From a local hearing impaired pal: Can you help the library to get captions on Zoom? They’ve been trying to figure it out for a couple of months now. I asked them to have you help them, but I don’t think they’ve tried that.
Live captions are now a service available to anyone with a Zoom account, paid or free, but its not always obvious how to get it working. I got it sorted for my local library so I figured I’d write down my steps in case it helps others. Turns out this is a thing you have to first turn on in the settings which is confusing. Continue reading “Ask A Librarian: Getting Live Transcription Working with Zoom”
From a friend in my trivia community: I’ll post a link to an article or something on FB and/or Twitter, and I hear from Euro folk about how they’re blocked from reading it. I’d like to have a go-to answer for them that would be broadly applicable. Can you give me a generalized technique for this problem when it arises?
Sure! This is also how I get around soft-paywalls like “You have read all your free articles this month” (won’t work with “You have to pay to see this at all”) for news sites like the New York Times and other places I may not have full access too. Here are steps. Continue reading “Ask A Librarian: Sharing links behind a soft paywall?”
I spoke with a woman who works for a website that is frequently cited on Wikipedia as a source for a particular kind of data–think IMDB for a different sector. They want to make sure their data is helping to increase representation of women and facts about women on Wikipedia but don’t know that much about the culture there and wanted some pointers on how to get started. We had a Zoom chat and then I sent along a list of links.
Every page on Wikipedia has a page (the main article) and a talk page (for kibitizing about the article). This includes even user pages. So here is my page and my talk page
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Jessamyn (I made this, mostly, though anyone can edit it)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_talk:Jessamyn (often for announcements, people who want to get ahold of me)
So talk pages can be good about getting what the “backchannel” discussions about pages can be. If you look up a controversial or hot current topics you can see people talking on them. Here’s one.
Note also that since Simone is a living person that there is an even tighter set of restrictions that are for Biographies of Living people. Since you will likely be working in this space, good to know about it. Not too tough for the work you’re doing but just good to know. Here’s a zillion damned words on it.
Continue reading “Ask A Librarian: Adding content to Wikipedia as a business or data provider”
We have discussed whether it is ok to contract with [prisons] — is it possible that it means people who are incarcerated are learning actual useful skills that they can use to get decently paid work when they get out? Or are we kidding ourselves? Do you have any idea? I’m wondering how I might find out if it actually translates like that. I guess I could try and get in touch with someone at the Department of Corrections. What do you think?
The prison furniture thing is really a pickle. I see it as “of a kind” with discussions about library pay rates. Some libraries are just so small that they can’t pay reasonable wages and if it’s between that and being closed more hours, I think it’s important to make the decision that is best for the community. At the same time, the prison labor situation is… a problem and it’s worth trying to not contribute, but I am also cognizant of the fact that yes, building nice furniture is actually a job skill and a real one, as opposed to, say, making license plates.
So I often think, for myself since I am not in a decision-making capacity, how could I still serve my community but also make the world more just? So thinking about ways in which the library could try to balance the situation either by doing something like making a donation to people who are trying to address inequality or incarceration issues (I realize this is not necessarily simple for a library) or maybe finding a way to Zoom with some of the people who made the library’s furniture, either currently incarcerated people or people who have gotten released to let people know how the situation really works. Alternately, working with restorative justice organizations within communities to try to keep people out of prison, or getting a subscription to Prison Legal News for the library. Or working with the prison that makes the furniture to see what their prison library (if any) is like and how you could help. I know Johnny Flood at Vermont Humanities has been doing some of this work.
Obviously it’s a difficult choice, but I’m not sure it’s entirely practical for libraries to entirely eschew prison labor. But they can assure if they do engage with the prison industrial complex I think there are ways to do it mindfully and acknowledging that any time you engage with the capitalistic system–as we have to!–there are ways to mitigate damage, a little.
I’m working with a Council on Aging and they are looking for “senior-friendly” devices to purchase for their participants, ideally tablets that are also budget friendly. Does anyone have any recommendations? Are there any resources that exist to help people compare devices?
My opinion, as someone who works with seniors all the time who struggle with various devices, is that any device can be set up to be “senior friendly” and a lot of this will depend what other technology, if any, exists in their world.
So for someone who had a Mac, even an old Mac, an iPad is the right answer (could be an old iPad, they are remarkably useful still). Someone with a Windows laptop wouldn’t get as many “it just works” effects from one. I feel like the important part is setting up tablets to work for people which involves… Continue reading “Ask A Librarian: Senior-Friendly Devices?”