Here's to Teens Who Work

Sep. 1st, 2014 06:12 pm
[syndicated profile] kirkus_ya_feed
Happy Labor Day! In honor of the holiday, let’s look at some YA books about teenagers who work. And I’m not talking about vampire hunting or sneaky spying or private detecting—I’m talking about jobs that your average high schooler might have, from waitress to cashier to camp counselor.

Happy Labor Day!

Aug. 29th, 2014 02:00 pm
[syndicated profile] aotus_feed

Posted by David Ferriero

“A truly American sentiment recognizes the dignity of labor and the fact that honor lies in honest toil.” -Grover Cleveland

Public Law 53-95: An Act Making Labor Day a Legal Holiday, June 28, 1894
General Records of the U.S. Government, National Archives and Records Administration

Labor Day Act[ Read all ]

[syndicated profile] kirkus_kidlit_feed
I’m doing something different this week. I normally write about picture books, but the events in Ferguson, Missouri, have weighed heavy on my mind, as they have for many Americans. At his site this week, professor and children’s literature scholar Philip Nel shared his thoughts on Ferguson. He writes about, for one, the despair he feels over this country’s structural racism and how the events in Ferguson generated a singular impression of anguish he struggles to articulate. His thoughts resonated with me and many people I know; one sometimes feels hopeless to respond in the face of such institutionalized and deep-seated wrongs. (Nel’s post also includes an impressive list of resources for librarians and teachers.)

Tanuja Desai Hidier

Aug. 29th, 2014 06:20 am
[syndicated profile] kirkus_ya_feed
Kirkus says Tanuja Desai Hidier “quietly revolutionized” young adult literature with her literary debut, Born Confused (2002), a South Asian American coming-of-age story voiced by 17-year-old Dimple Lala. Hidier’s sequel Bombay Blues transports Dimple, now two years older, to modern-day Bombay for a family wedding, in a story that Kirkus calls, in a starred review, a “prose-poem meditation on love, family and homecoming.”

Wild Girl, Ghost Girl

Aug. 28th, 2014 06:39 pm
[syndicated profile] kirkus_ya_feed
Sometimes I love a book so much that I don’t know where to start. I just want to throw it at peoples’ heads. (In a friendly, I AM STRONGLY ENCOURAGING YOU TO READ THIS way.)

Katherine Rundell

Aug. 27th, 2014 12:35 pm
[syndicated profile] kirkus_ya_feed
What diminutive Wilhelmina Silver, the protagonist of Katherine Rundell’s new novel Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms, lacks in stature she compensates for in physical prowess and a monstrous gusto for life. Born, raised and set free on Two Tree Hill Farm in Zimbabwe, her father encouraged a liberal lifestyle of tree climbing, horse riding, cartwheeling and a window without panes (all the better to see, smell and feel the sunbaked exoticism of Africa). When her father succumbs to malaria as her mother did years before, circumstances—namely a gold-digging twit named Cynthia Vincy—land Will in a prestigious girls school in London. Having spent all of her young wildcat life with rowdy boys on the farm, the company of ponytailed princesses proves to be more of a culture shock than London’s chilly clime. After a cruel prank, resourceful Will runs away from the school, determined to return to everything she loves 5,000 miles away, even if it entails street performing, foraging in rubbish bins and napping in Harrods.

Huck Scarry

Aug. 26th, 2014 08:40 pm
[syndicated profile] kirkus_kidlit_feed
Ever since Huck Scarry’s father, legendary kid’s writer and illustrator Richard Scarry, died in 1994, Huck’s job has been to keep his father’s work alive. The creator of more than 300 books for children (with at least 100 million copies sold), Richard’s work is iconic: warm, puffy, jovial characters drawn in moments of frantic busyness, dogs and cats and earthworms going about their day.

Naomi Shihab Nye

Aug. 26th, 2014 12:02 pm
[syndicated profile] kirkus_kidlit_feed
Naomi Shihab Nye, a four-time Pushcart Prize winner, is perhaps better known to readers as a poet than a novelist. Her collection 19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East was a finalist in 2002 for the National Book Award in the Young People’s Literature category, and her collection Honeybee was awarded the Arab-American Book Award. She has edited several honored poetry anthologies, and is currently serving on the Board of Chancellors for the Academy of American Poets. She, however, recently published a children’s novel, The Turtle of Oman, which, like her poetry, possesses a seamless quality that makes it light-hearted and fun to read.

A Rousing Adventure

Aug. 25th, 2014 05:53 pm
[syndicated profile] kirkus_ya_feed
I was a huge fan of The Screaming Staircase, the first book in Jonathan Stroud’s new Lockwood & Co. series, and I’m pleased as punch to report that the sequel, The Whispering Skull, is just as fantastic. It has all of the strengths of the first book: a believable and distinct narrative voice (One of George’s most famous characteristics, aside from sarcasm, wind, and general bloody-mindedness, was his fascination with things unknown.), interesting and thoughtful worldbuilding (Sensitives do psychic work, but they refuse to ever actually fight ghosts, for reasons of pacifist principle. They’re generally as drippy as a summer cold and as irritating as hives.), excellent character development* (George has a Zeppo-ish arc!), and genuine scares tempered with smart humor:
[syndicated profile] library_tech_jester_feed

Posted by Peter Murray

Did you feel a great disturbance in the open source force last week? At noon on Friday in a conference call with members of the Kuali community, the Kuali Foundation Board of Directors announced a change of direction:

We are pleased to share with you that the Kuali Foundation is creating a Professional Open Source commercial entity to help achieve these goals. We expect that this company will engage with the community to prioritize investments in Kuali products, will hire full-time personnel, will mesh a “software startup” with our current culture, and will, over time, become self-sustaining. It enables an additional path for investment to accelerate existing and create new Kuali products.

As outlined in the Kuali 2.0 FAQ:

The Kuali Foundation (.org) will still exist and will be a co-founder of the company. It will provide assurance of an ongoing open source code base and still enable members to pool funds to get special projects done that are outside the company’s roadmap. The fees for Foundation membership will be reduced.

There have been some great observations on Twitter this morning. First, a series of tweets from Roger Schonfeld:

Lisa Hinchliffe points out a similar struggle by the Sakai Foundation last year.

— Lisa Hinchliffe (@lisalibrarian) August 25, 2014

Dan Cohen adds:

— Dan Cohen (@dancohen) August 25, 2014

And lastly (for the moment) Bryan Alexander adds a brief quote from Brad Wheeler’s conference call:

— Bryan Alexander (@BryanAlexander) August 25, 2014

My first interpretation of this is that there is a fundamental shift afoot in the perception of open source by senior leadership at higher education institutions. Maybe it is a lack of faith in the “community source” model of software development. Having a company out there that is formally responsible for the software rather than your own staff’s sweat equity makes it easier to pin the blame for problems on someone else. Or maybe it is that highly distributed open source projects for large enterprise-wide applications aren’t feasible — are communication barriers and the accountability overhead too large to move fast?

I do wonder what this means for the Kuali Open Library Environment (OLE) project. Kuali OLE just saw its first two installations go live this week. Will Kuali’s pivot towards a for-profit company make OLE more attractive to academic libraries or less? Does it even matter?

Lots of questions, and lots to think about.

Miss Brooks Is Back

Aug. 22nd, 2014 06:05 pm
[syndicated profile] kirkus_kidlit_feed
School is back in session where I live, and I’ve been thinking a lot lately about those fabulous teachers and librarians who model and share a love of reading with their students. One of my favorite librarians, who does exactly that, is a fictional one. Her name is Miss Brooks, and she’s back in a picture book sequel, Barbara Bottner’s Miss Brooks’ Story Nook (where tales are told and ogres are welcome!), illustrated by Michael Emberley.

Happy Birthday, Annie Oakley!

Aug. 22nd, 2014 04:20 pm
[syndicated profile] aotus_feed

Posted by David Ferriero

Letter to William McKinley offering to raise a troop of 50 lady sharpshooters to fight the Spanish American War.  They would provide their own rifles and ammunition.  Unfortunately, women were not allowed to serve at that point in our history.

Annie Oakley letter to William McKinley

Letter to President William McKinley from Annie Oakley. April 5, 1898. National Archives Identifier 300369[ Read all ]

[syndicated profile] paciello_a11y_feed

Posted by David Sloan

Last month, a few TPG folks attended the UXPA 2014 conference in an astonishingly hot and sunny London. As well as meeting with friends and colleagues old and new, and having some great discussions about our future work plans, Sarah Horton, Léonie Watson and I also ran a conference workshop on Developing a Manifesto for Accessible User Experience.

We’ve observed the use of manifestos as rallying points for other emerging philosophies in the field of digital design and development. As we try to move thinking of accessibility from technical checkpoint testing towards a mature approach of full integration into UX activity, we thought it might be a helpful exercise to develop a small set of common statements and beliefs that UX professionals can use to describe what we mean by Accessible UX. This manifesto could become a simple tool to help us develop a mutual understanding of what we’re trying to achieve, to help organisations integrate accessibility into practice and create genuinely inclusive high-quality digital experiences for everyone, regardless of disability or age.

We wanted to get some input from our colleagues in the UX field, including experienced accessibility specialists, UX professionals with a strong interest in accessibility, and people keen to learn more about how to better integrate accessibility into their UX activity.

So we facilitated what we found to be an intense and demanding—but ultimately productive—3-hour session, where we looked at three topic areas:

  1. Sharing the challenges we currently face in effectively integrating accessibility into user experience activity. This helped us to collectively understand the breadth and nature of the barriers that we face in trying to broaden awareness, understanding and responsibility for designing more accessible user experiences.
  2. Sharing an understanding and appreciation of the definition, purpose and aims of a manifesto in describing, supporting and advancing a new practice or approach. We discussed what people understand by a “manifesto”, and existing manifestos that might inform our thinking. Examples we considered included the Manifesto for Agile Software Development , the  Lean UX Manifesto, and the UK Government Data Services (GDS) Design Principles.
  3. Developing an initial version of a Manifesto for Accessible UX. This was the really hard part and, while we made some progress, we still have a lot of work to do! We identified three categories, respectively covering where we are now, where we want to be, and how we’ll get there, and created a set of position statements for each.

We’re now in the process of refining these statements and shaping them into a meaningful first draft, with the help of the workshop participants. After this, we need to understand how the Manifesto can be of most use to accessible UX advocates, but more importantly, for organisations to use as a reference point in their work.

We’ll be sure to update you on our progress. In the meantime, we’d like to thank all the workshop participants for their contributions so far.

Update (22 August): Our workshop slides are now available on Slideshare.


Teachers Are People, Too?

Aug. 21st, 2014 06:13 pm
[syndicated profile] kirkus_kidlit_feed
Remember the feeling of confusion and wonder when, as a child, you saw your elementary school teacher in, say, the grocery store? How can this be? you wondered. She’s a Teacher, not a regular person who engages in such prosaic activities as shopping for milk and eggs.
[syndicated profile] library_tech_jester_feed

Posted by Peter Murray

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Two weeks in a row! This week’s DLTJ Thursday Threads looks at how Twitter changed its timeline functionality to include things that it thinks you’ll find interesting. Next, for the academic libraries in the audience, is a report from the New Media Consortium on trends and technologies that will libraries will likely encounter in the next five years. Lastly, news about research into how USB devices can spread malware in ways we can’t detect.

Feel free to send this to others you think might be interested in the topics. If you find these threads interesting and useful, you might want to add the Thursday Threads RSS Feed to your feed reader or subscribe to e-mail delivery using the form to the right. If you would like a more raw and immediate version of these types of stories, watch my Pinboard bookmarks (or subscribe to its feed in your feed reader). Items posted to are also sent out as tweets; you can follow me on Twitter. Comments and tips, as always, are welcome.

Your Twitter Timeline is No Longer Your Own

Twitter recently began adding tweets to your timeline that have been favorited by people you follow. The decision has been a controversial one, but it looks like it’s here to stay. Twitter has now formally changed its definition of your home timeline to note that it will add in content that it thinks you’ll want to see.

Additionally, when we identify a Tweet, an account to follow, or other content that’s popular or relevant, we may add it to your timeline. This means you will sometimes see Tweets from accounts you don’t follow. We select each Tweet using a variety of signals, including how popular it is and how people in your network are interacting with it. Our goal is to make your home timeline even more relevant and interesting.

- What’s a Twitter timeline?, Twitter Help Center

Twitter was one of the last social network holdouts to not mess with its basic formula of what it showed you: what you saw in your timeline was based directly on who you subscribed to. (Well, we’ll ignore the sponsored tweet program for the moment.) As The Next Web points out, Twitter has changed the definition of “What’s a Twitter timeline?” page to include the second quote above. This isn’t full-blown filtering — Twitter is not (yet?) deciding to remove uninteresting tweets from your timeline. It is trying to show you other things that you may be interested in, though.

When I posted an earlier article from The Next Web on LinkedIn about this change, Steve Casburn noted the Medium article The downside of algorithmic filtering. That article pointed out that while the author’s Twitter timeline was full of tweets about the police shooting and later civil unrest in Ferguson, her Facebook wall was not — it had not made it through the algorithmic exclusion filter that Facebook put in place. The author goes on to ask, “what if Ferguson had started to bubble, but there was no Twitter to catch on nationally? Would it ever make it through the algorithmic filtering on Facebook? Maybe, but with no transparency to the decisions, I cannot be sure.”

I get that Twitter is trying to increase its “stickiness” by showing us things that it things will hold our interest right in line with things that we ask for. I hope that Twitter doesn’t decide to remove things that it things won’t be interesting to us. That would change the nature of Twitter dramatically and reduce its usefulness of getting outside of the “filter bubble.” (Interestingly, I’ve yet to see this new behavior myself in either Tweetdeck or the Twitter website.)

A Glimpse at the Future: The Library Edition of the Horizon Report

The NMC Horizon Report: 2014 Library Edition, examines key trends, significant challenges, and emerging technologies for their potential impact on academic and research libraries worldwide. While there are many local factors affecting libraries, there are also issues that transcend regional boundaries and common questions; it was with these questions in mind that this report was created. The NMC Horizon Report: 2014 Library Edition was produced by the NMC in collaboration with University of Applied Sciences (HTW) Chur, Technische Informationsbibliothek (TIB) Hannover, and ETH-Bibliothek Zurich. To create the report, an international body of experts from library management, education, technology, and other fields was convened as a panel. Over the course of three months in the spring of 2014, the 2014 Horizon Project Library Expert Panel came to a consensus about the topics that would appear here in the NMC Horizon Report: 2014 Library Edition.

For 12 years, the New Medium Consortium (NMC) and the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI) partnered to create the Horizon Report on higher education, a document that brings together practitioners to reach a consensus on emerging technologies in one-, three- and five-year time horizons. This year, NMC and others partnered to create the first report geared towards academic and research libraries. It covers topics like the evolving nature of the scholarly record and the rise of new forms of multidisciplinary research along with the adoption of technologies such as electronic publishing and bibliometrics. This document is well researched and footnoted. And if you want more depth, the project wiki is online with more details about the selected topics and other topics that didn’t filter to the top of the discussion.

USB Flash Drives as Vectors for Malware

Most USB devices have a fundamental security weakness that can be exploited to infect computers with malware in a way that cannot easily be prevented or detected, security researchers found. The problem is that the majority of USB thumb drives, and likely other USB peripherals available on the market, do not protect their firmware — the software that runs on the microcontroller inside them, said Karsten Nohl, the founder and chief scientist of Berlin-based Security Research Labs.

- Most USB thumb drives can be reprogrammed to infect computers, by Lucian Constantin, InfoWorld, 1-Aug-2014

Computer users pass around USB sticks like silicon business cards. Although we know they often carry malware infections, we depend on antivirus scans and the occasional reformatting to keep our thumbdrives from becoming the carrier for the next digital epidemic. But the security problems with USB devices run deeper than you think: Their risk isn’t just in what they carry, it’s built into the core of how they work.

- Why the Security of USB Is Fundamentally Broken, by Andy Greenberg, Wired Threat Level blog, 31-Jul-2014

Can you trust that USB flash drive? Arguably, no. The problem lies in the software that runs on the flash drive itself. Called the “firmware” it is that software that can be changed to, say, implant malware into files that are copied to and from the flash drive. Or the flash drive could be programmed to emulate a keyboard and “type” nefarious commands to the operating system. Or, most ingeniously in my mind, emulate a network adapter in such a way as to silently redirect all of you internet requests through a bad guy’s server.

Why has USB become the main way to connect peripherals to computers? Why hasn’t anything replaced it? Ars Technica has an in-depth article on the history of USB and other connectors that have tried to displace it.

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