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Blogging and RSS: A Librarian’s Guide Second Edition is now available for the Amazon Kindle. The vaguely annoying part is that the content was sent from the publisher to Amazon and Amazon created the Kindle version. If I want a copy of my book in this format, I need to buy one from Amazon.
Just a quick note to those of you reading this via RSS: I’ve implemented a new theme. Much more computer-y than the last one. Take a moment to visit the site and let me know what you think.
Last week, before I left town for the Nebraska Library Association conference, I received the first box of copies of my latest book, Blogging & RSS: A Librarian’s Guide, Second Edition. Yep, I’m a happy camper!
You can order it from Amazon or, if you’re going to be at Internet Librarian 2010 you can pick up an autographed copy there during the vendor reception at the ITI booth.
Reading Kathryn Greenhill’s blog this past month has been a joy. So much so that she has inspired me to attempt this: 30 blog posts in 30 days. Blog posts that actually contain some content, not just a video (though I’m sure I’ll keep posting those.) So, in anticipation I’ve been saving up some topics for the month. Here’s #1:
I often discuss with other bloggers and librarians how they, and if they, separate their personal online presence from their work online presence. I’ve generally decided and have stated in the past the with the job I’m in, this is practically impossible. Regular readers of this blog know that I post stuff that has nothing to do with librarianship or my position at the Nebraska Library Commission, and then other times I post on library issues and technology issues with a library bent. Other topics like Creative Commons and copyright are both a personal political interest of mine as an author and something that I believe directly relates to libraries.
But I’ve come to realize that it’s not that simple. Yes, in the past I’ve blogged about some issues at specific libraries that would “fall under my purview” whether here in Nebraska or back when I was at BCR. In some cases I’ve gotten calls from library directors complaining about what I wrote. But there are other stories that I’ve had opinions on recently about libraries in Nebraska that I have specifically not blogged about. The “why” for that is something that I’ve not thought about before. Here’s what I’ve determined:
When I have written blog posts about specific libraries they have all be situations in which I could have discovered that information outside of my position. Yes, I may have been “on the clock” when I visited that library and discovered that horrid and insulting to patrons sign and took a picture of it, but then again, I could have stopped in as a patron and done the same thing. Maybe the story was published in that town’s newspaper. Anyone could read that. In those instances, I believe I have a right to my opinion.
When I don’t write about something it is because I only received the information specifically because I work where I do. Maybe a library has called me asking for an opinion about something their board has asked them to do. In a case like that if I’d not been working for the NLC, there’s most likely no way I could have found out about that policy. In those cases, short of asking that library for permission (which I have been known to do now and then) I don’t believe I have the right to air that library’s dirty laundry, no matter what my opinion may be.
So there you go, a little bit about my ethics when it comes to this blog. Here’s to hoping that I have 29 more of these in me.
I’m currently showing some SMUG librarians how to blog.
I have a bunch of ego searches set up for things like my name and links back to this blog. One of those searches is for my name on Twitter. Last week, this result appeared:
“ Interesting” I thought, especially since there was no e-book version of that title I was aware of. So, I clicked the link and found this:
Turns out someone took the time to completely scan and create a PDF of my 2006 book. The site shown above is like a torrent tracker in that it doesn’t host the files, just points to them. According to the site they will remove any pointers at the request of a copyright holder. So, I of course downloaded each of the three copies it pointed to. (Hey, it’s my book, I’m not breaking the law by doing so am I?)
Turns out all three copies are the same, just hosted on different servers. And, I must admit, it’s a really good electronic copy too. Here’s a screenshot of the cover…
…of the copyright page. (Nothing like being a little ironic.)
Looking at the document’s properties I must also say that the quality of the metadata in this file is much better than most PDFs I’ve ever downloaded. (Did they really have to create the file using a Mac? 😉
Since this first find, I’ve seen two other Tweets pointing to the downloadable version of my book and in all three cases I’ve replied to the tweets and received no responses back.
I’ve has mixed feelings this whole thing. On the one hand, they’re giving away my content for free without my permission. On the other, someone thought my book was worthy of the time and effort it must have taken to scan and convert 289 pages of content. Really, how many other “librarian” titles have you seen pirated? (Then again you may notice that I’m not giving out the URL to the download sites either.)
So, in the end I guess I’m not all that upset. It’s actually kind of flattering. I’m also starting to wonder how I can leverage this into sales of the second edition that I’ll be starting work on hopefully soon. In the end, given how I get most of my TV these days, to complain would be mighty hypocritical of me at least.
I’m going through the e-mail that I put off dealing with ‘till after CIL2009 and here’s an interesting one I found. Turns out one biblio-blogger held an “open election” for the hottest librarians in Brazil. There’s a ladies list and a gentleman list. The pages of course aren’t in English bit I’m sure you can find a way to translate the pages.
Back in June 2007 I wrote a response/review of Andrew Keen’s The Cult of the Amateur, a book that wasn’t exactly pro-Internet/Web 2.0. However, I’m a firm believer that it helps to make your case if you’re familiar with the counter arguments. Though it cam out a few months ago, I finally found the time to get through a similar title, Against the Machine by Lee Siegel.
I can say that this book isn’t nearly as outrageous and reactionary as Keen’s book was. Most of the arguments Siegel presents are rational and make sense even if you don’t agree with him. For most of the book I wasn’t finding anything that upset me enough to actually write this post. Then I got to page 143:
A twenty-four-year-old names Ryan Jordan was caught masquerading on Wikipedia as a tenured professor of religion. He used the pseudonym Essjay and aroused suspicion when readers began to wonder why a professor of religion was meticulously revision the encyclopedia’s article on pop star Justin Timberlake. By then, Jordan has created or edited hundreds of articles. He has even been made an "administrator" and was part of Wikipedia’s trusted inner circle of editors.
Wikipedia calls these instances of untruth "vandalism," as if the encyclopedia were experiencing an onslaught of invaders from beyond its boundaries. But the "vandals" are part of the Wikipedia enterprise, just as Jordan was. They’ve been invited to participate in its creation just like every other "Wikipedian."
Here’s my problem with this, and with every other accounting of the events he’s talking about: no one has indicated that anything Essjay contributed was actually wrong. I’m not necessarily defending Essjay’s misrepresentations of his qualifications but that’s not the point. If what he wrote was correct, what’s the problem?
As for what Essjay did write, wrong or not, that’s not the definition of wiki vandalism. To be considered vandalism, there needs to be intent. If Essjay was intentionally contributing bad/wrong information, the fine. But what he did wasn’t vandalism, this is vandalism.
My other major point of disagreement comes when Me. Siegel talkax about the "open secrets" of the new Web. On page 158 lists "Open Secret Number One":
Bloggers’ ability to revise or erase their writing without leaving any trace of the original post is the very antithesis of their claims of freedom and access and choice. The freedom and access and choice are theirs, not their readers’.
This is hardly an open secret because it just plain isn’t true. Someone has forgotten about the Google and this thing called the cache. Oh, and there’s the Wayback Machine too. Every time someone changes their blog significantly, say deleting a post they later regret, someone always seems to find the original and makes a bigger stink over the fact that the change/deletion was made than of the original content itself. (Anyone recall the story of all of Violet Blue’s content being deleted from Boing Boing?)
So anyway, that’s my two cents on this title.