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Closing up shop, relaunch to be announced.

November 1, 2011

It sure has been quiet here the last year!  I can only say that I lost steam in the midst of the thesis storm, and after that life carried me away (from blogging, that is).

As for the thesis, it went really well. I got to work with the estimable Birger Larsen, whose easy-going drive should be an inspiration to any researcher. If you care to read the finished paper, you can find it here. The wordy title gives all the LIS nerds a pretty good idea of what it’s about: “A Portfolio of indicators: Broadening the scope of bibliometric evaluation of the humanities – a mixed methods exploration”. In September I even had the honor of attending and presenting my work in Aalborg at the 16th Nordic Workshop on Bibliometrics and Research Policy. It was great to meet others working in the field and hear about their various projects.

As a final farewell, I’ll share some pictures of my thesis exam presentation and the subsequent celebrating. The last photo is of our car, packed to the brim and ready to go as we bade farewell to lovely Copenhagen. Reunited with Oslo, I hope to return to blogging in the not so distant future. I’ll keep you posted. Many thanks!

Poor quality photo, but you can see I'm trying to smile and keep it light, despite all the graphs and data I have to present. Remembering to breath is key!

Celebrating a thesis well done. Nothing better than champagne, strawberries and sunshine. And a good grade.

Goodbye y'all! See you in Oslo and on the interwebs!


Click away

March 16, 2010

I’m adding some new links to the righthand sidebar, so I thought I’d give a quick overview of the what and why.

I listen to podcasts (audio and video) all the time now. It’s my radio. Lately I’ve come across one called Spark, produced by the Canadian Broadcasting Centre (CBC).  It’s great! All about technology and culture – the host Nora Young picks interesting and timely topics and holds solidly good interviews (nothing more uncomfortable to listen to than a bad interview). In good Web2.0 faith, the website bills itself thus: “Spark is a blog, radio show, podcast and an ongoing conversation about technology and culture. Spark is an online collaboration. Leave your thoughts, stories, and ideas here, and together we’ll make a radio show”.

Do any of you listen to podcasts? What are your favorites?

The second newest link is to The Royal Super Bibbatant (Finnish for librarian?). This blog is written by a former fellow student at the Royal School of Library and Information Studies here in Copenhagen, now a working woman. She writes about daily life in the Danish capital, but all in Swedish, so it’s only for the lucky few (or those who like Google translate).

If you like zines as much as I do then you’ll probably like the blog lower east side librarian, which is also the name of a zine the blogger Jenna Freedman writes. The blog talks a lot of zine culture and zines in libraries, but there are book reviews, interviews and other such stuff. Gotta get my hands on one of her zines.

Finally, and completely non-library related, is Moonshine Washingline. It’s a craft blog of a dear friend in New Zealand who makes the most wonderful hats.

Bringing the underground into the library and into our lives

February 24, 2010

Demoteket er dit undergrundsbibliotek. I februar 2010 sniger undergrunden sig ind på fem af Københavns biblioteker. Hvert bibliotek vil få en ny reol med alt fra krøllede soveværelses-produktioner til indieselskabers avantgarde-udgivelser. Fra dubplates til zines, fra kunstfilm til digtsamlinger, fra streetart-bøger til stencils. Og bedst af alt: du kan få lov til at låne det med hjem ligesom med alle andre biblioteksmaterialer.

translation::::: Demoteket (the demo-brary) is your underground library. In February, 2010 the underground is sneaking into five of Copenhagen’s libraries. Each library will get a new display housing everything from homemade bedroom-productions to indie-produced avantgarde works. From dub records to zines, art films to poetry collections, books of street art to stencils. And best of all – you can check it all out and take it home with you, just like all the other library materials.

How great an idea is this?! Lucky me, one of those five libraries happens to be my very own neighborhood library. Hurrah!

We went to Demoteket’s (that name works better in Danish) sneak-opening last November – a concert and beer and coziness. If that event is any indication of what’s to come from the Demoteket people, it’s very promising. Here’s what it looked like (courtesy of dr.hanz, via flickr):

party in the library!

how the underground wires up

While this kind of thing may be dime a dozen in other places (like the States?), and while it is yet to be seen just how underground these documents/materials will actually turn out to be, the concept new and fresh in Denmark. Zines especially don’t seem to enjoy the same popularity here as in the states, and I love the potential of checking out a stencil to be reproduced at will (hmmm…keeping these kinds items in good condition may turn out be an issue). I’m really glad to see libraries innovating and experimenting and taking chances. Re-imagining the library requires creative thinking. In Oslo, Norway you can now check out ukulelees from the library. I love that.

Do you know of any special initiatives taken by libraries in your area? Were they successful, in your opinion? Do they make the library a more attractive place to be/use?

So, if you happen to be in Copenhagen this Saturday (Feb 27th), they’re having an opening party at Bolsjefabrikken (that means ‘the candy factory’, so named for their former digs). Starts at 5pm, with djs, popcorn, slushies and cheap drink. Free in the early evening, 40kr later at night. Should be a good time.

Here’s their promo video, though personally – I don’t know – I feel like they could have made it a bit more relevant to their raison d’être. But it’s fun anyhow.

Radical views behind the (virtual) desk

February 22, 2010

It’s not all shush-shush out there in the library world. I’ve recently joined up to volunteer at Radical Reference, a great resource for students, information workers, activists and independent journalists. Here’s the opening paragraph of their Mission Statement:

Radical Reference is a collective of volunteer library workers who believe in social justice and equality. We support activist communities, progressive organizations, and independent journalists by providing professional research support, education and access to information. We work in a collaborative virtual setting and are dedicated to information activism to foster a more egalitarian society.

Sounds good, right? I’m looking forward to participating. See you there!

In with the old – out of the archives part 2

February 16, 2010

In response to yesterday’s post Jakub writes this:

Hi, I’ve just recently discovered these two:

Old ads:
Book covers, flyers etc:


Thanks Jakub! The digital archive of old advertisements got me especially giddy. Something so fascinating about them. It also got me thinking about a recent interview on the Colbert Report with David Ross, an art buff (who doesn’t seem to be on Wikipedia’s list of famous people who share them name). They were looking at and discussing Olympics imagery through the ages . The interview was short but it was also a pretty fascinating  journey through the history of the games, larger social and geopolitical histories, and the story of the medium of the poster itself and all the roles it can play (art-propaganda-advertisement-etc). I love this way of thinking about objects!

Vodpod videos no longer available.

I used to volunteer in a political poster archive, and I often felt that many people didn’t really understand that there is a reason for archives beyond preservation. There’s all sorts of things we can learn from archival materials  – the example above is but one of endless creative possibilities.

Out of the archives

February 15, 2010

The past few months I’ve been coming across some great archive-like web-based side projects. I bookmark them, even though I’m not sure if I’ll ever really use them, but they’re nice collections and at times inspirational. Here’s three:

First up, a stencil archive. This is a collaborative effort, where anyone can upload content and contribute to the archive. Content is posted under a Creative Commons license (a previous post about CC here). The Stencil Archive is organized by location, and there is search, but it would be nice to see some other filtering possibilities. Here’s one from their site, posted under the Estonia album.

Number two – The Book Cover Archive, run by a team of two, although they write that will consider outside contributions/suggestions of book covers. Of these three collections mentioned, this one’s got the most variety of filtering capabilities, although still no search. The cover images are all under the copyrights of their various publishing houses.

Finally, a collection of title stills (as well as some credit stills) from films across the ages. The Movie Title Stills Collection is a one-man show with advert space, shopper links to Amazon, no explicit room for outside contribution of stills, and has All Rights Reserved demarcation. Also, there is no search and the stills are organized thus far only by year, plus two categories of film noir and western. Still though, the collection is relatively broad and I had a good time looking through the films from the 80’s.

Do you have any favorite online archives? If so, please share!

Back in action

February 13, 2010

So it’s been a good long while away from the blog and I wasn’t sure I’d continue with this project. But I’ve been reading, learning, and stumbling upon so much fascinating, inspiring stuff, that I feel I just have to share. Being home for the holidays sure was fun – there are two photos in this post from my time over there, just to add some visual fun.

Back in action here corresponds to being back in the classroom again. The new semester started two weeks ago and is off to a running start (expect some knowledge organization and interactive design related posts, as those are the course I’m taking). Three semesters into the LIS program, I’ve noticed one theme that the older generation of professors seem to always come back to – the death of the library and the profession in general. These kind of doomsday proclamations are fairly commonplace these days in industries/professions/communities traditionally tied to older media. But I refuse to buy into the doom and gloom. There must be new ways to keep information work relevant to people’s lives!

Periodic table of wonder: Part of the Griffeth Observatory in Los Angeles's exhibition on the stuff the universe is made of.

Not to long ago there was an interview in Library Journal between Jessamyn West and Jaron Lanier. In the interview Lanier talks about his criticisms of web2.0 and the changing role of the library in face of new media trends. I think Lanier does a good job at being realistic while describing his own re-envisioning of the library’s place in society. He challenges us to ask ourselves important questions:

If I were a librarian now, I would attempt to conceive of the library from an experiential point of view. I would say, “What is the experience that is missing from the agora, from the world out there, from the private home? What is the experience that’s missing that we need in order to be human, in order to think, in order to consider?”

His offered solution is great for its simplicity:

My own take on it would be that information availability in some sort of raw form is not a problem anymore, because of the Internet. It is for some people, as you well know; not everyone has Internet access or equal Internet access. Acknowledging all of that and just speaking in a very crude way that ignores [the digital divide] for a moment…if somebody has broadband at home, if they’re affluent, it doesn’t mean they have all they need. They still, in many cases, lack the time and space really to think in their lives. And, gradually, libraries will take on the role in civilization of providing that space. I don’t think the home will provide it anymore.

You can read the rest of the conversation between West and Lanier here, if you’re interested. As LIS students and professionals, we should all think about futures of libraries, but we shouldn’t let ourselves flounder in too much negative thinking. Both West and Lanier seem like good resources for some outside-of-the-box perspectives and forward thinking.

Flying books of North Beach: An art installation of glowing books blinking above the streets of North Beach, San Francisco.