The funny thing about memes is you can’t force them. I mentioned this particular issue on Twitter a little bit ago but I find WorldCat’s Meme Request [update: link suddenly broken, see comments for text. another update: the post is now back. Huh.] post to be a little sketchy-seeming.
Maybe this is because of my particular perspective of not feeling that I get a lot of value for me or my library from WorldCat. Here’s the thing with this request. If this is a legitimate and okay use of Wikipedia — to add links to WC identities to applicable pages — Wikipedia has an open API, just go build a bot and do it, on the level. If it’s not okay, and my reading of the Wikipedia guidelines seems to indicate that it may not be, trying to end-run this by faking a grassroots movement seems to not be in the best interests of either Wikipedia or WorldCat. I don’t think WorldCat is trying to be shifty or sneaky here, I just don’t think their approach is as helpful as they may think it would be.
Also, let me state for the record, that I think the WorldCat identities project is really smoking hot. However there is still a huge difference between “all libraries” and “OCLC member libraries” and I’ll continue to raise these polite objections to the willful blurring of the line between the two until the point at which WorldCat can direct me to the actual nearest copy of Jane Eyre to my house.
On my fridge I have a photocopy of a letter that Sandy Berman sent to the Library of Congress this August suggesting that they establish dildoes as a LCSH. I got many fascinating photocopies along with it for supporting evidence. I enjoy being on Sandy’s mailing list. Today, vickiep from del.ico.us sent me a link to “strap-on sex” as a new Library of Congress subject heading. Hooray! Unfortunately, links that go into the Library of Congress Authorities searches aren’t permanent but I was able to replicate the search and find the listing for dildoes in the weekly list for September 26th. Of interest to me particularly is that the authority record for strap-on sex contains Wikipedia, Google and “LC database” as notes in the 670 field. update: Tim at LibraryThing has a post showing the record.
It’s been a busy week this week. I had eight people come to computer drop-in time on Tuesday which was a tech frenzy of PayPal and email and inserting graphics and Yahoo mail address books. I’ve had a few of these links hanging around for a while waiting to find time to write proper posts, but I figured I’ll drop them in here. I see a lot of blogging as playing hot potato with a bunch of web content. You find it, you pass it on, the next person passes it on. The more content you shift, the easier it is to quickly ascertain which things you need to save for longer perusal and which need to just get passed on for the next person. I’ve read and absorbed these and thought you might like them.
- The Hollywood Librarian movie is premiering at ALA in DC this Summer on June 22nd. Ann Seidl has a clip available on YouTube, and one of my signs is in it. [thanks jacqui]
- Big congrats to Amanda for the launch of the Endeca powered catalog at her place of work. Look how fancy!
- Casey posts some stats about Wikipedia from what Pew is telling us(pdf). You can ban it or block it but people are using it. So what do we do?
- One of the most favorited posts from MetaFilter this week is the Things Found In Books post
- T. Scott is one of the many folks who have been reflecting on the idea that younger librarians have some time period of “dues paying” they must go through before getting their ideas heard and possibly implemented. This was the main thing that kept me from seriously considering running for Council again. Good long post and some great comments as well.
- Don Wood’s Library 2.0 blog is consistently a good read. This is a slightly older post about a great partnership. MySpace is teaming up with the Illinois Library Association to promote online safety. What a good idea.
One of the things that the 2.0 crowd needs to remember, myself included, is that by writing about all this neat stuff on our blogs we’re still just talking to an elite sliver of already-savvy people. I like to get my 2.0 talking appearing in print as much as possible, that seems to really have an effect on a whole new group of people.
When my 80+ year old neighbor called me today to say that she saw me in the newspaper talking about Wikipedia, I’m pretty sure it was the first time she’d ever said the word out loud. The article is pretty lousy to read online (I’m not sure what happend to the paragraph breaks) but I’m going to go walk down to the corner store and get a copy. Here are some of the pull quotes I’m happy with, in case you don’t want to slog through it.
Another prolific Vermont Wikipedian is Jessamyn West, 38, who works in the library at the Randolph Technical Career Center. She transformed from a Wikipedia user to a contributor two years ago, after visiting the Old Stone House Museum in Brownington. “I went to Wikipedia, and saw that their entry for Brownington didn’t include this massive stone building. I thought, I should find the information and put it on there so other people can find it and learn about it,” she explains. Since then, she says, as she scrolls through a long list of her contributions, she’s made “a couple thousand edits.” [note, it’s less than I estimated]
Her mission last winter was to figure out which Vermont towns had official town Web pages, and making all those links available. Today, thanks to her efforts, visitors to Wikipedia entries on Clarendon, Bethel and dozens of other Vermont towns can link directly to the town’s Web site. West points out that because of the way search engines work, many Vermont towns may be difficult to find online. “Wikipedia understands how to structure information so it makes sense to computers as well as humans,” she explains. “By linking the town’s Web site in Wikipedia, that will make them more findable on Google.” With a degree in library science and membership in the American Library Association Council [sic], she has also contributed to entries about libraries. She’s a fan of a parody TV show called Reno 911, and watches that page, too, as well as the entry for a band she likes. Every page West edits she adds to her watch list; 10 to 15 Vermont towns get revised each day, she says. She removes any vandalism she sees. “I see a lot of kids edit Wikipedia, add their names and friends’ names to it,” she said. “It’s why I have a watch list.” The next project she’s considering: going back to the Vermont town entries and adding links to public libraries….
Jessamyn West’s view: “In library circles, sometimes, there are people who complain: ‘I found something wrong on Wikipedia.’ I wonder, ‘Did you change it?’ We are all responsible (on Wikipedia). That’s an unusual way to feel about a Web site. You are responsible if you see a mistake. Everyone should be responsible for making Wikipedia better.”