Adventures of Knittinmama

Library Student, Knitter, and Mama

Reflections on group Dewey/Deweyless YouTube video process April 5, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — mryknx @ 3:42 pm

This was possibly the most fun I’ve had doing a group project in library school.  I can’t tell you how happy I am that I didn’t have to make up a pretend library and then administrate, market, program, or collect materials for it.  At last a tangible project that is based in reality and I can show to prospective employers!

I was really interested in the subject of the Deweyless library.  Not so much so the specifics of what they did, but the feelings that librarians and patrons have when something changes that challenges their idea of what a library is -a slaying of a ‘sacred cow’, so to speak.  I enjoyed going back in time to look at the articles and blog postings that happened last Summer and was surprised that, for such a hot button issue, there was nothing out there since the intital flurry.  I particularily enjoyed the discussion at TechSource.

Technologically, we had a few challenges and many triumphs.  All three of us either got portable video devices or learned to use the ones we had.  I used a digital audio recorder for the first time.  Laurie found great video software online, which I’m sure I will use in the future.  Lastly, my partners saw Marshal Shore, the mastermind behind Maricopa County’s deweyless library, at PLA and got to hear his presentation and ask him some questions.  The resulting video footage made for a more satisfying conclusion than we ever could have writen.

We had difficulty sharing the video file for editing, so unfortunately one person ended up doing the actual production work, but we all shared in getting the raw footage and in conceptualizing the structure of the video.  We also set up a wiki for easy sharing of ideas and photos.  Now that I think of it, we didn’t attempt to share the video through the wiki and instead tried to email it, which didn’t work. 

I’m proud of our result and getting my child in the video was the cherry on top!  (Note his hand-knit sweater)


Mishawaka Public intent: to ban Myspace or YA’s? April 4, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — mryknx @ 6:12 pm

I’ve been following the ban of Mishawaka Public Library of MySpace, Facebook, and other social networking sites and I have a few thoughts…

For those you haven’t heard about it – I first heard about this through Michael Stephen’s blog Tame the Web:

1. It makes me want to scream when I hear people disparaging the way people use the library as not being worthy enough.  I hope that those who see these sites as ‘mere entertainment’, only check out mathmatic textbooks and have a miserable time while using them.  We’ve heard this argument a million times, a million ways – It’s the old ‘Give them what they need vs. Give them what they want’.  It’s amazing to see librarians that would never state that librarians should dictate or control what books patrons check out, don’t see that disparaging MySpace in this way is the exact same thing.

2.  Are they just targeting sites that the library (mistakenly) thinks only YA’s use?  Are they also targeting Ebay, Netflix, all blogs, my beloved 43 Things, and Kiva?  How about LibraryThing?  Information on this might inform my next point.

3.  As we all know, censorship does not only happen when there are active protests against materials.  Most intances of censorship occur through the non-selection of materials or barriers placed between patrons and materials.  One thing that really stuck with me in my collection development class was not to focus so much on ‘people with pickets’, but to look at the results.  The proof is in the pudding, so to say.  If there’s black hole where infomation should be or if you can barely see the stuff behind its literal or metaphorical gates, then you’ve got a much more difficult problem to combat.  Covert censorship, because it is so emeshed within the libraries own culture, is harder to see and harder to fix.  

My ultimate point is this:  Is their intent to ban social networking or to ban young adults?  If the answer is social networking, but at the same time you notice that all the YA’s have stopped using the library, then does it matter that your intention was only to ban social networking?  You effectively censored a whole segment of our population and weakened your mission to serve your community – your entire community.  And if you think that getting rid of some YA’s isn’t such a big deal, lots of other people use social networking sites and/or think that a library restricting access to information is wrong and will find other places to go.  I would be one of them. 

Also from Tame the Web: Lexington County Public Library also bans social networking – 

In this article they blame social networking sites for making their computers vulnerable to viruses.  How can an infomation professional simultaniously believe this and that they should be allowed to manage a information center like a library?  If your library can’t handle this, perhaps they should revoke all the library cards and become a used book store.  Methinks the stated intent might not be the actual one….




Nancy Pearl and Reader’s Advisory 2.0 March 30, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — mryknx @ 6:01 pm
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I went and saw Nancy Pearl speak at St. Kates today about reader’s advisory and she spoke a bit about the use of library 2.0 tools.  Her emphasis was on how to talk with readers about why they love a particular book.  For Pearl, it is not about plot points, but the way a reader relates to a book.  “When people love a book – they do not love it because of its subject .  the love the experience of reading it.” 

She described four ways to connect with,  or experience, a book.  She calls them ‘doorways’.  They are Story, Character, Setting, and Language.  Of course all books contain all of these elements, but different books will stress one over another.  For example, a book with an emphasis on story would be The DaVinci Code.  For character, she mentioned the books of Anne Tyler.  Her example for setting was E. Annie Prouix’s The Shipping News and for language; Michael Cunningham’s The Hours.  Books have multiple doorways, but readers usually have one or two ways that they enjoy connecting with a book. 

Her issue with 2.0 resouces such as LibraryThing’s Book Suggester and NoveList, and  are that she thinks that they compare plot points and not this more subjective experience.  Her example was this: If you like the spy novels of Tom Clancy because of the fast moving and exciting story, you might not enjoy the more character driven John LeCarre, even though it is also a spy novel.  She said that she would use these resources when a person wants a suggestion for a book with similar plot points, but even then you must match the ‘doorway’ within the recommendations, which these resources will not give you.

 While I really like her way of creating a way to compare book experiences, I’m not sure that her criticism of LibraryThing is totally valid.  I do not have any experience with NoveList, so I can’t speak to that.  If I’m a person who likes books with strong and interesting characters I probably won’t rate a Tom Clancy novel as high as a John LeCarre novel.  The power of LibraryThing’s suggestions is that they are created from the data of many many people.  It seems like all the permutations of what individuals enjoy would create a rich tapestry, not many lists of subject headings.  I think this tool, used in conjunction with the interpersonal skills and knowledge of a librarian, can be valuable. 

 By the way, here are LibraryThing’s recommendations from The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy. 

  1. The sum of all fears by Tom Clancy
  2. Debt of honor by Tom Clancy
  3. Flight of the intruder by Stephen Coonts
  4. Flight of the old dog by Dale Brown
  5. Final flight by Stephen Coonts
  6. Red Phoenix by Larry Bond
  7. Blind man’s bluff : the untold story of American submarine espionage by Sherry Sontag
  8. Vortex by Larry Bond
  9. Team Yankee : a novel of World War III by Harold Coyle
  10. Day of the Cheetah by Dale Brown
  1. The spy who came in from the cold by John Le Carre
  2. Run silent, run deep by Edward L. Beach
  3. I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream by Harlan Ellison
  4. Tinker, tailor, soldier, spy by John Le Carre
  5. Sid Meier’s Civilization II [computer file] : the ultimate version of the best-selling strategy game by Sid Meier
  6. Ringworld [computer file] : revenge of the patriarch by Larry. Ringworld Niven
  7. Force 10 from Navarone by Alistair MacLean
  8. Myst : the official strategy guide by Rick Barba
  9. Myst III : Exile : Prima’s official strategy guide by Rick Barba
  10. The California voodoo game by Larry Niven

Abstract is on its way March 29, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — mryknx @ 8:32 am

I’m going to be a bit late with this one.  My boy is sick, grandma is sick, and I’ve been sleeping when the boy is down. 

The short version is that my topic is a comparison of open-source catalogs: Koha, Polaris, Evergreen, and a bit of LibraryThing.  What I still need to flesh out is how they address the fears of libraries, both technically and philosophically.  I’ll post a real abstract Monday.


Social Networking: friend or foe? March 26, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — mryknx @ 8:20 pm
Tags: , ,

Our readings focused on the two sides of social networking: the benefits of collected knowledge and community as seen in the success of LibraryThing and the dangers of the loss of privacy.  One can’t exist without the other, though with a bit of techno savvy the user can be smart about what they reveal.   As the articles reminded us, whatever information you provide is no longer owned by you, but by whatever company owns the site and if Facebook (or any other site) wants to mix your information with advertising, they can.  “KnittinMama just read ‘Yeast Connection and the Woman’ – Buy it now at Amazon!”  As librarians, part of our role is in promoting and teaching information literacy and this piece has got to be in there.  In the classes I have had during my MLIS program, the topic of information literacy has arrisen many times, but more in terms of evaluating sources and detecting bias, not in how to interact with the media. 

I think social networking is the cornerstone which all of Web 2.0 is based upon.  As I see it Web 2.o is the result of a world where social networking is possible.  There are schools of psychology based upon groups and soon we will see one based upon virtual groups.  It is overwhelming to think of all the accumulated resources created through the thousands upon thousands of social networking sites and then to consider all the personal connections that have enriched people’s lives.  It’s happened so fast.  Our articles spoke specifically about LibraryThing and its benefits as a reader’s advisory service and positive community.  I have personally enjoyed LibraryThing as a tool for cataloging not what I own, but what I’ve read as a way to build my own personal tool.  I’ve also spoke of the communities I’ve found Ravelry and 43 Things.  I’ve definitely created some relationships on those sites that are very valuable to me. 

We’ve also all heard stories in the media of the potential dangers of mob mentality in social networking sites.  It’s not that different from people in real life.  I think people often blame the technology, rather than the people using the technology.  It reminds me of something I read while doing research on online tutorials.  If an online tutorial is designed badly, students will often say that they dislike online tutorials.  If a traditional lecture is performed badly, students will say that they disliked the instructor, not that they hate lectures.


The Minnesota Book Awards and Library 2.0

Filed under: Uncategorized — mryknx @ 1:49 am
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One thing this class has done is given me a new perspective with which to evaluate the world around me.  This Fall I began an internship with the Friends of the St. Paul Library working on the Minnesota Book Awards.  Last year they made a significant 2.0 improvement to the Awards with the creation of the Readers’ Choice Award.  At anyone can vote for their favorite finalist book.  In the first year they got about 3,000 votes and this year it has doubled.  (Voting is open until March 31 – so if you are reading this before that go check it out)  Other things that they are doing include posting book discussion guides and video author interviews from last year winners.  The goal is to build a library of free guides and interviews for use by any public library. 

This is a great beginning, but my brain can imagine more, such as discussion boards both for the public and a private one for the judges.  It’s the latter idea that intrigues me.  Due to my mother’s health, I took an I last term in User Instruction and I will be completing the work once this class is completed.  The main thing I need to do is create an online tutorial.  (Actually, it worked out pretty well to do this after taking this class)  I had been planning to create a tutorial for the judges about the MBA policies and procedures and tips on how to judge the merit of a book.  Now I think I’ll create a wiki that not only would have the tutorial in it, but a discussion area for the judges to talk to each other – similar to how the National Book Awards run their judge interactions – and a discussion area for the judges to talk to the office.  After all, why answer question one at a time, when there’s probably someone else out there with the same question.  The wiki would, of course, be password protected. 

Currently the Minnesota Book Awards does not want the judges to talk amongst themselves in advance of the offical judging day.  I think this is to insure that their thoughts do not become public and to guard against one judge dominiating the discussion.  When I started there, I didn’t question this policy.  Through the lens of Library 2.0, I question the secrecy.  On judging day, there are faciliators in the room to help insure that all judges get to speak their minds.  I don’t really see where having discussions prior to the actual judging day would hurt the process.  Final decisions wouldn’t be made, but the conversation could get deeper.  Especially when you realize that in the preliminary round of judging, the judges are often comparing up to about 50 books and selecting 4 for the finalist slots.  There is often a wide range of materials in the same catagory and I think a long-term discussion over a lengthy period of time would be a good thing.

 I’m really curious to know what you guys think. 


Help with

Filed under: Uncategorized — mryknx @ 12:18 am

Hey there guys.  I’ve been trying to post stuff to the class account by puttingthe ‘for:lis7680’ in my tags.  It worked way back when we were in class.  I’ve even cut and pasted the tag I used in class into my new additions.  What am I doing wrong?  Any help would be greatly appreciated.