Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Identity: Are you what you read? Or collect?

I had the great good fortune to hear live music -- and to sing along -- at the Fox Valley Folk Festival over Labor Day weekend.  A friend of mine, excited about a wonderful performing group new to the Festival exclaims: "Maybe they're on Freegal!  If not, then iTunes."

I still own record albums.  I don't own a turntable, just the records.  I listen to CDs and yes, as much memory as is available on my phone is devoted to iTunes.  I kept the albums for their history, though I understand some people are collecting vinyl again.  [Matt Watroba, a singer from Detroit, talking about albums, said "for you young people in the audience, those are those big black CDs you find in the attic sometimes."]

Mark Dvorak
There are also a lot of books in my living room, some older, some much more recent.  When I lived with my sister in  Chicago, she made several pointed comments about people who always buy books and never buy bookcases.   I bought bookcases. I try to read a lot of library books, but I still buy books.  It used to be a common thing to look at people's record collections or bookshelves for clues to their identity, their history, or to find common ground.  I have a bookcase that's just CD size (though bookcase height), and one brother-in-law who has his whole CD collection also on display, but we both have music we've bought online access only on our digital players.   How do we get those vital personality clues in the electronic world?  The continuing existence of physical books, CDs, DVDs, albums on display are a clue by themselves, either of age or of inclination.  Do electronic devices offer the same kind of footprint?  They do, but to whom is that visible?  How well do you have to know someone before they share their iPOD or smartphone?  I share things on my phone often -- photos, web sites -- but I don't offer to let people page through my 13 folders of apps -- nor has anyone asked to do so.

Obviously, people displayed their best or favorite books in their living rooms, and may have more and different books in non-public spaces.  Library books were never visible, unless you were actually reading them.  I belong to Goodreads, a social networking site for book lovers, so my friends can see not only the books I have read, but also those on my (ever growing) "to read" list.  It also includes author posts and blogs, and book reviews.  e.g. Laurie Halse Anderson's Blog on writing and blogging.  It's interesting to read people's reviews, but neither my friends, nor I, nor all my favorite authors, post often and, of course, not everyone has even signed up.  It is both more information  -- and more accessible -- and less so.

Of course, we still  have older technology available to us.  Another sister started sending email pictures of her newborn when she realized that more than half of the family is not on Facebook.  It does not seem so long ago that we were coaxing staff to learn then new email technology with just that lure "you could see pictures of your grandchildren."   This week, I received two handwritten thank you notes for graduation presents I sent to a high school and a college graduate, respectively. It is still exciting to get mail, especially personal mail, and I'm told my youngest niece also likes physical mail.   If you want to know what your friends and acquaintances are reading -- you could ask, even start a conversation.  Anita Silvey, former editor of The Horn Book Magazine, once said that she thought heaven would be people sitting around under trees, talking about books.  What have you been reading lately?

Thursday, August 30, 2012

ebooks, ereaders and book suggestions

This newsletter was posted on Facebook by Islandtime Books and More -- an amazing independent bookstore on Washington Island in Wisconsin's Door County.  It is published for the book industry, but you can also sign up for a reader's edition, which is a twice weekly collection of book reviews.

Librarians and independent booksellers are often the best source of recommendations for books to read.  I am not going to talk about the length of my "to read" list on Goodreads -- but it is a long one.  I added to it today at another independent bookstore, Oshkosh's Apple Blossom Books, buying one book and adding another to my list -- which is showing restraint, really. 

I clicked on Shelf Awareness to follow the post on "Indie Booksellers as Agents of Social Change," but I read on to find most of the issue devoted to ebooks and ebook readers, not just here but internationally.  Of course, then I had to click on the "Readers" tab so I could add a few more books to my list.  Then I signed up to get the newsletter every day. 

Northport Pier headed towards Washington Island

Returning Ferry
Swans in Jackson Harbor, Washington Island, WI

Friday, August 24, 2012

Learning through folk songs

I had the great good fortune to attend Milwaukee's Irish Fest last weekend.  The event included all the joys of summer festivals -- food (including corn on the cob on a stick and a lot of variations on corned beef and potato themes),  people watching (most of them dressed in green), spectacle (tug of war, Celtic Canines),  culture (genealogy and Gaelic lessons) and amazing music.

 It is held on Milwaukee's Summer Fest grounds,  an ideal location for a summer music festival.  Some of the stages are set under the highway overpass, so I was able to send my nephew  pictures that included two of his favorite things:  acoustic speakers and bridges [he's studying Architectural Engineering] 

It is an impressive display of Irish-American Culture, and includes musicians from Ireland as well as the Irish Diaspora  -- this year's theme was the relationship to Bluegrass music, so there were a lot of banjos!. 

The stories told in folk songs and popular tales are always interesting to me, and, I think, educational.  This year, in addition to the songs I've heard often about leaving Ireland, I heard a few that were new to me  -- two about Irish soldiers fighting for the North in the American Civil War, and one written about tenement life in New York City near the turn of the twentieth century. 

What struck me in these songs was that they told a key but small part of United States history, and that it is very important that we as a community and a nation remember that we are all immigrants

With the exception of Native Americans, many of whom also experienced forced migration and relocation to other parts of our vast country, all of our ancestors came to the United States from somewhere else.  Not all driven by poverty, but most driven and shaped by events beyond their control.

The American Folklore Theater in Fish Creek, WI, is just finishing their outdoor season this week.  They do original musicals, usually with Wisconsin themes.  This year featured an historical musical, Victory Farm, about World War II German prisoners of war who are sent to work on a Door County cherry farm.  Their presence provokes complex reactions for the German-American farm wife and daughter who are struggling to get in the cherry harvest -- after the death of the head of their family in the war. 

It's a great play, and I hope it will be performed often.  It has its lighthearted musical moments as well -- the company is known for their comedy -- but that is not what I remember most clearly about it.  The indelible impression at the end of the play is of the humanity all the characters share -- including their love of music, family, and home.

Did you attend any cultural events this summer that celebrated different strands of our culture contributed by "hyphenated Americans"?  What's your favorite food -- and how did it become part of our culture?  My heritage is Irish, Scots, Welsh, English, and Canadian, but I would have long ago starved to death if it were not for the contributions of Italian and Mexican Americans to our food heritage.

People have used a lot of metaphors for our collective culture here in the United States, but I like to think of it as a tapestry -- where each strand of different colored thread contributes to the whole picture -- and enhances the colors that are its neighbors.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

"They're playing Scrabble!"

"Can you please get the dictionary unblocked," our student assistant implores, waving his iPhone for emphasis.  "They're playing Scrabble online all over the school!"  Access to the the wireless networks, faster computers, and more liberal technology policies in general are his thing.  "I've already filled out the form to unblock Merriam-Webster online," I say, " last week, when I posted it as a source for 'Word of the Week.'  It has word games on the site, so it was blocked for that."  "I'm telling you, Scrabble is the new big thing.  People are arguing about it in class!"  "I believe you," I say. "That's great." He is still waving his iPhone.  "That's what students are doing with their wireless access.  Learning vocabulary.  Arguing about Scrabble!"
"I'm on your side," I say.

That was two years ago, when I was working part time in a high school library.  The school district had just installed wireless access in all the schools, and decided to allow high school students to have their phones with them to use between classes and and during free hours.  

The two most common issues discussed in schools seemed to me to be "why don't we have enough computers for everyone" and "how can we keep them off their cell phones?"  I see a relationship between the two problems, and a solution -- but the solution requires trust. 

Optical illusion
Trust, and education -- on ethical behavior, appropriate use of technology, and respect.  It also requires an even larger infrastructure and equipment expenditure, in wireless wiring and server capacity, and in portable devices for students who don't have their own.  It is not an inconsiderable expense.

There are risks, as well -- will students use technology to cheat?  Will there be an increase in cyber-bullying?   What will happen if the students know things that their teachers don't?

In this American Libraries article, "A Tale of Two Students," the authors assume that students in a technology rich environment have an advantage over students in a less technology laden environment. I agree with them.  I was concerned to see that the first two people who commented didn't agree, and even made fun of the authors' list of technology applications. 

Why?  Why does technology seem to inspire contempt or fear?  Is it just the exponential growth in technology, so that it is hard to keep up and hard to understand?  Have the dangers been exaggerated?

Spring Thaw, Peninsula State Park

When I first began teaching faculty about the Internet,  I used to say "It's a tool.  Like fire."  Yes, there are dangers, but, equally, there are amazing possibilities.  And it is possible to learn to use it safely. 

It is also now an integral part of our lives, especially our business lives.  It is not possible to conduct a job search without using technology, and there are few jobs without some computer applications.  Even the local coffee shop uses a computerized cash register, and  the newest restaurant in my small town presents your credit card bill on an iPAD and emails you the receipt. 

The research on both cyberbullying and cheating is new and incomplete.  A recent report says that cyberbullying may not be as widespread as previously reported "Researchers: Cyberbullying Not as Widespread, Common as Believed"  [Click on "the research" link in the article to read the original study].  In his review of the literature on cheating in an online environment, "A New Honesty for a New Game: Distinguishing Cheating from Learning in a Web-Based Testing Environment," the author suggests that we many have to look at how we assess learning and make changes based on the online environment, rather than trying to make the new environment conform to our ideas formed in a different environment.  [Turner, Charles C. "A New Honesty For A New Game: Distinguishing Cheating From Learning In A Web-Based Testing Environment." Journal Of Political Science Education 1.2 (2005): 163-174. Education Research Complete. Web. 15 Aug. 2012.]

I believe in teaching students to use technology effectively and ethically, and making it as available to them as possible.  The only thing we know for sure about the future of education is that we are living with rapid change, and that we have to somehow prepare students for a new and evolving world.  They need to know, not how to use a specific type of hardware or software, but how to approach learning and adapting to new technologies quickly.  They need to have basic knowledge of all the traditional subjects -- but they need to be able to find, evaluate, and apply new knowledge across disciplines.  A system firmly rooted in 19th Century models is not going to work, and the best teachers and administrators know that, and are working to find models of change that will work for our students.

A box of rocks invites creativity at Edgewood Galleries outdoor sculpture garden.

How can we create an environment and an infrastructure that provides the opportunity for education to all students?  How can we convince people that an educated workforce and voting public is important to everyone in our society -- even though there is a cost associated with high quality education? 

We have some ideas about where we need to go:    Education for Life and Work:  Developing Transferable Knowledge and Skills in the 21st Century.  We need a lot of innovative and risk-taking ideas about how to get there -- and we need to trust both our educators and our students. 

Shadows on the sand

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

An alumna returns to. . . the library, of course

Writing from study carrel 5749A, Northwestern University Library, 5th Floor South (aka "5 Green"). 

The approach from the South, gardens beside the Deering Library

Actually, the student assistant who gave me my computer password wrote "alumni" on her form, so that's what I entered on my guest log in as well;  so today I am a collective noun.  Probably I am representative of the group, since I came seeking both nostalgia and inspiration -- and to see what has changed.

Approach from the north -- the new library and the Deering Library

South Tower Stacks

Study Carrel

The carpet on the 5th floor is still green, though I'm happy to say that it is not the same carpet that was here when I was in school.  It also appears to be ecologically green, in that it is made up of replaceable squares, though I imagine that is true in the 'red' and 'gold' towers as well.  There is no west tower -- don't look for it -- though in the imaginations of those devising pledge pranks, it has blue carpet. 
North (Gold) Tower
 Digression. . . it's an art form.  It has taken me several hours to get from the first floor to the fifth, in part because I was taking photos, and in part because I allowed myself to be distracted by the "new acquisitions alcove."  That has an element of nostalgia, too -- I loved the new book display (then in a different location) as an undergraduate, and I loved the new book shelf in UNC's Library School library -- and I like the new book section of my public library.  The appeal is it's a library in miniature -- all the subjects, in manageable numbers.  Northwestern does not keep its dust jackets nor wrap its books in plastic, but they have used the book jackets to market the new books, so you find the book near its cover on the shelves.  After all, a lot of money goes into book marketing and design -- why not use it? 
New Acquisitions Alcove

New books!!!!!                 
I am drawn in, and I find a lot of books that I am interested in.  Actually, I'd like to read most of them, but I make a selection.  Then I sit down in the comfy chairs and read the introductions to see if they are actually as interesting as those cover artists and title writers suggested.  They are, and I copy the ISBN numbers into Goodreads,  to my "to-read" shelf, which has a lot of books on it already. I love the search and scan features of the web site, since I've spent a lifetime copying ISBN numbers on the edges of bookmarks and other pieces of scrap paper in lots of book stores.   I'm proud of my use of technology and that I was actually able to move on -- to lunch at the Plaza Cafe (a brilliant re-imagining of space that had been intended as a 2nd entrance to the library but which never worked for that purpose.   In  part, staffing two entrances was a problem, and in part because, with only one building to the east of the library, there was no natural foot traffic from that direction.)

Plaza garden (a replacement for the original fountain and an end, I hope, to leaks into the library)
One of the many interesting things that Jonathan Kozol said about libraries in his article:  The Other America: giving our poorest children the same opportunities as our richest,  is that they should be beautiful, and inviting.  He goes on to say that most school libraries are not either one in our poorer schools.  I came to
Now the Cultural Center, this was Chicago's Central Library 
Northwestern as a scholarship student, but my Chicago Public Schools had decent libraries, and teacher-librarians.  Furthermore, I came from a family that valued education above all else.  I was taken to the Chicago Public Library at a young age, and had the great good fortune to have a sixth grade teacher and a public librarian who introduced us to the basics of research through a series of weekly lessons.  To complete our final project, we had to take ourselves to Chicago's Central Library (then on Michigan Avenue).  We learned a lot about research, but we also learned that an amazing piece of architecture, dedicated to books and learning, belonged to us.

I have now whiled away a lot of time here at the library -- enjoying the pleasure of reading and thinking about new ideas -- learning for its own sake.  I will return, at least in this space,  to the library to discuss what is the same and what is different -- and what important lessons lurk in the Kozol article.

First floor learning commons:  where the card catalog once stood


Saturday, July 28, 2012

Friday, July 27, 2012

Today's weather -- partly cloudy

Hoping the last of the clouds blow through before tonight, since I'm walking in the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life -- though I'd rather walk in the rain than in 95 degree weather! If you want to make a donation to the St. James team, you have until 9:00 pm tonight, CDT. [I'm substituting that last minute push for advertising early and often this year]. I'll be walking in honor and memory of Suzanne and Susan, and, always, for Robert, Bob, Marg, Bill, and Rosemary. And Sally Ride, and millions of other touched by this disease.
 Relay for Life Manitowoc County

A very interesting article on the future of libraries

The Bookless Library
It is nice to read an article with a good working knowledge of libraries from a non-librarian, though an academic faculty member at a major research university has a different perspective from a public library user in a small town.

I have yet to see any figures on the cost (economic and environmental) of everyone getting all their reading material and information electronically, and I think that it would be best to remember that we don't actually have any information on the longevity of electronic materials, in archival terms.

That doesn't mean that e-books are not a reasonable alternative for casual reading.  Most public libraries don't have historical collections, except for their own local history collections, and databases have already replaced most reference books. And certainly the more archives that can be digitized and added to the web, the better for researchers.  There are a lot of great local history and special collections projects already being done in libraries everywhere. 

And how did I find this fascinating article?  I subscribe to a great Internet comic, Unshelved, by email, and they linked to another online comic, Sheldon, which had a cartoon and blog post about e-books.

Follow me through cyberspace by starting with  Unshelved for Thursday July 26 2012

Thursday, July 26, 2012

After the Rain

Not to focus too much on the weather, but it has been on all our minds this summer.  We finally got some rain -- maybe too much of a good thing.  I don't think it will help the corn much.  My lawn looks a little more alive -- what I can see of it under the fallen sticks and tree limbs.  No major damage,  but there are some big broken branches still in one tree, and I can't quite figure out where they came from, since they don't match the tree they're in. . . I need to look at it from another angle.

Finding the perspective to understand anything -- past, present, or future, is always the challenge.  A friend of mine and I have been talking about the future of libraries, especially the public library.  She has a good vision of what might be created, but it is hard to get that perspective on the future.  She sent me this interesting link to another blog The Ubiquitous Librarian

How could I not like an academic librarian talking about data and decision making and referencing The Very Hungry Caterpillar?   In addition to having excellent reading taste, he asks how we can plan for a future that is unclear using data from the past?  It's a fair question. 

In the course of my work as an online reference librarian, I look at a lot of library policies and a lot of library web pages.  Libraries are working hard to keep up with change, as they have all of my working life.  Libraries have always embraced new technology, and, often, made it their own.  We also have a long and important history of resource sharing. 

I've seen a lot of libraries looking at new models, not just providing databases, e-books, and other downloadable media, but reinventing their public spaces as well.   Almost all of them are using social media, and many allow interaction with the catalog -- tagging or rating books.   Urban UK libraries seem to have more newly imagined spaces, including cafes and child care, but a lot of libraries are working on the issue of relevance to the community in a lot of different ways.  If you have not looked at your own library's web site (or Facebook page or Twitter feed) check it out.

One of the issues is that, to date, our society's adoption of new information technology has been cumulative.  Movies did not replace stage plays, television did not replace movies, mobile video has not replaced television -- and the same is true in print media, and though newspapers have folded, many are still in print and viable.

I am sitting in the neighborhood coffee shop -- I have my computer, smart phone and a print book with me;  the daily print newspaper is on the counter for people to share, along with a rack of print magazines.  The library  across the street has almost the same profile, adding the thousands of books (and the need to bring your own coffee, which is allowed). 

Because people expect both cutting edge technology and traditional services, and because everything costs money, the cumulative effect is part of the questioning process.  We can't assume anything will go away, even if economics dictate cutbacks. The obligation of libraries to serve everyone in the community is also a factor -- it's where people go when they can't afford their own technology.  Public libraries have been the providers of public computers since the early 1990s, and now they are lending e-book readers and iPADs, and providing wireless Internet access to clients and visitors alike.  They also provide a lot of free education on the uses of technology -- both technical and content based. 

What's your perspective?

All of today's photos were taken at the Woodland Dunes Nature Preserve, Two Rivers, WI

Monday, July 23, 2012

Heat Advisory

Another heat advisory, another day in the library.  Your Kindle app won't get you a quiet air-conditioned workspace with free WiFi. . . though, as we library advocates are quick to point out, you can use your Kindle or other e-reader to borrow library books, and, if you have the Kindle Fire or the Nook Color, to access the library's free WiFi. 

I actually have a semi-quiet workspace, because my quest for electricity has me in the young adult corner of the youth space, and I can hear the clunk of blocks from the play corner.  Unusually enough, I have earphones with me, so I could log into iTunes and go totally 21st century, but I'm okay with people playing and reading aloud -- and even talking about books! 

Not quite unrelated picture of the day -- this is one of the book boxes that the United States Lighthouse Service sent to the Lighthouse Keepers.  Since Keepers were frequently moved to different locations, all the boxes were numbered, and a librarian somewhere made sure that people did not get the same box twice.

Friends of Rock Island State Park
Wisconsin Department of  Natural Resources: Rock Island State Park

Surrounded by books -- and knowing I already have too many checked out -- I have a lot of both respect for the librarians and sympathy for the Lighthouse Keepers and their families.  The lighthouse on Rock Island is restored to 1910 and is a lovely, airy space, even on a very hot July day.  It doesn't take much imagination though, to think that it might not have been quite so pleasant for a family of 10 in February, though they may have been able to move to larger Washington Island when the shipping lanes closed for the winter.  Still, I'm sure they looked forward to their boxes of books.

Lighthouses are mostly automated, now, and books are becoming so.  How does that change our experience of books and reading?  Race car driver Danica Patrick was recently advised by her fans [on Twitter, of course] that if she used an e-reader, no one would know that she was reading recent bestseller Fifty Shades of Grey.

She said:
"I'm holding the book, baby," she said. "I like to turn the pages. It's the same reason I like to take a cork out of a bottle of wine. It's romantic. I like to turn the pages and I like to see how far I am, and then I look over at my husband and I say, 'Look, honey, see how far I am?'
"I finished the 514 pages that were in that first book. It's sad I even know that, but it felt like a victory for me."For Danica Patrick, 50 Shades of Red (ESPN W)

I was on vacation with a friend who said she liked big bookmarks, because it was easy to see her place. I don't know if people looking at the page numbers of their e-readers feel the same way or not.  I read print books, but I do most of my news and sports reading on my phone or computer -- though I still have the New York Times on Sunday and Sports Illustrated and the New Yorker delivered to my house.  I like holding them in my hand.  But am I just fond of a relic from the past?  How much value does that "romantic" feeling Ms. Patrick described have, when e-books and boxes of wine are cheaper to produce?   Has anyone done the math on the environmental footprint of the electricity needed for e-reading (across all platforms) vs. the cost of printing, distributing and recycling print materials?

More important to my mind, has anyone done any brain research to see if we process electronic information differently?  And is that difference important?  I write non-fiction of all kinds -- this blog, work reports, curriculum plans, email, cover letters, resumes -- at the computer.  I learned, as a journalism student in a high school with manual typewriters, to compose at the typewriter,  and was perfectly trained for the transition to computers, which I have used throughout my working life.  However, I write fiction and poetry in longhand, and make corrections even on poems I've typed up on printed copies of the poem, with a pen, not on the computer.

Is it habit?  personal preference?  or does the physical medium make a difference?

Should we find out, before we decide to no longer teach handwriting in our schools?
Cursive out of Common Core Standards
Schools Debate Handwriting

It is easy for me to see the questions -- the answers are more difficult.  However, shouldn't we be questioning everything we do -- from changing our reading habits to changing our cultural institutions to global warming?  And shouldn't we find a way to return to civilized debate and scientific exploration rather than screaming at each other about issues too important and too complex to be reduced to sound bites or bytes?

The upside of the drought here in northeastern Wisconsin has been really beautiful, sunny days -- more than warm enough to go swimming, which is unusual. Of course, the water has to be clean enough to swim in, which is not true everyday.  So I would also like to ask some questions about xeriscaping, factory farming, and other threats to the Great Lakes.
Wisconsin Beach Health
Natural Landscaping University of Wisconsin Press (print or e-book)

Friday, April 20, 2012

An education revolution beckons in the digital age - KansasCity.com

An education revolution beckons in the digital age - KansasCity.com

I love Michael Wesch because he asks such good questions -- what are we doing, why are we doing it, how might it be different?

I was raised as an advocate for intellectual freedom, and have never been comfortable with limiting or filtering information.  I realize that this is a complex question in the digital world, but it's a fundamental philosophy question in child raising:  do you 'child proof' your home, or do you teach your child how to distinguish danger and react to it?  Obviously, in a perfect world, you do some of both.  However, creating a completely safe environment for a teen or young adult is not possible, so it's important that the child has a lifetime of moral values and decision making practice to use as they navigate the world.

I've been confused for a long time by discussions in schools that have two threads (and sometimes are discussed in the same meeting or time frame).  Thread A.  "What are we going to do about not having enough computers and internet access for all our students?"  Thread B.  "How can we keep students from using their cell phones / electronic devices in school?"   It seems that there is an obvious relationship between the answers to the two questions -- what if, instead of spending a lot of time and effort on B, we used the power of personal electronics to help solve A?  To be fair, some high schools are beginning, too slowly, to do this.  Are there risks?  Yes, but manageable ones.  Students who are determined to cheat will find a way to do so, but the answer to that is not taking away the tools of cheating (which include pens, pencils, and chewing gum) but to creating engaging assessments that are not based on memorization, and therefore don't lend themselves to cheating. And there are other ways to create disincentives or change the school culture as well.

I know change is difficult, and I also know that there is a lot of work going on in education today to try to use new media and technology tools,  and  to engage students in creative work -- some of it spectacular, some of it stymied by rules and fears. 

So what is the answer?  What should education look like in 20 years?  or 5?

Unrelated picture of the day:

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Please and Thank You

Found this following one of those "most emailed links" having gone to NPR from the National Weather Service's Facebook post on the article "What if Dorothy Had A Smartphone". . .  As a lifetime feature article reader, I do like these random ideas and articles -- when I don't find look up from the computer to find I've been reading for hours.

So, are people less polite?  I remember noticing, when I was in Spain in the summer of 2001, that people there took time to chat before beginning a transaction in a store -- and I understood why people elsewhere thought US citizens rude.  If that trend to the bottom line without even a little bit of politeness, that seems to be a bad thing.

Since I mentioned it, here's the tornado story:  http://www.npr.org/2012/03/13/148525605/tornado-tech-what-if-dorothy-had-a-smartphone

And here's a shout out to the NPR URL creators, who include the name of the article in the link.  What an easy classification tool.

Photo of the day:  Ice on the Bay -- Nicolet Bay Beach, Peninsula State Park, Door County, WI

Monday, March 12, 2012

Overview of responses | Pew Internet & American Life Project

Pew Internet and American Life:  Connected Lives

I'm happy to see someone is thinking about the relationships between hyperconnectivity and society -- what do you think?

Home - iPhone Appography - SJSU Subject Guides (LibGuides) at San Jose State University Library

Home - iPhone Appography - SJSU Subject Guides (LibGuides) at San Jose State University Library

I thought this was interesting -- not just for the content, but for the idea of creating a bibliography of apps.  They think it will be the bibliography of the 21st Century -- what do you think?

I admit, I've been thinking about the conflict of technologies -- because it's March, and I'm a major fan of college basketball, I have an app on my phone called Bracket Bound (I actually have a whole folder of sports apps, but that's another story).  I also have a TV subscription with a DVR.  Because I don't want to put my entire life on hold for two weeks, I've set it up to record the games of my favorite teams and conferences.  Well and good, but that also means I have to avoid not only the Bracket Bound notifications, but also the Facebook posts of my good friends at the UNC Alumni Association, Northwestern Alumni Association, UNC Athletics, and NU Athletics.  And, though more 20th century but still on my phone,  the "Breaking News" email notifications from The Daily Northwestern

It makes one think about both the positives and negatives of knowing everything instantly.  This, of course, has always been a problem for time shifters.  Long before the invention of the DVR, one Chicago television station used to replay the Bears game at 10:30 at night.  The news stations, even on competing channels, used to warn people before they gave the score, so those planning to watch the replay could leave the room and still enjoy the game.

I love my phone, and, even if my apps reflect my interests -- the most money I've spent for an app was for the New York Times Crossword Puzzles -- I like many aspects of being connected all the time -- but I think we should be talking more about the advantages and disadvantages.  And that's before we get to the serious ethical issues -- like the new Google  Policy and what the trade offs will be among safety, privacy, and instant access.

Fortune Cookie

Information is not knowledge.
Knowledge is not wisdom.
Wisdom is not truth.
Truth is not beauty.
Beauty is not love.
Love is not music.
Music is the best.
Frank Zappa