I had been holding off on linking to the Web Tech Guy and Angry Staff Person video/blog post because I have mixed feelings about the idea generally even though I know it was a big hit when they showed it off at the conference. Then it hit MetaFilter and I found the discussion there helped me not only flesh out my own feelings about it but gave me a look into how other professionals from different perspectives saw it. Most notably, I was interested in this comment by Larry Cebula who works for Washington State and runs an award-winning northwest history blog.
I work for the Washington State Digital Archives. We have something like 80 million documents, mostly from Washington State counties, online and add millions more per month. After years of resistance the counties are really hopping aboard and have become great fans of our service.
But still we get these complaints and worries. It is even worse with archives than museums because so many county and local archives count on revenues for access to fund their offices. We are about to put up thousands of cases from county courts, some dating back to the late 1800s. But the county insists that we display only the top half of the first page of each record–and charge 25 cents a page for users to even view the records beyond that first half page! It is anti-democratic and eliminates many of the potential advantages of digital history, but there you have it.
Slightly related librarian topic over at AskMetaFilter, a question about questions: What questions do library users most often ask?
For any librarians attending SXSW — which I’m gathering will be at least a few judging from the chatter I’ve been hearing — I’ll be there starting tomorrow night. Here is the short list of events I’m committed to
- Librarian meetup at the Iron Cactus on Saturday at 12:30 – more details, or here
- MetaFilter meetup Saturday at 6:30 at Mother Egan’s – more details
- The panel I’m on about community moderation — with folks from Flickr and YouTube and Etsy and CurrentTV — Sunday at 3:30
- Fray Cafe Sunday night from 8 – midnight. I’m a featured performer, come hear my crazy story.
I leave on Tuesday. Monday is an open day and I may go to the Ransom Center to see what’s nifty there.