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Libraries – The people’s university?

In Uncategorized on September 13, 2011 at 7:52 pm

I saw this idea come across the twitterz today — that the library is the people’s university.

Ok, I’ll bite. Let’s take a look at a library as a center of learning for a minute, instead of as a repository for things that are no longer scarce (all kinds of media). What is the job of the library when there is no longer a need for them to be the keepers of scarce media?

Libraries can become places of creation – people come to the library to learn to create things.

Libraries can become places of connection – people come to the library to connect with people, learning resources, their community, the government, the world, the environment.

Libraries become places to express freedom – libraries should be format agnostic, and without DRM. It may be our job to make sure that the tools and formats we recommend are those that promote freedom and flexibility of usage for our patrons.

Libraries are places to experience the world beyond your view, and be challenged by opposing viewpoints – places for safe debate.

Libraries are not about objects, they are about ideas: the sharing, the formation, and the execution of ideas and ideals.

I think that in the last generation we have lost much capacity for independent thought due to the proliferation and widespread adoption of mainstream media (television, internet, mobile, print). Literally, we are amusing ourselves to the point that we don’t care about anything but further amusement. We live in filter bubbles, created by algorithms that predict what we’ll like and show us only that — we are not challenged in our beliefs. Libraries can be a place where people come to be challenged.

I believe libraries should be that place where people are safe to challenge their beliefs, and be free to explore all areas of human knowledge. Such things are vital to our continued survival as a species, and libraries are one of the last bastions for people to engage in (mostly) unfettered exploration.

eBook (ePub) Users Bill of Rights

In Uncategorized on February 28, 2011 at 3:23 pm

The eBook User’s Bill of Rights is a statement of the basic freedoms that should be granted to all eBook users.

The eBook User’s Bill of Rights

Every eBook user should have the following rights:

the right to use eBooks under guidelines that favor access over proprietary limitations
the right to access eBooks on any technological platform, including the hardware and software the user chooses
the right to annotate, quote passages, print, and share eBook content within the spirit of fair use and copyright
the right of the first-sale doctrine extended to digital content, allowing the eBook owner the right to retain, archive, share, and re-sell purchased eBooks
I believe in the free market of information and ideas.

I believe that authors, writers, and publishers can flourish when their works are readily available on the widest range of media. I believe that authors, writers, and publishers can thrive when readers are given the maximum amount of freedom to access, annotate, and share with other readers, helping this content find new audiences and markets. I believe that eBook purchasers should enjoy the rights of the first-sale doctrine because eBooks are part of the greater cultural cornerstone of literacy, education, and information access.

Digital Rights Management (DRM), like a tariff, acts as a mechanism to inhibit this free exchange of ideas, literature, and information. Likewise, the current licensing arrangements mean that readers never possess ultimate control over their own personal reading material. These are not acceptable conditions for eBooks.

I am a reader. As a customer, I am entitled to be treated with respect and not as a potential criminal. As a consumer, I am entitled to make my own decisions about the eBooks that I buy or borrow.

I am concerned about the future of access to literature and information in eBooks. I ask readers, authors, publishers, retailers, librarians, software developers, and device manufacturers to support these eBook users’ rights.

These rights are yours. Now it is your turn to take a stand. To help spread the word, copy this entire post, add your own comments, remix it, and distribute it to others. Blog it, Tweet it ( #ebookrights), Facebook it, email it, and post it on a telephone pole.

Rights to this: CC0 – Public Domain

10 Ways that having a baby is kind of like World of Warcraft

In Uncategorized on September 26, 2010 at 5:15 pm
  1. Psychic Scream really does exist in the real world.
  2. It really helps to have an off tank, in case something happens.
  3. You wanted a fireball chucking imp? You got ‘im!
  4. Beware the 4am Howl of Terror. That’s all I have to say about that.
  5. Misdirection might save your life some day.
  6. Pyroblast, when combined with diapers, has a whole new meaning.
  7. Use your War Stomp sparingly.
  8. Crunchy Spider Legs really won’t hurt the baby.
  9. Babies are a Gift of Nature.
  10. It may consume your life, but at least you’ll be happy about it. 🙂

The rest of my 23Things lessons

In Uncategorized on July 13, 2010 at 3:01 pm

Here goes the 2nd half of my monolithic 23Things lesson posts.

Aaand I just realized I never posted this. So here it is.

Week 10 – Video

I’ve been fiddling around with video since I was a kid, with my Dad’s camcorder. I’d ninja into his closet, grab the camera, and go out and take video of flowers and bunnies, then erase the tape and put it back in the closet. So video isn’t such a big leap for me to get into.

Here’s the video I posted to YouTube:

Week 12 – Screencasting

Here again, this is a tool I use every day. I always have things I need to share using Jing.

Here’s an example of one of my screencasts: http://screencast.com/t/OWZmYTg4N

Very helpful tool.

Week 13 – Slidesharing

I don’t use this every day, but here’s a fun thing we did: http://animoto.com/play/0AhL1jiav0GQ61hgAU41mA?from=share

Week 14 – Library Thing

I’ll be honest: I read a lot, but not proper books. So Library Thing… doesn’t help me.

Week 15 – Wikis

Wikis are handy. I use several wiki’s in my day to day: the Koha Wiki, the WordPress Codex, and Wikipedia, among others. Just yesterday I had the pleasure of editing the Koha wikipedia page.  I collaborate with people around the world every day using Wikis.

Just because…

In Uncategorized on March 11, 2010 at 12:28 am

The koha official website has moved to http://koha-community.org.

Just sayin. 😉

23 Things: One blog post to rule them all

In Uncategorized on March 10, 2010 at 8:50 pm

So I haven’t been keeping up all to well with 23Things Kansas. I use all of the tools every day, so that makes it hard to come up with something insightful to say about them on a weekly basis. I’ll try though.

Week 2: Social Networking
I like Facebook and other social networking sites because they let me keep in touch with people that I don’t see often. I like knowing about the lives of people, I like watching my friends’ and family’s kids grow up. I like being able to share things with a group of people I know actually give a rip about what I think. This is why I like social networking. I use it for home, I use it for work. I use it.

Week 3: Online Meetings
Ok, this one I use only because I have to. I really hate webinars. I hate the word “webinar.” I haven’t yet been to a webinar or web meeting that I felt really was productive. I’m a bit of a luddite in this regard.

Exception: IRC meetings. I think text chat only meetings can be very productive, as long as the people involved are familiar with the interface. There is nothing worse than an online meeting where half the time allotted is spent with people saying “I can’t hear you, can you hear me? How about now? Now? How about now?”

Week 4: Photo Sharing
When my son was born my far flung family wanted to see the new bundle of joy, I used the heck out of Flickr and Facebook. I still do. I like sharing photos with friends and family, and I think it’s a great way to make sure your precious photos are stored somewhere besides your house (as a backup).

Week 5: RSS/Feed Readers
You have a blog? Oh you do! Excellent, let me put it in my Google Reader so that I can look at it whenever you have something new. I adore my reader, it lets me go through lots of stories quickly, lets me sort them into useful categories, tag them, share them, oh the joy. I use it for work and for play, for fun and for information.

Week 6: Tagging, Social linking
I’ve been using Delicious since it was brand new, in 2001. I probably have one of the oldest Delicious accounts on the site. The idea that I didn’t have to keep my bookmarks on any particular computer, that I could keep them safely in the cloud… I love this idea. I want to be able to refer to that article anywhere I am, and Delicious lets me do that. It’s great. Love it.

Week 7: Microblogging/Twitter
I was a tough nut to crack re: twitter. I didn’t see the point for a long time. Then, I just kind of “got it” one day… it’s like having a constant connection to everyone around you, even when you’re not together. It’s difficult to explain. Here’s an example:
I was at a show recently, and I used Twitter to see if there were any other tweeters at the same show, and to see if they were as enthusiastic about the music as I was… sure enough, I found (and saw) several other people in the audience who were tweeting, and they felt much the same as I did. Instant community within a large crowd of strangers. Very cool.

Week 8: Cloud Computing
Here again, I’ve been a proponent of Cloud Computing since before it had that name. Our office uses Google Apps to collaborate and cooperate with people from around the world; one of our major projects, KLOW, is hosted in an Amazon cloud environment, and is working very well. Like.

Week 9: IM
I could wax poetic about IM, but it is perhaps the most useful and constantly used tools in the bunch for me. It’s faboo: instant communication with any internet connected party, and I don’t have to talk on the phone. Win.

There, I think that catches me up to date. Whew. Now I need a nap. 😉

If all goes well, a bright new day for Koha

In Uncategorized on January 15, 2010 at 2:37 pm

I spend a lot of time virtually hanging around with the folks in the Koha Community. A huge issue of late has been the decision of LibLime to fork Koha, causing no end of hand wringing, pontificating, and worry on both the part of the community and by the customers of LibLime.

Let’s face it, by the end the support was terrible (we got more help from the community, thanks folks, you really saved us), interpersonal relations between clients and LibLime were strained at best, and we were facing the prospect of moving to a codebase that we felt had no future (LibLime Enterprise Koha). My institution was in a VERY bad place, stuck on a version of Koha that our vendor basically refused to support or update, but unwilling to move to the product they marketed to us as the ILS to end all FOSS ILS’s. I was dismayed that LibLime was holding the koha.org domain and website(s) hostage from the community. I was discouraged in the Open Source model LibLime was selling to us, because I knew it could be better (in fact, LibLime itself had executed the Open Source model quite well only a few months prior).

With the recent acquisition of LibLime by PTFS, I sincerely hope that we can put all of these concerns to rest and work in harmony with our vendor and the Koha community. I hope that the LLEK code can spread its wings and be released to the community (what a great contribution and show of good faith that would be!). I hope that the domain and intellectual properties that should be assigned to the community make their way back home to Horowhena Library Trust (the holding entity for the Koha Community Assets before a foundation is formed). I hope that we get the support, the access, and the relationships with our vendor that we want and need. I hope that PTFS continues their congenial “coopetition” in the community, and makes their contributions available to the community in a timely manner.

I am very hopeful that in time, I won’t have to hope. It will be reality.

Hi there.

In Uncategorized on January 11, 2010 at 11:00 pm

I’m Liz Rea, from the Northeast Kansas Library System.
Technically, I already know what blogs are, but us technologists like to show off what we know.

If you happen to use the 23things website, that runs on a server I admin. Yay!