#22

by Perry Wynn

I read this book last March. The publisher asked me to read the manuscript and write a review/quote that was published on the back cover in part and on the flyleaf in whole:

Perry Wynn offers a chilling near-future speculative fiction examination of an America so divided over homosexuality that the only solution is the creation of a reservation for homosexuals to separate them from everyone else. Domestic terrorists and neo-conservative fundamentalists set the course, leaving the rest of the country floundering in their wake. The “bad guys” come across as one-dimensional, but Wynn is able to develop some of the “good guys” into multi-dimensional characters. In the end, the story is less about homosexuality and political intrigue, and more about the ripple of decisions based on love and hate.

acrl northwest 2006 – photos

I didn’t take any pictures at ACRL Northwest because my camera is currently being fixed by Canon. However, there is a Flickr tag for the photos other people took. Right now Jessamyn is the only one who has uploaded and tagged photos from the conference, but hopefully the other photographers I saw there will add … Continue reading “acrl northwest 2006 – photos”

I didn’t take any pictures at ACRL Northwest because my camera is currently being fixed by Canon. However, there is a Flickr tag for the photos other people took. Right now Jessamyn is the only one who has uploaded and tagged photos from the conference, but hopefully the other photographers I saw there will add theirs soon.

acrl northwest 2006 – day two

Panel: Using New Technologies for Teaching Dr. Shaun Huston, Western Oregon University Anne-Marie Dietering, Oregon State University Elizabeth Breakstone, University of Oregon Huston: Uses blogs in the classroom: Teaches students how to write in multiple ways by providing informal writing opportunities that incorporate group feedback and interaction, as opposed to paper journals. Also teaches students … Continue reading “acrl northwest 2006 – day two”

Panel: Using New Technologies for Teaching
Dr. Shaun Huston, Western Oregon University
Anne-Marie Dietering, Oregon State University
Elizabeth Breakstone, University of Oregon

Huston:

  • Uses blogs in the classroom: Teaches students how to write in multiple ways by providing informal writing opportunities that incorporate group feedback and interaction, as opposed to paper journals. Also teaches students how to write in an online environment, particularly for those who come from the other side of the digital divide.
  • Key concerns:
    • Platform: Go to IT department? No, they don’t have it now, so use something else. Now uses TypePad and LiveJournal, both of which are no cost to the student (has own subscription to TypePad).
    • Assignments: Structured assignments so that the students are logging in and participating regularly, rather than dumping the content in all at once.
    • Introduction to blogging: Had to instruct students on how to set up accounts and use the blog tools – does this in the first class.
    • Use campus blogging tools v. outside tools? TypePad allows for more customization and limiting to specific users for privacy. LiveJournal doesn’t allow for this as much and it’s in the hands of the students to set it up properly.
  • Blog use varies depending on the class and the students. Some are interact more in person than on the blog, and vice versa.
  • Based on the study he and Dietering did, students seem more comfortable with expressing themselves in the informal environment of a blog than they are in the classroom.
  • Blogs seem more intentional than email lists. You have to actually go to it to participate. And it’s more dynamic than a bulletin board. He uses the blog in team-taught classes to post assignments from the syllabus.
  • Categories and recent comments lists allow for non-linear interaction.
  • Social bookmarking: Set up an account for a specific class for course readings and information related to assignments to help understand the material.
  • Not sure if students are using each other’s bookmarks or if they are just contributing their own. Required students to cite a source from the bookmarks list in their paper.
  • del.icio.us is not screen-reader friendly, so take care if you have visually impaired students.

Dietering

  • Writing 121 – only required composition course at OSU, and librarians get a week of that for information literacy
  • Want to teach research as a learning process. Research as a conversation: eavesdropping to entering to engaging and back to eavesdropping on a different conversation. Students are not used to the eavesdropping/information gathering part.
  • Needed assignments that modeled exploratory research process at the beginning before coming to the library for more advanced processes. Works closely with the TA on developing topics.
  • Delivers assignments through Blackboard (meh).
  • Initial assignments involved doing broad exploratory searches, but the students didn’t know how to do that and were looking for specific items for their papers. Instead, they send them to reference sources online, so they sent them to Encyclopedia Britannica.
  • Many students ended up using Wikipedia instead, so the librarians worked on a guide to doing exploratory research in Wikipedia. As it turns out, Wikipedia was more useful for new researchers because it is easier to find topics and has better navigation.
  • The assignment sends the students to the discussion and history pages so they can see the petty discussions and how the page is constructed over time.
  • Wikipedia will win because it has navigation and hyperlinks. Easy to go from broad topics to what the student is really interested in.
  • Assignment asks the student to note something they learned and something they need to explore. The assignment also has the student evaluate the history page and who has been editing the entry.
  • Students don’t use Wikipedia in their paper. It becomes background information.
  • “We can’t use Wikipedia because it’s terrible. I know because I write on it.” – the Resistance
  • Students learn how to evaluate the authority of sources.
  • Go to YouTube and search for wikiality

Breakstone (and channeling Annie Zeidman-Karpinski)

  • Podcast: Oral history project on the Willamette
    • Download files to listen to while at certain points along the river
    • Website included a map of the places
  • Advantage of wikis in the library: different people can use it on different computers/platforms; ideal for posting updates without having to funnel through one tech person
  • Ref desk wiki: keep track of resources for class projects
  • IM at UO – launched last spring
    • Staffed by whomever is on the desk (librarians and/or students)
    • Uses Trillian – tried GAIM, but it kept breaking
    • IM screen names included on Ask a Librarian page (should also have status indicators, but they don’t at this point)
    • Created Hello My Name is kind of stickers and put them on the public PCs to publicize the screen names.
  • Have seen a dramatic increase in use this term.
  • Future issues
    • Training use for logs – how to improve ref student instruction
    • Privacy and records retention policy (could remove identifying information for archiving the chats)
    • Centralization v. specialization
  • IM etiquette allows for gaps in conversation, which is good for desks that have only one person staffing them.
  • Could set up to forward to libref email account when logged off.

Group Discussion – all of the presenters

How do you decide what 2.0 tools to use?
When you have a need, you’ll use it.
How do you teach students how to do formal writing along with informal assignments?
Blogging in conjunction with formal assignments in writing-intensive courses hopefully will teach them the difference.
If they write more, the will become more familiar with it.
Writing on a blog is a public space, so even if you are using the vernacular, you have to learn how to construct and argument.
What role do librarians have in bridging the digital divide?
WSU-Vancouver offers workshops for their students.
Find faculty who are interested in teaching technology, or at least are interested in expanding instruction beyond the classroom.
How do we harness the knowledge of students to instruct other students on technology?
student IT helpdesk
Classmates are sometimes reluctant to help each other with technology if they aren’t completely comfortable with it.
Do people IM from in the library?
Yes! Don’t want to get up and go to the refdesk b/c computers/space are a high commodity.
It can also be useful for IMing with colleagues in the building rather than calling or running around.
Make sure your policy allows them to IM in the library.
What about our catalogs? Where do they fit in?
LibraryThing has interesting implications for traditional ILS systems
NC State front-end to ILS – Andrew Pace’s snazzy coding covering up ugly Sirsi
Evergreen open source ILS from Georgia

acrl northwest 2006 – day one

“The Emerging Youth Literacy Landscape of Joy” -Dr. Anthony Bernier (San Jose State University) New Youth Literacies state of current research research shifted from what young people knew to how they knew it young people learn bibliographic skills differently from adults as a result, pedagogy itself must become more flexible ethnographic research can help us … Continue reading “acrl northwest 2006 – day one”

“The Emerging Youth Literacy Landscape of Joy” -Dr. Anthony Bernier (San Jose State University)

New Youth Literacies

  • state of current research
    • research shifted from what young people knew to how they knew it
    • young people learn bibliographic skills differently from adults
    • as a result, pedagogy itself must become more flexible
    • ethnographic research can help us
  • gaps in research
    • students are reduced to one-dimensional themes
    • information seeking is individual
    • games structure and play can inform us about youth information seeking
    • young people are viewed only as information consumers
  • libraries need to be asking why questions about young people information seeking choices
  • new paths for research
    • consider the daily life of young people
    • email is now just a quaint way to communicate with old people
    • New Youth Literacy – young people as literacy producers
      • fugitive literacy produced in small lots, non-sequential, and non-serial; using all forms of media – ephemera
      • Berkeley High School Slang Dictionary, 2002
    • Information futures and young people
      • emerging technologies for education – The Horizon Report 2006 Edition – collaboration and social computing needs to be embraced by university libraries – IM reference, Flickr, Skype, pod/webcasting, etc.
      • future challenges
        • intellectual property
        • continuing information literacy skills
        • technical support

“A Sensible Approach to New Technologies in Libraries: How do you work Library 2.0 into your 1.5 library with your 1.23 staff and your .98 patrons?” – Jessamyn West
http://librarian.net/talks/acrl-or

  • It isn’t about being expert on the latest and greatest, it’s about being flexible enough to learn the technologies you and your patrons use.
  • Smart people read the manual – knowing how to use tools to solve your problems is almost the same as solving them on your own.
  • In the end, it’s what you want out of your computer.
  • Web 2.0: “Your cats have profiles on Catster.”
  • Library 2.0 is a service philosophy: being willing to try new things and constantly evaluating your services – look outside the library world to find solutions to internal problems – the Read/Write Web
  • Librarian 2.0: not being the bottleneck between patrons and the information they want
  • Email is for talking to your colleagues.
  • Technocracy lives in chat.
  • “Internet interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.” — so do our users
  • “Blogs are like courseware, only easy to use.”
  • “Pew reports are like crack to librarians.”
  • It doesn’t matter if you think Wikipedia is good or bad. The reality is that’s where the eyeballs are.
  • Open APIs allow people to do nerdy type of stuff – mashups turn nifty things into tools you use for work.
  • People who have broadband connections are the ones interacting with the internet, and web-based tools are being created for them, not for dialup people.

I really liked this talk. Jessamyn is an engaging speaker.


“Web 2.0 Is the Web” or “We’re All Millenials Now” – Rachel Bridgewater
del.icio.us tag “menucha06

  • “born digital people”
  • Match the tool to the job – you can learn how to use them, so the question is do you need it?
  • How does Web 2.0 effect scholarship? Sort of is the original vision of what the web would be – everyone is a publisher and information is shared freely.
  • What is 2.0 for librarians?
    • web as platform
    • radical openness: open source, open standards (API, etc.)
    • flattened hierarchy
    • user focused
    • micro-content: blog post as unit of content; atomization of content
  • Web 1.0 is a framework based on the print world – the NetGens don’t need them

Web 2.0 that enhances library stuff

  • Social bookmarks can be constantly evolving bibliographies.
  • Blogs are a platform for sharing scholarly ideas that are not developed as a part of complex papers or monographs, and they allow for more immediate discourse.
  • Networked books (Library Journal article about the social book) – how do they effect our ideas of authorship when they can be created and contributed to by anonymous writers via wikis and other similar tools? See Lawrence Lessig’s book Code. Does canon mean anything anymore?
  • Peer review – can it be replaced by real-time peer review through comments and/or wiki edits? “open peer review”
  • Open data – using distributed computing networks to crunch numbers – more than just searching for aliens. Link to the raw data from the online journal article. Libraries could/should be the server repositories.

Maybe we should be listening to our patrons to find out where information is going. Maybe Wikipedia is the future. Instead of saying that our databases are like the Reader’s Guide, we should be saying they’re like Wikipedia, only created by known scholars and proven to be authoritative.

updated to fix the tweaky code — didn’t have time to do it until now — sorry!

new Indigo Girls video!

The Indigo Girls finished their contract with Sony/Epic last year, and this year they signed with a new label, Hollywood Records. Fans were concerned and confused because all signs indicated the Girls would go with a major independent label rather than another major label. The explanation was that they felt like it was a good … Continue reading “new Indigo Girls video!”

The Indigo Girls finished their contract with Sony/Epic last year, and this year they signed with a new label, Hollywood Records. Fans were concerned and confused because all signs indicated the Girls would go with a major independent label rather than another major label. The explanation was that they felt like it was a good deal for both them and the label, so they went with it. Looks like it’s working out well because the label seems to really understand the Indigo Girls and their fan base, from the production work on their new album Despite Our Differences to the video for the first single, “Little Perennials.” Check it out:

pluots

I was at the farmer’s market yesterday, listening to a talented acoustic duo perform, when I saw someone eating a piece of fruit that looked luscious and wonderful. I queried the muncher and discovered that this fascinating edible was a Pluot. I learned the location of the vendor selling this fruit and purchased one for … Continue reading “pluots”

I was at the farmer’s market yesterday, listening to a talented acoustic duo perform, when I saw someone eating a piece of fruit that looked luscious and wonderful. I queried the muncher and discovered that this fascinating edible was a Pluot. I learned the location of the vendor selling this fruit and purchased one for myself.

It was wonderful! Juicy, sweet, soft, and just a little tartness from the skin. I bought a few more to take home, but not as many as I would have liked. Mainly, I didn’t think I could eat them all before they went bad. But, I’m just about to eat my third one and now I’m wishing I had brought home more.

Yum.

cowboys and cattlemen – how do!

Country never rocked this hard.


by Me First and the Gimme Gimmes

Me First and the Gimme Gimmes have been putting the “oy” in a wide variety of hit songs since 1995. The band straddles the line between being a novelty act and true rock professionals, all with a grin and a good sense of taste. They have given the punk treatment to everything from show tunes to surf-rock to R&B, and now they’re showing listeners how much they Love Their Country.

The album begins with a treatment of “Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old)” that stays fairly true to Garth Brooks’ original. The listener is momentarily confused and dismayed that perhaps Me First and the Gimme Gimmes have lost their touch. Fear not, for as the first chorus rolls around, the punk kicks in and begins the wild twenty-five minute ride through twelve of Country Music’s top hits.

One unexpected and beautifully incorporated element on the album are the bagpipes on Hank Williams’ “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.” They mesh effortlessly with the crunch of the electric guitars and enhance the vocal slides are distinctive to that style of music, which lead singer Spike pulls off quite well.

The inclusion of the Dixie Chicks’ “Goodbye Earl” is a treat. Although the original was styled as a country song, it already had a punk attitude that lends itself to the new arrangement. Someone has even gone and created an edited video with the Gimme Gimmes’ version of the song overlaying the original images.

Love Their Country is an entertaining album. It isn’t particularly groundbreaking or monumental, and neither is it intended to be. Me First and the Gimme Gimmes have accomplished what they set out for: a collection of country covers that anyone with a bit of punk in their soul can enjoy.

Me First And The Gimme Gimmes Ho Down

mr. music police is my art ok

Effortlessly combines heavy and thoughtful lyrical commentary with toe-tapping, head-bobbing synth-pop-rock.


by Exit Clov

As I have listened to Exit Clōv's EP Respond Respond on repeat over the past few weeks, I am frequently reminded of the blissful harmonies created by the Murmurs. Twin sisters Emily and Susan Hsu provide the vocals for Exit Clōv, as well as keyboards and violins. Their voices weave in and out with such a similar tone and approach that it almost sounds like a single person dubbed over in the recording process.

For the most part, this EP rocks the earbuds with great songwriting and playing, but it has one small feature that generally drives me insane in the Age of iPod. The title song is hidden on the end of the last track. Rather than slapping an extra track on the CD that you weren't expecting, they have inserted four minutes of silence after "Communist BBQ" followed by the two minute ditty that reprises elements of "Beast Simone." This is a far too common practice that is sure to annoy those who listen to music on shuffle, causing them to examine their equipment with concern in the deafening silence.

publicity photo of Exit Clōv taken by Dave VannThat aside, Respond Respond really is a great collection of songs. "DIY" kicks it off as a driving pop anthem for the indie rocker. The lyrics admonish the hypocrisy of those who talk about creating a supportive music community but in practice exclude those create music/art outside traditional forms or those who are new to the music scene. The song begins with a driving synth-pop rhythm that carries through with a hint of disco near the end before winding down and leading into the dark and mysterious "Beast Simone." It is in the chorus of "Beast Simone" that I hear a connection with the Murmurs, particularly their song "Mission" off of the 1994 eponymous album.

I realized that I have an insane collection of music and random associations when the opening verse of "Violent Berries" reminded me of "Mama Mia" by Abba. Lyrically, the songs have nothing to do with each other, but the initial music hooks are similar. "Violent Berries" brings the violin playing of the sisters to the fore-front by featuring it throughout the song. The electric guitar, bass, and drums continue to drive the music while the vocals and strings provide the embellishment.

The disco feel is back on the next track, "Moving Gaza," and is somewhat incongruous with the lyrical content, which alludes to the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon. The song also gives a shout-out to fellow DC artist Ris Paul Ric by naming "Purple Blaze" as the protagonist's favorite song. There is an apparent political intent in "Moving Gaza," but it is hazy and not clearly defined. It seems like the songwriter has something to say to the listener, but just when it seems like the point is about to be made, it turns self-referential and obscured.

"MK Ultra" references the CIA mind-control research program from the 1950s and 1960s called Project MKULTRA. The point of view is fashion model and radio show co-host Candy Jones who claimed to have been a victim of the CIA program. The song is able to showcase the psychedelic imagery of someone changed by mind-altering drugs while also poking a sharp stick at the perpetrators in the chorus:

and in my dreams I see colors of kaleidoscope
<in brainwashington>
and in my head I hear voices on the radio
<in brainwashington>

Respond Respond concludes with another politically themed tune, "Communist BBQ," which features the best puns on the EP:

quit yer stalin, go buy yer che shirts now
petro caribe! we'll bring the gringos down
50 years have brought us to this commie bbq
so quit yer stalin, you know the time is mao

The lyrics are laden with the politics of communism and socialism in the Americas, but delivered in a package that is easy to assimilate. Throughout Respond Respond, Exit Clōv manages to effortlessly combine heavy and thoughtful lyrical commentary with toe-tapping, head-bobbing synth-pop-rock.

ala.org v. wikipedia.org

Yet another reason why the ALA website sucks ass.

I browsed through the logical locations on the ALA website trying to find an estimate of the number of current members. After about five minutes that included a few Google searches, I came up with nothing. Then I checked the Wikipedia page for ALA, and there it was. I don’t know if it’s right, but it looks good enough for my purposes. Thanks, Wikipedia!

stuff on my cat

Whee! A couple of my pictures have been posted on Stuff On My Cat. My favorite comment so far came from FelisVibrissae: Book your stay at Hotel Anna — where every bed comes with nightly turndown service… except instead of a chocolate mint on your pillow, you get Alex’s cathairs!

Whee! A couple of my pictures have been posted on Stuff On My Cat. My favorite comment so far came from FelisVibrissae:

Book your stay at Hotel Anna — where every bed comes with nightly turndown service… except instead of a chocolate mint on your pillow, you get Alex’s cathairs!