deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
Tressie McMillan Cottom isn't a techie; she's an academic specialising in "education, inequality, and organizations". I've been fascinated by her blogging on her research topic: for-profit education. Tressie has worked in both for-profit and non-profit, so she has a bigger grasp of the distinctions than many of us who are advocates for one side or the other.

Anyway, today -- presumably not for Ada Lovelace Day; Tressie's not, as I said, in tech -- she coincidentally posted: "One of These Things is Not Like The Other: Speaking While Black."

On the trip from the ballroom to the lounge I was stopped by three black hotel staff workers. I’m used to this. They are often older, but not always. Either way, they’ve worked in places like the Hilton for many years and they have rarely, if ever, seen someone who looks like me — like them — on the stage. They want me to know they’re proud of me. I’m a good southern girl so I mind my manners and my elders. I say yes ma’am, I’m in school. Yes, sir, my momma sure is proud of me. Thank you for praying for me.

Even my colleagues make a point of telling me that they are proud, of acknowledging my existence. A loquacious, entertaining, generous senior professor from Illinois bee-lined towards me as I found an empty seat. He didn’t even bother with introductions, as family is liable to do. He just started in with, “i sure did like seeing you up there.” I know what he means but he wants me to be clear. He goes on to tell me how long he has come to events like this and how rarely he has seen a brown face at the front of the “big room”

He asked what, by the end of the day, I was asked about half a dozen times: “how did that happen?!”


We're making excellent (if slow) inroads into getting more female representation of speakers at tech conferences. I hope we're ready to make similar inroads with the vast racial disparity (at least at every tech conference I've ever attended, in the US and in Europe).

Tressie's post is illuminating. She's a model for me, even though our fields of interested don't overlap at all.

Happy Ada Lovelace Day, everybody.

And, hey, just to make this an official Ada Lovelace Day post, here's to Kimberly Bryant, founder of the amazing Black Girls Code. I don't know that much about her that I haven't read in press for BGC, but that's impressive enough:

Kimberly’s daughter, who is currently in middle school, has been interested in technology and an avid gamer since the age of 8. Several years ago, after realizing her daughter would frequently get bored with videogames, Kimberly wanted to show her how to make one and enrolled her in a summer game development program at Stanford. “It was a great experience for her,” explains Kimberly. “But there were only about 3 girls out of approximately 25 students and she was the only person of color enrolled.”

As a result of these experiences, Kimberly decided to launch Black Girls CODE, a nonprofit that encourages young minority women to pursue a career in technology by providing them with workshops and after-school programs focused on a wide range of tech-related topics. “Our goal,” Kimberly explains, “is to address the gender and diversity gap in technology and to feed girls into the STEM pipeline as early in their development years as possible.”


--"Kimberly Bryant, Black Girls Code"
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So it's hard to say I am currently admiring a woman who left computer science, and it's certainly not Ada Lovelace Day material, but let me flail for a minute.

So to start with, quoting [personal profile] allen:

Went to see [twitter.com profile] viennateng(with [twitter.com profile] highceilings opening) show tonight. I went with [personal profile] deborah and [personal profile] cnoocy. [personal profile] cthulhia showed up a few minutes after we did and sat behind us. [personal profile] ursamajor we met up with at the merch table between sets. [personal profile] momijizukamori found us after the show and walked back to the T with us.

The concert was excellent, too, in addition to the impromptu meet-up.


If it's not clear, all of those meetups were unplanned and coincidental. I also ran into M, a friend from high school.

Anyway, Vienna Teng. She got a BS in Computer Science at Stanford in 2000, and worked as a programmer for two years. Then career shift, boom, music, and that was her career for the next 8 years - and then she turned around and went back to grad school (dual Masters, MBA and Environmental Studies). And now she's making music again.

It's just, man. I'm currently working on my third completely unrelated Masters. (Library Science can be related to both Computer Science and Children's Literature, but I'm not interested in the overlaps, except inasmuch as I'm a programmer as a librarian and archivist.) And looking at how Vienna Teng has happily decided she can be a musician along with her other skills and studies, reminds me that this can be a successful way to be, rather than just undecided flailing.

And her music is freaking gorgeous.
deborah: The management regrets that it was unable to find a Gnomic Utterance that was suitably irrelevant. (gnomic)
After five awesome years, I'll be taking a hiatus from teaching my F & SF for children's and young adults class. I'm also going back to school for a third master's: computer science, this time. So that happened.

These are actually unrelated events, except inasmuch as I wouldn't be doing an MS program if I were still teaching. Once I realized I was taking a break from teaching, it occurred to me I'd have the time at last to take advantage of the free tuition benefit offered by my employer. That I went in about a week from "Maybe I should take some classes" to "You know what would be awesome? A degree program!" is par for the course of [personal profile] deborah. I would crack myself up if I didn't have to live with the aftermath of being me.

As I prepare for the mental shift from teaching master's students to being one, I think I might take some serious time to brush up my programming-by-voice skills. I haven't really spent any spoons on rewiring my brain for better dictation in years -- I don't use Natlink/Vocola or Utter Command or Dragonfly or even VoiceCode. When I was younger I was spending everything I had learning to function again, and then I knew all kinds of cruddy workarounds and just wrote terrible DNS scripting commands for Perl. And besides these days I can type a little.

I don't think my rotten VB workarounds and a little bit of typing will cut it for work + dreamwidth + grad school, though, so taking the time to buckle down and get better at dictating, while long overdue, is finally vital.
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I find that, perhaps because of my profession or because my home has enough books to provide structural support, people tend to assume that I will agree with the sentiment "But at least they are reading!" For the record, I don't. I don't see any intrinsic value in reading, per se. I know plenty of people who read and gain nothing from it. I know plenty of people who spend substantially more time online or watching television and gain as much from those tasks as others do from reading, or more.
Rachel Maddow Read Poster


Here's what I do see value in:
  • The mechanics of reading: I'll readily admit that the mechanics of being able to read, basic literacy in the reader's home's language, is exceptionally valuable, but its value can be overstated. Here's a hint: if you are looking for intellectual, thoughtful participants in society, literature, and the media who don't have access to the basic mechanics of looking at letters and deciphering them, you need look no further than your nearest friend who is blind or visually impaired (I know, I'm ignoring braille). I won't deny that it's much easier to get by if you can decipher letters on the page/screen, but it's patently not necessary. I say this as a reminder to myself as much as anyone. Why did I have no problem with a student using audio books when the student had a registered disability, and yet I had a gut negative reaction when a student with no registered disability mentioned to me that she was listening to the assigned reading on her iPod? If I think that the reading experience for the student with the disability was as valid and as rich when she used the audio books, why should I think that experience would be any the less for the able-bodied student? This is not to say that I think that people who have the ability to learn the mechanics needn't do so; of course I think they ought to. But we need to have more respect for other forms of consuming texts, such as audio.

  • Literacy in a second language, spoken and preferably written: Like many Anglophones, I actually don't have this one. I wish English-speaking countries had more respect for the importance of bilingualism. I'm not going to say that bilingualism automatically makes people less chauvinistic. But still, having more than one language increases your capacity for being able to understand other cultural perspectives.

  • The ability to understand, critically engage with, and discuss fiction and nonfiction texts: Where by "texts" I mean books, newspapers, television shows, commercials, movies, and Internet materials. All of these types of texts participate in the construction of our society.

  • The ability to enjoy nonfiction and fiction texts: I believe that the ability to enjoy fiction enriches a reader's ability to posit hypotheticals. I believe that the ability to enjoy nonfiction increases a reader's willingness to learn about the world. Note that I am not privileging any type of text; I don't see more intrinsic value to enjoying John McPhee's The Control of Nature, an episode of Discover, or a stellar piece of investigative journalism.

  • The ability to distinguish among the different genre characteristics of the media consumed : Note that I am not saying that readers need to prefer high quality to trash, just that they need to be able to distinguish between them. The reasons for this are more obvious with nonfiction. If a reader can't distinguish between nuanced nonfiction and tabloid journalism, she'll be easily deceived. This doesn't mean it's not okay to enjoy tabloid journalism (or junky television, or pulp novels). But a reader who can distinguish what the characteristics are of the media she's consuming will be better able to critically engage.


The upshot of all of this is that someone who cares passionately about, say, So You Think You Can Dance, The Babysitters Club, Slashdot, Buffy, and The New York Post, thinks about them all critically, and discusses them with other people who think about them critically, is likely to be a better thinker and more informed participant in society than somebody who sits at home statically consuming the latest Booker prize winner without any further thought or discussion.
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I was reading Jackie Horne's (my thesis advisor!) new article "Harry and the Other: Answering the Race Question in J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter" in the most recent The Lion and the Unicorn (unfortunately not freely available). This article, in introducing the ideas of antiracism, gives what I think is a really nice and succinct definition of some of the tensions:

This quotation got way too long )

She then defines the different forms of educational practice arose out of these two definitions of antiracism:

this quotation also got way too long )

The essay itself is a quite interesting analysis of the tension in the Harry Potter books between these two forms of antiracism, but it's this introduction I found myself wanting to quote. I think a lot of the antiracism discussions on the Internet in the last three years have really been about this tension Jackie describes. The personal versus the structural, and the universalist versus the relativist.



Jackie C. Horne. "Harry and the Other: Answering the Race Question in J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter." The Lion and the Unicorn 34.1 (2010): 76-104. Project MUSE. Tufts University, Medford, MA. 22 Mar. 2010 <http://muse.jhu.edu/>.
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from the YALSA blog: "Whose Line is it Anyway? or Teens and Plagiarism Within Creative Works". This essay discusses the Helene Hegemann and Nick Simmons cases, and makes me a little uncomfortable in the way it does so.

Excerpts from the post:

"The past month has brought us two stories from the publishing world that highlight just how little most people understand copyright law.
...
From scanalations to fanfic and fanart to blatantly stealing someone else’s ideas, most people just don’t understand copyright and why we have it.
...
I’ll be the first to admit, it can be confusing. Sampling has long been an accepted technique in electronic music and Hip Hop, and major artistic figures like William S. Burroughs and Robert Rauschenberg have based their careers around different techniques of borrowing and re-purposing the creations of others. Add to it things like fan videos on Youtube and you have a climate that makes people think it’s okay to take someone else’s ideas whenever you want and do whatever you like with them without obtaining permission."


The post author doesn't draw any explicit conclusions himself about copyright and fair use. I admit that I have no knowledge of the merits of either Hegemann's or Simmons' cases. But there's something about the phrasing -- "From scanalations to fanfic and fanart to blatantly stealing someone else’s ideas, most people just don’t understand copyright and why we have it" -- that strongly implies that scanalations, fanfic, and fanart come out of a complete lack of understanding of copyright, just as blatantly stealing someone else’s ideas does. "Add it to things like fan videos" to you create "a climate that makes people think" it's okay to steal?

I don't know whether or not the post author has such a simplistic idea of fair use and transformative work, or whether he has a very complex understanding and was just careless in his phrasing in this instance. But either way, the whole blog post makes me uncomfortable.

I 100% agree that people need to be more educated about copyright and why we have it. The number of people who don't understand that you can't just rip passages and images wholesale off Wikipedia and put them in your own book is just ludicrous. But part of educating people about copyright is not frightening them. Fair use and transformative works -- from sampling to fan fiction to machinima -- is not the same thing as a copyright violation.

many links

Feb. 22nd, 2008 02:40 pm
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
The only way to get all these tabs out of my browser is to actually post some links.

This is one I've been saying for awhile "somebody has got to be working on this". Omeka is creating a free platform to help people create curated digital exhibits. The next thing that needs to happen is a hosted service -- not CONTENTdm style hosted service, but a real hosted curation service including preservation planning.

Republicans utterly refuse to compromise on telecom immunity, while the president insists that anyone who doesn't grant immunity to the telecommunications companies want the terrorists to win.

Why students want simplicity and why it fails them when it comes to research is a good introduction to the idea that the skills learned in googling for facts are not actually going to serve a student who needs to learn how to do complex research. Sometimes we need to adapt to user-perceived needs, but sometimes, as academic or school librarians, our job is to teach our patrons. The trick lies in choosing the right balance.

It doesn't do us much good to have an independent, bipartisan Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board if the President can make it vanish simply by not appointing any members.

The MPAA's numbers about the effect of campus music piracy were vastly overblown. Only about 15% of their losses were due to campus downloading, and only about 3% probably came from on campus networks, but the record companies and Congress are bullying the universities to police anyway.

These pictures are very beautiful and very, very sad. "It will rise from ashes" is a blog post and accompanying Flickr set of images from an abandoned Detroit school system book depository. Trees growing from the soil created by burned then rained upon books; it's a kind of renewal, but renewal not from the typical post-apocalyptic vision of a rich industrial culture, but renewal from... well, I don't want to be too horribly melodramatic and say shattered potentials, so I don't know how to finish the sentence.
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Cyberinfrastructure for the Humanties and Social Sciences: Shaping and Advancing the Humanities Research Agenda

Much of this panel was dedicated to speakers from the IMLS and the NIH talking about their grant funding projects. A valuable talk, but not something that led me to take many notes. The key part of this panel, for me, was Greg Crane's speech, although I've heard him give versions of this talk before. While I've often disagreed with various points Crane has made, the overarching thrust of this particular talk is what I find very valuable. His focus is not a library focus about digitizing collections for preservation or access, but it's specifically a researcher focus: what tools can we add to our resources as we digitize them to give us more than we ever had before.

Humanities Cyberinfrastructure )

Ray @ IMLS on the humanities information landscape )
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
The next panel I attended was Educational Digital Libraries. All but the first of these papers were short papers, which might be why it's primarily the first paper I found interesting, in that first paper was more personally than professionally interesting.

Children's Interests and Concenrs When Using the International Children's Digital Library: a Four Country Case Study )


Digital Library Education in Computer Science Programs )

A Study of how Online Learning Resources Are Used )

Standards or Semantics for Curriculum Search? )

Information Behavior of Small Groups: Implications for Design of Digital Libraries )
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
In the last few years, all of the conferences I have been to have had rather fabulous keynote speakers. I don't recall this being the case in the past. Maybe it's just that I'm really interested in libraries, information, and changing technology, and there are some great speakers in that field.

(Though would be nice to have some female or nonwhite keynote speakers every once in a great while. I mean, Brewster Kahle is my Internet boyfriend, and only somebody crazy would skip a Jonathan Zittrain talk, but still. Just once in a great while. Somebody not white and/or male?)

John Willinsky. Sorting and Classifying the Open Access issues for Digital Libraries: Issues Technical, Economic, Philosophical, and Principled  )
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