Monthly Archives: May 2011

favorite books read this year

A wannabe librarian’s blog just isn’t complete without some mention of leisure reading.  My goal is to read at least 52 books this year for fun.  I met this goal last year, but I didn’t start grad school until the fall semester.  I’m on track so far this year at 23, and below is a list of my favorites.  Let’s hope I keep the momentum going.

The Hare with Amber Eyes: A Family’s Century of Art and Loss (Edmund de Waal):  This book is hands down my favorite read of this year so far.  It has definitely made it to my list of all-time best reads.

A Red Herring Without Mustard (Alan Bradley):  I just love this series of Flavia de Luce mysteries.

Little Bee: A Novel (Chris Cleave):  I couldn’t put this book down after I started, and everywhere I read it — the waiting room of my dentist, the metro, etc. — someone always commented on much they loved it.

The Weird Sisters (Eleanor Brown):  I’ll admit I didn’t have high expectations for this book when I started reading it, but I ended up really enjoying it.  It’s written in the plural first person, which sounds odd at first, but it really makes the book.

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Posted by on May 25, 2011 in reading list


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hyping links

A suggested approach for the Digital Public Library of America
This blog post focuses on the three C’s of what libraries are all about: collections of knowledge, conversations about knowledge, and context for knowledge.

Wikipedia and the Death of the Expert
Learning is no longer a passive action where you just hear one perspective or seemingly authoritative version and take it as truth.

For nearly 20 years we have had the Internet, now grown into a medium of almost infinite paths, where “learning” means that you can Twitter directly to people in Egypt to ask them what they really think about ElBaradei (and get answers), ask an author or critic to address a point you feel he may have missed (ditto), or share your own insights in countless forums where they will be read and admired (and/or savaged.) Knowledge is growing more broadly and immediately participatory and collaborative by the moment.

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Posted by on May 20, 2011 in links


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what’s missing from fashion archives? women of color

One of my favorite blogs out there right now is Of Another Fashion, brought to you by the bloggers of Threadbared.  Of Another Fashion posts vintage and archival photos of stylish women of color in the United States, creating a digital archive that provides a perspective largely missing from mainstream fashion archives and exhibits.  The photos posted are from archives, other online sources, and public submissions.

This blog is particularly inspirational to me for a few reasons.  Foremost, the blog’s purpose is to highlight and share photographs that have a rich yet overlooked history.  Most of the photos’ subjects aren’t of models, but your everyday average woman.  Another key element of the blog is that it actively seeks contributions from the public — not only to post but with the larger goal of creating an actual exhibit.  Many of the photos shared are from family albums, which I think adds a richer narrative to the fashion record.  In the creators’ own words:

In providing a glimpse of women of color’s material cultural histories — a glimpse that no doubt only begins to redress the curatorial and critical absence of minoritized fashion histories — this archive and the forthcoming exhibition commemorates lives and experiences too often considered not important enough to save or to study.

This idea links directly to Rand Jimerson’s point about the power of archives and archivists (which I’ve written about previously).  In determining which histories, experiences, and narratives are preserved in archival institutions (and the context given of those materials), we greatly influence the cultural record and memory.  Archivists have a responsibility to ensure diversity in the archival record, and Of Another Fashion is a great example to look towards.

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Posted by on May 18, 2011 in archives, diversity, links, photographs



hyping links

MARAC Spring 2011: Archival Ethics and the Call of Justice
I missed out on Rand Jimerson’s plenary speech, so I was happy to find this summary from L’Archivista.

I Love the ’90s: Books Edition
The 1990s have cycled back “in” — but will the books?

2011 ALA Conference
The scheduler is up!  I still have no idea what sessions I plan on attending…

Homer Scissorhands
Several of the Smithsonian museums make a cameo in this Simpsons intro.

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Posted by on May 13, 2011 in conferences, links


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marac spring 2011 conference

Last Friday, I attended the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference (MARAC) Spring 2011 Conference in Alexandria, VA.  I did a terrible job at taking notes that day, but below are some of my takeaways.  Rand Jimerson, who I mentioned in this post, spoke at the plenary session on “Archival Ethics and the Call of Justice” — but sadly I missed out on most of his speech since I was setting up my student poster (which you can check out here).

New Tools to Address Electronic Records

  • electronic records problems from the user’s perspective: content in unsupported formats, increasingly complex files (containing not only text, but images, audio, etc.)
  • Conversion Software Registry is a search engine to help find software that will convert a specific file format to a desired one.
  • NCSA’s Polyglot is a conversion engine and universal content viewer.
  • UK’s National Archives developed PRONOM, a database that provides technical information about preserving electronic records.

Challenging Western Archival Concepts

  • The development of the Protocols for Native American Archival Materials is part of a larger movement of indigenous populations to gain control of their cultural heritage.
  • The meaning of “privacy” is culturally specific and ever evolving — the legal idea of personal privacy is rather young, only in the past 150 years.
  • Recommendations for dealing with cultural materials: have consultations with the community; provide graduated access based on cultural protocols; extend privacy to groups, not just individuals.
  • Digital surrogates can be shared vs. physical objects can only be kept by one entity.

Social Media Sensations: Creative Possibilities for Archives and Web 2.0

  • Different uses of social media: for publishing, engagement, and participation.
  • Social media for publishing is generally packaged content with little interaction.  It’s the same content in multiple channels — it raises awareness.
  • Social media for engagement generally provides a story, contest, ability to share and rate, or some conversation.  There is a personal tone, and it’s engagement without commitment — it gives you a fuzzy feeling.
  • Social media for participation creates partners, as it requires more user commitment and has a well-defined purpose.  Examples are transcription projects such as the New York Public Library’s “What’s on the Menu?”
  • Archives 1.0 was about stuff, Archives 2.0 is about archivists, and Archives 3.0 (the future) is about people.
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Posted by on May 9, 2011 in conferences