Friday, June 29, 2007

Canada Day: In America!

At around noon today, I was informed by a few fellow Canadian colleagues at work that the Canadian Embassy down on Pennsylvania Avenue was celebrating Canada Day a few days early with free food, music, and overall good cheer. Being a Canadian away from home, I decided to go and experience Canada Day away from, well, Canada.

We took a taxi cab to the large embassy building (Canadian tax dollars hard at work, baby), and, upon nearing the entrance to the activity area, we were asked to produce a proof of identity (my Quebec license did the trick) and were searched with one of those airport wand devices. Canadians are calm people, so the process was painless, and we were cleared to enter the grounds.

Immediately, I was overwhelmed by the smoke pouring out from the numerous BBQ grills and the din of Canadians, friends of Canadians, Embassy employees--and even our Canadian Ambassador Michael Wilson--mulling around, chowing down on hot dogs, hamburgers and--is that what I think it is?--poutine!

Needless to say, I felt at home.

After 1 hamburger, 1 hot dog, 1 poutine (with real cheese curds), a Coke, and then a mini tour of the embassy (forgot my camera, sorry folks), I joined the crowd in signing O Canada in both official languages (well, I tried anyway).

After that stirring rendition, the speakers began blasting Billy Talent, a Canadian hard rock band (whose song is still ringing in my head), and I felt like shouting: "Vive le Quebec, Vive le Canada!" But I didn't; I restrained myself.

It's weird: Though I am working in the States, a country to whom I am thankful because it's been mainly in America where I have received a few breaks, I am still a proud Canadian, a proud Quebecois (even if my French is rusty), and a proud bombastic Montrealer (a city that has seen better days, sadly, but I hope will make a comeback).

So to all my Canadian readers: Happy Canada Day! And to all my American readers: I'll see you at the National Mall on the Fourth of July. God willing.

Monday, June 25, 2007

NDIIPP Seminar on Digital Preservation, June 25, 2007

I will write about the NDIIPP seminar on digital preservation tomorrow or sometime before mid-week. Must get my notes together first.

For now, enjoy the handful of pictures I took.

"Canadian Crippler" Chris Benoit R.I.P.

I am a huge wrestling fan, have been for well over 15 years, so long in fact that the passing of a "superstar" almost feels like the loss of a friend.

Quebec Montreal-born Chris Benoit, who without a doubt was the best technical wrestler in the ring, knowing all the moves and executing them almost flawlessly, was found dead today along with his wife and son in their Atlanta home. What a tragedy.

The Edmonton Sun reports....

Update: It appears that the deaths of Benoit, his wife Nancy and son Daniel were the result of a murder-suicide. This is even worse news!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Washington Radio

I am a big radio geek, and tuning in to Washington, DC's radio stations is a radio lover's paradise. From one end of the (mainly) FM dial to the other, there are radio stations that fit all tastes. From classic to country to rock to alt-rock right down to all news and all talk and that Jazz.

Currently, my favs are the following (check 'em out, most have online streaming):

Demos, Weekend Travels, Week Ahead

For the past couple of weeks, I have been organizing archives management software product demos, coordinating time and date and other details with vendors (most of which were overseas - so I had to factor in time zone differences as well).

Last week Thursday, I held the final product demo, and I was relieved that it was the final one. Overall, I believe I provided the team here--including myself; I really have no experience with these complex systems--with a better sense of the solutions available to archives. Now comes the evaluation phase.

This weekend was more business than pleasure. I sort of separate weekends into two categories: business and pleasure (with some blending now and then). Well this weekend was business - not much business accomplished, however, as I found myself wandering the streets of DC looking for this and that and not finding a single thing! Very frustrating. I eventually made my way across the Potomac to Arlington County, Virginia, where the sights and sounds of large-scale shopping malls beckoned.

This week at work I have to start planning my next steps now that the product demos have been completed. One of my main goals is to assess team reaction to the demos using an evaluation form I composed based on standard evaluation forms used widely around here. I also have to work collaboratively with team members on making the case to spend budget dollars on a new archives management system.

The weather is heating up once again to oven-like temperatures. Heat and humidity will be present for the next few days until Wednesday when a cold front will cool things down.

Time to kickstart the A/C!

Jefferson Memorial's Signs of Sinking Raise Fresh Alarms

Jefferson Memorial's Signs of Sinking Raise Fresh Alarms - "Jefferson Memorial's Signs of Sinking Raise Fresh Alarms"

While we are preserving the digital world, I guess we should not forget about our physical analog monuments and heritage.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Let the Fun Begin

So I turned on my PC this evening- and guess what I saw?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Overhead at the corner of 17th Street and Pennsylvania Ave.

Three men in white shirts and khaki pants standing around a small table, handing out booklets, asking pedestrians:

"How will you prepare for World War 3?"

It's news stories like this...

It's news stories like this that make me worry about what will happen to the Internet when China becomes a superpower.

Insufficient Sleep, Increased Heart Disease Risk

After reading this article, the author of The DIGITAL Archive is ready to change his late-night ways.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Flickr: Capitol Hill and Library of Congress

I visited--and took several pictures of--the Capitol Hill neighborhood, which includes the Library of Congress, United States Supreme Court, and several Senate Office Buildings.

I must admit, the DC metro is impressive. There are stops at most if not all major points of interest. In this case, I stepped out of the Capitol South Metro station, walked up a block, and there I was face-to-face with Library of Congress area.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Event: Digital Preservation, Library of Congress, June 25, 2007

I was meaning to post this event earlier this week, but something called work interfered. Anyway...

On Monday, June 25, 2007, starting at 10:00 am, the National Digital Information infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP) will hold "several informative and thought-provoking events" at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. (Full event info.)

On tap:

  • Archiving the Web
  • Copyright Laws in the era of widespread use of digital technologies
  • Preservation of vital digital content

All three sound interesting; the first and the last are particularly of interest. The event is timed to coincide with the American Library Association's Annual Meeting in Washington (maybe I'll scoot over there if I have some time).

Fellow archivist 2.0 bloggers, such as the folks behind ArchivesNext and, should take note.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Lightning, Thunder, Rain and Wind, Oh My!

This evening, between 9:00 pm and 10:00 pm local time, a cold front passed over the Washington area, clashing violently against the hot and humid (and oppressive) air, causing a dazzling lightning and thunder show with heavy rains and strong winds.

This was my very first DC thunderstorm. Impressive. Plenty of white flash lightning and several forked lightning bolts.

Thankfully, I did not lose electrical power or my DSL. (Not that they were on, mind you. That would not have been wise.) In any case, thank you, Pepco and Verizon.

As The World Sizzles

With the weather being so hot and humid in Washington, I added a temporary weather feed to The DIGITAL Archive. It appears on the right, above the "about" graphic.

That got me wondering about weather websites and weather RSS feeds. There are so many choices out there. Which one do you visit or subscribe to?

Hot and Humid

The weather forecast for Friday in Washington is somewhere in the mid-90s - that's 35+ celsius degrees. There's even a severe heat warning in effect.

Nope, not looking forward to this heat.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

SharePoint 2007 Coming Soon?

Today I attended a Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) 2007 seminar hosted by the institution where I work. The institution is planning to deploy SharePoint 2007 sooner (or later).

While the seminar at times drifted towards the developers among the audience, I managed to pick out the 2 main objectives behind the deployment of SharePoint 2007:

  1. Introduce a robust Content Management system
  2. Introduce a culture of Collaboration through personal spaces, shared spaces, blogs, wikis, etc

Like I said, the seminar tended to focus on ASP.NET, .NET, DLLs, but I learned enough to realize the potential of, for example, Web Parts, small programmable widgets that pulled or pushed content via RSS that one could easily add to a SharePoint "My Site."

The web guy in me loved that part; meanwhile, the archivist, the other guy, wondered about how the system would capture metadata, and preserve, content of long-term and historical value stored in SharePoint. Records managers and archivists and information professionals were in the audience, posing a few questions about that. But today was the day to celebrate the immediate SharePoint 2007 pay-off. The other issues, I suppose, will be tackled when that proverbial you know what hits the fan.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Monday, June 04, 2007

Non-Profit Sector Jobs

I was glad to read Ed's follow-up post this morning on what I had written yesterday about the need for LIS grads to consider employment opportunities beyond the usual, highly promoted sectors (i.e. academic, public, government, corporate).

While library schools may begin to promote alternative sectors to new grads, I think for now the onus remains with us, collectively and individually, to seek out employment that is located in other areas - and that reflect more closely our values, our goals, our objectives.

Now I do not know the demographics of my readers, but if there are in fact new LIS grads or grads who just started working in the field reading this, I would recommend that they look carefully at alternative sectors: non-profit or otherwise.

Nothing wrong with academic libraries or government libraries; there are certainly interesting opportunities to be found there. But the truth is, at least from my experience, that these sectors have far more applicants than open positions.

And we all know what that means.

UPDATE: The website bills itself as Canada's leading source of information on the non-profit and voluntary sector.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Apple iPhone Coming June 29

While watching (American) television this evening--I think it was "60 Minutes"--I saw what appears to be the first teaser commercial for the new Apple iPhone.

It's coming, June 29. Mark you calendars. No Canadian launch date (if at all).

Engaget has a news page, and Apple has uploaded the commericals.

UPDATE: The iPhone will use AT&T Wireless.

Values and Career Paths

Back in late May, Ed wrote a post in which he cited a website called Charity Village, an online resource that lists jobs in the Canadian non-profit sector.

His post resonated with me because, after giving it some thought, I realized that the non-profit sector is not mentioned much as an option to library school grads. It also made me realize the importance of taking stock of one's personal values as one embarks on a career path.

For me, after graduating from library school, I had been instilled with the idea that employment in the library and information studies field could only be found in distinct sectors: academic libraries, public libraries, government agencies, and, to a lesser extent, corporate environments.

For the most part, these popular sectors offer LIS grads their very first post-MLIS job, a successful and satisfying experience, and perhaps even a long-term career path. (As I write this I am, in fact, an employee of an international government organization.)

But sometimes a restlessness surfaces after, say, 2 years on the job. There is a feeling inside of wanting to put one's skills, abilities, talents and knowledge towards something than truly reflects one's values. I use the word values, which has been maligned when used in conjunction with words such as family or religious, as another way of saying one's personal code of conduct, what one holds accountable when making a decision, for example. To create a super hero analogy: How will we use our powers?

For new LIS grads and young professionals already in their second of third year of employment, I encourage all to take stock and check your values against your current job. How are you using your powers.

And, from time to time, as yourself these questions:

  1. Where do I want to work? What sector?
  2. Do I want to work behind-the-scenes or under a spotlight?
  3. What motivates me?
  4. Do I want to develop professionally, learning new skills, or remain with only the necessary skills set to perform my given tasks?
  5. What am I passionate about?

There are certainly more questions, and there are no right or wrong answers to those mentioned above. However, how you answer them could very well change and improve your career path.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Interesting People, Interesting Blogs (Part 7)

Another installment to what has become a personal favorite of mine.

I came across Dan Cohen's Digital Humanities Blog while examining one of his books, Digital history: a guide to gathering, preserving, presenting the past on the web (which seems like an equally good read as well, but that's another topic).

I like this blog because it focuses on how research in the humanities can benefit from current and emerging technologies such as digitization and Web 2., including a cool Firefox add-on called Zotero, a social bookmarking and citation organizer tool that harnesses the community of researchers in the humanities field. Very cool.

Then again...

I decided against pimping my blog. It seems none of the layouts Blogger provides really interests me or at least the content of the blog. Stay tuned while I review my layout options.

about the author

I am an information professional, researcher, and writer with over eight years experience in the information services field with experience in information and communication technology.

I have a B.A. in History and a Master's in Library and Information Studies and working on a Web and Multimedia Design certificate.

I believe that empowering people with information can enrich lives and transform the world.