Goodbye, World!

July 13th, 2018

Harvard emailed me to let me know they will no longer host j’s scratchpad in August because of changes they are making to their blog platform. Among other things, administration is moving away from the Berkman Klein Center to the more centralized Harvard IT office. My past affiliation with Berkman Klein and running the blog group and inspiring lots of Harvard bloggers does not matter to them.

It has been a fun 15 year run.

As of this point, I don’t plan to reincarnate it anywhere.

Even though I certainly don’t post as often and actively as I used to, I still enjoy the occasional contributions I can make.

It is sad this resource is coming to an end. I’ve heard from some of you that you still find value in some of the older posts and whatnot.

So long and thanks for all the fish!

Addendum 8/8: A nice retrospective is at: .

I used WordPress’ export tool tonight. The export ran very briefly (a few minutes?). I thought “No way that’s everything.” While spot checking, it looks ok. The file is 4368 pages long.

I just finished a Mari Kondo book about tidying. While the blog brought me lots of joy years ago, lately, I can’t say I associate it with such joy on the same level. Harvard’s change is forcing me to move on in ways that aren’t all bad. I will miss the blog. I will miss the platform where I wrote professionally for many years and having the archives of the posts at my fingertips. I will miss all the people I met because of blogging and running the blog group. I appreciate and cherish all the things I learned, connections I made, opportunities I had, etc., because of my coworker bringing someone to my office who was looking for people to partake of his experiment. The retrospective Berkman Klein posted indicates the “experiment” is still going very, very strong. It sounds like it has finally, officially transitioned from something that might have been temporary to a real IT resource with a permanent home. I’m glad to have had the opportunity to be involved in that from the beginning.

Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World

March 5th, 2018

Over the weekend, I finally read Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World by Vicki Myron with Bret Witter. On my reading list for years, it was worth the wait. Not only does Vicki cover the life of Dewey Readmore Books, the official cat of the Spencer, Iowa, public library, but she also discusses her career as a librarian and life as the librarian of a small, Midwestern town. The book is as much about this public library and its role in a community changing with economic times as it is about how a cat brings people together.

I hope I’ve also captured something else: the magic of libraries. Libraries aren’t warehouses for books; they are meeting houses for human beings. A good library is less an institution than a home. It has comfortable seats, desks, computers, friendly people and, yes, sometimes even a cat. Libraries are society’s great leveling agent: they offer job listings, financial information, technology, entertainment, any book you want. For free. I hate it when people tip-toe through a library. “This isn’t a graveyard,” I want to shout. “It’s alive. So live a little!”

I was lucky to come across the book while browsing a branch of my local public library.

If you’ve been following this blog for years and years, you might recall a post from back in 2006 marking Dewey’s passing. It looks like a second book with Dewey stories exists, too: Dewey’s Nine Lives.

Boy Steals Books from Library, Becomes Influential Lawyer

July 28th, 2017

Catching up on StoryCorps podcasts this morning, I heard this fabulous (and amusing) story about a young man who wanted to read books, but feared being seen reading would ruin his tough reputation. He stole some books from a library, read them, and returned them. Years later, he learned the librarian had a surprising role in his thefts.

This fellow went on to have a landmark career in law. I can’t help wondering if being able to secretly read some books when he was a teenager made a difference in his choice to go into a profession with a lot of reading.

Spotlight, LSC, MIT, Fri. (2/26) & Sat. (2/27)

February 26th, 2016

The group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that shows movies, LSC, is screening Spotlight this weekend, Friday the 26th and Saturday the 27th at 8 pm in Building 26, room 100.

“Under the direction of new editor Marty Baron (Liev Schreiber), the Boston Globe’s elite investigative team, known as Spotlight, is tasked with delving into decades’ worth of child-abuse claims against the Catholic Church. …”

I’ve heard from a few sources it’s a good film about investigative journalism.

Free Culture, Copyright, and Aaron Swartz

January 18th, 2016

This week’s episode of On the Media has a long story about Aaron Swartz and his legacy. It winds its way through the Free Culture movement, copyright law, intellectual freedom and property (a bit), the case for and against Aaron, and lots of surrounding background. Based on Justin Peters’ book The Idealist, the story is worth the thirty minutes it takes to listen.

Yes, I’m biased. I often find myself thinking about Aaron Swartz this time of year, though not for the same reasons some of you might think about him. I remember him puzzling with the MIT Mystery Hunt team I’m on. As I’ve said before, I knew him casually from a few different activities we had in common. While driving to a meeting during On the Media’s Saturday slot, I caught the first ten minutes of the story about Aaron as I arrived. As much as I wanted to get to the meeting, I thought, “Well, the story may only be a few minutes more, and it’s very interesting, so I’ll sit in the car and listen.” After it wrapped up after another twenty minutes, I sat in the car a bit longer to let my brain settle, deciding how to blog it and trying to get my concentration back for the meeting.

I’m sure I’ve said before On the Media inspires me to write almost every week. I don’t always follow through, but I often find myself thinking “I should blog that” when I listen. For Aaron and his legacy, I wanted to be sure to actually make it to my blog this time.

Three years after his death, ripples from his life’s work are still being noticed, people are still talking about him, and we still remember who he was.

On the Media Salutes Librarians’ Efforts to Protect Us from the USA PATRIOT Act

June 6th, 2015

The radio show On the Media featured a great segment this week about how librarians reacted to the USA PATRIOT Act and how they fought (sometimes actually against the government) to protect Americans’ freedom to read and access information (especially in libraries) without the federal government monitoring their activities. They remind listeners how librarians stepped up at other times, too. The American Library Association’s Freedom to Read document comes up, especially the last lines:

We believe rather that what people read is deeply important; that ideas can be dangerous; but that the suppression of ideas is fatal to a democratic society. Freedom itself is a dangerous way of life, but it is ours.

While this segment was timed to air while the renewal of the USA PATRIOT Act is on our minds, it is also quite relevant to think about freedom and America’s defense of it on the 71st anniversary of D-Day.

Our Mentor Barbara Semonche Passed Away

May 14th, 2015

Someone forwarded to Newslib a note from the North Carolina Special Libraries Association chapter announcing the May 13 passing of Barbara Semonche, a beloved and well-known retired librarian from the University of North Carolina’s Park Journalism Library. Her family is planning a remembrance celebration for family, friends and colleagues that I think aligns with the SLA Annual Conference.

Barbara was amazing. She was a, uh, “libraryhold” name among many news librarians. She put together a wonderful, giant, helpful book on news librarianship that became an essential read in many settings. I referred to it often when I was in grad school and a new news librarian. When I first met Barbara at an SLA conference, I remember feeling at a loss for words when meeting this superstar. We corresponded regularly when I was a professional librarian. She was always very kind and wise. And often funny (ha ha). One of the conference regulars, we always looked forward to her presence in our gatherings.

It’s been a few years since I’ve seen her at conference. I knew this day would come eventually, but that doesn’t make it easier.

The thoughts of an entire profession are with her family, friends, and colleagues.

I can’t help thinking about a conversation I had with her years ago about how news librarianship is in decline and who the future mentors would be when folks of Barbara’s ilk retire or otherwise leave the profession. She basically replied, “That’s your job. You all need to become stellar mentors like we were.”

Barbara, we hope you are reading our “verbal bouquets.” People’s remembrances include comments about how she gave a lot of us wings and now has her own and how she’s probably already gathered all the news librarians in heaven together for some great conversations. Gotta love her!

PatientsLikeMe’s New iPhone App: Connect

March 19th, 2015

PatientsLikeMe, my employer, released an iPhone app on Wednesday: Connect with PatientsLikeMe. Having had a few fingertips in the project, I’m pretty excited that some social features of the site are now even more mobile.

(This post makes me feel like a little kid hanging a great piece of schoolwork on the fridge. =) Did I mention I’m pretty excited about the app?)

Special Libraries Association Annual Conference June 14-16, 2015 Boston Convention Center South Boston

March 10th, 2015

The Special Libraries Association is holding their annual conference/INFO+Expo June 14-16, 2015 at the Boston Convention Center in South Boston.

Leigh Gallagher, Assistant Managing Editor at Fortune magazine, will be the keynote speaker.

Registration cost:

SLA Members:

Member Full – Early Bird Feb 2 – April 17, 2015 $565.00
Member Full – Early Bird + VIP Feb 2 – April 17, 2015 $662.00
Member Full – Advance April 18 – May 29, 2015 $745.00
Member Full – Onsite May 30 – June 16, 2015 $855.00
Member 1-Day Feb 2 – June 16, 2015 $405.00
Student Member Feb 2 – June 16, 2015 $205.00


Non-Member Full – Advance Feb 2 – May 29, 2015 $1099.00
Non-Member Full – Onsite May 30 – June 16, 2015 $1275.00
Non-Member 1-Day Feb 2 – June 16, 2015 $529.00

For more conference info:…

Posted by Rich

The 9th annual Digital Commonwealth Conference April 2 Holy Cross Worcester

March 10th, 2015

The 9th Annual Digital Commonwealth Conference Cloud Bursts and Brainstorms is being held on Thursday, April 2, 2015 at the College of Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Digital Commonwealth is a non-profit collaborative organization that provides resources and services to support the creation, management, and dissemination of cultural heritage materials held by Massachusetts libraries, museums, historical societies, and archives. Digital Commonwealth currently has over 130 member institutions from across the state.

The keynote speakers will be Clifford Lynch, director of Coalition for Networked Information and Dan Cohen, Executive Director of the Digital Public Library of America.

There will be various breakout sessions including Policy Writing, Social Media (both marketing and interacting with patrons in different ways), Introduction to the Digital Commonwealth, Lightning Round, Digital Do-Overs,
Digital Preservation Tools, Packaging Collections for Public Consumption, Copyright, Muddy River Musings,
Boston Public Library/Metadata.

Registration cost:

Members: $100(before March 20) $120(after March 20)
Non-members: $130(before March 20) $145(After March 20)

For more conference info:


Posted by Rich

New England Technical Services Librarian Conference April 10 Holy Cross

March 10th, 2015


The New England Technical Services Librarians group is holding their annual spring conference on Friday, April 10, 2015 at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts.

José-Marie Griffiths, Vice President for Academic Affairs & University Professor, Bryant University is giving the keynote speech called “The Seven Practices for Highly Effective Librarians in the 21st Century.”

Other speakers include Amber Billey, Catalog/Metadata Librarian, University of Vermont, Diane Hillmann, Consultant, Metadata Management Associates, Joelle Thomas, User Experience & Media Technologies Librarian, University of Connecticut and Susan Stearns, Executive Director, Boston Library Consortium. Also there will be various lightning talks.

Registration cost:

$50 NETSL/NELA personal members
$85 Non-members
$25 Currently unemployed/Library School Student

For more conference info:…

Posted by Rich

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

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

Read the rest of this entry »

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
    Read the rest of this entry »

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

BarCamp Boston 9, October 11-12, NERD

August 3rd, 2014

Yepper. Save the date. Awesome sessions. Nifty networking. Informal. Like usual. And yet unique, like every year is a new experience.

BarCamp Boston 9
October 11 & 12, 2014
Microsoft NERD on Memorial Drive, not too far from the Kendall T station

(BarCamp Boston, by the way, played a major role in me having the job I have today.)

The (new) Secret Life of Walter Mitty and Journalism Entering the Digital Era

July 26th, 2014

After hearing through the family grapevine that the new version of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is worth seeing, I caught it last night at LSC at MIT for free. What my family didn’t tell me that I’ll tell you is that the “real life” parts of the movie are completely different from the 1947 version’s storyline. Instead, they deal with Life magazine shutting down and the transition the publication and its staff go through to begin entering the digital age. Sound familiar? Walter is a “negative asset manager,” aka photo negative librarian/archivist—one of us news and photo librarians. Like many of us, he must figure out what to do next with his career and, well, life because of changes to the media industry and its downsizing.

Several scenes happen in the physical photo archive. I guess I gasped audibly when the characters entered that area the first time because I saw my companion glance at me. Levels of classic metal shelves in a common library architecture. Hollinger boxes. Memories.

I’m not a big Ben Stiller fan by any means, but I did enjoy the film, especially because I can relate to the plot line involving Walter’s job. Going through another job transition, I’ve been pondering my own career path, where I’ve been, and what various changes might mean for my professional future. Someone recently asked me where I see myself in five years. Five years ago, I wouldn’t have predicted I am where I am now. (But, amusingly, I may have just done a loop and ended up in a position that makes great sense based on where I was five years ago.) Where should I be in five years? Where do I want to be in five years? Sitting on a Himalayan mountainside photographing and observing snow leopards seems terrific to me, but quite orthogonal from where I am now.

Anyway … LSC shows The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013) again tonight at 8 pm in 26-100 at MIT.

Bored tonight? Go see the Magna Carta for free.

July 18th, 2014

Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts is free today thanks to a special Free Fun Fridays program from the Highland Street Foundation. One of the four original copies of the Magna Carta is there this summer. I saw it Wednesday night. When in your lifetime are you going to have the chance to admire such a fine document from almost 800 years ago (799, really)? It’s amazing to think about how someone had the presence of mind that long ago to try to preserve that thin parchment and those elegantly penned lines that became critically important to many governments.

The exhibit does not allow photography, so alas, I personally have no proof. (Yeah, no selfie with 800-year-old parchment.) It made me wonder how, in this age of sharing, it would change things if the museum or the document’s owner, Lincoln Cathedral, or someone would provide an image or something we could all share, send to friends, and view to get closer looks at this amazing piece of history.

Like the gorgeous quilts on display now, it makes me ponder why some people keep some things and not others, why go to the lengths to preserve some of the things we do. Not that I’m saying these things are not worth preserving, just how is it that some of these things that are hundreds of years old have survived, been handed down, found their way into hands that would cherish them, etc. And items like the quilts end up telling us so much about how people lived and what they had in the 1800s or so. What cultures influenced others; what colors, patterns, and fabrics were available; what was likely to end up in a blanket. But talking about the quilts, even though some tell terrific stories and, of course, they’re fibre arts–hobbies closely associated with librarians–is not nearly as germane as talking about a major historical document. It would be way too off topic, perhaps, for me to say that the collectors focused on the same pattern as my Mom’s quilt, the one she and some women made when our church experimented with a quilting group a while back. The ones on display were amazing variants on that pattern, one of which in particular caused more people than just me to gasp and admire it in wonder. Oh, the patience and creativity that went into some of those threads!

Besides, what else are you going to do tonight? It’s not like there’s a football game.

Free Web Presentations for Librarians, Including a Solo One Thursday, 6/19

June 18th, 2014

Through an American Library Association group on LinkedIn, I found a list of free programs offered over the Internet for librarians in June. Sure, the month is almost over (*gasp!*), but materials related to past ones may be available online still and a few of the upcoming ones could be quite useful, including a Thursday (6/19) discussion about solo librarianship. (OK, maybe that’s a bad example because registration is closed, but it’s still possible to register to receive the presentation materials.) They also offer leads on people and organizations who offer training, like Florida Library Webinars. (See that, Lincoln?)

MIT Libraries Sponsors Showing of The Monuments Men, 4/30, 8 p, 26-100

April 25th, 2014

For National Preservation Week, the MIT Libraries are sponsoring a free showing of The Monuments Men via LSC at MIT, Tuesday, April 29, 2014, at 8:00 pm, 26-100 (that’s Building 26, room 100, a big movie theatre lecture hall not too far from the landmark Stata Center). Did I mention the showing is free? Come out to show support for the MIT Libraries!

*yells “LSC … !”

Liz Donovan: Infomaniac Behind the News

April 9th, 2014

I can’t help sharing this tale with you. Besides, Liz would love that I blogged it!

While doing a search in Google tonight for something somewhat random, a link to Infomaniac: Behind the News popped up in the first page of search results. I gasped.

Liz Donovan’s blog is still out there. Her words are still floating around on Blogspot. Terrific! It’s good to know her words live on. She was such an amazing woman, one very respected by her news librarian colleagues. She definitely influenced me and my career. You’re reading one outcome of her persuasiveness. I can recall several conversations years ago where she asked me if I had heard of this thing called a “weblog” and how she thought I should start one. She was often an early adopter and evangelist. And she was absolutely right (even if I don’t get around to writing here much these days). So in April 2003, I started a new hobby.

The match to my search terms was not even a good one. Seven words grouped with parentheses in a pattern of 5 and 2. Only two words of the first set of five were in the particular post Google pointed me to. Why is it that Liz’ blog is popping up now? It makes me laugh. Hello, Liz!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

December 25th, 2013

Wishing everyone a safe and wonderful Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Let’s hope 2014 is a great one!


Posted by Rich

SLA New England Career Profiles Discussion Tues Oct 29, 2013 Boston Public LIbrary 6 pm Free

October 19th, 2013


The New England Chapter of the Special Libraries Association is presenting a panel discussion called Special Libraries Career Profiles: The Role of Information Professionals in Business Development and Marketing on Wednesday, October 29, 2013 at the Boston Public Library, Concourse Level, Room CO6 at 6 p.m. The event is free, but you have register by Monday October 28, 2013 so they will know how many are coming:

“This discussion will feature research professionals working with the Boston-based economic consulting firm Analysis Group, Inc.
This 3-person team of full-time researchers work within the company’s Marketing Department, providing business development, legal, marketing, and business research support.”

“They will be joined in the discussion by another Marketing colleague who supports the company’s direct marketing efforts through research and list building, and by a part-time legal research specialist.”

“The moderated conversation will focus on team members’ career paths, how they use their library skills outside the traditional library
setting, and how they strive to remain relevant in an evolving market and a growing company. Ample time will be provided for a question and
answer period.”

Speakers: Victoria Hopcroft, John Aubrey, Rosemary Zankiw, Catherine Boothby, and Mary Liz Brenninkmeyer

Moderator: Devon McArdle, President, SLA New England

Attendees are advised to enter at 700 Boylston Street and take the stairs or elevator down one floor to the Concourse level. The conference rooms will be on the right.

For more info:

Posted by Rich

BarCamp Boston 8 2013 October 26-27, 2013 MIT Stata Center Cambridge Mass.

October 9th, 2013

BarCamp Boston 8 2013 is being held on October 26-27, 2013 at the MIT Stata Center in Cambridge, Mass. Cost is free and open to everyone, though donations would be appreciated and have their benefits.

“BarCamp Boston topics include: technology, development, food-science, startups, sci-fi, 3d printing, social media, gadgets, communities, design, hardware hacking, UI & UX, entrepreneurship, AJAX, open source software, robotics, art, mobile computing, bioinformatics, RSS, social software, programming languages, the future of technology, and much, much more!”

For more info:

Another event I have to pass on (sigh)

Posted by Rich

Addendum during BarCamp Boston: Well, Rich wasn’t able to attend, but I, j, went.

Saturday, I really enjoyed connecting with introverts and discussing strategies for overcoming shyness during a roundtable. Following that, I led a greater discussion about how to network as an introvert, including sharing some ideas about introducing ourselves (like giving a 2-minute story or elevator pitch or whatever you want to call it), how to start a conversation, and how to find events to attend in the first place (asked by a newcomer to Boston).

Sunday, I participated in the smart homes roundtable first thing. We talked about some remote applications for controlling energy consumption and potential future apps we would use (I mentioned kitchen inventory management and pet feeding and monitoring; the fellow next to me broached garden and plant systems.) Then a few of us discussed home repair and related issues. Following that, xxv shared the details of building and installing the world’s smallest museum in Union Square, Somerville, between Subway and The Independent. As well as repurposing some materials (like a fish tank), the museum creators designed and fabricated some aspects of the museum from scratch (like the tiny spotlights). Fascinating!

Since the speaker for the session on freelancing did not show up and I was the one of two people in the room who had freelanced and didn’t mind giving a presentation on it, I shared my experience and encouraged the other fellow to talk about his. Questions from the audience drove what we covered. We came up with a list of places people could potentially find freelancing gigs, including professional organizations, personal networking, LinkedIn, Craig’s List, elance, small companies, start ups, etc.

WordCamp Boston 2013 October 25-27, 2013 Microsoft NERD Center Cambridge Mass.

October 8th, 2013

WordCamp Boston 2013 is being held on October 25-27, 2013 at the Microsoft NERD Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts. WordCamp deals with the WordPress blogging program which this website uses. Beginners and advanced users are welcome.

Costs: Full weekend $60.00
Saturday/Sunday $40.00
Friday $20.00

For more info:

Posted by Rich

Boston Book Festival October 17-19, 2013 Copley Square Boston Mass

October 8th, 2013

The Boston Book Festival 2013 is being held on October 17-19, 2013 around Boston’s Copley Square area. Most of the events are being held on Saturday, October 19 starting at 10 am and are free.

Some of the writers scheduled to appear are Tomie dePaola, Steve Almond, Laurie Edwards, Linda Barnes, Peter Abrahams, Leigh Montville, Christopher Castellani, Caleb Crain and Kevin Cullen.

For more info:

Posted by Rich

Wikimedia New England General Meetup, Sat., 7/20, 12-2:30 p, Boston

July 16th, 2013

The Wikimedia New England General Meetup happens Saturday, July 20, from noon to 2:30 pm at Wu Rosen Associates, 6 Edgerly Place, Boston, MA. RSVPs are appreciated.

Contribute to the future of the chapter.

Someone Who Speaks to an Inner Hero

July 3rd, 2013

Here’s someone who speaks to an inner hero. Well, it is a week to honor heroes, no … ?

Thanks, BCJ!

NETSL Many Hats of Technical Services Conference April 12, 2013 College of Holy Cross Worcester MA

March 25th, 2013

The New England Technical Services Librarians, a section of the New England Library Association, is hold their annual spring conference called The Many Hats of Technical Services on Friday, April 12, 2013 at the College of the Holy Cross, Hogan Campus Center, Worcester, MA.

Keynote speakers will be Susan Gibbons, University Librarian, Yale University and Jessamyn West, Library Technologist & Community Manager, and her library blog,

Nicole Engard, Vice President of Education, ByWater Solutions and her library blog, What I Learned Today will be holding a morning session called The Accidental Systems Librarian: Using our Librarian Competencies in Managing Systems.


Currently Unemployed / Library School Student – $25.00
NETSL/NELA Personal Member – $50.00
Non-Members – $80.00

Registration ends on Friday, March 29, 2013. There are no walk-in registrations.

For more info:…

Posted by Rich

MIT’s Center for Civic Media Hosts Conversation about Access to NARA’s Records

February 20th, 2013

Even though RSVPs are closed, I thought I would mention the presentation folks from the National Records and Archives Administration (NARA) are giving at MIT’s Center for Civic Media Thursday (2/21) from 12-1:30 pm.

Our speakers will provide a brief introduction to the kinds of records that the National Archives maintains, a discussion of some of the new ways that we are seeking to make the content in those records available and more useable, and how we are looking beyond traditional researchers in the process.

NOBLE Systems Support Specialist Position Deadline Feb 7

February 6th, 2013


My library network, NOBLE, is looking for a full-time System Support Specialist. The deadline for applying is Thursday, Feb 7, 2013. Knowledge of Linux operating systems is required,

Institution: NOBLE, North Of Boston Library Exchange
Job: Systems Support Specialist
Duties/Description: Systems Support Specialist needed to participate in
operation of servers, networks and software for the North Of
Boston Library Exchange (NOBLE) in Danvers. Operate and
update servers, troubleshoot issues, file bug reports,
working with NOBLE staff, staff of other networks, system
vendors and the open source community.

NOBLE is an automated library network and technology partner
for 28 public and academic libraries operating an open
source Evergreen library management system as well as
providing web hosting, email, a telecommunications network,
downloadable ebooks and audiobooks, and digital repository
Qualifications: Knowledge of Linux operating systems required. Familiarity
with perl, PHP; relational databases (e.g., MySQL,
PostgreSQL), web (e.g., HTTP, HTML, XML, CSS,), Javascript
and programming concepts desirable. Knowledge and
experience with software development, including version
control, documentation, and sound security practices,
computer applications in a library setting, web servers, and
Apache experience with HTML5, WordPress, Evergreen a plus.

Bachelor’s degree or equivalent in Computer or Information
Science or a related field and 1-3 years of increasingly
responsible related experience optimal. Ability to work
independently and with initiative as needed, and the ability
to work collaboratively.
Salary: $52,100 with benefits
Closing Date: February 7, 2013
Send: Applications accepted until position is filled. To
ensure consideration, applications should be
submitted by February 7, 2013 to
 gagnon at, attn. Systems Support search.

Posted by Rich

Berkman Offers Online Copyright Course via edX Platform

December 20th, 2012

Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society is offering a 12-week online copyright course to 500 selected students. Applications are available now through January 3.

We’re excited to announce that Berkman Faculty Director Terry Fisher will be teaching a version of his Copyright course on the edX platform in the spring, beginning Jan. 28:

Unlike other “MOOCs” (massive open online courses), Copyright will be offered to a relatively small cohort of 500 students, who will be admitted via an application process and supported by a small army of Harvard Law School Teaching Fellows. The Teaching Fellows will lead weekly, real-time discussions for course sections.

The application process is open now through Jan 3. We’re looking forward to diverse and international participation, and would very much appreciate if you could help spread the word to your communities:


edX Copyright course page:

edX Copyright application page:

If the world doesn’t end soon, that is.

Newberry College Offers Social Media Major

December 16th, 2012

Via a Washington Monthly blog post, RKO told me a college close to my heart, Newberry College, now offers a social media major. According to the press release: “Offered through the Department of Arts and Communications, the Social Media major will be an original interdisciplinary program that would capitalize on the strengths of existing courses in Graphic Design, Communications, Business Administration, Psychology and Statistics. Four innovative courses, created specifically for the Social Media major are also included in the curriculum.” The Washington Monthly wonders what kind of value such a major would have. Would students be better off earning allied degrees, such as design or marketing, then honing social media skills on the side (which so many of us do anyway)? I guess we’ll find out once graduates from the new program get jobs.

And that’s all I’m going to say about that because of my ties to the college involved.

Haunted Libraries

November 26th, 2012

Need some travel ideas? How about visiting some haunted libraries?

This international list features exciting destinations like Mexico, England, Ireland, Australia, and South Africa.

The list of US hauntings inspires a tour of the Midwest and Southwest with a few wanderings to other regions.

Some of the ghosts are librarians, library users, and former land owners.

Tonight: NEASIST Discussess the Fair Use of Database Content via US v. Swartz

November 8th, 2012

Tonight, 11/8, from 5:30 – 7 pm, the New England Chapter of the American Society for Information Science and Technology (NEASIST) discusses an upcoming case where someone made academic journal articles available to the public, US v. Swartz.

Champions Sports Bar, Marriott Hotel
Kendall Square plaza (next to the Red Line)
50 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02142

Aaron Swartz has been charged with felonies for accessing JSTOR via the MIT network, getting many articles, <strike?and making them publicly accessible elsewhere (correction in the addendum). Tonight’s conversation focuses on many aspects of his actions and the consequences.

I thought I had posted about this situation before, but apparently not. The NEASIST blog post points to some articles for background.

Disclosure: I know Aaron.

Addenda: 11/08/2012 I am mistaken about what Aaron did with the articles. All he had done with them was download them.

The meeting was not a presentation or summary and discussion as many of us hoped it would be. We made small talk waiting for someone to start the meeting. When it became apparent that wasn’t what was happening, some of us talked about US v. Swartz. Since many of us had come to learn about the situation and its present status, we weren’t really prepared to have any indepth discussion about it. The folks I chatted with came up with far more questions than insightful perspectives.

01/13/13: It is with great sadness that I share the news of Aaron’s death. I will miss him and his brilliant mind.

Kevin Poulsen of Wired Magazine summarizes some of Aaron’s accomplishments: “When he was 14 years old, Aaron helped develop the RSS standard; he went on to found Infogami, which became part of Reddit. But more than anything Aaron was a coder with a conscience: a tireless and talented hacker who poured his energy into issues like network neutrality, copyright reform and information freedom. Among countless causes, he worked with Larry Lessig at the launch of the Creative Commons, architected the Internet Archive’s free public catalog of books,, and in 2010 founded Demand Progress, a non-profit group that helped drive successful grassroots opposition to SOPA last year.” He also reports that MIT is investigating their “… involvement from the time that we first perceived unusual activity on our network in fall 2010 up to the present. [MIT’s president] asked that this analysis describe the options MIT had and the decisions MIT made, in order to understand and to learn from the actions MIT took.”

Campaign Blogging 9 Years Down the Road

November 1st, 2012

Just the other day, I was telling someone about blog group’s quest to attend campaign events for the Democratic presidential nominee candidates back in 2003 and how I should have been thinking about doing a little bit of that this fall while I don’t have a full-time job taking dibs on my weekdays. Today, one of my friends sent me a link to register for a ticket to a major Democratic rally featuring President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton in Concord, NH on Sunday, November 4. Tickets to New Hampshire events with Mitt Romney are available for Portsmouth on Saturday, November 3, and Manchester on Monday, November 5.

Libertarian Gary Johnson will be elsewhere in the country. Green Party’s Jill Stein will be in Tennessee until the debate with other candidates in Washington, DC, Sunday night (11/4). From their campaign sites, I could not figure out what Virgil Goode of the Constitution Party and Rocky Anderson of the Justice Party are doing until the Washington, DC debate.

But I did figure out where some web designers could possibly get jobs … I’m going to rest my sore eyes away from the computer now.

When to Post What Online: Balancing Social Media While Job Searching

October 29th, 2012

As if hunting for a job is not tricky enough, social media users now have to ponder what they want to post with what a potential employer might think about the content. has an amusing flowchart giving pointers about when to post what online while looking for work and statistics about recruiters’ and hiring managers’ online research practices. Seventy-nine percent of hirers look at a candidate’s online presence. Seventy percent have rejected a candidate because of something they saw online.

Boston Book Festival, 10/27

October 24th, 2012

It must be fall because it is once again time for the Boston Book Festival. Most events cost nothing and happen close to or in Copley Square. As well as authors talking about books and writing, there will be writing workshops, exhibits, flash fiction, and poetry.

Catching up on Reading: The Future of Librarians in Info Retrieval 9 Years Ago & Usability & Library Sites

September 30th, 2012

Since the rain washed away my plans today, I read through several old Information Today publications I probably picked up at previous Special Libraries Association conferences and stashed in a “someday I’ll read this” pile.

I began with a 2003 Searcher issue with a cover story about early online pioneers. While the history of the databases MEDLINE and ERIC was fascinating, what sticks with me is the article about the future of information professionals in information retrieval—the future that is now 9 1/2 years gone. Librarians still need to make cases for themselves to be involved in search initiatives in their own companies and in other companies. A sidebar highlights this challenge in light of job postings:

“… Why not just hire a librarian? Instead, this company has decided to throw everyone but librarians into the code tank. Part of that oversight may be disdain. … I think it just didn’t occur to anyone at these companies that librarians could help.
Aside from “re-marketing” librarians as a whole, numerous voices have said that librarians need to get more technical, to learn programming and database design. … [L]earning enough programming fundamentals to come to tomorrow’s meeting with some pointed questions can be accomplished in two college courses. …”

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SLA New England Hosts Conference, Saturday, 10/13

September 26th, 2012

The Special Libraries Association New England Chapter holds a one-day conference on Saturday, October 13, with topics like taxonomy, project management, sound preservation, competitive intelligence, and tools.

Communication, Commitment & Collaboration
Saturday October 13th, 2012, 8:45am-4pm
Southbridge Hotel & Conference Center, Southbridge MA
SLA Members – $50 | Student/Retiree/Between Jobs – $30 | Non-Members – $75

Tonight’s Boston Wikipedia Meetup Features Librarians, 7 pm, Clover in Harvard Square

September 10th, 2012

Just a brief note: Tonight’s (Monday, 9/10) Wikipedia gathering features a local public librarian and a local archivist and a discussion about Wikipedia Loves Libraries, the initiative for more collaboration between libraries, archives, and Wikimedia.

Monday, September 10, 2012
7:00 PM
Clover Food Lab
7 Holyoke St.
Cambridge, MA 02138

The Boston Wikipedia Meetup Group usually meets on the second Monday of each month. This event is one of their regular meetings. Everyone is welcome to attend, whether they know anything about Wikipedia or libraries, have gone to a gathering before, want to attend regularly, etc.

Addenda 9/11: The gist of the meeting: two tentative November events will celebrate Wikipedia Loves Libraries: one at a Boston Public Library branch and one at the Cambridge Public Library’s main branch. Planning is still happening. I’m not sure whether I should mention the prospective dates. Cambridge needs to confirm the one we came up with at the meeting. The events won’t compete with each other.

The group would love for more libraries to host events. Activities can include teaching Wikipedians how to use specialized or uncommon sources in a library collection, offering materials for scanning and posting online, and having people research local history to include in encyclopedia articles. There is a lot of flexibility here. Maybe there’s some local history mystery you’d like researched. Maybe you’ve always wanted a list of your company’s devices with accompanying photographs and notes. Maybe photographs of those portraits on the wall would look great on the Wikipedia biographies.

9/19: It looks like Saturday, November 17, is the confirmed date of the Wikipedia Loves Libraries event at the main branch of the Cambridge Public Library–the one near Harvard Square and the high school. Times are still TBD, but the program looks like it will be a chunk of hours beginning in the late morning and going into the late afternoon.

11/7: Registration for the 11/17 event is available. Signing up before Friday, 11/16, will help ensure enough food is available. Most of the event happens between 11 am and 5 pm.

11/17: So, yeah, a few of us are hanging out at the Cambridge Public Library discussing and working on Wikipedia until 5 pm. Come on by! The Beech Room is to the left after entering through the main entrance. The archives are the second floor, but I’m not sure if anyone is up there.

SLA, 7/18: Closing Conversation about the Future

July 18th, 2012

Esteemed librarian Donna Scheeder from the Library of Congress is hosting a roundtable conversation about the future with a panel of information professionals from a variety of roles and companies.

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SLA, 7/18: Contributed Papers

July 18th, 2012

I fully admit I am primarily attending this session to support fellow SLA Cuba Delegate Melanie Freimuth, but I anticipate learning much from the two other contributed papers in this session.

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SLA, 7/17: Success Stories of Solos, or How to Make your Library into a Place that’s Good for More than Napping

July 17th, 2012

This session is one the Solo Division organizes each year to allow solos to tell their positive stories. Tanya Whippie of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development began by encouraging us to celebrate even small victories and successes.

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SLA, 7/17: Kee Malesky and Bobby Schrott: Aligning Resources for Maximum Insight

July 17th, 2012

LexisNexis’ Bobby Schrott introduced the session by explaining the fascinating conversations he and NPR’s Kee Malesky have had led him to think he wanted to bring the conversation to a broader audience of content lovers. He provided some background on NPR, it’s use of content, and the role the librarians play regarding information consumption, preservation, and use in the organization.

Kee opened by explaining National Public Radio’s different librarian roles: music, broadcast, and reference. She also gave a brief overview of her career and decision to become a librarian. She teased Bobby about an early LexisNexis terminal with keys so tiny, she had to use a pencil to type. She grins: “It is, as most of you have realized, one of the best library jobs in the world.” The organization recognizes the importance of their work. “We have an obligation to the American public because we are public radio to save our work.”

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SLA, 7/16, Session 1: Wikileaks, then Scenario Analysis and the Semantic Web

July 16th, 2012

I session hopped this morning. I began in the Wikileaks presentation, but moved to Using Scenario Analysis to Predict the Future of the Semantic Web.

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SLA, 7/16: Make the Most of a Difficult Situation: Solutions to Get You Through

July 16th, 2012

Make the Most of a Difficult Situation: Solutions to Get You Through

Jill Hurst-Wahl
co-author of The Information and Knowledge Professionals Career Handbook (among other activities)

Jill outlined ten approaches to handling difficult situations, then we discussed two sample scenarios and some situations audience members broached.
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USA Today Shares Trend of Sharing Resources via Online Services

July 16th, 2012

USA Today carries a cover story about people using various online services to share cars, rent rooms or houses, and run errands. The focus is on people doing these things to earn extra cash, but there is an undercurrent of some just wanting to share what they have. Various Web sites connect those who would like to share with others looking to use the resources, whether it’s a car or time to handle a task.

(N.B.: The print edition has an article on 3A about steampunk culture: Reliving ‘history that never was.’ I haven’t been able to find it online, perhaps because my steam search engine has problems getting to USA Today content.)

Guy Kawasaki’s Advice to Enchant

July 15th, 2012

Guy Kawasaki
tech pioneer
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“Do You Know Anyone in TV or Radio?”

July 10th, 2012

A lady from one of those TV and radio ratings companies called to see if I would participate in their survey. As part of the screening, she asked

“Do you know anyone in TV or radio?”
After a startled pause, “What do you mean?”
“I know more than a thousand people. Of course, I know people in TV and radio.”
Another pause. “Let me read the question to you as it’s written in the questionnaire because the wording is very important. ‘Are any members of your household or is anyone you know working in TV or radio?'”
“No members of my household and none of my close friends work in TV or radio, but I do know people who do.”
Another pause. “Can you say more?”
“Well, I know a lot of people professionally who work in broadcast news. One fellow who comes to mind is someone I know locally because we both plan an annual tech conference.” To the best of my ability, I answered further questions about where he works, in what capacity, and how well I know him. All the while, I’m wondering how to go on explaining all the broadcast folks I know from the Special Libraries Association News Division, my various other networking activities, and whether she’s going to ask me the same questions about each person in my network.

After another break, she tells me they can’t use me in their survey. Yeah, I guess not. My professional network taints me. Ha ha ha

SLA Annual Conference Reading: The Devil in the White City

July 1st, 2012

Last year, a bunch of us Special Libraries Association members pondered reading the book The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson for a discussion at this year’s annual conference because both are set in Chicago. I thought about reading the book in the late winter or early spring, decided it was too early, then forgot about it until late last night. Procuring a copy from a local library looks like it may be a fun adventure that could lead me to a branch or a few I have not yet visited. YAY SLA for continuing to inspire my love and use of libraries!

Addenda 7/3: I did indeed bike over to the nearest branch of another system’s library, take a quick look at that beautiful branch, sign up for a library card (*waves card in the air to show it off*), and borrow a copy of The Devil in the White City. Now I just need to find some time to read.

An amusing thing about signing up for a card is that when the librarian asked me if I had four secret digits I could use for a PIN, he then insisted that I state them out loud, so he could set up my account. So much for secrecy and security! I wonder how well sounds in the library carry and how much the other patrons in the checkout queue were paying attention to my transaction. It seems like in other situations, someone has either slid me a keyboard, so I could type them in myself, or asked me to write them down on a piece of paper and used them as a temporary PIN. (I gave 4 junk digits and changed the PIN as soon as I signed onto their system.)

Also, JM told me Steve Hockensmith’s Holmes on the Range series includes a book set at the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago.

7/21: I finished reading The Devil in the White City this morning. I had considered skimming large portions of it to try to finish it before conferencing in Chicago, but realized I was enjoying some of the details too much to actually do that. (As they say, the devil is in the details, right?) While I was able to squeeze in a brief visit to the north edge of Jackson Park, the fair’s site, I hadn’t really done much else to ensure crossing paths with the fair’s history. I was amused that while disembarking from the bus at the Museum of Science and Industry, I ended up behind a woman telling a man about how the museum’s building was the Palace of Fine Arts. I had not yet read far enough into the book to have learned that from the text. She mentioned several other facts about the site and the fair. After reading about Pabst Blue Ribbon’s name coming from its award at the fair, I happened to be on a subway across from a man wearing a PBR hat, then at a radio play performance where the cast acted out at least one PBR commercial. Learning more about Frederick Law Olmsted’s life, career, and influence fascinated me because I appreciate the landscapes he created near where I live. And, of course, because of my very general curiosity about architecture, gaining a better foundation (so to speak) about trends in American architecture, especially enduring and repeated ones, is handy. I couldn’t help thinking, though, how the two tales woven together in this book would stand alone on their own—perhaps because I hoped for a greater connection between the threads than just the coincidence of time and place. The alternating plot reminded me how some of my friends, instead of switching back and forth with each chapter, pick out and read each story line in some of JRR Tolkein’s work to the point where they converge, then read the book in order after that point. I wonder how many people choose to read only one tale or the other in this volume instead of consuming the entire piece.

My Car’s Radio Needs an Internet Connection (AKA: RIP, WFNX)

June 25th, 2012

From previous posts, you might know I’m a huge radio fan. Music flows in my family’s blood. I don’t remember how old I was when my parents gave me a radio, but I remember doing homework in elementary school with music playing in the background. I remember Dad being impressed at how I could sing along with most of the songs or name artists and titles after only a few notes. Public radio/National Public Radio was his car’s evening soundtrack. I warn people who ask me for rides that they have to tolerate me listening to (which usually means singing along to) the radio. Some cars don’t go without petrol. Mine almost doesn’t go with the radio off.

I grew up with one of the country’s best alternative, independent radio stations that did a lot to support new bands and local music. That station is my benchmark for what an ideal radio station is. One of my fears moving to new places is whether the radio stations will be decent. Very shortly after moving out here, I fell in love with WBUR (the public radio station famous for some distributed shows, including ones about cars and sports) and WXRV, The River (in part because I heard them play Jump, Little Children–a band I didn’t expect to hear on the radio around here). And there were stations like the powerhouse WBCN and a few others. I still remember the day I noticed the WFNX billboard while driving to a hike and tuned in, thinking “How did I not know about this station already?” It’s been my primary station for years. It kept me sane during a previous job. Leftover Lunch was my reminder to eat mine (which I didn’t always obey). And for a few weeks now, I’ve been pondering my post-‘FNX life because of their sale to Clear Channel.

Boston has gone through a few station changes in recent years. WBCN is gone. Mike is gone. WBOS lost its DJs and is now mostly just music and commercials without any announcers, chatter, or the charm and uniqueness that go along with radio personalities. And, gosh, that awesome radio station of my adolescence has been gone for a few years now, as is its immediate predecessor. And I’ve survived the transitions so far. But losing yet another station that was willing to play more than what the record companies want us to hear, one that has definitely introduced me to new bands and tunes, and one with wit and creative, original shows stings a little. I laughed so hard at Keith’s Stupid Game. The Nightly News keeps my feet tapping on the way home from dancing. Will ‘FNX’ demise finally lead me to plug WERS or WMBR into my radio presets? Or will I figure out how to connect my car’s radio to the Internet to pick up The Boston Globe’s’s new streaming station that is the new home of several ‘FNX DJs and staff? (A smartphone with an adapter just seems too simple a hack.) I guess I’ll just have to wait to hear what happens.

BBC on Higher Ed Trend of Online Courses

June 20th, 2012

The BBC gives an overview of several universities’ efforts to provide online courses, including Harvard University’s and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s join venture edX. The BBC mentions educators have been experimenting with translating courses into online environments already. I can only imagine as more courses move online or online components grow, experimentation will only continue, not necessarily end. Everything is going to keep changing. Educators and students will always have new tech to try.

One side benefit of some of these online education ventures is the ability to study and learn from the students, how they use the tools, and what seems to work. One of the challenges, of course, is the cost. Business partners ponder potential revenue streams from Internet learning.

What impact will this trend have on the digital and other divides? Will it widen the gaps or close them in some areas? Hhhmmm … And will these online ventures need digital librarians to support the students?

(Thanks for the link, jhota!)

Happy 10th Birthday, Meetup!

June 13th, 2012

Can you believe Meetup is ten years old? It seems both like it’s been around longer and that it’s newer. Was it that long ago that I went to my first Meetup? And I still attend some gatherings and read group postings. Meetup is particularly awesome because of its ability to create and support communities online and face-to-face/in person.

I learned a ton about Wikipedia in its early days from the folks in the local Meetup group. Then I was able to share the wiki love with folks wondering what wikis are in the first place, let alone pondering some of Wikipedia’s complicated issues, like how do you trust the writings of the anonymous crowd.

Aaah, yes, those days were good ones. But I can’t wait for the future!

6/11 Job Fair & Upcoming Job Hunt Workshops

June 11th, 2012

Today (6/11), the Boston Marriott Copley Place hosts the Professional Diversity Career Fair beginning at 2 pm. The list of exhibiting organizations contains some great organizations from a variety of industries. (I do not know how they define “diversity.” Their registration form did not ask me about any particular characteristics: gender, ethnicity, disability …)

On Wednesdays, 6/13 and 6/20, from 6:30-8:30 pm, the Somerville Public Library Central Branch hosts workshops for job seekers. June 13’s focuses on interviewing. June 20’s is about online job searching and resume posting. I couldn’t find a good link for these events, though flyers are at the library, but I can at least point you to their calendar where you can find information about the events until the dates pass. These workshops are a great reminder that libraries offer services to job seekers: resources for investigating potential employers (news databases or sources, industry publications, …), job seeking/soul searching books, resumes guides, Internet access …

Community Management & Drupal

May 29th, 2012

Today’s Berkman Center lunch talk features Dries Buytaert discussing the website/content management software Drupal and its community.
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5/8: Berkman Lunch: James Gleick Discusses his Book The Information

May 7th, 2012

Tuesday’s (5/8) Berkman lunch features James Gleick and his book The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood. RSVP by noon Monday to attend in person. Otherwise, tune in virtually or check out the archive after the talk.

James Gleick is a native New Yorker and a graduate of Harvard and the author of a half-dozen books on science, technology, and culture. His latest bestseller, translated into 20 languages, is The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood, which the NY Times called “ambitious, illuminating, and sexily theoretical.” Whatever they meant by that. They also said “Don’t make the mistake of reading it quickly.”

UPA Boston’s UX Conference

May 7th, 2012

I’m indulging my interest in usability and creating positive user experiences today by attending UPA Boston’s conference. I don’t talk much in this space about usability and user experience, but I’ve handled elements of them throughout my career. I was first introduced to the concepts in library school when we were discussing designing spaces and signage for library visitors and again, of course, during the various Web design courses I took. Good design and making things usable are important to everything. Understanding how people use things and what they want from systems is very important, especially when it comes to online services people from around the world might use.

At any rate, notes from the conference will be in this entry.

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Locks & Public & Private Space

April 19th, 2012

Shuyler Towne tells the MIT Center for Civic Media lunch audience the story of how his interest in physical locks morphed into digital locks when presentations about the physical objects began getting more questions about digital security measures than about the items. His collection’s genesis is a link between locks and his family’s name. Picking is all about experimenting with the tumblers and tension. Breaking electronic security is very similar.

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Seminar: Connecting Libraries, Communities, and News, 4/27, Marlborough, MA

April 12th, 2012

The Massachusetts Library System hosts a free gathering about linking libraries, communities, and the news on Friday, April 27, from 9:30 am through 4 pm, in the library system’s Marlborough office. Advance registration is required.

The Mass. Library System partners with the New England News Forum and Journalism That Matters for a one day event. Librarians and journalists gather for a discussion on forming partnerships and sharing information between the two fields.

Journalists and librarians share common goals and technology helps to form tools that can be used in both professions to ensure public literacy, government transparency, free speech, and citizen participation. Both professions provide their local communities with informational services and librarians are nurturing those goals by making that information easily accessible to the public.

Addendum 4/27: I’m attaching my event notes to this post instead of beginning a new one.

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The Digital Practices of Black and Latino Youth, MIT Media Lab, 4/12, 5-7 pm

April 11th, 2012

On Thursday (4/12) evening at the MIT Media Lab, S. Craig Watkins from the University of Texas at Austin will present what he’s learned about the digital practices of black and Latino youth from studying the social and digital media behaviors of young people.

Craig Watkins: “The Digital Edge: Exploring the Digital Practices of Black and Latino Youth”
Thursday, April 12, 2012 – 5:00pm to 7:00pm
MIT Media Lab, E14-633
MIT Campus Map
A Civic Media Session and Comparative Media Studies Colloquium

Addendum 4/12: Many young people are early adopters of mobile technology, regardless of what kind of Internet or computer access they have at home. In some ways, that fact is a paradox.

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BarCamp Boston 7 Continues to be Awesome.

April 8th, 2012

Yeah, okay, BarCamp Day 2. I did a horrible job of blogging about Day 1 live. I’ll try to do better today.

The Cuba + libraries + information technology presentation went very well this morning. The other presenters who had signed up for that slot canceled, so if folks wanted to attend a talk, they were “stuck with me.” 😉 In thirty minutes, I gave a broad overview of the six days we Special Libraries Association delegates toured Cuban institutions and libraries and met Cuban librarians (which I still need to really tell you about). Folks have lots of questions, so the conversation continued in the hallway through the next time slot. Addendum: Because I spoke extemporaneously while a slideshow of 180 photos ran in the background, I don’t have any materials from the talk I can put online.

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BarCamp Boston 7 is Awesome.

April 7th, 2012

So, yeah, well, I’m going to be typing a bit about BarCamp Boston 7 this weekend. More people have registered this year than in the past, quite possibly by a few hundred people. We organizers are really excited about that.

I will lead a jobs session this afternoon at 2 pm. The proposed session on my trip to Cuba to meet Cuban librarians and tour special libraries and institutions related to technology and libraries is quite popular. It looks like that will probably be a go on Sunday. And there’s been a request to put together a session to bring the librarians and friends of libraries/librarians here together, so I’ll propose that, too.

BarCamp is free and easy. Show up, come in, and find me and say “Howdy!” I’m wearing a maroon BarCamp Charleston shirt today. (*waves to jhota*)

(Anyone want to help me sift and winnow through 2800 photos to pick some cool ones for the Cuba presso? That’s one of my to do list items that I’ve been ignoring too much.)

PS–The Cuba talk will be at 10 am on Sunday.

Register for: BarCamp Boston, SLA Annual Conference, Bio*IT World

April 5th, 2012

BarCamp Boston, a technology gathering organized by attendees, is this weekend: Saturday, 4/7, and Sunday, 4/8. Rumor has it about 700 people have registered so far. Why miss an opportunity to network with and learn from Boston area tech folks and get a terrific t-shirt? (T-shirt is a bit of a pun. To learn why, attend or look for post-BarCamp photos.)

Registration costs for the 2012 Special Libraries Association Annual Conference in Chicago increase soon. This July event is the premier one for the major organization for specialized and alternative librarians and information scientists (like me!). Thousands of folks from around the world usually attend. Where else can you buy awesome schwag from various news organizations besides in the SLA News Division Suite? Er, I mean … It’s an amazing week of learning about the latest in special library trends, being surrounded by inspirational people, and getting more ideas than you can possibly act on in a year back at your own organization, whether it’s a library or not.

And BioIT World in Boston in about 20 days is offering special free passes to folks who register for one before April 13. The pass is good for some keynote talks, the exhibit hall, and networking. Folks giving the keynotes include specialists in oncology, genetics, pharmaceuticals, and informatics.

Vignettes from the History of Journalism and Thoughts on the Future

April 3rd, 2012

The March 22 Kojo Nnamdi show featuring CEO of The Washington Post Company Donald Graham and The State of Things’ interview with University of North Carolina journalism dean Susan King provide terrific tales from journalism’s past and some thoughts on the direction of the profession.

Graham’s grandfather bought the struggling Post in the 1930s and helped it become a success. Graham has experienced many changes in print journalism during his time in the profession. He embraces new technologies to get the Post’s news out. Yes, some seem like threats and will change how media outlets do things, but we should put the fear aside and be more willing to experiment.

King recounts her days as a television journalist and discusses how changes in the industry are forcing many journalists into allied fields. She stresses how reporting isn’t just about telling stories or covering events, but building community, disseminating information, and using the best technology and media to reach people in a way that’s appropriate to them and the material. She emphasizes the many transferable skills news folks have: the ability to analyze and synthesize information, technology familiarity, communication, knowing how to frame things to make them relevant to particular audiences, etc.

Much of what she says reminds me of some of the conversations we librarians have had about changing jobs and moving into allied fields. Everyone must deal with more and more information. It’s people like journalists and librarians who have the training to deal with information, research, and technology to package material from difference sources into something that will be relevant to a particular group of people—whether that’s news readers or a corporate board. We’re content curators in a world that really needs us, but doesn’t necessarily realize how great the need is for our services.

(I don’t know about you, but I can’t think about Watergate without thinking about Liz Donovan, a news librarian who helped the Post break the story.)

Tuesday (4/3) Berkman Lunch: The Growth and Decay of Shared Knowledge

March 28th, 2012

Tuesday’s (4/3) Berkman Center for Internet & Society Lunch about The Growth and Decay of Shared Knowledge with Berkman Fellow Dennis Tenen should focus on information issues near and dear to our hearts.

Knowledge grows, but it also contracts as outmoded facts and theories are replaced with new ones. This talk will discuss our intuitions about knowledge domains and the methods by which such intuitions could be modeled empirically. Along the way, Dennis will unpack the “information as organism” metaphor, construct taxonomies of epistemological lifeforms, and consider evolutionary pressures on knowledge systems. The talk will conclude with a conversation about the health of the academic publishing industry, and about the challenges of doing comparative work between new and old media.

Those who plan to attend in person should RSVP before Monday (4/2). Others can listen live via the Internet at 12:30 pm Eastern or catch the archived presentation later.

Some Potential Employers Request Social Media Logins

March 23rd, 2012

What do you think about employers asking for login credentials for social media sites during interviews? What about potential employers asking to connect, so they can view your connections and make employment decisions based on what you show your friends online and who they are? Would you allow an employer to view your account? Would you ask a potential employee for access to his/hers? We’ve talked about how acting in certain ways online can get you fired. How about not getting the job in the first place?

When I caught NPR’s All Things Considered’s conversation with Robert Collins, who had an employer request his Facebook username and password during an interview, I was stunned. After Collins provided the information, the employer logged in and explored Collins’ account, including areas that are usually private. A piece from the day before reveals some of the legalities and background of the practice. Several organizations regularly expect prospective employees to turn over access to various online accounts in order for potential employers to see who their connections are, what kind of person they are online, and what they’re doing. At least one state is now considering legislation preventing employers from violating people’s online privacy in such a manner. Some job seekers are bold enough to decline to give access. Others feel trapped and acquiesce.

(I hope they remember to change their passwords later!)

(This kind of privacy invasion illustrates another reason I still don’t use Facebook and several other similar services. While I understand the tools’ value and popularity, I don’t want to broadcast my entire life across the Internet, then have someone else think they have the right to access the secret portions of it.)

Addendum: Gizmodo’s update on the situation includes a statement from Facebook discouraging users from sharing login information. Facebook points out the practice of scrutinizing employees’ and job seekers’ profiles exposes the employer to information about which they can’t legally ask during the interview process (age, religion, family status … ) and opens them up to some legal liability.

Census Data Analysis Reveals Much about American Librarians

March 19th, 2012

Through a LinkedIn librarians group, I noticed this analysis of US Census data to learn about American librarians and the profession.

The count of librarians captured my attention: 636 in 1880, 307,273 in 1990, and 212,742 in 2009. The decline over twenty years is striking. Many of us know about people who have lost jobs, been downsized, switched professions …

Yet how many “Librarians” didn’t put themselves down as “librarians?” I’m not sure I did that for the last Census. I don’t usually identify myself thusly on my taxes. Is the change more related to shrinking professional opportunities than the diversifying of librarianship and the roles information professionals can take?

Do Media Makers have a Mission?

March 15th, 2012

Judy Richards, who has done many things in her life, but is possibly most widely recognized as a filmmaker, shares with the Center for Civic Media lunch gathering whether media makers have a mission greater than just making media.

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MLS Special Libraries Roundtable March 19 NFPA Quincy MA 10:30 am

March 14th, 2012


The Massachusetts Library System is holding a Special Libraries Roundtable on Monday, March 19, 2012 at the National Fire Prevention Association in Quincy MA 10:30 am -12:30 p.m.

“Join special library colleagues for a discussion of common concerns. The agenda is yours! Submit your discussion items in advance or bring them along. MLS Executive Director Greg Pronevitz will facilitate the discussion and provide MLS updates. A facilitated focus group session, part of the MLS strategic planning process, will be included in the session.”

“Thanks to the Charles S. Morgan Technical Library, National Fire Prevention Association, for providing refreshments. The roundtable will meet in Room PB-4.” You do need to register.

For more information and directions:

Posted by Rich

Profile of NARA Leader David Ferriero

March 14th, 2012

Because the 10th Archivist of the United States, director of the National Archives and Records Administration, David Ferriero, is from North Beverly, Massachusetts, The Boston Globe profiled him and his work.

Supply Chain Maps @ MIT Center for Civic Media

March 8th, 2012

When I arrived at this MIT Center for Civic Media’s lunch about mapping supply chains, Leonardo Bonanni was explaining how it took him a very long time to develop the map etched in his computer case showing all the places his computer’s components supposedly originated. It wasn’t the etching that took so long. Discovering where things originate was tricky. First, what all is in a computer? What parts, what elements, what … what … ? Second, from where do all these things come? Where are they assembled? From where do the bits come?

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Building a Digital Public Library of America

March 2nd, 2012

Yes, well, another day, another talk: Building a Digital Public Library of America, Harvard Law School. This event is being webcast live, which means right now, 3 pm Eastern. (Since the event is now over, the webcast is probably over. I don’t know if an archive is available somewhere.)

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Mining Web Query Logs to Analyze Political Issues

March 1st, 2012

Ingmar Weber of Yahoo! Labs is at MIT’s Center for Civic Media to tell us about Mining Web Query Logs to Analyze Political Issues. He’s based in Barcelona and has studied at the Max Planck Institute. Kiran Venkata and Erik Borra work with Ingmar on political search trends and how to figure out which way certain information leans (as in left or right leaning).

Addendum 3/23: Ingmar emailed me to let me know Yahoo!’s Political Search Trends Tool is now available. His blog post provides more information.

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2 Events of Note: Presenting Data Today & Jake Shapiro of PRX Thursday

February 29th, 2012

MIT’s Center for Civic Media has two events (at least) of note this week:

Data Therapy Webinar: Techniques for Creative Data Presentation sounds like a great way to get some ideas on how to enthrall audiences with data-filled presentations. (We’re all warming up for the annual conferences, showing off at work, preparing for the board meeting …). The webinar is today (2/29) at noon Eastern. Registration via the website is required.

Tomorrow (3/1), Jake Shapiro of the Public Radio Exchange (PRX) (which may be distributing programs to your local public radio station) is the center’s lunch guest. RSVP before noon today to be included in their count for food for lunch. Long time scratchpad readers might recall me running across Jake and PRX at the Berkman Center ages ago. (Bias note: I still love radio. Hrm. Maybe I should wear that I <3 radio shirt I have …)

Addenda 3/1: Three more talks of note this afternoon at MIT: A fellow from Yahoo! Labs will talk about mining search results at the civic media center at 3 pm. At 4 pm, a student at the center is giving a talk about the perception of hackers in the media, which she will also give at SXSW. (I attended this talk, but can’t blog it per the speaker’s request. Her preference is for people to take notes via Twitter.) Sasha Costanza-Chock from Comparative Media Studies is talking about media and the Occupy movement. (I didn’t find listings on the web for the Yahoo! Labs talk or the student’s presentation.)

Notes from Jake’s talk via WordPress’ auto more link (I should figure out if I can customize the text on that): Read the rest of this entry »

Creative Resumes and Outreach to Find a Job

February 21st, 2012

Via the LinkedIn group LIS Career Options, I found a pointer to an article about 7 cool resumes on Pinterest. What makes the resumes cool is the person’s ability to showcase design or artistic skill or creativity, nontraditional layout of information, and use of color. A link took me to some methods people have used to find work that might be a wee bit too unusual for me to try: billboards, spelling out job wishes in holiday lights, and voodoo. The baked goods are more my style. I prefer to bring them to the office to share with coworkers. A video might not be such a bad idea (as long as I’m not afraid of someone discriminating against me because of what s/he might learn about my gender, age, race, religion, etc., after viewing me in the video—a concern experts in job seeking suggest considering before posting any photos online).

(Ok, well, I have this new category now, so I may as well use it, eh?)

Addendum: I forgot to mention LIS career group access might be restricted to members, but the other links should be publicly available as far as I can tell.

New Category: Job Search

February 21st, 2012

I’ve heard and read lots of pros and cons about blogging while searching for a job. I decided I’m going to do it. I’m tired of feeling like I can’t or shouldn’t share various resources or knowledge I come across while searching, learning about the job search process, or reading various online job groups. I’m not the only one out there looking for work. (!) Perhaps one of you might find what I’ll share in this new category useful. If nothing else, maybe I’ll be able to get to the information again, should I desire to revisit it—you know: that whole blogging as personal knowledge/information management thing.

There’s an amusing conflict between the folks proselytizing the use of social media to find a new position or advertise availability versus the folks who who advise no blogging during a search. Remember a few years back when many employers were saying they wouldn’t hire anyone who blogged or used social media? That’s not the issue today, thank goodness. I welcome that perspective change. (Though there are probably still companies and sectors where those practices are discouraged.) Instead, the concerns about sharing via social media include taking too much time away from searching/wasting time or revealing things that should be private or secret, like, say, what you might learn about a company during an interview (personnel issues, a product with a future release date, confidential information, …).

I have a blog, so why not use it? I almost wonder if it’s time for me to expand which social media services I use. I’ve always understood the value of Twitter, but recognized it’s probably not the right tool for me and what I want to accomplish. This blog post in 140 characters … ? Hrm. Similarly, while I see why many of my friends and colleagues are on Facebook, I’m still not keen on signing up for their services because of privacy and other concerns. I’ve used both (and more) in previous jobs. Also, do I really want more online tools crying out for my time and attention?

I don’t intend to share positions, to which organizations I’ve submitted applications, the specific details of my job interviews, … you get the idea.

Conducting Social Experiments Online

February 21st, 2012

Berkman Fellow Jerome Hergueux discusses a platform for conducting social experiments online and present some experiment results during today’s Berkman lunch.

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Using Digital Media in Detroit to Meet Community Needs

February 16th, 2012

(Unfortunately, I was 30 minutes late to this presentation. I’m not sure who was speaking when I entered.)

The MIT Center for Civic Media hosts Allied Media Projects staff and Detroit Digital Justice Coalition members for a conversation about what they’re doing with people and technology.

“We’re not trying to bridge the digital divide as much as we’re trying to build a healthy digital culture.”

We need to shape the digital world to support existing non-digital relationships in our community. As a community, we’re training folks how to do investigative reporting, then working with digital media. It’s about them becoming producers, not consumers.

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Berkman Lunch: Mate Choice in an Online Dating Site

February 14th, 2012

Yeah, well, it’s Valentine’s Day, soOo the Berkman Center is doing something a bit topical. (Happy Valentine’s Day!)

Kevin Lewis from Harvard’s sociology department and with Berkman ties is presenting research on dating sites.

“I’m a little worried that all of you want to spend your Valentine’s Day learning about online dating from a single 20-something-year-old guy,” Kevin begins.

Online dating has changed from a highly stigmatized practice to becoming one of the more common ways couples (homosexual and heterosexual) meet today.

Mate choice has always been of interest to sociologists: social closure, intergenerational mobility, what makes a great mate … Previous research focuses on marriage patterns. (Kevin speaks very quickly and is witty.) Edogamy/homogamy. Some marriage pattern causes include: who is available, opportunity structures, third party interferences, individual preferences -> mixing patterns or differential association.

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The Boston Globe’s Digital Initiatives Lunch

February 2nd, 2012

The Boston Globe’s digital initiatives folks are speaking at MIT’s Center for Civic Media about, well, digital efforts at the Globe.

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MIT Center for Civic Media Events, Including Upcoming Boston Globe Lunch

January 30th, 2012

MIT’s Center for Civic Media has a number of exciting upcoming events focusing on, well, civic media, citizen journalism, and other related topics. During this Thursday’s lunch, Jeff Moriarty will talk about digital initiatives at The Boston Globe. (RSVP for food at least 24 hours prior to the event via the form on the event page.) That evening, Rebecca MacKinnon discusses the worldwide struggle for Internet freedom. On Wednesday, February 15, ideas from the book The Information Diet are the topic.

I did not find information on the center’s site about webcast or remote participation options.

A Petition to the LoC to Allow Owners to Modify their Devices

January 29th, 2012

bunnie Huang, who got in a bit of a quagmire a few years back when hacking an Xbox while an MIT student, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (commonly known as the EFF) are coordinating a petition to the Library of Congress to attempt to change the part of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DCMA) that prevents device owners from modifying their devices in a way called “jailbreaking.” Many people want to be able to run whatever software they want on their devices or be able to creatively adapt them for purposes other than what the manufacturer intended. The DMCA makes some of these activities illegal. Some people liken it to being jailed for customizing, say, an email program. Information Week reports a DMCA alteration a few years ago addressing jailbreaking phones is up for renewal. bunnie plans to send the petition on Friday, February 10.

(Thanks for sharing, Alejandro!)

1/24: David Weinberger: Too Big to Know @ Harvard

January 14th, 2012

(Forgive me, but I appreciate the humor in Too Big to Know at Harvard.)

David Weinberger, an appreciator of librarians and information science and prolific author and thinker on related topics, will speak about his new book Too Big to Know on Tuesday, January 24, most likely somewhere at Harvard University. The Berkman Center’s page indicates the location will be announced the day before the talk to folks who RSVP (via that page).

Their summary of his talk:

We used to know how to know. Get some experts, maybe a methodology, add some criteria and credentials, publish the results, and you get knowledge we can all rely on. But as knowledge is absorbed by our new digital medium, it’s becoming clear that the fundamentals of knowledge are not properties of knowledge but of its old paper medium. Indeed, the basic strategies of knowledge that emerged in the West addressed a basic problem: skulls don’t scale. But the Net does. Now networked knowledge is taking on the properties of its new medium: never being settled, including disagreement within itself, and becoming not a set of stopping points but a web of temptations. Networked knowledge, for all its strengths, has its own set of problems. But, in knowledge’s new nature there is perhaps a hint about why the Net has such surprising transformative power.

Addendum 01/19/12: The location of this RSVP-required talk is Austin North Classroom, Austin Hall, Harvard Law School.

Addendum 1/24: “Unsettling Knowledge” is the title on David’s intro slide. I can’t wait to learn what’s unsettling about it! There’s a webcast link somewhere, probably on Berkman’s site. And David’s offering to sign anything we want him to after the talk. Well, ok, almost anything …

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1/10 SLA New England lunch: Text Mining, Query Formulation and the Role of Information Professionals

January 4th, 2012

The SLA New England Chapter* and SLA Pharmaceutical and Health Technologies Division are organizing a free brown bag lunch about, well, Text Mining, Query Formulation and the Role of Information Professionals on Tuesday, January 10, 12-1:30 p, at Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development, Suite 1100, 75 Kneeland St Boston MA. Register by Friday, January 6 and don’t forget to bring your lunch.

*The Special Libraries Association Boston Chapter voted to change its name to “SLA New England” during their December annual business meeting. The name “SLA New England” reflects the states where chapter members live and work better than the name “SLA Boston.” The Boston Chapter has been more than just the chapter for Boston for some time.

Addendum 1/24: This talk ended up being a product demo instead of being a general talk about developments concerning text mining, query formulation, and information professionals.

1/10 Berkman Lunch: Searching for Context: Modeling the Information-Seeking Process of College Students in the Digital Age

December 25th, 2011

Berkman Center Fellow Alison J. Head’s thoughts about the information-seeking behavior of college students might interest some of you. RSVP-ing to attend in person is required via the form on the page about the event. These discussions are usually webcast and later archived.

Tuesday, January 10, 12:30 pm
Berkman Center, 23 Everett Street, second floor

PS–Congrats, John Palfrey, former Berkman Center leader, on your new role at Phillips Academy Andover.

Addendum 01/19/12: The archive of this talk is available.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

December 23rd, 2011

Wishing j and her family, the other Scratchpad contributors and the Scratchpad readers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Posted by Rich

Aaah, yes: it’s the time of the year when we reflect on

December 12th, 2011

a particular librarian stereotype, of which BCJ reminds me. I personally prefer to think of this profession as the best of all possible worlds. 😉

Coming soon! The tale of …

November 5th, 2011

15 librarians, a driver named Lazaro, and a tour guide named Jesus. (No, really. Would I kid you about such an important trip … ?) I just need to condense one of the most amazing weeks of my life into a blog post. (Good thing I don’t use Twitter!)

Boston Book Festival October 15 Copley Square

October 6th, 2011

The 2011 Boston Book Festival is being held on Saturday, October 15, 2011 around Boston’s Copley Square and it is free!

Michael Ondaatje, author of the English Patient and his new novel, The Cat’s Table, will be the keynote speaker.

One of the marquee panels will be on the Civil War with Adam Goodheart, author of 1861: The Civil War Awakening, Tony Horwitz, author of Midnight Rising, Drew Gilpin Faust, author of This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War, and Charles Bracelen Flood, author of Grant’s Final Victory as the panelists.

For more info:

Posted by Rich

A Smaller Wireless Device–Your Library Card

September 23rd, 2011

Via The Chicago Public Library’s Facebook page

Posted by Rich

Radio Boston talks about the Boston Public Library with Catherine Willis

September 8th, 2011

Technical services manager and author Catherine Willis tells Radio Boston’s Adam Ragusea about some of the BPL’s McKim Building’s nifty architecture (Pneumatic tubes for communication? Guastavino vaults?). Willis pulled many neat photos together for a book on the library for the Images of America series. Some pictures accompany the Radio Boston piece.

(Look, Ben, something about libraries! 😉 )

So, Ben …

September 3rd, 2011

I know you were hoping for something about libraries, but as I rode home, I couldn’t help thinking about the rumor I heard about Antietem doing something special in the coming weeks for the 150th anniversary of the first year of the Civil War and how that’s great road trip fodder. Many libraries, including the Boston Public Library, are commemorating the occasion with special exhibits and programs. Check your local listings.

Hurricane Irene East Coast Library Damage Roundup

August 30th, 2011

The August 30 Library Journal has a very good roundup of the damage suffered by libraries on the East Coast by Hurricane Irene. It appears upper New York State and New Jersey suffered the most damage from flooding. One Vermont library lost 60 percent of its collection:

“The Vermont state librarian is guardedly optimistic that the state’s 183 public libraries have come through in relatively good shape after the devastating flooding caused this week by Tropical Storm Irene, which is expected to be the state’s worst natural disaster since the flood of 1927.”

“The state libraries in New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and North Carolina also reported relatively good news, but New York is reporting significant damage to a number of libraries, including an unconfirmed report that one library building in the Adirondacks was swept away.”

“The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners, which is the state agency responsible for library services in the commonwealth, sent out an email to the state’s 374 public libraries and the 1700 members of the Massachusetts Library System (a regional system) asking for damage reports.”

“We sent out the message but we haven’t heard back from anybody yet,” said Cindy Roach, the head of library advisory and development. “We aren’t sure if it’s because of the power outages across the state or because people can’t get to their building or because there is no damage,” she said

For the whole article:

More info when I get it.

Posted by Rich