Friday, January 30, 2009

The Friday Abstract: Not So Abstract

Unlike the standard friday abstracts, where I entertain my readers with a bit of the bizarre, I will break with friday abstract tradition this once and bring you an update not so abstract in nature.

Today marks my second full week at my new job. While McGill University remains a familiar environment, having worked there previously, much has changed, at least much as changed in regards to what I have been assigned to do.

I'll save the details about work for another blog post - as soon as I make the time to sit my butt on a chair and command the guy in my head that does most of the heavy word lifting to start hammering a few more words to form a coherent blog post.

If you follow me on Twitter (if not, here I am @dkemper), you have probably noticed a slight slowdown in tweets, which I guess you all know is to be expected. However, unlike other times, when work so radically altered my scheduling I barely blogged regularly, this time I shall endeavour to make the time to maintain an active and consistent online and social networking voice.

Ironically, I have been very active with my Archives*Open Twitter feed (if you're still not following Archives*Open on Twitter, now is your chance, @archivesopen). As I mentioned in a previous blog post (Holy Twitter Tweets, Batman!), I am rethinking the future direction of the Archives*Open blog. I am not yet sure how to proceed.

To that end, I am still working diligently on the Archives*Open Twitter feed, tapping into the power of search and RSS feeds to automatically send archives-related news, articles and blog posts through Archives*Open's Twitter feed.

I am also participating in other ways. I am monitoring the Archives*Open Twitter page when I get the chance and connecting with more archivists and records managers on Twitter. The number of connections being formed and the rise of community is wonderfully surprising to me. I love it when archivists get together and tweet! You guys and gals are awesome!

Well lookee here. I never expected to write a whole bunch. But dog gone it, I just did.

Perhaps the little guy in my head who does all the heavy word lifting is more ready than I thought.

For now, thank God it's Friday. TGIF.

Photo credit: patries71

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Saturday / Sunday Slide: Smurf Shoe

Discovery. It is always illuminating and satisfying to discover something new, particularly new music, which is something I am almost constantly seeking. Thanks to Twitterer @bizaaron for tweeting about Freescha, an indie-electro duo based in San Fernando Valley, California.

Listen to this little ditty called Smurf Shoe. It is difficult to tell if this is an official music video or a fan-created video. Admittingly, the video is strange - in a good way, though.

One thing is certain: If you ain't shakin' your rump by the end of the video, check your pulse.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

What does President Obama and I Have in Common?


Give up?

This was our first week on the job.

(Hence the lack of any new blog posts here.)

Friday, January 16, 2009

Holy Twitter Tweets, Batman!


After the Twitter bird feathers settled following my blog post on the 15 People All Archivists Must Follow On Twitter, I felt that I, make that, we--and by we I mean readers of this blog and Twitter users now following one another--had accomplished something close to a major milestone. We created a small but vocal and flourishing micro-blogging community.

Granted, I realize that many among the list do not always tweet about archives, archivists, or pressing archival issues (in that regard, I am probably the biggest practitioner of impractical tweets), but there is a sense of shared interests, which I am certain will bear fruit in the weeks and months ahead.

Moreover, by testing Twitter, many of us are now not only talking the Web 2.0 walk, but walking the Web 2.0 talk [thanks pakurilecz-dk], building and gaining real-world experience. What works. What doesn't.

It's true, Twitter can be addictive, like cigarettes. A potential time-waster, if used without discipline. But Twitter, simply put, is a nimble, mobile, light-weight publishing tool! Nothing comes close!

Twitter may change in a year or two. Another service may appear on the horizon. But what remains in the constant flux of technology evolution, and what will always remain, is our humanity: People want to create, communicate, share, and participate, and they will use these social technologies.

Reinvention: New Job

No, that's not a typo or a misprint, nor are you hallucinating. I found a new job. The telephone call and the official offer documents arrived mid-week and so therefore I can make the announcement here. I was offered, and accepted, a position at McGill University.

This position marks my return to the university, where I studied and received my MLIS and worked in the University Archives for several years.

This time, I will be working under the Information Technology Services banner, focusing on managing digital content and enabling collaboration among University units. It's a step in a new direction, one requiring, I feel, a Kierkegaardian kind of faith. Expect a slowdown in blog posts in the coming weeks, though a few pithy tweets are not entirely out of the question.

Archives*Open (perpetual beta)

When I launched Archives*Open back in early December, I was inspired and energized and greatly encouraged by the positive feedback and comments.

Today, I still feel inspired and energized. But now, with a new job starting imminently, I wonder if I can honestly maintain energy levels.

I hate to see a bright idea dim.

So in an effort to keep things moving I am making Archives*Open more, well, open, leveraging tools, technologies and services that are freely available on the Web to push content to the blog - with some editorial assistance on my part.

For example, I have started using a Twitter service called Twitterfeed, which takes RSS feeds (title and description fields only) and tweets them to a Twitter account. Regarding the Archives*Open twitter feed (@archivesopen), I am creating search parameters that encompass archives, access and Web 2.0 and saving them as RSS feeds and then running them through Twitterfeed to the @archivesopen Twitter account.

I have done something similar with Delicious, the social bookmarking service. Every time I find a website that fits 'the Web 2.0/innovative access to archival materials' classification, I tag it with "archivesopen" (no quotation marks, natch) and in time the bookmark (short blurb and URL) will be tweeted.

You can join in as well.

If you have a Delicious account, you can tag websites with "archivesopen." Fingers crossed, the bookmark will be tweeted via the Archives*Open Twitter feed.

Upwards and onwards. Stay tuned.

Photo credits comicbasecarrotcreativeSuviko

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

15 People All Archivists Must Follow on Twitter

UPDATE: 15 and counting. More names being added. See below.

Whether you are new to Twitter, or a veteran of the popular social networking and micro-blogging service, there is one thing that almost all of us at one time another focus on: finding and following people.

Like most social networking websites, the long-term value of Twitter is attained through participation and community. With Twitter, participation is easy. Open an account and send out your updates (or tweets) in 140 characters or less. To find and follow people (community) who share your interests and from whom you can learn, personally and professionally, however, is a little more difficult, as it is not always clear on Twitter what are people's professional identities or interests.

To remedy the situation, I have done some digging around. Inspired by Darren Rowse, who started a timely blog aimed at Twitter beginners called Twitip, I have collected a list of fifteen people all archivists must follow.

If you are an archivist or interested in archives and archival issues, these fifteen people should become part of your follow list.

9. @amycsc 
11. @caturday 

Do you have other Twitter people to suggest? Send me a tweet at @dkemper or to @archivesopen! Want to get started with Twitter, sign up here.

UPDATE (13/01/2009)

@souslapoussiere - French/English

UPDATE (14/01/2009)

UPDATE (15/01/2009)

UPDATE (24/01/2009)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Interesting People, Interesting Blogs (Part 12)

This is the first installment of the new year of the much beloved blog post series called "Interesting People, Interesting Blogs," a place where the editor of The DIGITAL Archive (ahem, me) carefully examines and scrutinizes blogs and honours one for being very interesting.

For this installment, I have chosen "The Posterity Project," a blog written by Gordon Belt, an information professional with a background in special libraries and archival administration who is based in Nashville, Tennessee. According to Belt, The Posterity Project is

a blog chronicling news and issues related to archives, history, civic responsibility, and open access to public records, with reflections on archives and history in the "Volunteer State" of Tennessee.

I chose this blog for three reasons:

1. The impressive volume of timely and quality content

Impressive volume is an understatement. Belt writes prolifically on archives matters and links extensively to other websites. My personal favorite is the Weekly Roundup, where he cites interesting tid-bits from newspaper articles, blog posts, and websites. At times, The Posterity Project blog seems to transcends the usual blog formatg and becomes more like a large resource center.

2. Clean layout and design

With so much content, one would believe a blog would soon become a disorganized mess, but Belt manages to keep his layout clean and streamlined, a difficult feat considering some blogging platforms. (Cough, blogger, cough.)

3. Highlights the value of regional blogging

While The Posterity Project covers historical and archival stories and issues from across the United States and beyond, Belt makes a solid effort in showcasing local and regional historical and archival resources in his home state of Tennessee. One impressive feature incorporated in the blog (which should be emulated by other blogs, in my opinion) is the use of Google Maps in displaying an interactive map of archives in the state of Tennessee. Very well done. I hope other historians and archivists in Tennesse (and elsewhere) are reading The Posterity Project.

Photo credit kevindooley

Friday, January 09, 2009

The Friday Abstract: Uncle Jay Explains the News

Yes, it's true, my Uncle Jay explains the news. Well, actually, Uncle Jay is not really my uncle, nor is he related to my family in any shape or form. I just found him on YouTube. Actually, I found him on a website that someone had recommended for a completely different reason. And the person responsible for that website had embed this video and I thought, Voila, I found this week's Friday Abstract. It that clear?

Oh, never mind, the Friday Abstract is served!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Ready, Set...Those New Year's Resolutions?

Happy New Year DIGITAL Archive readers! It's a little late, true, but, you know, better late than never, right.

So, what are your new year's resolutions? No, seriously, what are they? We've all made some, loudly or secretly. This time around, however, let's avoid those long lists of resolutions that so often (I'm at pains to say it) fail miserably.

Social media and technology expert Chris Brogan wrote a thoughtful post on new year's resolutions - and how to achieve them. First off, he doesn't make any; rather, he selects three words that help him define goals for the year ahead.

3 Words to Achieve Goals in 2009

Brogan clearly and logically explains the potential and power of selecting three words to set goals for 2009. Unlike traditional New Year's resolutions, which often push us, mostly reluctantly, towards a set of goals, the three keyword technique pulls us toward those goals. Their hope inspires us to achieve them. So how do we set those three keywords? Brogan offers this advice:

Look for three words that will help you frame your challenges and opportunities for 2009. Don’t think about where you are this exact moment...Try setting your three words far out on the horizon, but such that they can lead you to your goals every day.

Nice Stuff. But I'm Stuck!

As hard as I tried, I could not come up with even one word. But then, serendipity stepped in to the picture in the form of an email from a friend. In his email he wrote: Work. Freedom. Enlightenment. I kid you not. Perhaps he had read Brogan's blog post. I don't know. But what I do know, these three words sound perfect to me.


In these difficult economic times, I believe most adults fall into one of the following categories: employed and satisfied, employed but fearful of losing their job, and plain and simple unemployed and discouraged. If you fit in either of the latter two categories, I, in those immortal words, feel your pain. Seeking work in these times is hard work. Period. But let's use this keyword to inspire us, to pull us towards our goal. Work. Let's see. What kind of work? Let's step it up a level: What are you passionate about? It often said, but so true. What are you passionate about? Whatever it is, I am certain it will propel you through these difficult economic times.


Year after year, we drag chains that are latched to bad habits. We drag chains latched to negativity. Sour moods. And so on. These chains weigh us down and weigh down our productivity - and, worse still, weigh down our goals and dreams. What is the solution? Freedom. But to achieve freedom we need action. We need to take appropriate, effective, and resolute steps to achieve freedom from those chains that hold back. Objectively and often swiftly, we need to create plan and set it into motion.


This one is a touch vague and open to interpretation, which could be a good thing. From my perspective, the pursuit of enlightenment is about seeking wisdom from sources that we may have overlooked previously, such as those around us who are smarter and wiser than us. It also is about listening to understand rather than talking and wanting to be heard. It also is about quiting the mind in order to hear that still, small--and usually incredibly knowledgeable--inner voice.

Work. Freedom. Enlightenment. This is not another blog post. This is something I really want to pursue. Consider this a record of my decision.

Set your 3 words for a successful 2009!

Photo credit Harpagornis

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Just Tweet It: The Twitter Song

Just Tweet It
(inspired by Michael Jackson's "Beat It" and Twitter, of course)

They told him don't you ever blog around here
Don't wanna read your posts cuz they're never clear
The time is passing fast and you better be sincere
So tweet it, just tweet it

You better tweet, under 140 characters if you can
Don't wanna see no long blog post, don't be no literary man
You wanna be followed, better follow others while you can
So tweet it, but you wanna just blog

Just tweet it, tweet it, tweet it, tweet it
No one wants to be deleted
Bloggin' all long and rough is not bright
It doesn't matter, left-wing or right

Just tweet it, tweet it
Just tweet it, tweet it
Just tweet it, tweet it
Just tweet it, tweet it

UPDATE: The Youtube link to Michael Jackson's "Beat 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.