now alternatives to the slow intractable schedules and my-way-or-the-highway agreements that print publication has given us. Granted, these may not be legitimate in the eyes of tenure-granters, but not all of us are looking for tenure nowadays. I wish this shift were giving more of us bargaining power with existing print publishers, or changing the way they do business somewhat, but my feeling is that it will.
I’ve been enjoying the Blatant Berry Blog. John Berry’s most recent post Personal Politics & The ALA is a short discussion of his view on why he thinks it’s okay for a membership organization to occasionally weigh in on political matters that don’t always seem directly relevant to the general topic of the organization. I am also a person who “mixes up” the personal and political and, like Berry, agree that the line that other people see clearly has not always seemed so clear to me.
Update: Rory has rewritten his earlier post which he took down about dealing with political issues while being on ALA Council. Many of his observations mirror my own.
How to make a bookshelf out of an old set of World Book encyclopedias from the always-interesting Instructables.