The Finals Push: Dealing with Your Stress

04/05/2012 § 10 Comments

Stress Reduction

by Eamon Curry under Creative Commons via Flickr.

Do you feel that buzz in the air? Or maybe you can actually feel the vibrations under your skin and drumming in your ears. You might even be thinking “I don’t have time to read Hack Library School right now!” It isn’t just the caffeine you’ve been living on. If you’re like a number of our fellow LIS students, professionals, and hackers what you’re surely feeling right now is STRESS.

Even if you are done with your own finals, if you’re working in a library or around any type of student population, by osmosis you are picking up on the stress hormones of those around you. Patience is hard to come by. Deadlines feel like do-or-die. Your brain feels like it is careening around the blackness on the back of a TRON bike.

Breathe, friend, and let’s talk stress management.

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We Are All Curators

23/03/2012 § 27 Comments

Image under CC license by nickgoesglobal

The word “curation” in common usage has lost some its meaning. We think of it more in terms of collector, aggregator or disseminator and not as “caretaker” as is its true definition. We future and current archivists and librarians, are all curators of information. We are shepherds and superintendents of data and particularly in the online space, we should be setting the example for proper care.

Anyone who tweets, facebooks, blogs, links, writes, or shares in the online space is similarly a curator of information. A webpage is just like a piece of paper in a library with all accompanying metadata. The shared hyperlink to that paper is both amazing tool and the source of conscientious curation questions.

The new information economy is not based on amassing huge amounts of data but curating and providing context to important, true, interesting, and/or relevant information. A link deserves to be attributed if shared. No brainer right? This is usually accomplished by linking to the original post or page. Equally important, however, is the source of the material – who or whatever lead to it – similarly deserves credit.

I have been ruminating on this idea of late after reading the Curator’s Code by Maria Popova. You can visit the original Curator’s Code site here and for more mind fodder you can watch, readread and, for the contrary view, read - links via @brainpicker and Google. Basically, the Code advocates using “via” and “HT” (Hat Tip) with your links to attribute your source if other than the original creator, either a from direct link or a stream-of-finding respectively.

The idea is that just as you attribute an idea you espouse to a person, book or quote, you should also reference from whom – from what curator – you found your item of information (picture, link, article, post etc).

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Why you should register for a conference ASAP

10/02/2012 § 31 Comments

Zombie Frommelt badgeHere we are in the second month of the semester and if you are new to your LIS program, you’re probably just trying to get your feet under you (as I was a year ago). Old hands are re-acclimating to the familiar not-enough-hours-in-the-day feeling and we are all looking at due dates, reading lists and task lists with dread.

For the first time or the 10th, you might be drowning in a sea of acronyms and the thought of adding ALA, MLA, SLA, or AMIA seems like it will shortcircuit your brain. Believe me, though, the effort of finding a good conference and then attending is going to save you tons of time, energy and even money in the long run.

It is worth it to add this to-do to your plate in a place of priority. Hack Library has published some great resources for hacking a conference, particularly the Grandaddy of them all ALA (herehere, here and here). Even if you can’t make it to Anaheim this summer, you ought start planning to attend at least one LIS Conference in the next year. Let me explain through my experience.

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To Read Tues: Recommended Reading Twitter Question

24/01/2012 § 13 Comments

Card Catalog, Burrow Library

We got a question on Twitter over the weekend about reading material for LIS: 

RT @brandontlocke: Any recommended reads for aspiring/future MLIS students?

It is difficult to respond to such a question in 140 characters or less. I made the attempt by suggesting reputable blogs and e-news sources for LIS information and fiction for mind expansion (and fun!). Feeling that a little more was needed I have expanded with advice, links and resources.

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SOPA/PIPA Black Wednesday

18/01/2012 § 4 Comments

Even if you are not actively involved, if you have been listening to the news or surfing the web in the last few weeks you have likely heard about the debates and activism swirling around SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (PROTECT IP Act or Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act). If nothing else perhaps you noticed that Wikipedia is black today (January 18).

We here at Hack Library School made the decision to add the black banner in the upper right corner to show support for Internet freedom and those working to stop passage of this legislation in its current form.

(As an aside, if you or your patrons are hurting for the loss particularly of Wikipedia as a research tool, according to NPR you can tweet with hashtag #altwiki and have your question answered by someone from The Washington Post, NPR or The Guardian.)

The writers of Hack Library School had our own debate about weighing in on US Legislation versus trying to stay away from the “political.” I am honored to have joined this group of students and leaders in time for this discussion. We talked over if we ought to: proceed as usual and continue to do as we do; post something for discussion as befits a learning environment; or join with the likes of Wikipedia, RedditBoingBoing, WordPress and even the “Cheezburger” sites, to completely “Black out” HackLibSchool for the day. I’m sure that many of you have had similar conversations within your organizations (those links by the way go to the blog or opinion pieces about the decision to blackout – interesting reading).

In the end, we decided to leave our site up and open for discussion and sharing. As current and future Information Professionals, (everyone reading this,) it behooves us to be as informed and aware of all points of view as possible. We at HLS want to show librarians and archivists as remaining active and available as a trusted resource, and creators of a safe space for discourse.

So here we are.

In a wonderful moment of kismet, we received a well-researched and thoughtful guest post from Alex Berman (posting at 9am EST), which sheds good light on some of the potentially problematic portions of the legislation. If you are new to this topic I highly suggest starting with Alex’s post as it offers a good basic introduction while citing specific language and verbiage in the actual bills.

If you are interested in more articles, I would offer: “Why we need to stop SOPA” by Director of MIT’s Media Labe Joi Ito; “The Problem with SOPA” by Sonia Simone of Copyblogger; “An Alternative to SOPA: the OPEN Act” by the Electronic Frontier Foundation; and from the “pro” side: a list of stated supporters by Chairman of the Judiciary Committee Lamar Smith (TX), and the Motion Picture Association of America’s RogueWebsites site.

Despite the black banner at top showing our allegiance to stopping SOPA, we welcome all opinions here (as was done with the “Occupy” posts 1 and 2). Copyright protection is as important an issue as intellectual freedom, and there is ample room for debate on the merits of or problems with all or portions of these bills from both sides.

Please share your own best resources, suggestions and opinions in the comment section below. It should be an intellectually stimulating and engaging day and the important thing is that the conversation continues uncensored.

“New Hacker” Joanna

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