deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
[personal profile] allen and I formed Suberic Networks back in 1997, which is hard to believe. Our baby is a millenial! Over the years we've providing hosting solutions to myriad non-profits, small businesses, informal organizations, clubs, and individuals. When doing freelance programming, we've done so under the umbrella of Suberic Networks.

Suberic was formed back in the wild old days of the Internet, when "there shalt be no commercial speech on the Internet" was extremely recent history (only three years after Canter and Siegel spammed Usenet). We've grown a lot over the years. I can't recall for sure, but I bet we once had little icons that said "Bobby approved!" and "Best when viewed in Lynx."

Today we're launching the new home page for Suberic Networks, LLC. Our gorgeous new logo was designed by Pablo Defendini. The site's launch aims to showcase my freelance programming work.
We build database-backed software solutions with rich user interfaces that provide a tested and welcoming user experience. Suberic Networks is particularly adept with the Perl and Python programming languages, and we can modernize legacy software as well as design, build, and test new projects. We have specialties in accessibility, user experience, digital libraries, and publishing.


I know many of you are involved with accessibility, library, archives, and publishing. Not coincidentally, those are particular strengths of Suberic Networks consulting! I encourage you to consult our expertise and consider whether we might be of use to your organization. And I'd be grateful if you'd signal boost (without spamming, of course) to interested parties.
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
This is primarily just a collection of links, pointing to some of the current activities of the Digital Publishing Working group. I'm posting from the conference where I can't dictate, so I'm not adding much context. But please feel free to ask me questions.

To begin with, here's the briefest of introductions to the core standards body: The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), and the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI). There rest of my presentation covers the accessibility activities of the Digital Publishing Interest Group (DPUG IG). I'm an Invited Expert on DPUB IG, and I'm a co-chair of the DPUB IG Accessibility task force, with Charles LaPierre of Benetech.

You can follow many of the activities of the DPUB IG on the W3C blog, category digital publishing, RSS, [syndicated profile] dpub_w3c_feed.

deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
In the general pool of "people who have something to say about Web accessibility," the only reason I don't call myself an expert is because I have a deep aversion to calling myself an expert anything. I am sitting here right now trying to come up with jokes about where I do have expertise -- napping? reading? cat snuggling? -- and I am actually talking myself down from all of them.

I implement and explain the accessibility standards. I test for accessibility on all spectra except cognitive. I write accessible HTML and JS, and debug other people's code. I teach and present on the the bureaucratic, technical, and content aspects of creating an accessible web. I know where my weaknesses are (cognitive accessibility, legal aspects, mobile, etc), but I know where to turn to complement those weaknesses. All in all, I have always been confident in my knowledge in any room full of accessibility professionals.

Then I got involved with the W3C.

Now that I'm co-leading the accessibility folks for the Digital Publishing Interest Group, I'm basically floored every day my how much sheer knowledge there is on the team. Sure, I have a lot in the can about straightforward web accessibility, but there's so much more regarding the interactions between accessibility and digital publishing, and my colleagues know it.
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
Free Government Infomation's Best. Titles. Ever. is back! It's now a tumblr, it's hilarious as ever, and it's managed by the amazing Aimee. Come for the lulz, stay for the muskrat meat. Thanks, GPO and Pueblo, Colarado.

This mab of the London Tube is rendered entirely in CSS! It's hasn't taken advantage of that for accessibility, but it'd be easy: a positioned off-screen header before each line, some text to announce junctions of two lines.

In response to "Of 3,200 children’s books published in 2013, just 93 were about black people":

Christopher Myers: "The Apartheid of Children’s Literature" in the NYT.

The mission statements of major publishers are littered with intentions, with their commitments to diversity, to imagination, to multiculturalism, ostensibly to create opportunities for children to learn about and understand their importance in their respective worlds. During my years of making children’s books, I’ve heard editors and publishers bemoan the dismal statistics, and promote this or that program that demonstrates their company’s “commitment to diversity.” With so much reassurance, it is hard to point fingers, but there are numbers and truths that stand in stark contrast to the reassurances.


And père. Walter Dean Myers: Where Are the People of Color in Children’s Books?

Simple racism, I thought. On reflection, though, I understood that I was wrong. It was racism, but not simple racism. My white co-worker had simply never encountered a black chemist before. Or a black engineer. Or a black doctor. I realized that we hired people not so much on their résumés, but rather on our preconceived notions of what the successful candidate should be like. And where was my boss going to get the notion that a chemist should be black?



deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
I've left Tufts DCA after the longest tenure I've had at a job to become a support engineer at Safari Books Online. Among other things, this means that after nearly a decade, I've left academia for private industry.

Well, for publishing. Which is like private industry, but for people laugh at profit.[note]

I want to talk briefly about my career trajectory. )
[Note] I snark; Safari does just fine, online tech books being a popular item even before you get to all the reference book contracts. Though after a decade in academia, my scales for what is considered financial success are all off. Academic institutions measures success not by quarterly profit, which can be low, but by the size of the endowments they sit jealously and often uselessly upon like learned Smaugs.[back]
deborah: Kirkus Reviews: OM NOM NOM BRAINS (kirkus)
Last fall, when I taught with [personal profile] astern, it wasn't until after we had started the semester that we realized what the ideal opening assignment ought to be. Now that we are taking a teaching hiatus, we have to give the assignment to you. This assignment will not be graded on a curve, so do your best work! We expect you to abide by the Honor Code*, which in this case means you may work together.

Your assignment:

Pick a book. In the spirit of the class we are not currently teaching, I suggest a speculative fiction work for children or young adults, but pick any book you are interested in talking about.

Now pick three types of writing off the following list. You must pick option 9, but the other two can be any you choose.

  1. A personal blog post reacting to your reading experience.
  2. A professional blog post about the text.
  3. The political response: a reading of the text on purely ideological grounds.
  4. A Goodreads or Amazon style review of the book.
  5. A professional (e.g. Kirkus, Publishers Weekly) style review. If you pick this option, read several examples, and pay attention to such things as house style, word count, ratio of summary/analysis/judgment, etc.
  6. Librarian book talk write up.
  7. Editorial analysis, from the point of view of a publisher or agent working with the manuscript.
  8. Critical scholarly discussion of the sort you would post in an educational forum discussing the text for a class.
  9. Formal critical scholarly analysis of any element of the text, as with a formal paper.


Write at least 500 words in each of your three styles (unless you are choosing to write a professional review, in which case use the word count appropriate for the house style you are choosing). Pay attention to what is different. Besides obvious changes (such as casual versus professional language), what differs? What different choices did you have to make? Did more or fewer words make things easier?

One of our goals with this hypothetical assignment was to show how, while each of these styles of writing is valuable and important -- we certainly don't think, say, personal blog posts of squee aren't valuable -- they are all wildly different. In fact, we hope some of you will choose to write both personal and professional blog posts, or both Goodreads and professional reviews, just to focus on the more subtle (but vital) differences between these types of writing.

Current students are so incredibly proficient at writing about reading, because what with blogs etc., they do so much of it. And yet at the same time, they are proficient in some very specific kinds of writing about reading (primarily personal blogs and Goodreads-style reviews, with some amount of professional blogs), and the process of showing people the requirements of the different kinds of writing is different than it used to be. Without devaluing existing proficiencies, we hope to show that high quality reactive blog post, for example, is not the same thing as scholarly forum discussion.

Over the next couple of days, we will be producing examples of each of these kinds of writing for a single book, and we will post our own examples as well as our own analysis of the differences in the writing style. Let us know here if you have tried this exercise yourself and would like us to link here to your results (whether that happens now or sometime in the future).


* Why yes, we are both bi-co, why do you ask? [Back]

Book Lists

Nov. 30th, 2011 11:03 am
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
The Happy Nappy Bookseller has compiled a list of middle grade and young adult books by authors of color published in 2011 to complement Zetta Elliott's list of middle grade and young adult books by black authors published in 2011. 47 black authors published 2 American Indian authors published 28 Asian authors published 17 Latino authors published 2 authors of Mixed heritage published These lists could be useful resources!
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
I am naïve enough to be shocked by all the people who are angry at Macmillan instead of Amazon in the Amazon versus Macmillan cage match. Even leaving aside Amazon's bullying (Making it impossible to buy all Macmillan books? Really? You thought that was a good idea?), and their misuse of the word "monopoly" in what passed for their public statement (Yes, Macmillan has a monopoly on Macmillan books just like Kellogg's has a monopoly on Pop tarts-- not quite like van Gogh has a monopoly on paintings by Van Gogh, which is Fast Company's analogy, but still, close enough. WTFBBQ?), I'm not sure why the public believes that it has some kind of moral right to e-books on the day of publication for $10 or less.

Before e-books, there was a simple way the market worked: you could pay the hardcover price on the day of publication, you could get it for free a couple of months later if you used the library, or you could wait a year and pay paperback prices. All the people who are insisting that Macmillan is being evil by saying that if you want to charge $10 for an e-book you have to wait a few months have forgotten that that's the way publishing always worked.

Meanwhile, what exactly do they think editors and editorial assistants and authors and book designers are eating? JK Rowling aside, none of these are rich people. It's not like the publishers are raking in the dough -- publishing has one of the lowest consistent profit margins in the industry. Publishing is barely scraping by as it is. Macmillan's actions over the weekend were self-serving -- in that they were intended to prevent a non-sustainable business model which will put brick-and-mortar stores and independent stores out of business, while creating a consumer consensus that something that was priced unsustainably underwater was the standard price. And those self-serving actions are good for the entire industry.

Amazon was losing massive sums on these e-books, because they were using their overwhelming clout to price them underwater. Do consumers actually believe Amazon was doing that out of sheer love of distributing books to the poor? (And by "poor", here, I clearly mean people who can afford a $259 Kindle but whose children would starve if they had to pay more than $9.99 for an e-book, or wait a few months to get a $9.99 e-book.) Predatory pricing is not an admirable practice.
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