Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Death of Internet Radio?

Just to prove to the naysayers that library's have changed, and are not all solemn, silent, intimidating places, I like to play music at work (ok, that's totally a lie, I just really like listening to music...) So imagine my surprise when I log on to Pandora today, only to find out that today there will be no internet radio. I had heard rumblings of this disaster for a little while now, but I guess the proverbial crap has officially hit the proverbial fan.

As the internetz-luvin' peeps of the world are oft want to do, they are protesting, and there is a website set up to fight the bill. They are encouraging people to contact their congressperson to support the Internet Radio Equality Act (you can find your congressperson's contact info on the site...)

I don't usually weigh in on copyright issues, (I'm a songwriter myself, and I do understand wanting credit and compensation for your work...) but this just seems like another case of the recording industry fighting tooth-and-nail against progress and technology, instead of figuring out how to capitalize on it.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Gorman: You're a Dumbass, Part II

In light of the most recent Gorman crapola-fest, some interesting reading/watching... The first is an article in Library Philosophy and Practice about socially-driven authority, and the second is a clip from The Daily Show of an interview of political strategist Bob Shrum. If you let the video load and then shoot ahead to about 5 minutes in, he makes the following statement: "The blogosphere was a lot more right about Iraq than all the experts..." I just thought it was quite the cooincidence that that quote could come the day after Gorman's ranting about the lack of authority on the web.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

I'll Tell You Where You Can File Your Authority...

Ok, I am not even going to comment on the Gorman thing. Seriously, he's like a message board troll. I think dumbasses are sometimes best dealt with by not giving them the satisfaction of knowing they riled you up. I won't even link to his recent remarks, you can read about them here and here and here and here and here if you like.

In fact, the only reason I bring this up at all is because the whole issue is being brought to my attention right after a conversation about writing I had yesterday. I was talking to a friend about how I am interested in foraying into the world of academic publication, why I enjoy blogging, and how I think my blogging has actually made me a better writer in general.

You see, I love electronic publishing in general for the ability it affords to provide instant clarification, background or support for what you are saying (through hyperlinks.) I loved this idea from the very first time I read Vannevar Bush's "As We May Think" where he expounded upon the idea of hypertext. To me, this allows authors the ability to add so much more value to their writing, linking to relevant definition, sites, audio and video. (Man, there are some books that I would love to be re-published online with hypertext, so I could get all the author's allusions and references.)

Not to mention, publishing on the internet gives us the ability to instantly fact check... and that makes me strive to be more accurate, not less. Now I'm not saying that the internet is not rife with crap, of course it is, but without leaving my computer I can more easily distinguish between fact and fiction. This leads me to evaluate content based on its own accuracy and reasonability, rather than just based on the reputation of the author and the publication.

In fact, it is this desire to be accurate and back up my statements that has made me a much better scholarly writer, because it has taught me how to recognize vague or opinionated statements when I make them, so I know when I need to cite my sources or provide additional information, a skill that is not always so easy as it sounds.

And the truth is, I have two separate blogs, a personal one and a professional one, and I do in fact treat them differently. For example, in casual writing, I tend not to use capital letters (yes, I know this can be annoying, but it's been a habit of mine for years now...) My writing style here is a little more formal, and I hardly ever mention personal issues that don't deal with librarianship, my career, my education, or my job. (Not that there is anything wrong with mixing the two, my personal life is just a little too personal for general public consumption.)

I honestly don't know what's up the Gormster's bum (besides his head, of course...) If you don't like blogs, don't read them. If you want to get your information elsewhere, well, then, um... get it elsewhere. I don't see how you can feel so strongly against blogging in a world full of war and poverty and suffering. Ok, now I've resorted to commenting on the issue, which I said I wouldn't do... But hey, I'm just a lowly blogger, so you can't trust anything I say anyway...

Monday, June 4, 2007

You Don't Scare Me, Google!!!

So, I was reading this excellent post, Cult of the Pundit, on the excellent blog, Bokardo, and I got to thinking about something that annoys me greatly, namely, people asking me if I'm scared I will lose my job to Google, implying (or outright stating, often with a malicious sneer) that internet search engines, or even the internet itself, has rendered my profession obsolete. I mean, as a librarian (if you are a librarian) I'm sure you get that one a lot (along with the ever-so-witty "do you know the Dewey Decimal System?")

Aaaaaanyway, that post made me think about the web, and how it allows pretty much everybody who has access to it (along with proper equipment and bandwidth) to try their hand at pretty much anything (ok, I'm over-simplifying, I know, there probably aren't a lot of easily accessible tools and programs for molecular biology... But you get the point.) But for many mainstream professions, it's true... Anyone with a blog can be a reporter... And anyone with iMovie can be a producer. And I seem to remember from grad school that you can download older versions of ProTools for free, so why not try your hand at music?

Does this mean that professional reporters, producers and musicians are now obsolete? Should we trash those professions altogether? I doubt anyone is suggesting that, so why is it that they are suggesting that librarians are no longer necessary just because anyone can perform an internet search? Doing something as a hobby or on a small scale versus doing it as a profession are two very different things, marked by notably different skill levels. No one is saying that Google can't help you find information, we are just saying that librarians are better at it. 90% of the time Google will find you the information you want, and that's fine, but there are times when you need to consult an expert.

Now please don't get me wrong, I am not against Google, or blogging, or personal podcasting or whatever, mainly because I <3 web 2.0 in all its glory, and am not paranoid about it stealing my thunder (or my job...) I think it's great that so many people can have a voice where once things were much more homogenized. And I also think it's a great method for discovering talent. Really good bloggers don't stay anonymous for long, they become well-known and well-read, and are often considered professional "reporters" in their fields. Just because you start small on the internet does not mean you are forever an amateur... I just don't see why web 2.0 must hail the death of the librarian. Vive la librarian!!!


Tit okay, but cock is out

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