Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2009 Predictions

It's December, it's almost the end of the year, and it's time, once again, to pull out the old crystal ball from the closet, dust it off, and gaze into its murky prescience to see the future as it relates to technology trends and the Web.

Location-based information and services
The rise of GPS and GPS-enabled devices such as the iPhone will propel location-based information and services. While large search engines such as Google are good at finding information from all over the place, they tend to lack the location-based results that we so often need. Expect microblogging to play a role in this sphere.

Location-based content writers, curators
When location-based information and services explode, there will be a need for people--writers and curators--to supply the increasing demand. Subject matter expects and locality experts get active.

Cloud computing (cumulus vs. cirrus clouds or local vs. global)
With Google storing our email, documents, photos and whatever else on its servers, the cloud computing concept and reality are expanding. In many ways, we do not need hard drives to store our files. I predict cloud computing will expand into two areas: local and global or cumulus and cirrus. Low hanging clouds (cumulus) could store the files and apps of small companies, while high clouds (cirrus) could store the files and apps of large or global-sized operations. Once again, I predict Twitter and other micro-blogging tools with develop their own local and global presence, with local focusing on specific groups and global on large, diverse groups (kind of like Twitter).

End of Free
There are many, many free services on the Web - but do any them have a revenue / business model? No one--not even I can argue--with free services, but I predict there will be an end to free. Will Twitter charge a fee, will Second Life, will wikis, etc - I don't know. But expect some serious talk about this in 2009.

Video Video Video
When I think about video, I think excellent education tool. The mumbo-jumbo gonzo videos will always be around on YouTube, but I predict video's educational power will increase its presence.

Collective Build (tm)
The Collective Build (my own little theory) is something I've been thinking about for several months. With all the stuff we're blogging, micro-blogging, podcasting, mapping, communicating, collaborating, community-making, we are building something that I am calling the Collective Build. We're building something huge, and as the tools and apps become more sophisticated, this people-powered, social-fueled Collective Build will start to take shape in 2009.

You've been warned.

Happy New Year, Dear Readers. Thanks for visiting.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Whoa, Nelly! What Will Tech Look Like When We're 90?

During the Christmas holidays, I visited family and friends; like most of you, our family and close friends came together, prepared a large meal, talked about the past year, and, of course, exchanged gifts.

Among those celebrating with us was a short, spunky, Scottish lady named Nelly. Real name Helen, Nelly has one of those rare energy levels that prompt her to hug and sometimes (if the music is right) dance with those around her. Nelly is a bundle of energy. Why else would friends call her Nelly rather than Helen. Nelly, by the way, is 92 years old.

While the gifts were being unwrapped, I pulled out my two digital cameras (a Kodak EasyShare and a HP Photosmart) and began to shoot those candid moments when surprise turns to happiness (or dismay) as family and friends opened their gifts.

In the process of shooting, Nelly looked at the cameras with amazement. She asked to look at one of them, and so I showed her a camera and the viewfinder, which showed her the pictures I had just taken. She shook her head in astonishment. When I removed the 2GB SD memory card from the camera and told her that all the pictures were stored on this tiny little device, I was afraid she would fall off her chair.

When I slipped the SD Card into a nearby laptop's memory card reader and showed her the pictures and printed out a few, she look intently at the images and said with the wisdom of ninety plus years of life: "Aren't they just beautiful pictures. Aren't they just full of memories."

While the technology amazed her initially (the advancements in digital photography, the shrinking size of storage devices, the ease to print photographs), she ultimately understood the real meaning behind the technology: It made picture-taking and sharing (and memory-making) more immediate. The human side trumped the technology insomuch that technology simply made the human experience among family and friends (the picture-taking process, for instance) more intimate, more immediate.

After the evening ended, I thought about those moments and wondered how technology will look like when we're 90 years old. It will certainly amaze us as well, I am sure. I cannot even begin to imagine.

But we can be certain of one thing: Technology will continue to enable us to communicate, create, share, and bond (form communities) with others. How will all this transpire, I can only guess.

What are your ideas - what will technology look like when we hit 90 years old (God and good genes willing.)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Saturday / Sunday Slide: The Daydream

I discovered a gem of talent over the Christmas holiday: San Francisco-based ambient musician and artist Tycho (real name Scott Hansen).


Check out his music here and his art porfolio here.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

Hello Readers,

Just wishing you all a very Merry Christmas, Season's Greetings, Happy Holidays, and a Happy New Year.

Your blogger in arms,

the DA

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

One Meme to Rule Them All

There are memes, and then there are memes. A meme is a kind of chain letter for the blogosphere without any nasty curses or an overwhelmed inbox of chain-emails, as Walt at Random explains. Someone tags you or serves you a meme and you respond, in turn, following a set of rules.

I have one meme I am working on (I haven't forgotten you, Oza). But I also served myself with a meme, right in time for the new year:

List 15 things you want to do or want to achieve in the new year, even if they sound improbable or unlikely.

Try it, if you like, and let me know what you wrote. Here's what I came up with:

1. Attend the launch of a Space shuttle.

2. Fly to the UK, run across the countryside, and fly back home.

3. Meet at least one interesting person each day and learn something new each day

4. Write a book, or several, and give talks around the world to inspire others

5. Read more.

6. Make music.

7. Participate in something greater than myself.

8. Live boldly and authentically.

9. Sleep soundly at night and wake up energized and alert at 6 am.

10. Find a cool gig on a sunny campus in California next to the Pacific Ocean.

11. Dip my fingers in the Pacific Ocean. 

12. Meditate.

13. Rest the mind and work the body.

14. Travel to Asia.

15. Make awesome memories.



A few weeks ago, I was served a meme by local Montreal blogger Oza Meilleur, who blogs at Oza Meilleur (the making of), but, unfortunately, I still have not started working through it.

While I was thinking about Oza's meme, I started toying with an idea for a new meme, which was partly inspired by a blog post I read on David Lee King's blog. King, who blogs at, er, at David Lee King, is a librarian, musician, writer, blogger, and videographer and seems like a very nice guy. He loves his job and shares his joy through his numerous social networks.

King's meme, or the one he had been served, has something to do with 99 things: Things you had done, things you want to do, and things you have not done and don't ever want to do.

I thought about it, and found myself focusing on things you want to do. That particular one seemed full of possibilities, it was hard to resist.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Doing Business in Second Life: Is Your Digital Archive Open for Business?

When I worked at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), I learned about a project developed by the World Bank Group called Doing Business, a five-year old project that reviews and ranks government and local business laws and regulations in over 180 member countries and determines which are the best for doing business.

According to the Doing Business blog, which is written by World Bank staff, the World Bank believes that "encouraging business is key to creating jobs and alleviating poverty."

A part of the Doing Business project that caught my attention was that the World Bank had created a virtual community in Second Life that supports the objectives and goals of Doing Business but in a virtual environment. While Doing Business is primarily a real world project, the World Bank is attempting to recreate its success in the virtual realm. In October 2008, the World Bank held its second virtual Doing Business meeting.


At the time, my IMF colleagues were considering whether or not Second Life could play a role in IMF activities. While plans were made to review Second Life further, I started wondering if virtual worlds and virtual communities could have a role in archives.

For those unfamiliar with Second Life, Second Life (or SL) is:

a 3-D virtual world created by its users, also known as residents. Since opening to the public in 2003, it has grown explosively and today is inhabited by millions of residents from around the globe. It offers a platform for communication, business, and education.

Let me know what you think. Archivists in Second Life???

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Friday Abstract: Don't Fear the Archivist, er, the Reaper

I usually do extensive research and perform mental calisthenics to write The Friday Abstract. But, alas, today, I have a fever and the only prescription is more cowbell!

From Saturday Night Live - "More Cowbell"


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Self-Interview: Tabloid Edition

TABLOID Reporter: Dave? Dave?

Dave: What the--? I'm sorry, but I really have no time for this. I have to catch my bus.

TABLOID: A few questions for the scandal sheets...enquiring minds want to know...

Dave: I normally don't talk to tabloids...

TABLOID: Whatever...You recently launched a third--yes, a third--blog. The question everyone wants answers to know is: Are you out of your mind? Three blogs? How are you gonna handle the pressure?

Dave: Out of my mind? No, of course not. Each blog serves a particular purpose. Arch.i.vi.us, for example, pretty much runs on its own. Not much intervention on my behalf. Just a few tweaks now and then. Thankfully, the blog remains a very good resource. I find something interesting there every day because the content it aggregates is always fresh and relevant.

TABLOID: Horrendous shameless plug. Now what about The DIGITAL Archive? Will your cornerstone blog be tossed to curb like your long line of ex-wives?

Dave: I cannot believe I am hearing you say these things. No, The DIGITAL Archive will remain online as long as its writer has something noteworthy to share.

But at the moment, what I am most proud of is my latest blog venture called Archives*Open, a blog that focuses on how archivists are using technology, particularly Web 2.0, to further enhance and improve public access to and understanding of archival material.

I hope to cultivate a collaborative team spirit with this blog, whereby other archivists can submit their Web 2.0 archival projects that they have recently launched or--and here's a big scoop!--they can submit their own thoughts and comments on Web 2.0 and Archives.

TABLOID: Major scoop! Archivists can also submit their opinions on Web 2.0 and Archives?

Dave: Yes, that's a new plan in order to make Archives*Open a more community-oriented, collaborative space. I welcome input. How would archivists use Web 2.0 in their archives? What Web 2.0 technologies, tools, or ethics would they want to implement, and why? I think it could generate some interesting discussions.

TABLOID: Wait a minute! Wait. One. Minute! Archivists and Web 2.0? You've got to be kidding me?! I bet half of them don't know what Web 2.0 is and the other half who do know want nothing of it!

Dave: I refuse to sink to such levels of cynicism. I know archivists are cautious professionals, analyzing the situation before committing themselves or their limited resources. That's smart. I mean, heck, I think we as a community are still figuring things out in regards to Web 2.0. This is all new stuff! But exciting new stuff, stuff that could change things for the better.

I believe Web 2.0 is a win-win situation, if we are willing to take a few calculated risks. Web 2.0 is not only about technology, it's also about thinking differently, looking at things differently. For Archives*Open, it's about thinking differently about access to archival materials. It's all about giving access to the masses in innovative ways!

TABLOID: Ugh! You have to work on your marketing skills. Listen. I'm still not convinced. I think this Web 2.0 is essentially a fad, like Facebook and Twitter.

Dave: Platforms, like the ones you mentioned, will indeed change or disappear and re-appear with a different look. But the key is what they fulfill: They fulfill the innate human desire to communicate, connect, and build communities. Didn't Seth Godin write a book called Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us, about people's desire to form and join a movement, an idea--something along those lines?

TABLOID: OK, Socrates! You're losing me here!

Dave: Nevermind.

TABLOID: So Archives*Open is open. That's wonderful news. Great. So much for if it bleeds, it leads.

Dave: Is the interview over then? Are we done?

TABLOID: One last question!

Dave: No more, please. Out of my way.

TABLOID: Dave! Dave!

Dave: Yes! Yes! I'm right here!

TABLOID: Is it true you dumped Jessica Alba for Jessica Biel? And what's with your obsession with Jessicas anyway?? Hey! Come back! You can't run away...you can out run me but you can't out run the paparazzi!



From time to time, I interview myself. I conducted a self-interview a few months ago which went quite well. It was a sit-down interview, one-on-one with myself across a table on a dimly-lit set with questions and answers in the spirit of an investigative Mike Wallace or a probing Charlie Rose interview.

This latest self-interview, however, was different. I don't know what happened to the previously dignified journalist; he was gone, replaced by some kind of uncooth tabloid reporter, the type who snakes around your favourite watering hole, waiting for you to spill some saucy bit of gossip.

But since I do not drink, I was accosted right outside the The DIGITAL Archive office. Confused and unprepared, walking while talking, I had to react as best as I could when his mic sprung up in my face.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Saturday / Sunday Slide: BBtv Interviews the (other) Digital Archivist

Boing Boing, the technology and tech culture blog, recently interviewed a human rights digital archivist on its sister video website Boing Boing TV (BBtv, for short).

Popular tech writer Xeni Jardin interviewed WITNESS.ORG's Grace Lile, the human rights' organization's digital archivist in charge of organizing and preserving institutional and user-submitted human rights videos and images.

I mention this piece because I was surprised and pleased to see such an influential blog as Boing Boing mention the importance and necessity of a digital archivist in our digital information age. 

Moreover, I was equally surprised and pleased to hear Ms. Lile talk about raising awareness about human rights issues and its history; engaging the public; and soliciting the public to participate online by submitting stories and videos to Hub, an experimental website designed to be a "global platform for human rights media and action."



UPDATE: Grace Lile added a comment and provided the URL to WITNESS' Media Archive Blog.

Thanks, Grace. Check it out.

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Friday Abstract: Dee Dee Does Derangement and Description Webcomic

Today, a reader name Dee Dee kindly emailed me some abstract-worthy information that spoke about her foray into the Webcomic scene.

She has created a blog-turned-webcomic about archives. Not too many of those around, which was enough proof for Dee Dee to start one of her own.

The webcomic is called Derangement and Description whose tag line reads: "A crazy little archives webcomic."

In the About section of her webcomic/blog, she explains: "Couldn’t find any webcomics about archives, so I decided to start one. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy making it! Many thanks to Dee Cee, who tells me which of my crazy ideas would make good comics."

The Friday Abstract: Where we strive to uncover the abstract so you don't have to!

Thanks, Dee Dee. (Psst...that's her on the right!)

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Archives*Open is Open

I hope I sparked interest with last week's teaser blog post and the teaser tweets I scheduled and sent out throughout the weekend announcing the launch of Archives*Open, a new community-powered blog that focuses on archives, access, community and the Web. It is my--well, actually, our--contribution to Archives 2.0.

Giving Access to the Masses

Archives*Open, whose tag line is "Giving Access to Masses," is a platform for archivists and other professionals in the field to share and promote their Web 2.0 archival projects that focus on 'giving access to the masses,' and in so doing, inspire others who may be considering embarking on similar projects and raise awareness around the community.

I hesitate to write a 'definitive' definition of what is Web 2.0 since it incorporates so many technologies and so many values and ethics. So let's sum it up this way: Web 2.0 (and by association, Archives 2.0) is about using current and emerging Web technologies in innovative ways that focus on providing the public with a more personal, interactive, and social experience with archival materials.1

If you are working on a similar project, it's real easy to share your success stories (or almost got it right attempts): Visit Archives*Open, leave a comment with your name (personal or corporate), project title, brief project description, and a URL. That's all. I'll collect as many as I can on a weekly basis and post them on a weekly roundup blog post.

Furthermore, Archives*Open is a platform to discuss Web 2.0 technologies (blogs, wikis, podcasts, RSS, social networking, social media, etc) and Web 2.0 ethics and values (communication, conversation, participation, relationshipts, transparency, etc) and their impact on the emerging and evolving Archives 2.0 paradigm, which is being talked about constructively and critically in the archival blogosphere.

The Story Behind Archives*Open (for those really, really interested)

The seed for this blog started in late summer of this year (2008) when I was reflecting on my career in the field so far (a kind of reflection kindled by an uncertain future and, ahem, unemployment).

I found myself focusing on--and subconsciously building a new blog around--those areas that I had found most fascinating in the archives and to which I could add a solid voice of experience, knowledge, and enthusiasm.

That area is the area of creating, building, and providing improved, interactive and enhanced access to archival materials using current and emerging Web technologies.

I almost always found personal and professional satisfaction when a project such as an online virtual exhibit, online photo gallery of digitized photographs, or a large-scale portal project was launched and the public was given access to archival materials and responded with keen interest and appreciation for history and our shared stories. I was satisfied, but I knew there were more stories to share and more innovative and engaging ways to tell them.

When self-criticism struck the idea of starting a new blog, I started to doubt. I really did not want to create another soap box blog. But then the many voices in the archival blogosphere began writing more about Archives 2.0 in concrete terms - and the archival community seemed to be embracing some of the technologies and values that were defining Web 2.0. Thanks to them, and now for them, I set aside doubt and proceeded.

While I momentarily thought about converting this blog, The DIGITAL Archive, into something that would suit the needs of what is now Archives*Open, I decided against it because I felt I had established on this blog a satisfactory mix of news, comments, opinions, and observations. And my two readers would have been furious if I had changed formats yet again!

With Archives*Open, I wanted to build a more focused blog that is collaborative and community-driven, meaning that the content would come from both the writer and the community. And by more focused, I wanted a blog with a focus on access to archival materials.


Footnote

1. ArchivesNext has a list of examples of existing archives/Web 2.0 type projects and websites.

Saturday / Sunday Slide: What's Next on the Web?

Thursday, December 04, 2008

The Friday Abstract: The State of the Blogosphere Address 2008

=============== TRANSMISSION ZERO ZERO NINER ZERO
.
..

My fellow bloggers, distinguished readers, newcomers and loyalists, mobile readers and RSS feeders, I welcome you all to the State of the Blogosphere Address.

(Applause)

Ladies and gentlemen, tonight I am here to tell you that the State of the Blogosphere is strong.

(Applause)

But, I hasten to add, it requires our constant vigilance.

When I look upon this great blogosphere of ours, I see dark clouds of change on the horizon. I see the status quo in peril; I see business-as-usual facing tremendous turmoil.

For there are those in the blogosphere right now proposing Archives 2.0, an ideology that runs contrary to our way of life.

We will suppress them.

(Applause)

Furthermore, there are rogue blogs and rogue bloggers in the blogosphere who are determined to shake up our beloved and guarded status quo. There are three blogs in particular written, edited and designed by one individual.

These three blogs—arch.i.vi.us, The DIGITAL Archive, and Archives*Open—constitute an Axis of Archivists that threaten the very soul of the status quo that we so dearly cherish.

Most of you have heard about the mayhem these first two blogs have caused. Take arch.i.vi.us, for example, a cheap imitation of delicious.com, its mission and stated goals are to aggregate information and to inform archivists about digitization and digital preservation. This is a tragedy of unprecedented scale.

We will suppress them.

(Applause)

Furthermore, take a look at The DIGITAL Archive, a front organization that takes readers to the front lines of archives and technology and beyond, and boasts provocatively of making things last longer since 2005. Such obscenity has never been heard of before.

We will suppress them.

(Applause)

The worst offender of them all, however, is Archives*Open, a new cabal so sinister it actively solicites contributions from readers—archivists who want to promote their exciting archival projects—and attempts to form community and collaboration – buzzwords for large-scale, global ideological subversion.

Archives*Open must not launch; must not gain support, for even the tiniest of support will embolden our enemies and further the march towards change.

My fellow bloggers: We will suppress th--.

====================== TRANSMISSION ENDS

4 Ways to Be Influential in Web 2.0 or: What Makes Oprah Oprah?

Oprah Winfrey, like Midas, has the golden touch. Whatever she touches—that is, whatever she recommends, supports, endorses—turns to gold. However, unlike Midas, whose golden gift was from the gods and soon ruined his life, Oprah’s golden touch has been carefully crafted over many years and remains an influential force, both offline and online.

Oprah’s influence is fuelled by her media empire’s focus on Communication, Conversation, Transparency, and Branding. Taken together, these forces form public trust and therefore influence.

Thankfully, we don’t need a multi-million dollar media empire to become influential; we simply need to activate and harness the same forces that Oprah harnesses.

By influential, I am not suggesting we become master manipulators. No way, jose! Rather, I believe we should engage people and help them make informed choices. We influence the best when we share and connect our passions and expertise with others.

When Oprah Winfrey endorsed Amazon’s e-book reader, Kindle, the technology press went ga-ga, cautiously hoping that the “Oprah effect,” which has sent obscure novels soaring to the top of the New York Times bestsellers list, would send sales of the e-book reader skyrocketing. Since 1996, Oprah’s Book Club has helped many a tome (and many an author) reach the top of bestseller lists.

While the verdict is still out on the Kindle / Oprah bump, the fact that her endorsement sent shockwaves through the industry and precipitated media attention and speculation illustrates her influential power.

But what makes Oprah Oprah? What makes her so influential?

1. Communication (connect x 1)
Oprah is a born communicator, a talent she has fully utilized. Whether you like her or not, it is clear Oprah can communicate and connect with her audience.

How are you communicating and connecting with your audience? Do you engage your audience, your clientele, or do you pass the opportunity by at any chance?

We do not have to be professional speakers to be communicators. All we really need is the desire to share our passions and expertise in order to connect with others and fulfill their particular needs.

2. Conversation (connect x 2)
The Social Web enables conversation. It is now a 2-way street between content creator and content consumer, between product maker and product user, and on and on it goes.

How are you conversing with your audience? Are you reaching out to your audience where they assemble, especially online? Are you cultivating the 2-way street of conversation?

We have Web 2.0 tools at our disposal. Blogs, for example, are perfect for engaging an audience and starting a conversation, thus building connections and community.

3. Transparency
Oprah is transparent about her life almost to a fault. We know about her childhood rape, her struggles with weight gain, her relationships, and her personal ups and down.

By being so transparent, which is in fact another way of being honest, Oprah reveals her vulnerabilities and thus opens a door for which her audience can enter. She reveals herself in order that her audience can step inside her world and experience her travails, hopes and dreams.

How are you being transparent?

Now, I am not suggesting we air our dirty laundry or toss out the skeletons in our closets for our clients to view.

But in our professional lives, while serving patrons or researchers, working with our clients, are we being transparent, are we being honest with out audience? Are we inviting them into our working world in an effort to share our experiences with them?

Here’s an example illustrating what I mean: I once had a peculiar experience when I visited a rare books library. I was a complete amateur in rare books, not knowing a single thing. I asked the librarian behind the desk that I wanted to know how old books had been bound in the past. It was part of a research project. “What do you mean by ‘old books’?” he asked sarcastically. “There is nothing here but ‘old books.’”

I felt irritated, dismayed, and worse, unwelcome. I don’t know if this librarian was attempting some kind humorous joke or simply acting like an intellectual snob. Regardless, I never returned to that library after that incident.

Are we being honest and transparent, and are we inviting people to share in our experiences?

4. Branding
Oprah maintains a strong and consistent branding across all her media, from her television show to her magazine (guess who’s on the cover each month) to her website.

Why brand?

Because proper branding allows Oprah to stand out from the rest of the crowd.

It is unnecessary to say Oprah Winfrey anymore. One need only say Oprah, and that’s enough. She is easily recognizable, and her audience knows her and easily distinguishes her from other popular TV talk show hosts. The letter “O” and “HARPO” (that’s Oprah spelled backwards), for example, are powerful branding images.

What kind of brand are you building? Does it reflect your professional values, your institutional values, your department values? It is easily recognizable? How are you imparting it to your audience? Does your branding help distinguish you from others?

However you decide to brand yourself, your product or service, or whether you are building a brand for your department, insure that it clearly identifies you and distinguishes you from others.

Influence 2.0
The end result of practicing the previous four items is influence. Influence is based on trust, which is built on open communication (respect), conversation (2-way exchange), and transparency (honesty), with the final touch, branding (personal identification), acting as the seal of approval.

The road to becoming influential, that is, engaging, sharing and connecting with your clients, is a process of communication, conversation, transparency, and branding.

In a Web 2.0 online world, this is Influence 2.0.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Follow the Floss: Dentistry and Entrepreneurship 2.0

A dentist—yes, a dentist—is an excellent example of Entrepreneurship 2.0.  In our social web, social marketing, and information (over) abundance age, Entrepreneurship 2.0 is about creating something simple, specializing in a given area, providing a needed service, building a community around your area of specialization, and connecting with your community.

In other words, Entrepreneurship 2.0 is: SIMPLE, a SPECIALIZATION, a SERVICE, building COMMUNITY, and CONNECTIONS.

I had a dentist appointment two weeks ago, and my dentist, who I have known for as long as I have had teeth, performed an operation called a Soft Tissue Graft, whereby some skin from the palette of the mouth (the roof) is removed and placed along the gum line to slow and hopefully stop gum line recession.

Before you wretch, let me explain that the operation was successful and is not as heinous and gory as it sounds (at least, what I experienced was not as heinous and gory as it sounds). But with four shots of Novocaine in the mouth, I was feeling some facial discomfort and overall disorientation, so my dentist suggested I rest a while in the chair while he prepped his next patient in the other room.

As I lay there, feeling no pain in my mouth but feeling everything around my mouth as something fat, bulbous and bulging, I looked away from the window that looked upon the downtown Montreal skyline, closed my eyes, and started thinking about the field of dentistry.

There must be hundreds or more dentists in any large city, each one practicing their trade. For me, I was inside a small dentist’s office in a large, non-descript medical building in the heart of the city, hearing my dentist prep his next patient (and the next and the next, day after day, I imagined, making a decent living, I’m sure, thank you very much), and I sensed that what was around me and in particular with dentistry was the future of entrepreneurship. 

The ideas began to gel as my mouth began to thaw, and I mentally penciled down five concepts:

Simplicity
The first key concept is simplicity. Today it is almost too easy to become overwhelmed with information and technology. From businesses large and small to professionals in academia and government institutions, the rage is on: more of this and more that, more information, more stuff, creating in turn a kind organized chaos.

Yet, in the face this mad complexity, there stood my dentist in his blue dental scrubs inside his simple but functional office, assisted by his office assistant and oral hygienist, his tools, and his list of (satisfied) clients. That’s it. Nothing fancy, nothing complicated.

To be a successful entrepreneur today, whatever you choose, buck the trend and keep is simple! 

Specialization
The second key concept is specialization. While keeping it simple, my dentist also specializes in, well, dentistry. While he has interests and hobbies in other areas, like anyone else, he makes it his duty to become the most informed dentist he can be. That’s a no-brainer, I know. But far too often entrepreneurs take on too many areas, never really becoming a specialist.

Find an area that sets afire your passions and specialize.

Service
The third key concept is service. I believe we live in a service-oriented, knowledge-based society as opposed to a manufacturing-based society, which was the case only a few years but now is quickly fading thanks to manufacturing giants in Asia. We provide a needed service to people. My dentist provides a needed service, not necessarily a likable service, but a needed one all the same.

Now this is one case where the dentist example falls short because a dentist provides a specific and dare I say uncreative service. He works on people’s teeth. Ho hum.

You need to use your imagination and creativity to determine what service (what is currently missing out there, what gap can you fill?) you can provide that is needed by society, while keeping it simple and becoming a specialist.

Community and Connections
The fourth and fifth key concepts are community and connections.  They fit together like hand and glove.

Before I departed from the dentist’s office, my dentist talked to me about post-surgery care (what to do, what not to do, what to eat, what not to eat, that sort of thing). He also took a few extra minutes to explain to me what he had actually done.  I thanked him for taking his time to explain, and he said, rather excitedly, “I like teaching, that’s why I’m giving presentations nowadays to dentists of all levels.”

He also mentioned that he had been dabbling with a website idea, a blog, and online continuing medical education services and resources because there were many dentists seeking such services online. That’s what solidified the fourth and fifth concepts. Community and connections.

You build a community around your area of specialization. This can be accomplished online with the many tools and services in existence on the Web. Moreover, you need to connect with your community and find ways to help them connect to what they need (your product, your service, your knowledge, your skills, etc).

In short, Entrepreneurship 2.0 can be condensed into five key concepts: simplicity, specialization, and service; furthermore it includes community building, that is, building a community around your area of specialization, and helping people connect with the information, knowledge, etc that they seek.

So next time you visit your dentist, think about Entrepreneurship 2.0, rather than that nasty needle.

UPDATE: While drafting this blog post, I came across marketing guru Seth Godin's blog in which he elucidates a little more on the concept of connections. Do read it.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

T-T-Totally Cool!

This is an iPhone. This is an iPhone on the Ocarina app. This is t-t-totally cool!


Monday, November 24, 2008

What's All This About?

This morning, I took a look at The DIGITAL Archive blog, specifically the 'about this blog' blurb to the right, and I wondered if the words I had written several months ago describing the blog accurately reflected the nature of the blog and its readership.

After some thought (and editing), I believe I nailed down a more simplified description:

The DIGITAL Archive focuses on the Web and its impact on information professionals in libraries and archives..and anyone anywhere fascinated by the Web...
I eliminated the long list of web-related technologies, such as new media and social web technologies, and special topics, such as digitization and digital preservation, in favor of something more brief, succinct. However, I removed these words only for the sake of brevity.

For me, the Web (Web 2.0) covers all these areas - from digitization to social networking - and all the areas yet to be developed.

I still want to focus on the impact of these technologies on information professionals in libraries and archives, so that remains intact.

However, when I write, whether on the topic of technology or personal matters such as opinions on the archival profession, I have a type of reader in mind: It is someone who is not necessarily a librarian or archivist but simply someone who is enthusiastic about the Web, fascinated by technology, and whose vocabulary does not include the words "It can't be done" or "That's impossible" in regards to thinking or doing things differently.

Finally, I often fool around with The DIGITAL Archive's tag line. This week it is:

It's my digital archive, in Technicolor
Well, it is my digital archive, in color. When I blog, I do not write on behalf of any institution or archival association. I avoid archival public policy issues because, quite frankly, I do not know enough on the subject. As writers in other fields suggest, write what you know about, and that's what I try to do, with color.

Too often, people imagine the archives as nothing but boxes, darkness, dampness, dust, more boxes, and black & white photographs. While there is some truth to this, the buried truth, which needs to be unearthed (Archives 2.0 hint hint), is that there is so much color, so many colorful characters and events, so much rich content!

I guess I am a content agnostic. I do not have a preference. I will work with all kinds of content as long as there is a benefit to the audience. But being a history grad and a lover of stories, I guess I have a bias for archival content.

(Geez...so much for my sabbatical.)

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Friday Abstract: Taking a Sabbatical

In the past couple of weeks, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading and contributing to the wonderful discussion and debate on Archives 2.0. To all those who participated, whether you agreed enthusiastically, disagreed vehemently, or simply silently considered the ideas, I tip my virtual hat to you all.

Why?

Because two years ago, when there were only a few voices out in the digital wilderness talking about archives, technology and future trends, none of this kind of vigorous discussion would have taken place.

I think we should all--yes, all of us--tap ourselves on the shoulder.

That said, while I remain enthusiastic about Web 2.0's impact on archives and hopeful that something truly positive and transformational can occur, I realize, personally, that I have been 'out of the game' (okay, out of work, really, but 'out of the game' sounds more, well, more sportive) and I must get back into the game, hunker down, and move forward, if not only for sanity's sake but also for adding meaningful words and thoughts to the discourse with a calm and discerning mind.

Between finding employment and blogging, I have to honestly side with finding employment, especially in these econo-lyptic days.

I will take a break from blogging, but will continue micro-blogging over at Twitter.

I am also working on a new blog. A few of you, by accident perhaps, may have already come across it. My intentions are not to keep it a secret for much longer; but once it is securely settled, I will provide more details.

In the meantime, I am posting a Top 5 list of popular posts and a Top 5 list of not so popular posts from The DIGITAL Archive's archives based on Google's metrics.

Top 5 posts:

Top 5 not so popular posts (but still good reads, I think):

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Get a Life, Google!

Google is digitizing LIFE magazine's photo collection.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Archives Funding Crunch


In good financial times or in bad financial times, it seems, institutional archives continue to operate, almost miraculously, with the leanest of financial and human resources.

With a global economic crisis on our hands, Kate over at ArchivesNext is conducting a survey to gauge how the economy is affecting your institution.

Impact of economy on your archives - What effect do you think the economic crisis will have on your institution?

(Check out the survey form.)

In looking at the responses thus far, the impact is being most felt in the areas of travel for professional development, equipment and supplies, and vacant positions not being filled.

Sounds familiar to me. All too familiar, even during the so-called good times, these areas are poorly funded.

As we say in French, "Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose!"

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Remember. Never Forget.

"I'll never wear a poppy!  I do not support war!" said a woman after being offered a poppy.

Today, when you are observing a moment of silence for Remembrance Day (or Poppy Day, Armistice Day, or Veterans Day), remember those men and women who fought and died in wars and conflicts around the world.

Remember also that we, all of us, right here, right now, 2008, are part of a long, long thread of human stories, both told and untold but nonetheless intertwined and bound tightly together across time. Remember that we are part of a fabric of humanity that endured, in the last century, the depths of inhumanity and the heights of human selflessness.

We cannot disown the past, this dark part, thinking and saying that it was not our generation or our war.  For if any generation fails to remember the past, the past will surely return to plague the future. 

In preserving the past, in preserving the stories of those who came before us, by keeping their voices alive and available for the world to hear, whether with our bare hands or with technological wonders, we honor them...and we buy humanity some more time.  Maybe.

"On the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month..."

Friday, November 07, 2008

The Friday Astract: Guitar Hero Conference Jam

"I swear, this is the last one," wrote my anonymous source, who has been viewing and transcribing those flashy new Archivist ads filmed in the "Get a Mac" style. "The creative team behind the ads have run out of ideas. They're back to their day jobs."

Well, thank God for that.

This ad is titled "The Guitar Hero Conference Jam." Isn't Guitar Hero that popular video game where gamers twang virtual guitar controllers in sync with their favourite rock 'n roll songs?

Geez...I do not like where this is going.




Librarian Dude: Hello, I’m a Librarian.

Archivist Guy: And I’m an Archivist. What a minute, Librarian, what’s with all those suitcases and vendor logo covered tote bags? Are you going on a trip?

LD: Yeah, I’m headed to the airport. I’m attending a few conferences.

AG: What? Conferences? W-what kind of conferences?

LD: Oh, I’ll be checking out the Internet conference, the Web Users conference, the Podcasters conference, then I’ll be attending a conference online in Second Life—that should be awesome—and later on in the evening, we’ll be jamming with Guitar Hero at the County Public Library.

AG: Jamming at the County Public Library

LD: You know, Archivist, you should really come.

AG: Oh, no, I can’t. Awfully busy. You know, backlog, that sort of thing.

LD: That’s all right, next time. Hey, Archivist, you heading somewhere right now, maybe you could give me a hand with these…

AG: Sorry, Librarian, but I have a very big--VERY BIG--meeting with the Administration.

LD: Oh, meeting – what’s it about?

AG: The usual: Asking for funding to preserve and digitize historically significant private papers.

LD: Ouch. Good luck. Well, I'm off.

AG: [Whispers] I hope you encounter plenty of turbulence.

LD: Come again?

AG: Oh, I said, I hope you have a momentous journey.

[Fade to black]

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Archives 2.0: What could be

Lacking in originality, I googled Archives 2.0 and one of the search results that appeared was from a website / blog called Seradigm. Not entirely sure what the organization is about (it seems to be based in New Zealand), but it does have brief article / blog post on Archives 2.0.


You can also download the white paper: "Archives 2.0 - a summary of the way Archives NZ could use Web 2.0 technologies and approaches."

Read it and you decide if any of it makes sense.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Twitter Me This


What is the world’s most popular micro-blogging service and why is it important to you?



According to website ranking company Compete.com, Twitter had more than 3 million unique visitors in September 2008, making the free social networking and micro-blogging service the most popular service in its class. With so many people visiting the website, one naturally wonders, what’s all the fuss about?

What is Twitter
“To be or not to be,” wrote William Shakespeare in his tragedy Hamlet. Now if the Bard had penned his classic in our Internet-age, he would have surely adapted his famous soliloquy with a Twitter twist: “To Twitter or not to Twitter.” And indeed for millions of people, from teens to professionals to celebrities, to companies big and small, that is the question.

Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that enables users to post to the Web short (140 characters or less) status updates, affectionately known as "Tweets" in Twitter parlance, and to read and reply to status updates posted by friends. Developed by San Francisco-based Obvious Corp. and launched in 2006, Twitter asks users to post answers to one simple question: “What are you doing?”


Compete.com Graph: Twitter dominates the micro-blogging space, which includes Plurk.com and Identi.ca.

After you open a free Twitter account and create a profile, which includes a screen name, a picture or avatar of your choice, and a short biography, you can start posting tweets, setting in motion what Montreal Gazette reporter and online marketing expert Mitch Joel calls “permission-based stalking.” Status updates, or tweets, can range from the mundane (“Drinking a latte in Starbucks”) to the thought-provoking (“Are tax cuts the only solution to the economic crisis?”)

Social Networking Tool
Community and conversations are the engines behind Web 2.0, and Twitter ably demonstrates these qualities. The stream of tweets appearing on screen gives you a glimpse at what other Twitter users are talking about. If what they are talking about interests you, you can befriend them (follow); likewise, if others find what you tweet about of interest, they will follow you (followers). A small virtual community inside the Twitter universe is born and conversations may begin, with users replying to each other’s tweets.

But be forewarned: A torrent of uncontrollable tweets is likely if you follow too many people, and an interface shortcoming makes friends' replies to your tweets difficult to track since they are not threaded as they are in forums. Best advice: Like all social networks, you should make time to maintain Twitter to keep it effective.

Micro-blogging Platform
If blogging is the big, pensive, older brother of online publishing, then micro-blogging is the small, nimble, younger brother, who, in spite of its lesser stature, still emerges as a fast and mobile publishing platform.

This nimble form of publishing is clearly Twitter’s innovative strength, something which, when harnessed properly, can be an effective tool to communicate and disseminate bursts of information.

Verdict
Twitter is a fun, sometimes addictive conversation-enabling, community-building service as well as a serious platform permitting users to market their services or promote their blogs, wikis, etc. But experimentation, cautious first steps, and the willingness to maintain the service are essential.

Several prolific bloggers, including tech blogger Robert Scoble and child star Wil Wheaton of Star Trek: The Next Generation fame, regularly post tweets about their work and activities. Even CNN news anchor Rick Sanchez uses Twitter live on the air. Breaking news often breaks first on Twitter.

And, yes, if Shakespeare were alive, he’d be posting tweets, too.




This review originally appeared on the Technology Next Now wiki. You can follow the author at twitter.com/dkemper.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

DO NOT READ THIS POST! GO VOTE!

If you are a reader living in the United States and eligible to vote, I have two words for you:

GO VOTE!

Friday, October 31, 2008

The Friday Abstract: Look Ma...No Sunlight


Just when I thought it was safe, I saw another Archivist ad transcript hit my inbox. My anonymous source continues to feed me these transcripts, even though I have yet to actually see the ads that parody Apple's Get a Mac advertising campaign featuring a Mac and PC personified.

This ad is titled "Look Ma...no sunlight." Sunlight, archives, meh...I can relate.



Librarian Dude
: Hello, I’m a Librarian.

Archivist Guy: [Enters scene holding large yellow box; places it on floor] And I’m an Archivist.

LD: What do you have there, Archivist?

AG: It’s a little gift from the Administration.

LD: Cool. What is it?

AG: It’s the "Artificial Sunlight Lamp - 300 watts of Vitamin D,” says right here on the box

LD: I see that. But what’s the reason for all this?

AG: It’s kind of a long story, but essentially Administration had promised us a new room with windows since our current work area has absolutely no windows and therefore no sunlight. Anyway, that plan did not fall through because some other department had quote-unquote priority. Whatever that means.

LD: Bummer.

AG: Yep, so instead of us working under oppressive fluorescent bulbs all day long, and basking in the glow of our lovely LCD monitors, the fine people in Administration bought us this Artificial Sunlight Lamp.

LD: Wow.

AG: Yesiree! They even threw in sunglasses, a pair for all staff members.

LD: Sweet.

AG: By the way, Librarian, do you know what department got that room?

LD: Oh you mean that large corner office with the floor to ceiling windows that overlooks the park and football field beyond, and at 3:15 sharp in the afternoon a beautiful shaft of golden sunlight pours in? That one?

AG: Yes, that one…

LD: Ahem, don’t have a clue.

AG: Oh.

[Fade to black]

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Archivist Jobs That Sizzle (i.e. do not suck)

A former colleague of mine told me about MARAC, the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference. I visited MARAC's website and its job opportunities page, and I found a job posting at Fordham University in New York City that actually sizzled.

I read the position title, responsibilities, qualifications - and there were words and terms that told me an evolution in thinking was occurring. I copied the entire job posting below, highlighting in bold those elements that caught my attention.

According to the contact person, Carlie McCarthy, who replied promptly to my questions, the position was entering the candidate interview stage and was only open to US citizens (being a Canadian citizen, this news was a bummer - does anyone know more about visas that librarians and archivists can get to work in the US?).

In any case, check out the points I highlighted. What do you think? Is this an Archives 2.0-ish position in the making, something other institutions should follow? I love the qualifications, especially the last one. A willingness to learn and implement new technologies and new skills.

Sign me up!

Fordham School of Law

Post date: September 9, 2008

Closing date: Until filled.

Position title: Archivist/Digital Specialist

Position in Leo T. Kissam Memorial Library, Fordham School of Law, Lincoln Center.

Responsibilities:
Organizes the historical records of the Law School.
Oversees the creation of an institutional repository for collecting, storing, preserving and disseminating the institution's digital assets.
Participates in the digitization of Fordham Law archival material.
Participates in cataloging and other library projects as needed.
Works under the direction of the Head of Cataloging.

Qualifications:
MLS or equivalent preferred.
Experience with organization and processing of archival materials.
Experience with digitization of archival materials and with storing, preserving, and providing networked access to digitized and born-digital material.
Knowledge of metadata schemas and the principles of controlled vocabulary.
Ability to develop written policies, procedures, and processes.
Excellent organizational skills, the ability to work with great accuracy and with meticulous attention to detail.
Ability to work cooperatively, effectively, flexibly and independently.
Willingness to learn and implement new technologies and new skills.

Salary: Commensurate with experience.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

What the....Another Archivist Ad?

Librarian Dude: Hello, I’m a Librarian.

Archivist Guy: And I’m an Archivist.

LD: Archivist, I am so glad you’re here. I’m just about to unveil the library’s new welcome sign.

AG: “WELCOME TO THE LIBRARY.” Gee, that sign is very big and colourful. Patrons will see it from miles away.

LD: Well, that’s the whole point. When people see this sign, they will know that this is their library and they are welcome to drop by.

AG: Fascinating concept.

LD: I’m sure there are archivists who would be interested in such a sign. If you like, I can hook you up with the design—

AG: No, no, no, Librarian. We archivists don’t do marketing. No, no. We’re all about serious research. Serious research in the archives. Besides, if people really need us, they will find us. Eventually.

LD: Speaking of which, where are the archives located?

AG: Oh, that’s easy. Just go downstairs, turn left, then turn right. Walk down the hallway and go through the second door on the right. Not the first door now, the second door. Ask to be buzzed in and head straight down the hallway and turn right. You’ll see our office door there.

LD: You sure you don’t need a few signs with arrows?

AG: Nope.

LD: I could make a few if you--

AG: No, no, that’s fine. Just watch your head when you round that second corner.

[Fade to black]

Monday, October 27, 2008

What Library 2.0 Can Teach Archives 2.0

Michael Stephens, blogging over at Tame the Web, has posted an interview he had with Special Libraries Associations' IT Bulletin Digital Focus in which he discusses, among other things, his views and predictions on Library 2.0. Although long, it is still a very good read, filled with ideas that those in the archives profession contemplating Archives 2.0 should consider.

I mention Stephens' blog post because in the past few weeks there has been a healthy discussion in the Archives blogosphere about Archives 2.0 - what it could be, what it could do for archives and archivists, what it would mean to researchers and future users - and the Archives profession in the Web 2.0 era.

Kate over at ArchivesNext started the discussion with her interesting blog post "Archives 2.0?" and several other bloggers (including yours truly....wink wink) made thoughtful comments. Be sure to read the blog post and comments - and submit a comment as well.

As someone who has been calling for change in Archives in regards to Web 2.0 adoption (its values and ethics and technology usage) both from this blog and currently from this dismal unemployment chair, I believe these discussions on Archives 2.0 is the correct course of action. But these discussions must be followed up with concrete strategies.

Archives 2.0 will not be Library 2.0. Archives 2.0 will not merely mirror the actions taken by our colleagues in libraries. No, Archives 2.0 must grasp the values and ethics of Web 2.0, understand the Web 2.0 technologies, and then muster up the courage and envision how these elements can solve the problems facing archives and archivists.

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Friday Abstract: Another Archivist Ad

"They'rrrrre baaaaack!" So said the email I received from my anonymous source. More archivist ads in the spirit of those popular "Get a Mac" ads, Apple's marketing campaign. I still have not seen any even though I poured over hours of YouTube footage. In the end, I did not have to, really, because our dedicated anonymous source has seen them, and is transcribing them as I type. She sent this one to me, hot off the presses, so to speak. Here goes:



Librarian Dude: Hello, I’m a Librarian.

Archivist Guy: [Enters scene pushing a cart with a large mechanical device on it] ....And I’m an Archivist.

LD: Whoa-ho, Archivist, what do you have there?

AG: This, my Librarian friend, is the Super Ultra Air Purifier Ionizer.

LD: That is awesome, Archivist. I'm really impressed.

AG: Why thank you, Librarian. You see, every few days—more times than I care to admit, actually—the facilities department forgets there are archivists working in our windowless rooms and often shut off the air ventilation system.

LD: Yikes!

AG: Yes, it gets pretty bad when you’re surrounded by dusty material. The burning eyes, stuffy nose, headache, nausea, flu-like symptoms – it ain’t a pretty sight, as they say.

LD: Well, why don’t you start up the machine?

AG: Good idea! [Flicks switch. Motor roars like an air plane engine]

LD: [Shouts above noise] Wow! That’s strong, Archivist!

AG: [Shouts above noise] Breathe in the fresh, ionized air, Librarian!

LD: [Shouts above noise] Hey, hey, Archivist, the private papers you were accessioning are blowing down the hallway. Shut off the machine!

AG: I can’t! I can’t! [Runs after papers, exits scene. Heard in the distance.] Stop, come back. Don’t step on those; they’re not garbage!

[Fade to black]




The horror....the horror.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

5 Ways to Stay Sane

Economic meltdown, Wall Street greed, corruption, scandal, wars, unemployment, stress - there are plenty of news stories and frightening images to make one despair or, worse, go insane. Thankfully, there are a few easy steps to take ride through the storms around us.

According to Foresight, a UK Government think tank, there are effective habits and behaviours that people can adopt to remain physically and mentally fit.

Steps to happiness

Connect
Developing relationships with family, friends, colleagues and neighbours will enrich your life and bring you support;

Be active
Sports, hobbies such as gardening or dancing, or just a daily stroll will make you feel
good and maintain mobility and fitness;

Be curious
Noting the beauty of everyday moments as well as the unusual and reflecting on them helps you to appreciate what matters to you;

Learn
Fixing a bike, learning an instrument, cooking – the challenge and satisfaction brings fun and confidence

Give
Helping friends and strangers links your happiness to a wider community and is very rewarding

[Source: TimesOnline]

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Friday Abstract: Those New Archivist Ads

Have you seen those new archivist ads circulating the Web? Me neither. But a kind reader has, and she sent me a transcript. The ad is apparently a funny spoof of the popular Apple ads that feature a ‘cool’ Mac guy and a ‘grumpy’ PC guy. With that image in mind, here is the transcript.


Librarian Dude: Hi, I’m a librarian.

Archivist Guy: Hi, I’m an archivist.

LD: Hey, Archivist, why do you look so gloomy?

AG: Well, you know, Librarian. Everyone is talking about you guys. I mean, you librarians are everywhere nowadays. On TV. On posters. And especially on the Web with all your fancy blogs and wikis. Us archivists, meanwhile, we’re busy, well, archiving.

LD: Well, actually, there are plenty of great archivist blogs out there—

AG: Please don’t patronize me, Librarian. No pun intended. We both have the same degree, right. We both serve the public. [Librarian nods in agreement] But somehow, somewhere down the line, one of us got the short end of the stick.

LD: Now I don’t think that’s necessarily true—

AG: Oh, please, Librarian. I read the blogs. I see what some of your more eminent colleagues are doing. You have librarians playing video games in public libraries, doing creative, fun activities; while others write cool dissertations on Second Life and the benefits of blogging, and worse still you have an anonymous librarian—God, anonymity, I hate it—writing the most popular library blog in the history Library Journal, that prestigious magazine of yours.

LD: Whoa! Archivist, you need to calm down. Your blood pressure. You should really—

AG: No, no Librarian. You won’t tell me what to do! I already know what I do.

LD: Really important stuff, I bet.

AG: Yes, like PRESERVING THE PAST FOR POSTERITY!!

[Awkward silence]

AG: Phew…I think I better head back to the basement now. Bye, Librarian.

LD: Just watch your first--

AG: AAARRGGGHH!

LD: --step

[Fade to black]



Wait a minute! I've been had!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

From Canada to London: How Twitter Opens (Conference) Doors

As Twitter matures and empowers people, users of the micro-blogger service are finding more ingenious ways to communicate. Twittering or sending tweets (updates) about conferences or live events, such as the Presidential debates, are gaining in popularity.

Earlier this morning, I was following the tweets emerging from Internet Librarian International 2008, held this year in London, England. In particular, I was following librarian and blogger Michael Stephens and his tweets, while one of his colleagues, Michael Casey, was speaking on a panel.

At one point, Stephens highlighted a panel member's point (not Casey, but someone named Thomas), who said: "Some people are Librarian by attitude...LIS edu is not necessary for all."

I found the statement very intriguing for numerous reasons, which I will not delve into today. But I am certain long-time readers will have an idea. (Is being a librarian or archivist really only an attitude, or is it a combination of theory and training?)

I replied to Stephens' tweet with the following: "What if you are LIS grad but do not possess a librarian attitude? What should one do?"

The point was not necessarily to receive a response or to even debate the statement (I mean, these are pro-bloggers, after all, they are busy people in the middle of a conference, so I wasn't expecting a response).

To my surprise, however, Stephens and Casey both replied to my tweet and panel members started to discuss the question I had asked, revealing once again the power of Web 2.0 in general and Twitter in particular.

How cool is that?

While the statement regarding librarian attitude and education and the question I had asked still require more thought (and perhaps a dedicated blog post), I was pleasantly surprised to see that Twitter leveled the field, whereby someone in Canada could influence the direction of a conference in London.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

EDUCAUSE Street Cred

I was ego-surfing the other day--you know, ego-surfing, typing your name into Google and finding out who's talking about you, who's linking back to your site, that sort of vain late night activity--and so, like, I googled my name, right, and guess where I appeared? On a link pointing to the EDUCAUSE website!  Yep, you guessed it, yours truly, on EDUCAUSE.

EDUCAUSE is a nonprofit association whose mission is to advance higher education by promoting the intelligent use of information technology, so says its website.  Now, I was located--or, rather, my profile was located--on a page listing current McGill staff members.  Now that's odd, considering I am no longer a McGill employee (though I have absolutely no opposition to be one again, but I digress).  But nevermind that slight mistake, what really is cool--and I mean real cool--is that the website recognized me as an Archivist-Electronic Records AND Blogger!

It's enough to make me forget my miserable cold!

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Friday Abstract: Love is a Time Machine

British band Oasis released its latest album "Dig Out Your Soul" on October 6, 2008.  I am very happy to report that the new album is almost a return to form, with catchy lyrics, heavy guitar chords and an anthemic, ambitious sound that made Oasis the band it is today - and one of the biggest bands in the world.

The first single from the new album is called The Shock of the Lightning, a wild ride of a song.

Take a listen and have a look.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Lost Without You

We've become so dependent on our computers that when they go awry, as in infected by a virus, or break down due to normal wear and tear, we become lost without them. Yesterday afternoon, I received a phone call from the computer repair shop where I had taken my virus infected machine to be cleaned. The news was bad but could have been far worse.

It appears that all of my Microsoft Windows XP files had become fatally infected and corrupted. The entire operating systems was dead. A complete hard drive re-format and re-installation were required. Luckily, the repair shop, using a bit of techno-wizardry, was able to extract several personal and professional files (around 3 gigs worth), scanning and cleaning them in the process.

I am big amateur Photoshop user. You can see my handiwork across this blog if you are viewing this post at The DIGITAL Archive. The header and sidebar graphics, custom brushes, silhouette shapes, all mine. They took me hours, sometimes days to design. All lost, I feared as I witnessed the virus spread across my hard drive like fire in a pool of gasoline.

But, again, thanks to some fast-thinking on behalf of my reliable (and now $200 richer) repair shop, I have my personal and professional files back. Not all, mind you. I lost fonts. Yes, fonts that I had found over the past two years. All gone. But I will rebuild, this time bigger and better - and backed-up!!

Many of you reading this process and organize archives. We maintain original order, preserve records for posterity. For example, I researched, wrote and talked about e-records management and digital preservation.

But I wonder if we, individually, have taken the time to examine and insure the safety and security of our own personal archive, our digital archive, where we, using our PCs or Macs, create and store a multitude of files in a myriad of file formats in essence creating and storing memories in text, audio and video?

Are we making sure these critical files are safe, secure, backed up, either on external hard drives, CDs/DVDs, or perhaps even in the cloud using online storage services such as Google Docs or Apple's Mobile Me?

Think about it.

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.