Friday, June 10, 2011

23 Things for Archivists Starts Monday

It's finally "real"! The first official round of 23 Things for Archivists starts on Monday, June 13, 2011.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Six Verbs for the Next 20 Years

The TechCrunch blog reported on Tuesday of this week on the keynote address at the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco. Wired co-founder Kevin Kelly talked about six long-term trends he see for the next 20 years. The six verbs used to desribe those trends are:

  • Screening

  • Interacting

  • Sharing

  • Flowing

  • Accessing

  • Generating.

You can read the details on all six in the TechCrunch post. The two I see as most important for archives, and libraries, are the last two: accessing and generating. By accessing he means: "We're moving to a world where it's about accessing information and media and not owning it." He's talking about things like Netflix and music. But it is definitely a verb information specialists like archivists and librarians can get behind!


Generating means "'The Internet is the world's largest copy machine,' Kelly says. Going forward, there will be an importance placed on things that cannot be easily copied. A key to this is an easy way to pay and content that is hard to copy. Immediacy is a key--if you want something right now versus when it can be copied. Personalization is another key, he says." Again, I'm sure they're not thinking specifically about what archives have, but archivists should be paying attention to this one.


With constantly dwiddling budgets, can archivists plug into this trend to earn money for their archives? Do you have genealogical materials or photographs in your collections that users will pay for? How do you make those materials available on the Internet and take advantage of that need for wanting a copy right now? Does this mean even more attention to MPLP in order to have the time to spend generating the indexes needed to make the saleable materials "accessible" and "easily copied"?


Do scholars, and History Day students, and others wanting to use the more poorly-processed and described collections become the losers in this tendy new world? Or, can you turn around the money generated to then support other parts of your collections that don't see that same kind of need by users for immediacy and therefore payment?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The BBC's Dimensions

Check out this cool site, built as an experimental prototype for the BBC to "bring home the human scale of events and places in history" by juxtaposing the "size of historical events with your home and neighborhood, overlaying important places, events, and things on a satellite view of where you live." The site is called Dimensions.

According to their About/FAQs page, "Dimensions is part of the BBC's continual experimentation in trying to find new ways to communicate history" - something I love!

Currently you can superimpose over the place of your choosing:
  • the area affected by the 2010 Pakistan floods
  • the War on Terror, including the Twin Towers, the 911 plane routes, the Afghanistan/Pakistan border
  • Space, including the moon, the Apollo 11 moon landing, the Mars Rover route
  • depths, like the Kola Superdeep Borehold and the Marianas Trench
  • Ancient worlds, including the Great Wall of China, the first Olympic marathon, the Pyramids of Gize
  • environmental disasters, such as the Gulf oil spill, the Exxon Valdez oil spill, the Pacific garbage patch
  • festivals and spectacles, like St. Peter's Basilica and Square, the New Orleans Mardi Gras Rex parade, the Rio Carnival Samba Parade
  • the Industrial Age, including Silicon Valley, China's Three Gorges Dam span
  • World War II and the Battle of Britain, including the distance a Spitfire would need to take off, the flight range of a Bf109E, Biggin Hill Airfield
  • cities in history, such as Beijing in 1425, Stalingrad in 1942, London in 1870, Paris in 1852.

You can enter your zip code and a place name and superimpose any of these over an area you are familiar with. What you can't currently do is create a map of your own (e.g., the Battle of Gettysburg is not a choice and you can't create it), but they hope to open up that ability in a future version.

Meanwhile, have some fun plunking Victorian London over your house!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) has published "Special Collections Engagement, SPEC Kit 317," which examines exhibits, events, instruction, and other activities targeted to engage students, faculty, and other scholars/ researchers with special collections for research and education."

It's based on responses to a survey of ARL members, 64% of which responded. It found "a genuine commitment to outreach activities in special collections." Over 95% of the respondents are holding events, doing exhibits, and engaging students and faculty in the use of their collections.


Sounds like a useful study. You may look at the table of contents and executive summary for free. The SPEC kit itself is available from ARL (order form) for $35 for ARL members/$45 for non-members, plus $10 shipping & handling.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Drupal Gardens

Christopher Harris wrote an interesting piece about "all the neat features of the new cloud-based tool Drupal Gardens" back on May 1 on the School Library Journal website.

Among the many things you can do with Drupal Gardens, Harris suggests: "With the recent [coming in July] elimination of free sites on Ning, the free option from Drupal Gardens is a nice alternative for hosting a network site, including forums, photo sharing, and more."

Hmmm. I set up a Ning site for the 23 Things for Archivists trial and have been wondering what I'm going to do. Well, what I'm going to do is check out Drupal Gardens!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

LibraryThing Group Catalogs a Library

It has been too long since I've been on my LibraryThing page (tsk-tsk). Thanks to a Tweet by Jeanne Kramer-Smyth, I've just learned that there is now (March 2010) a project going on within LibraryThing to catalog the on-board library of the U.S.S. California, as it was in 1905.

The "Legacy Mob" is LibraryThing members who catalog small collections of Legacy Libraries--famous or notable collections. A very cool sounding idea!

Check it out on the Thing-ology Blog.

Monday, March 1, 2010

How to Setup Google Analytics on Your Facebook Fan Page

A work-around for setting up Google Analytics on your Fan page on Facebook. Google Analytics allows for much more robust tracking of users that Facebook's own version. It is perhaps a little more complicated than the average person can do on their own -- I haven't actually tried it yet. But check it out on the webdigi blog. (Thanks to Spellbound Blog's and Text A Librarian's tweets for this tip.)

MAC Annual Meeting Blog

The Midwest Archives Conference has a blog for their 2010 Annual Meeting. Very nicely done!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Zemanta and History Day?

From the SpellboundBlog on Twitter: "What if online archival descriptions used something like: http://www.zemanta.com to suggest tags, find related collections, and other content?"

Well, first I had go look at Zemanta to see what Jeanne was talking about. Check out their demo -- it's very interesting. Probably more useful for the general blogger than for an archivist (I wonder how many archives-related things it could suggest?), but a very interesting concept. I can see why Jeanne would be interested in using something similar to suggest tags (subjects) and related material from your own collections when you are describing something online.

I wonder if it could somehow be used by several cooperating archives to, for example, blog about History Day materials on a particular subject?