Tag Archives: Library Issues

Why I support #teamharpy

13 Oct

I touched on this a while back, and have posted extensively about it on social media, but I realized I couldn’t countenance writing another entry here until I’d talked about #teamharpy at greater length. Frankly, it’s overdue, and I’m sorry about that.

I support #teamharpy. I admire nina de jesus and Lisa Rabey for their courage and their actions.

I support #teamharpy because harassment is a problem in the library world and beyond, and it’s only going to get worse if we ignore it or try to silence those who speak to it. That’s certainly the case within our profession as we continue to look to tech culture, start-ups and the like for inspiration, because if anything the culture there is worse.

I support #teamharpy because I’ve seen the pushback to even the most basic attempts to combat harassment at conferences — the ALA and SLA Codes of Conduct, for example, not to mention the actual enforcement of same — so I have no patience for critics who claim that #teamharpy didn’t address this situation in the correct way. What the correct way would’ve been is always poorly defined, because better means to address this kind of situation basically don’t exist. I wish they did. We should make it so they do, but let’s not pretend we already have.

I support #teamharpy because librarians, as a profession, should oppose SLAPP suits whenever they occur. If we’re willing to call out this kind of behavior when it’s a publisher trying to silence a librarian, it’s unconscionable to claim that we have to shut up and “let the courts decide” when it occurs within our own community.

I support #teamharpy because it’s the right thing to do.

——-

EDIT: I can’t believe I forgot to link to the petition asking Joe Murphy to drop the lawsuit. Go forth and sign it.

Links:

Stuff and happenings

23 Sep

Three items of note:

First, there’s a little more than 24 hours left in the SLA Board of Directors election. If you can vote and haven’t yet, do so! If you have, thanks for stepping up to make the Association stronger. And in case anyone’s new to this blog, I am running for President-Elect, so please throw some consideration my way.

Second, I wrote a long post over at Cornell University Library’s Digital Scholarship and Preservation Services blog about the Repository Executive Group. (For those of you who prefer brevity, I posted in the CUL DSPS blog about RepoExec.*) Chairing that committee made up a large part of my fellowship work, and I cover a lot of what we did in that post.

Finally, if you haven’t been following the #teamharpy case, I recommend checking out the blog that nina de jesus and Lisa Rabey have set up, which both explains the case and lets you donate to their defense. Also very much worth highlighting is their call for witnesses. It is a deeply messed up situation that they’re in, and I admire their actions and their courage. They have my support, and deserve yours.

So, that’s what’s up. A lot going on, and in less than 36 hours I’m going to find out a lot more about my next three years. Be well, folks.

——-

* Though, if you prefer breveity, you probably won’t like the post.

Support the Ada Initiative

12 Sep

I support the Ada Initiative, because they do awesome things that need doing:

The Ada Initiative supports women in open technology and culture through activities such as producing codes of conduct and anti-harassment policies, advocating for gender diversity, teaching ally skills, and hosting conferences for women in open tech/culture.

There’s nothing in there that’s not spectacular and necessary. And profoundly relevant to libraries, especially as our interactions with the tech world grow deeper and more ubiquitous.

Plus, right now there’s a campaign going on where the library community will be matching donations:

Donate to the Ada Initiative

The Ada Initiative deserves your support, including your financial support if that’s within your means. If you don’t believe me, believe Amy Buckland and Barbara Fister. (If you don’t believe them, than I’m not sure I can help you.)

National Library Workers Day

15 Apr

NLWD LogoToday — April 15, 2014 — is National Library Workers Day, a day “for library staff, users, administrators and Friends groups to recognize the valuable contributions made by all library workers.” Established by the ALA-Allied Professional Association (ALA-APA) in 2003, it’s now celebrated on the Tuesday of National Library Week.

It’s never the wrong time to be thinking about advocacy for libraries and libraryfolk, and that’s something that transcends the boundaries of professional organizations. For the SLA folks, I especially recommend checking out those portions of the Galaxy of Stars dedicated to works from special, academic, and government libraries.

And we should all take some time to think about what we’ve done lately to stand up for the folks who help make our organizations run. Especially those whose positions are, all too often, the most vulnerable.

A terrible keynote, but a very solid DrupalCamp

6 Dec

On Monday, I attended DrupalCamp here at Cornell. Overall, the event was great. Though I was hindered by a nasty cold that had set in over Thanksgiving break, the sessions I attended were excellent: one talked about web accessibility, providing both historical and legal context and then providing practical advice for using the tools of responsive web design to create accessible sites. Another talked about preparing for Drupal, and again gave an excellent overview of what was involved in the creation of a Drupal site before digging into the pragmatic needs of such an endeavor. Wonderful stuff, and just the sort of thing that got me to sign up in the first place.

The keynote, sadly, was another story. For whatever reason, the organizers gave over this important task to a representative of one of the vendors, and it was disastrous. I documented this on Twitter:

(NOTE: I am not sure why WordPress won’t let me embed the Storify. I’ve tried several times and no longer care.)

Like I said, the rest of the event was excellent. In fact, I’m willing to assume at this point that the speaker — or more likely, his employer Acquia — promised the organizers a very different speech. But the “you need to think like a business!” rhetoric we got was wholly inappropriate; whether or not you think that mindset has any validity*, it’s certainly not new thinking. We’ve been living it for as long as I’ve been working in academic libraries, and playing buzzword bingo*** with us isn’t inspirational, it’s insulting.

I went to DrupalCamp to get a bit more insight into using Drupal; I’m not a developer, but I wanted a better context for working with the developers on several upcoming projects. I got that, and would attend similar events in the future. I also got a good story out of it, so all in all I’d call the event a success.

——-

* Note: I don’t. It’s better served in another post, but the short version is that academic institutions aren’t businesses, and the principles that currently drive business in Western society don’t even produce successful businesses, so we can’t expect them to produce a viable academy. Not to say there aren’t things that can be learned from other sectors and spheres, but we can’t expect success by pretending that they aren’t other sectors and spheres.**

** Actually, that might be my whole post on the topic. We’ll see.

*** I almost shouted “BINGO!” when he put up the “THE FUTURE IS AGILE!” slide, though to be fair that might be the free square in the middle of the board.

NYLA: Repositories and Open Access

30 Sep

Last week, I got to go to my first New York Library Association conference, and it was a blast. As I mentioned previously, Amy Buckland and I gave our workshop on digital repository strategies and practice. It’s a workshop I love, because no matter how many times we’ve given it it’s never the same: Amy and I always have new experiences to relate, and the groups we work with are always so different that their questions and insights are new and revelatory each time.

Items of note this go-round: it was the first time that just about everyone in the room seemed to have adequate or nigh-adequate staffing for their repository projects — hallelujah! — and the folks running Digital Commons @Brockport are doing some amazing things.

I also had the honor of sitting on a panel with Amy and Jenica Rogers, talking about Open Access in scholarly publishing. We went with a simple format: we put what we hoped would be a provocative statement up on a slide, and then got a discussion going with the audience about it. There were six statements in total, and if you read Jenica’s blog*, you’ve likely seen them already. I’ll reproduce them here because they got great discussion at NYLA, and great discussion on her blog, and I’m curious to see if we can pull off a great discussion trifecta. Or hat-trick.  Or similar sports metaphor for something happening three times. In any case, here they are:

  1. A child born today will use nothing but open access materials for research in college.

  2. Textbook companies will go out of business as faculty realize they can write, compile, and publish their own customized open course texts.

  3. Future discussions of the quality of library collections will focus not on the collections a library owns, but on the collections a library creates.

  4. The adoption of open access collections will obviate proprietary discovery layers.

  5. It is irresponsible for federally-funded researchers not to make their work available in an open format.

  6. True change in the scholarly publishing system will come from smaller liberal arts colleges, and not the big guys.

Oh, and Amy provided what’s probably the best opening slide ever.

So, discuss in the comments if you have a mind to, or head over to Jenica’s and jump in the discussion there. In any case, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

——-

* And if you don’t, why the hell not?

Refusal anxiety

1 May

It’s a gorgeous Wednesday afternoon. I just ate lunch out on the quad in the sun, enjoyed a delicious iced coffee, and am feeling reasonably prepared for the rest of my work day. And yet, I’m oddly anxious.

Why? Because the annual call for committee volunteers ends today, and I’m not putting my name in for anything. And it is freaking me out.

This decision wasn’t taken lightly, nor is it an issue of procrastination. It’s a planned refocusing of my time for the next year. I’m still on or otherwise involved with a couple of committees at the Cornell University Library level. Within the Hospitality, Labor, and Management Library, I still sit on the leadership group and an ongoing search committee; it’s likely I’ll be leading a search committee of my own before the year is out. I’m the president of UNYSLA until December, then I’ll be past president and nominations chair for a year, and I plan to stay on the (admittedly casual) steering committee for SLUSH for the foreseeable future.

I’m not exactly avoiding group work, is what I’m saying.

There’s plenty of other stuff to occupy my work time over the next year, too; I’ve got at least two major projects that I’ll likely write about here when they’re better fit for public scrutiny, and the possibility of another that’d be even bigger. And that’s not even touching the three — three! — outstanding research projects I should be working on. All of these things, taken together, indicate that not only will I have plenty to do, but the chances of anyone (even the promotional committee of my darkest nightmares)  looking at this decision askance are slim to nil. Plus, it’s not like these committees won’t be around next year.

And still, I’m twitchy about this. Let’s see if I can make it the next few hours without caving and throwing my name in for something.

EDIT: Oh gods, the call’s open until Friday. I’m doomed.