Society for American Archivists changes stance on listserv archives

After a lot of blustery back and forth, the SAA has reversed its decision to ditch the SAA listserv archives. I think this is a smart plan, but it was interesting to watch the back and forth on this topic. Some salient points

  • The “lifetime of your comments” issue – one of the issues involved potential trouble with people wanting their material purged from the listserv archives. Back before things like this were easily Googleable, you could post things to a listserv that mostly remained only within the collective memory of the group, that is no longer the case. This presents trouble for some people, and may represent trouble for the groups. When I was on ALA Council, I was always surprised that people didn’t seem to have an understanding that anything that they posted to the list was linkable on the Internet via the Council archives.
  • The cost issue – if it’s too expensive to store your online content, you are probably not making the most of available options. For savvy non-profits, storing text online — even heavy-bandwidth content — is often free or close to free. If someone is charging you a lot of money, consider changing your hosting options.
  • Admin hassles – again as with the previous topic, depending on the tech-savviness of your membership and your willing volunteers, techie projects like moving an archive can seem simple, or too-difficult difficult. If you have people who are telling you that a tech project is “too hard” ask around and see if you can find other people who have a different viewpoint. I think it’s a good idea to never look a gift volunteer in the mouth, and of course we all do our share of unpaid work to help our professional organizations, but sometimes this government of the willing doesn’t result in the right person for the right job. It’s a tough balance, often made tougher by the fact that a group of non-techie people will think that many techie projects are hard when what is more true is that the techie project is outside of their abilities — something that they may not even know themselves. Working out these dilemmas often requires more diplomacy than the average super-techie person is used to working with, and this is a problem that I personally grapple with on an almost daily basis.

So, good on you SAA for doing the right thing. I hope this decision turns out to not be too onerous for all involved.

five non-library blogs I read all the time

For the purposes of this exercise I’m not going to wait until I’m tagged and I won’t tag anyone else. I also won’t include blogs I work on, or blogs of really close friends since I think the reasons I might like a friend’s blog might not interest you, or anyone else. I’m also skipping feeds that aren’t really blogs, though I think certain tag feeds on Flickr are more fascinating than almost anything else. I’m just peeking around my RSS feeds. This is what I’ve got for you.

  • This is Broken — a great blog where readers send in examples of bad user experience. Can be a bad web page, or a bad doorknob, or a bad instruction.
  • Copyfight – the most recent post on the OK Go phenomenon will easily show why I like this. It’s a blog about laws and rights and intellectual property and copyright why they matter and are worth fighting for and about.
  • – Rafe is an early blogger who I’ve just sort of known in a blogger sense since forever. When I had an extra Flickr pro account, I sent it to him yet I still don’t know him and we’re just barely in the friends of friends category though I’m sure I’d stop by and say hi if I was in his neighborhood.
  • randomwalks – this blog has, at times, had friends of mine writing for it but I’m not sure of the cause/effect deal there. RW talks about a lot of things that interest me and it’s nice to look at.
  • Joho the Blog – I know David Weinberger from around — met him at the DNC in fact — but it would be a stretch to call him a library blogger. He cares about taxonomy and the tools that all the kids today are using and he uses the tools while commenting thoughfully about them.

Enjoyment in Libraries – Art & 2.0 Tech

Sometimes when I’m talking about 2.0-ish stuff, it can be hard to think of immediate examples of how libraries have always been doing a lot of this stuff, we just now have the tools to make it easier. A case in point is an email I received this morning from the Finkelstein Memorial Library. They have an exhibit at their library of drawings from David Friedman, a Holocaust survivor, who found peace and quiet in libraries upon his arrival in the US. He made a series of sketches of people enjoying the library that are available online as a slide show. While the library didn’t use Flickr for this particular web page, they could have, and they could have done so without much technical knowledge whatsoever.

While working on this series, it was his trips to the library that offered him the necessary respite from the torment and agony of his memories. The artist said, “I needed to forget about the concentration camps and the horror that was there. So it was a pleasure to go to the library.” The artist’s wife, Hildegard, and his daughter, Miriam Friedman Morris, have donated Mr. Friedman’s drawings of libraries in St. Louis, Missouri during the period 1962-1972 to the Finkelstein Memorial Library in Spring Valley, New York. We have digitalized the images and it is our great pleasure to share them with you online.

caught up on my RSS feeds

So five days after getting back to the US, I am caught up on my RSS feeds. This is mostly because I prioritized things like getting pictures on Flickr, going food shopping, getting to the pool, arguing about Twitter, and making this little YouTube movie. Here are some things I read that I think you might like to read.

  • Chris over at Libraryola does some actual investigating into the hubub surrounding the WaPo article about the library’s weeding policy. He gets a much more well-rounded answer from Sam Clay, the system director, than what the newspaper published.
  • Walt asks if SecondLife and social software networks are where our patrons really are. I love the idea of SL, and the immediate potential as a place for geographically spread out people to come together is great (free teleconferencing!) but not a single person I’ve talked to out here uses it… yet. So, for me there’s a difference between going where my users are and trying to make them go someplace I like. I’ll evangelize about the usefulness of the Internet generally, especially for poor rural populations who can use it to save money and save gas, but I’ll wait a little before diving whole hog into SL. The comments seemed to have turned into a Walt vs. Jenny debate, we’ll see if they stay that way.
  • Casey (that’s Mad Scientist Mover and Shaker Casey) has reprinted the Ten Commandments of Egoless Programming with a caveat about copyright. My favorite: Treat people who know less than you with respect, deference, and patience, that’s gotten me further than most of what I learned in library school.
  • Jenny points to a cool opportunity to be a virtual scholar for the Urban Libraries Council. It’s a little outside my usual interest areas of services to rural populations, but it might be just perfect for someone.
  • Rachel at LISJobs ruminates on why online publications still charge for classified ads by the word, and uses the opportunity to mention how LISjobs is still free as in beer.

weekend survey time

I’m clawing through the fog of jetlag and email backlog. Thank jehu that I have Twitter to help me feel even further behind! If you have more free time than I do, you may want to help out with some surveys.