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An anthropological introduction to YouTube October 4, 2008

Posted by unamable in Blogosphere, metagraphic.
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Blew me away and thanks to The Obvious? for pointing it out!

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “An anthropological introduction to Yo…“, posted with vodpod

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Life Blogjam May 6, 2006

Posted by unamable in Blogosphere, metagraphic.
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Yes, well it was one of those periods where I probably had lots to say and blog about but, somehow – time creation skills, the inclination and the desire to say anything – got caught up in the fact that work took over and life took over from blogging about life.

At least if I were to form an excuse this would be it.

And I have to say that much of it has to do with many of the sentiments expressed here – Hugh I am humbled…

Hugh's blog is one of the nominees for the Bloggies in the Best British or Irish Weblog category – not the eventual winner but, hey! it appealed to me as a better-than-useful thing to do with the ubiquitous (at least here in  1 deg. North) business card.

VidLit-eracy January 19, 2006

Posted by unamable in Library 2.0, metagraphic, Repatronising, Tagging.
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Coming out of the “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” (BBC-TV version) style of presentation (although with an innovative twist) comes the most recent addition to the Library 2.0 menagerie – Vid Lit.

O.K. … now that those who I have lost have left …. let me continue. This is an idea from Liz Dubelman which results in short animated Flash films about books, sometimes read by the author, or is used to relay complete short stories (try Craziest).

Imagine, my nascent Librarian 2.0 voice said, if we could use this tool to enliven our libraries and to bring our patrons into the life of our libraries. W could start with new additions, recommended reads and librarians’ reading habits; then move on to OPACs jazzed up by vidlit (making for a diverting tagging experience); a little further and we could get our patrons to submit “vidcrits.” These could happen in-house but could also be done with VidLit if they are open to working with libraries. So there we have the patrons working for us/with us, the librarians working in a new dimension (perhaps in collaboration with local design/IT schools) and the tech* being used appropriately.

Software Macromedia Flash MX Macromedia Flash MX 2004 Professional Adobe Photoshop CS Apple Final Cut Pro Digidesign ProTools Steinberg Cubase SX Ableton Live Hardware Apple Computers, 17″ PowerBook, G4 and G5 Towers. PMC/Bryston Audio system Universal Audio UAD-1 Plug-ins Waves Plug-ins Virtual instruments from Arturia, G-Force, Korg, Native Instruments, Propellorhead, Spectrasonics, Steinberg

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1876 and all this January 9, 2006

Posted by unamable in Library 2.0, metagraphic, Repatronising.
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The great ordering of things, beginning in 1876 for us folks, has contributed to our current mindset which seems to necessitate a confusion between access and organisation when moments of crisis emerge.

Dewey Decimal, with all of its faults, was an attempt, rooted in a particular time, to organise knowledge. Thereafter other schemes grew up which also tried to cut up the world of knowledge into identifiable chunks with labels attached. Their aim, as far as I can see, was to organise in order to assist finding – the actual access to the items (apart from serendipidous browsing) was through the catalogue. This is or is not, depending on which part of the biblioblogosphere you chose to inhabit, entirely a “good thing”, since these trusted tools are again only a partial fix when we want access. The vagaries of description and choices of keywords begin to work against finding, giving, in some cases too much precision, in others too much recall or often, neither precision or recall. Gawd bless’em search engines seem to have revived the thought world relating to access and finding – so maybe we are on a roll – if us librarians can stop feeling threatened and lie back and enjoy what is happening to our lives.
These days, we are faced with the “what-about-the-patrons” conundrum (allied to the “they’re- running-away-from-us-catch-them” syndrome) which we have successfully managed to avoid solving before Internet times. When we librarians were the “guardians of knowledge” we were the only ones who did anything with, or about, knowledge and therefore what we decided to do (to organise, make accessible etc.) was what our users got – and was fine by us. Now that everyone is able and willing to offer their own take on tags and their own oblique on organisation there is a sudden crisis of confidence in our profession. This risks swinging somewhat wildly from the “we know best” to “we don’t know a thing” – neither of which I agree with.

We have some of the story – now there are others interested in contributing to this story and why shouldn’t this include our patrons. I still feel that the frameworks (classification or metadata) are useful but no framework in the information/knowledge world of today is built to withstand internet speed. Therefore to me such co-operative, flexible sets of relationships between all who are involved in the issues of seeking and finding offers solid economies of scale, re-engages with patrons, widens our social/professional circle and the results of the interactivity will then reinform the frameworks. Simple ennit?

Nomicons contd. December 26, 2005

Posted by unamable in metagraphic, Tagging.
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So after the naming of parts and the conventions thereto appended we need to have a better form of access. We need to speak the language of those who crawl into our catalogues. We need to let them in and say how they would look at the item if they were looking for the item – not force them into accepting an agreed term or keyword. No need now to scrabble around in your brain for the correct form just dig out the first word that comes into your head and presto! it will be found along with other like items described equally as badly – “but what’s described badly” I hear the maverick me whisper, reminding me of subject headings of note which failed to be clarify in my muddled mind since they were couched in an archaic wordname or I was required to think backwards, in a strictly hierarchical way y’unnerstan, to find what I wanted to look for.

But life does go on and just to show that it isn’t all gloom and doom back at L of C here are some recent subject headings cribbed from The Marginal Librarian

  • Air guitar (May Subd Geog)
  • Boating with cats (May Subd Geog)
  • Boring–Mathematical models
  • Clowns–Religious aspects–Christianity
  • Cockroaches–Literary collections
  • Drunkenness (Philosophy)
  • Feet in the Bible
  • Homing pigeons in the bible
  • Fetus Fiction
  • Virtual reality in management
  • Whiskey–Anecdotes
  • Zombies–Juvenile literature
  • Boredom–Songs and music

Nomicons December 20, 2005

Posted by unamable in Folksonomies, metagraphic, Tagging.
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The other thing I suppose I could say is that “unamable” looks sideways at is – what librarianship, if I can use the old form of address, does and maybe, occasionally specifically, at names and things that identify or describe other things. (That is a bit of what us librarians do isn’t it?)

Ooh dear it’s all so confusing for one who remembers the metal-on-wood slidesound of the card drawer and the pleasant dusty dogeared sensation of riffling through those ole cards…..

To be told that users will soon be able to write our records for us. I mean, steady on. Where will all the pedantry, nitpicking and terminal exactitude go which attended the careful “boiling in the belly” of a carefully crafted card – I ask myself. You can sense that I style myself one of the maverick breed of librarian from that remark.

I never felt satisfied by any of my efforts at describing an item – I was following rules which were logical and rational – but somehow it never quite touched the wild hardback/paperback beast I had in my hands. And I can only begin to imagine what a metadator (or whatever the naming convention is) does to less tangible, more complex and rich content items such as a webpage… my heart goes out to them. Of course OCLC has done some luvly things for us all and Open World Cat really brings to put together correct form with a juicier set of user-based fruits. But I am reminded of my high-minded browsing of Amazon where the neutral tone of an Amazon reviewer is rapidly undermined by a “hey dude dig this ‘lume” or some such enthusiastic fan-type response. Yes I know it is the voice of you and me and I should not be so snotty … but can I quite stomach such descriptive content in my library catalogue? If this is the price libraries must pay to stave off extinction, then I guess it’s o.k. ….just about