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Monthly Archives: March 2006

Last night, thanks to Pete, I got to go see the Crashing the Gate Tour Kickoff Jerome Armstrong of my DD and Markos Moulitsas Zuniga of Daily Kos at George Washington University . As I had to take notes on paper (ugh!) you’re better off reading pete’s post about the event.

It was essentially a brief Q & A session. It lasted about an hour and at least half of that time was dedicated to questions from the audience. I was impressed with both authors, but was really pleased with Marcos’ energizing, no-holds-barred kind of speaking style. He talked about the point in the book-writing process where they got drunk in a random hotel (in Montana?), discussed the project and as a result, reframed the topic to what the book turned out to be. He was very unabashed about the fact that for the most part he feels like the Dems are doing it wrong. But this is tempered with the fact that he feels that a good Democrat, whether a conservative Dem or a very liberal Dem stands up to defend important issues; and a Dem who does this is “supportable”, which I agree with.

Marcos also made the point that the “real”, important political stuff is going on outside of Washington. I know that he means washington as Washington, but I couldn’t help but think that people who live in The District are well acquainted with a special kind of disenfranchisement, obviously due to the fact that we’re underrepresented.

Finally, I find it both discouraging and exciting that the “silver bullet” that translates netroots activism into grassroots activism hasn’t been found yet. Both Jerome and Marcos indicated that “something happens” in this conversion process, but as Noriko and I found, we have no idea what that is yet. The reason it’s frustrating is clear, but it’s exciting that researching this process, figuring it out is still something that needs to be done. The researcher in me loves the undiscovered. But the longer it takes the more frustrating it gets. I feel this is exacerbated by the issue of the digital divide. If we think the key to changing things, especially in red states is “regular people” taking action, red states and rural areas tend to be poor areas. We know that lack of income presents internet and technology access issues, small libraries don’t have a big tech budget, rural schools don’t have a huge budget/tax base etc. This is compounded by the fact that many public libraries still don’t recognize the value of providing unfettered internet access to their patrons (which is a different issue all together). So if the “new” political revolution is happening online, and the people in crucial areas aren’t “connected”, how do we address this? Or is old-fashioned grassroots action enough in these areas? Will the more common cell phone be the link? Text messages instead of email? In “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” Joe Trippi talks about empowering people to act politically on their own – is this the silver bullet? How is this fostered en masse?

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As i’ve previously mentioned, my computer is b0rked. i’m waiting for the mac shipping box so i can send my beloved navi in for repair. So, until i type up all my notes, i bring you highlights of the conference:

Thirty Search Tips in 40 Minutes – presented by Mary Ellen Bates of Bates Information Services.
This session was especially useful in terms of combining new tools and tips with familiar procedures. I would suggest any future sessions where she was speaking. A list of her recent presentations is located on her site.

Cool Tools Update for Webmasters – presented by Darlene Fichter and Frank Cervone.
This session was simply a fast-paced run through of neat tools. The power point slides are available.

Digitization Issues and Challenges – presented by Lloyd Davidson, Christopher Warnock, and Stephen Abram
The current SLA President-elect, Stephen Abram stole the show in this panel which presented three disparate views of digitizing documents and the present and future accessibility of this type of material. Abram acknowledged Warnock’s position that libraries and specifically scientific libraries are undergoing massive upheaval and will not function in the future as they do at present. However, unlike Warnock, Abram indicated that librarians will be just as, if not increasingly more, useful in the future as information iss’t getting easier to find, and “people aren’t getting any smarter”. I found his position to be especially enlightening and quite similar to the positions taken buy individuals working to create a viable semantic web. This presentation has compelled me to join SLA in the near future. Professional Library organizations need to be this forward thinking.

The Exploding Future of Social Communication – presented by Brian Pomeroy
The Web 2.0 Challenges to Libraries – presented by Paul Miller
These presentations looked to the future of electronic communication and the implementation of better and more collaborative endeavors in library technology. Pomeroy’s presentation provided more of a sweeping view of what’s going on now and Miller outlined a collaborative project that would allow libraries of all kinds to provide their users with a more rich on-line experience while at the same time compelling them to use the resources of their local library.
Related links:
Miller’s slides from the talk
– The blog of Miller’s company, Talis.
– Pomeroy’s site, FutureWeb contains a link to the slides of the talk.

Today Pat Robertson has declard that radical muslims are “satanic.” Somehow this statement wasn’t included on the 700 Club Website.

Robertson’s public statements have become progressively bombastic. I know that he’s getting some flak from the right, but honestly, isn’t there someone who loves this prominent figure who can keep him from looking so foolish? I don’t agree with this man at all, but I find the whole embarrassing situation kind of sad.

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