Monday, June 30, 2008
The tenth installment goes to an archivist named Heather, blogging over at Archives Found. The blog's tag line caught my eye: "Making history more accessible, one story at a time." In the about section, Heather elaborates on the goals of her blog:
I wanted to choose a catchy title, something that spoke about the experiences that I’m having, and that I hope to have in the future. An overgeneralization that works here– when I meet people for the first time, and we do the dance of the “what do you do? I’m in marketing, blah… how about you?” and I mention that I am an archivist, the general response is to ask what, exactly an archivist is. The same reaction happens when I mentioned that I was attending graduate school for library science– not only is there confusion about what an archivist is, but there’s also the much-hated response of “You need a master’s degree to check out books?” It seems that there is a need for general education regarding the fields of librarianship, archives, and even records management.
I have not drilled very deep into the content. But if someone is keen on making history more accessible, then I am in.
I like surveys and the results one can gleam from them. I found the survey I conducted a while back was very helpful and even insightful.
Of course, the more participation, the better. So head on over to ArchivesNext.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Friday, June 20, 2008
If creating fantastic creatures, great and small, and watching them evolve, play, fight and breed is something you are interested in, then may I interest you in Electronic Arts' Creature Creator PC game? The free trial Creature Creator game is a design tool and part of a much larger--and highly anticipated--game called Spore, created by Will Wright, the brains behind such hits as The Sims and SimCity, to be released in September 2008.
From Macworld.com, reporter Peter Cohen writes:
Spore Creature Creator is a design tool that lets you craft your own alien critter. It’s a small component of Spore, an upcoming game from EA designed by Will Wright, the legendary creator of The Sims and Sim City. And in Spore, you affect the evolution of a race of beings from single-celled organisms swimming around in tidal pools all the way up to their emergence as a space-faring civilization. It’s the ultimate “God” game from one of the genre’s pioneers.
In a moment of divine creativity, I created (make that, assembled) a little alien creature I call Hugo and son, who are featured in the video above. Below is Rico, of the horned-knee creatures.
Go to wordle.net and you will understand what I mean.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
The following are guidelines I developed to help you compose an online profile. To remember them quickly, think "The 4 F's": FORMAL, FACTS, FUNCTIONS, and FUN.
1) FORMAL: State who you are, in either first or third person, using either your current job title or your professional title, giving some emphasis to your area of speciality. Briefly.
I am an electronic records manager, focusing on managing digitized records and enterprise resource planning data;
Robert Grant is an electronic records consultant, supporting clients transition from paper to digital records
2) FACTS: State your educational qualifications and work experience. Briefly.
I have a B.A. in History, B.Sc. in Computer Science, and a Master of Library and Information Studies, with 4 years work experience in an educational institution and a medical library
3) FUNCTIONS: State what you have done in those years of education and work experience. Briefly.
I designed and implemented a new taxonomy and trained staff and senior administration;
Robert Grant has re-designed several websites, improving navigation and content accessibility, and making these websites the hub of information delivery
4) FUN: Express your personality using the most succinct and passionate words that describe you, while explaining how these qualities enrich your work. Ask family, friends, professors, employers (past and present), if necessary.
I am a creative, innovative, and team-oriented individual, whose passion for people, technology and libraries direct my decisions and work ethic.
Use The 4 Fs wisely, and add your own uniqueness to them, and I am certain your online profile will get noticed.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
In an interview with Charlie Rose held at the SLA Conference, Cerf said "he’s deeply concerned about digital preservation and the 'born digital' challenge; he hopes to avoid a 'bit pile' of inaccessible, extinct content and urged companies to open up development for digital preservation applications."
Vincent Cerf gets it!
Will companies, organizations, institutions and hard-headed, stubborn senior admin types also get it?
Besides, I thought, I could connect with a few old friends.
But my introduction to Facebook was more sobering than anything else.
In a matter of minutes, I discovered two friends who had been my best friends when I was a kid. These two guys were the best. We were all roughly nine years old, give or take a few months between our birthdays. We’d go bike riding around the neighbourhood from dawn ‘till dusk; we celebrated birthdays; we’d set out for adventures downtown, where we’d catch a few movies; and we’d play sports, like street hockey or parking lot baseball, on the weekends and during the summer when school broke for holidays.
The summer sun was endless, the fun was endless, and life was sweet. We enjoyed this life for many, many years until circumstances, such as college, work, and family relocation, slowly took us into different directions. We lost touch, for the most part, only seeing each other briefly at university (in the halls) or on the bus or train.
But I never forgot those guys or those days. How could I? Can one really forget those days, when one was nine years old? I loved them; I loved us, those crazy kids on their bikes, innocent, without a single care in the world other than finding out the time for our favourite cartoon show and the release date of the latest Nintendo video game.
On Facebook, however, I barely recognized their faces. The oldest member of our trio was–let me call him “Big T”—was the sports fanatic and music lover. He introduced me to baseball as well as to hip-hop music (KRS-One, Boogie Down Productions, remember them?). As a kid, “Big T’s” dream was to become a professional baseball player and a rapper. He had a passion for both.
In checking out his Facebook profile, and in chatting with him, he had become an occupational therapist by day and a Deep House music DJ by night, hosting his own late night/early hours show on the Internet. His passion for music never waned, only transformed into something different. His passion has made him widely recognized and well-travelled. Awesome!
Meanwhile, the youngest member of our trio – let me call him “Lil L”—was the book reading, D&D playing, adventure-seeking free spirit. He introduced me to role-playing games (D&D, AD&D, RIFTS) and to the then still embryonic world of PC games (the hilarious Space Quest series). We’d bike a lot together, through forest paths, getting bitten by mosquitoes, and to the outer limits of our neighbourhood, which was very far for our little kid navigational senses. His mother would take us to baseball games and museums and his grandmother would serve us lemonade and share her air-conditioned apartment on especially hot and humid summer days.
As a kid, “Lil L,” much like myself, loved role-playing games. We loved conjuring up stories for our role-playing characters. The more stories we made up, the more fun we had. Personally, I found making up stories and watching friends become engrossed very satisfying, as I often came up with one story after another. Some good, some duds, and some with the right mixture of mystery and action that I even surprised myself. At one point, during one of those tension-filled story moment, “Lil L” asked me, “How do you come up with all these stories?” It was a question I could not answer. I was afraid to answer. I didn't quite know; they just came. But the question stuck with me for many years. My imagination, it seemed, was rearing its newborn head.
On Facebook, I honestly could not recognize “Lil L” because the profile image I saw was that of a man carrying a baby. The shiny kid face I had known was replaced by a glowing fatherly face, complete with goatee and sunglasses, and in his arms he held his child. “Lil L” was married with two young boys and worked with a large telcom company. His wife was not the girl who he had an endless crush on as a kid, but someone else. His two boys had their father’s free spirit look (in a few short years, I thought, they will be biking around the neighbourhood from dawn ‘till dusk).
Sadly, I also learned that his mother, who had set up birthday parties and trips to baseball games, had died a few years back. I could not swallow that revelation. I had known her, and now she was gone. Not sick or ailing, but dead. I was stunned, shocked, in disbelief. And as clichéd as it may sound, I felt something die in me.
This is not what I expected from Facebook. I expected connecting, social networking, old friends, new friends, super walls and super pokes. Instead, I experienced sad, painful nostalgia.
The faces I remembered were from a different time; the faces I now saw on Facebook were changed by time and circumstances, for better or for worse. And the time we had known together, that I had known so thoroughly and enjoyed immensely, which I kept tucked away safely in a protected memory center, to be retrieved every so often, had moved on.
I clicked logout, something I would often do in the months after I joined Facebook. And I never bookmarked the website.
Nowadays, I hardly use Facebook. That’s not to say Facebook has no value in the future. But for me, at this time, I am content with the social networking websites and tools I use and the online friends I have. I do not wish to allocate any more time to Facebook.
If one of Facebook’s purposes was to assist users reconnect with old friends with a few clicks, it certainly succeeded. Though not its fault, Facebook simply failed to mention that a few clicks can also mean opening doors to the past that, in retrospect, should be approached cautiously and in some cases sometimes remain closed.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
There are numerous websites (and more on the horizon, I bet) that enable users, like you and me, to publish our thoughts and ideas. There are blogs, naturally, wikis, photo-sharing sites, and, as broadband surges forward, the proliferation of podcasts and videoblogs.
Equipped with a laptop, web camera (or a camera-enabled cell phone), and a high-speed Internet connection, one can record shows or even broadcast live across the Web. There’s Youtube, of course, and there is Y!Live, Ustream.tv, Viddler, Vimeo, Qik, Kyte.tv, Flixwagon.com, and many more. All worth checking out, if you like.
But I am seeing a trend that I do not like among these websites:
First, I am seeing the same user faces across all these websites. It’s as though a dozen or so of these pro-bloggers or pro-vloggers are taking up much of the space and sadly with some less than stellar material. I don’t want to name names, although I assume some would not mind the additional attention.
Secondly, the material that is being produced, while "live" and "dynamic" (yeah, crossing the street, yeah), is for the most part pointless and trivial. Enough with the crap! You’re clogging up the arteries of the Internet with these narcissistic, self-indulgent videos.
Mind you, I am not condemning these top bloggers and vloggers, these shameless pluggers, because they are largely friendly folks with good intentions and some have found a recipe for success, being able to make a living off this new media lifestyle. These top vloggers have their good moments, true, but they should save their ramblings, pontifications, and walks through their basements and their freak-outs for their personal hard drives, not the Web.
Monday, June 16, 2008
“Aside from attending a few local conferences,” he explained, “I haven’t done much or learned much. I just do what I have to do at work. That’s it.”
I was shocked by his indifference. “So what do you do to stay current?” I asked.
“I read a few journals, but that’s about it.”
I told him that I had attended roughly 4 conferences / seminars / workshops in my 8 year career. And I bemoaned the fact that I had I wanted to attend more to learn, to connect, to meet with my peers, but was thwarted by a number of setbacks, including the usual limited budget.
Placing the blame on the usual suspects, such as limited funds, indifferent employers, or the limitations imposed on contractual positions, can often alleviate the frustration, but it does not erase the truth: professional development is a must.
In 2002, Barbara Quint, editor of Searcher Magazine, wrote a very insightful column in the July/August issue of the magazine. In reflecting on her career path, and offering advice to her readers, she stated boldly:
“When an information professional stops learning, they start dying, or at least their career does. And any information professional in this day and age, with all the changes upon us and more coming, who does not or cannot allot a significant portion of their work time to learning and study will not be able to perform well the job they have now for much longer, much less the future jobs they should have.”
I agree 100% With contractual positions, as I have been in over the years, the employer’s interest, for better or for worse, is to ensure the work he or she has planned gets done, not necessarily to support the professional development of the person hired.
So what should one do?
As I walked down the bustling streets, I was caught in my thoughts, wondering how I have managed to stay current (more or less) despite being on contracts or, more recently, unemployed.
One word kept surfacing: blogs.
Seriously, if it were not for the many library and archives, Web 2.0, new media, digitization, digital preservation bloggers and social networkers on the Web, I would be far, far behind the curve.
I believe in the power of blogs, their immediacy, their intimacy, and their uncanny ability to auto-generate communities, because I know I have benefitted from them and learned from them. And continue to do so.
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Hey, check it out!
Friday, June 13, 2008
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
With preparation and practice, one can become very confident in answering these questions honestly and positively.
4) What is the budget for projects, such as hardware and software?
Monday, June 09, 2008
But have no fear, with today's Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), Twitter plans on strengthening its infrastructure and boosting system performance. (Fingers crossed, fingers crossed.)
In the meantime, enjoy some Twitter goodness:
1) Twitter for Librarians: The Ultimate Guide
2) Summize - Search Twitter in realtime, searching conversations. Yeah!!
Friday, June 06, 2008
about the author
- David Kemper
- 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.