Somerville (MA) Tool Library Opening Sat., 2/7, 12-4 pm

February 7th, 2015

“The Somerville Tool Library is a tool lending library located at Parts and Crafts (577 Somerville Ave) in Somerville, Massachusetts. It is available to residents of Somerville and the surrounding cities and towns. The library is scheduled to open to the public on February 7th 2015. We are currently building our tool collection and actively soliciting early bird members to support our efforts.”

Memberships, for $50/year, allow people to borrow tools for a week at a time. Donation of a major tool might earn you a membership, too.

On Saturday, February 7 from 12-4 pm, a grand opening celebration introduces visitors to the library and some of the people affiliated with it. “Anachronistic Audio Repair
Project”, or AARP will be at the grand opening. “Bring your boom boxes, cassette players, walkmans and similar cruft to take apart, repair, and/or upcycle.”

I joke with some blacksmiths regularly about how I want to catalog and organize their tools. I look forward to seeing how this tool library does it. It looks like they’re looking for volunteer librarians … hhhmmm …

Great Dinner Conversation: Taxonomy and the Information Technology Industry

October 21st, 2014

Y’all who didn’t stick around for dinner after the meeting missed a great conversation. Well, ok, perhaps I’m biased, but I’ll bet the taxonomist enjoyed it, too. It was one of these conversations that’s left my brain buzzing and sparking. I kept trying to talk myself out of blogging it, but I failed. When I pause to stare off into space at my desk Wednesday, y’all’ll know what’s on my mind.

For an upcoming presentation, someone suggested that the taxonomist talk about how folks in the tech sector could benefit from taxonomies and indexing.

“Absolutely!” I replied.
“Tell me more.” She requested.
I obliged.

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Rails Rumble Project: Museum Curation Software Arti-Facts

October 20th, 2014

My coworkers Steven Hammond and Nat Budin created museum curation software called Arti-Facts in the coding competition Rails Rumble over the weekend. When they shared it with us at work today, I realized it might be of interest to a few of you (and not just because the images they use come from an awesome collection of arms and armaments).

Some of the other projects are pretty neat, too: animal shelter software, a game where kids compete against each other to see who does the most chores, an easy way to make conference badges, vacation and travel tools, and, of course, more information and data management options.

Voting is happening through Friday, October 24 (corrected). If you see something you like, make it a favorite.

Addendum 10/25: It looks like my original post was correct (or psychic): judging does go until 23:59 UTC on Sunday, October 26. (Great! Because I forgot to finish voting on 10/24. *sheepish grin*)

Boston Book Festival 2014 Oct 23-25 Copley Square Area

October 18th, 2014


The Boston Book Festival 2014 is being held on October 23-25, 2014 around Boston’s Copley Square area:

Most events are free, but there are some ticketed events.

Some of the writers that are participating are Susan Minot, Rick Riordan, Norman Foster and Doris Kearns Goodwin. Herbie Hancock is giving one of the keynote speeches.

Also, there’s one Saturday session called Libraries of the Future at 2:15 pm in the Boston Common Carver, 40 Trinity Place:

“In the future, libraries will thrive—although in a variety of new forms. This is the contention made by Jeffrey Schnapp and Matthew Battles, who combine the study of the library’s history with a record of innovation at Harvard’s metaLAB, a research group at the forefront of the digital humanities. In The Library Beyond the Book, they offer a provocative and lively exploration of libraries as hybrid places that intermingle analog and digital formats, paper and pixels. Their scenarios for future libraries imagine them as everything from study centers to social change agents and event-driven knowledge centers. Join the conversation about libraries of the future led by Joshua Glenn, author of Taking Things Seriously and co-founder of the blog HiLobrow.”


Posted by Rich

BarCamp Boston 9 – Sunday, 10/12/14

October 12th, 2014

My notes from Sunday’s tech gathering follow.


  • morning stretches
  • “Sleep? What is sleep?” – Coders and why they need to take a break.
    • shouldn’t that order be reversed … ? 😉
  • Explaining Psychic + Anomalous Phenomena
  • Mental health and the geeky life – a story of hope.
  • Mistakes many startup entrepreneurs make
  • Demos
  • BarCamp brainstorming

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BarCamp Boston 9 – Saturday, 10/11/14

October 11th, 2014

My notes from Saturday’s BarCamp Boston 9 sessions and whatnot follow. It’s been a great time so far, as always. I’ve spent more time talking to people than I have sitting in sessions because the conversations have been good and useful.


  • automated QA
  • usability on the cheap
  • wearables
  • I’m leading Networking for Introverts (as in “how to talk to strangers”) at 4:40 p
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BarCamp Boston 9, Oct. 11-12, Microsoft NERD

October 1st, 2014

BarCamp Boston 9 (the area’s largest tech / geek unconference) happens October 11th & 12th* at Microsoft NERD. Plenty of space is still available. That means if you grab as many people as you can, y’all can sway the path of the conference. 😉

Registering in advance is very helpful because we organizers can plan t-shirts, food, drinks, nametags, etc.

*Yes, that’s the Saturday and Sunday of Columbus Day Weekend.

25 Year of the Web + Future of Libraries

September 29th, 2014

It’s not a secret that I love the Berkman Center. A recent Berkman Buzz email points to John Palfrey’s reflection on 25 years of the Web alongside David Weinberger’s thoughts on the future of libraries and how other influencers will create that future.

Many people think the Web will make libraries obsolete. Well, it’s been 25 years and many changes have happened, but how many libraries have embraced those changes and run with them? How many of us use libraries more because of their digital resources or because we found a pointer to something in a collection while searching the Web or because we can access something remotely through a library’s website?

David writes:

That’s why it’s a tragedy that libraries are barely visible in the new knowledge infrastructure. What libraries and librarians know about books and so much more is too important a cultural resource to lose.

That’s also why we need libraries to be out where ideas and knowledge are being raised, discussed, contested, and absorbed. Everywhere there’s a discussion on the web, everything that libraries know ought to be immediately at hand. Yet this hope for libraries is unlikely to be realized primarily by libraries, for two reasons.

John writes:

[The Web’s] impact is a consequence of the brilliance of the design, how it builds upon other networks, and how it allows for others to build on top of it through new ideas.

As we celebrate twenty five years of the Web and what it has meant to societies around the world, we ought also to consider what we might accomplish in the next twenty-five years. Consider three institutions that have already been changed by the Web and which will no doubt change more in the coming two and a half decades: education, libraries, and journalism. Each of these institutions is essential to healthy democracies and relies upon a web that remains free, open, and interoperable. In an increasingly digital world, the importance of these institutions is going up, not down. And yet, in each case, the Web is too often perceived as a threat, rather than as an opportunity, to these institutions and those who work in them. And if the Web itself becomes closed down, controlled by private parties or by government censorship, we will curtail opportunities for extraordinarily positive social change. With great imagination, compelling design, sound policy, and effective implementation, each of these institutions might emerge stronger and better able to serve democracies than before the advent of the Web.

Both posts are worth a closer look. Some of you will appreciate what John says about journalism and the Web.

The Map Thief by Michael Blanding

September 14th, 2014

I finished reading The Map Thief by Michael Blanding this morning, the account primarily of the actions of map dealer E. Forbes Smiley III and thefts to which he admitted and others attributed to him, mostly in the 2000s. The book reveals a bit about how more support is needed to adequately catalog and care for rare books, manuscripts, and maps to preserve them for the future while making them available now. It’s both a book that is a bit alarming and helpful by teaching how some people steal materials. If I were still the guardian of a collection, I would definitely review practices to figure out how to better protect materials. The book also summarizes the history of map making and certain key maps and takes a look at some institutions Smiley visited.

WordCamp Boston 2014 MIT Media Lab/Workbar August 23-24, 2014

August 17th, 2014

WordCamp Boston 2014 is being held at the MIT Media Lab on August 23, 2014 while the Contributor Day is being held at the Workbar in Cambridge on August 24, 2014. The cost is $20.00 to attend both days.

Wordcamp, which is held across the country and the world, deals with all aspects of the WordPress blogging program.

For more info:

Posted by Rich