donnagirl asks MetaFilter: “I have two weeks to learn PHP. Help me make a plan! Because my library job is ridiculously awesome, I’m being given two weeks to devote myself to learning php.” Good advice follows from the hive mind.
One of the types of questions we get a lot in Ask MetaFilter is “what book should I read on XYZ topic?” It’s one of those questions that the hive mind is actually good at answering because it’s just brainstorming and list generation by a self-selected group of people, not the “do I need to get this wound looked at?” sort in which you really shoudl ask a doctor. So, someone on MetaFilter decided to organize these questions into a wiki page. MetaFilter has our own wiki where a lot of information that may not need its own home on the site can reside, and where users can contribute content directly. The page is called ReadMe and contains a categorized list of over 650 topics on what to read, linking directly to the Ask MetaFilter thread where the topic was discussed. There’s even a section about libraries. It still needs a bit of tweaking, but what an awesome resource and a good concrete example of the nifty aggregating effects of blogs, and the “anyone can build something” effects of wikis.
This isn’t specifically about libraries, but I know that many librarians consider Neil Gaiman a member of our tribe, since he’s so bloggeriffic and knowledgeable and appreciative of our profession. So, I thought you’d enjoy this story about how Neil Gamain pitched in to help scifi fan Jason propose to his girlfriend during a book signing event. Here’s Jason’s blog post explaining how it all went down. Neil Gaiman says it was his favourite bit of his visit to the Phillipines. [mefi]
Me and the nice people from MetaFilter are starting an ambitious back-tagging project where a team of volunteers will be adding tags to the 42,000 posts that were on the website before we added the tagging functionality. We’re hoping that this will make it easier to track down double-posts and related posts and make browsing the site via tags a little more thorough. I envy sites like Flickr that have had tags since the beginning, doing it this way is hard and not at all optimal. In any case, if you have a MetaFilter login and would like to do a little volunteer tagging, please drop me an email or (preferably) an IM with your usernumber and I can get you set up.
Simon Chamberlain’s VALIS blog points to a bunch of responses to the Wall Street Journal piece about what they see as aggressive weeding. He gives two nods to MetaFilter, one for the discussion about the WSJ thread [which I participated in] and one for a related thread in Ask MetaFilter asking when libraries started being so … noisy. One of my favorite things about these discussions is the interactions between librarians and non-librarians in a non-library setting. The other thing I like is that thanks to MetaFilter’s use of the XFN protocol I can link to every library worker I notice in these threads as a “colleague” and then keep track of their posts and comments. Look at all those librarians talking to each other, and to their once and future patrons.