Weeknote 7 (2021)

Today the library is closed as is my place of work’s tradition on the last day of Reading Week.

But as I have three events (helping in a workshop, giving a presentation, participating in a focus group) in my calendar, I’m just going to work the day and bank the time for later.

§1

Barbara Fister in The Atlantic!

We are experiencing a moment that is exposing a schism between two groups: those who have faith that there is a way to arrive at truth using epistemological practices that originated during the Enlightenment, and those who believe that events and experiences are portents to be interpreted in ways that align with their personal values. As the sociologist and media scholar Francesca Tripodi has demonstrated, many conservatives read the news using techniques learned through Bible study, shunning secular interpretations of events as biased and inconsistent with their exegesis of primary texts such as presidential speeches and the Constitution. The faithful can even acquire anthologies of Donald Trump’s infamous tweets to aid in their study of coded messages.

While people using these literacy practices are not unaware of mainstream media narratives, they distrust them in favor of their own research, which is tied to personal experience and a high level of skepticism toward secular institutions of knowledge. This opens up opportunities for conservative and extremist political actors to exploit the strong ties between the Republican Party and white evangelical Christians. The conspiracy theory known as QAnon is a perfect—and worrisome—example of how this works. After all, QAnon is something of a syncretic religion. But its influence doesn’t stop with religious communities. While at its core it’s a 21st-century reboot of a medieval anti-Semitic trope (blood libel), it has shed some of its Christian vestments to gain significant traction among non-evangelical audiences.

§2

New to me: Andromeda Yelton’s course reading list dedicated to AI in the Library. Hat-tip to Beck Tench.

§3

I recently suggested that MPOW’s next Journal Club should deviate from looking at the library literature and reflect on personal knowledge management. I’m not sure how much take up there will be on the topic, but I love reading about how other people deliberately set up how they set up systems to help them learn.

Case in point: Cecily Walker’s Thoughts Like A Runaway Train: Notes on Information Management with Zettelkasten

Fun fact: I first learned of Zettelkasten from Beck Tench.

Weeknote 6 (2021)

Another week in which I was doing a lot of behind the scenes work.

§1

Duly noted:

Here’s the article in full.

§2

Years ago, I gave a keynote called Libraries are for use. And by use, I mean copying that featured the short and sad story of a person who was unable to donate their ebook to their local library.

I thought of this slide this week when I learned the the DPLA is now offering an ebook creation service that allows library to an ebook collection — albeit of openly licensed or public domain works.

I downloaded the SimplyE app for my iPad and I found it simple and well-designed. Having access to a good set of public domain work is great although I was slightly disappointed that there it wasn’t possible to import my own collection of ebooks into the app. But if I was a library, that’s what I could do.

§3

I’m not ready to share my thoughts on this next matter yet but I’ve been recently re-considering how much of our knowledge is socially constructed.

As such, I am still mulling over Harold Jarche’s Subject Matter Networks.

It begins,

We live in a networked world. Is it even possible for one person to have sufficient expertise to understand a complex situation such as this pandemic? So do we rely on one subject matter expert or rather a subject matter network?

Weeknote 5 (2021)

§1

Last Friday I was interviewed for the podcast The Grasscast — a game-themed podcast named after the book, The Grasshopper: Games, Life, and Utopia. I ramble a little bit in the episode as I tried to be more open and conversational than concise and correct. But I also spoke that way because for some of the questions, no pat answer came immediately to mind.

There was one question that stumped me but in my trying to answer, I think I found something I had not considered before. The question was, What is one bad thing about games? And I tried to convey that, unlike video games where you can play with strangers, most tabletop games are generally constrained by the preferences of your social circles. In order to convince others to spend time on a game that might think is too complicated for them or not for them, you need to have be a successful evangelist.

Also the episode drifts into chatter about libraries, copyright and ebooks.

§2

This week, I reviewed and published another batch of works for our institutional repository from our department of History that was prepared by our library assistants at Leddy At this point, we have reviewed and uploaded the works of half the faculty from this department. I’m hoping to finish the rest this month but I think I have some outstanding H5P work that might push the end of this project til March.

§3

This morning I assisted with an online workshop called Data Analysis and Visualization in R for Ecologists that was being lead by a colleague of mine.

R Version 4.0.3 (“Bunny-Wunnies Freak Out”) was released on 2020-10-10.

The release of R 4.0.4 (“Lost Library Book”) is scheduled for Monday 2021-02-15.

§4

On Sunday, I published a short response to “Windsor Works – An Economic Development Strategy” which is going to City Council on Monday.

Why am I writing about this document here?

I am mention this here because the proposed strategy (L.I.F.T.) lists the following as potential metric for measuring the strategy’s success…

Take it from me, someone who knows a quite a bit about citations — the city should use another metric — perhaps one pertaining to local unemployment levels instead.

§5

A viral post from 2019 resurfaced on my FB feed this week and unlike most of the posts I read there, this one did spark joy:

And it struck me how much I loved that the anti-prom was being at the library.

So I started doing some research!

It appears to me that some anti-proms are technically better described as alternative proms. These proms have been established as an explicitly safe place where LGBTQ young people can enjoy prom. Other anti-proms are true morps.

I now wonder what other anti-traditions should find a home at the public library.