The newly minted track facility in Twitter allows users to follow any mention of a phrase that occurs in the Twitterverse. The newsworthiness of this notion in this morning's NPR report on the fires connected with a conversation in the Allegro Espresso Bar last weekend, in which was bandied about the idea of a Haiku-cycle... sharing around Haiku by email among those favorably inclined towards this poetic-medium-for-the-attention-handicapped.
Why not Twitter instead? The character limit is perfectly suitable and the pockettweets application on the iPhone is great (and surely there are comparable apps for other mobile devices). Writing haiku on a bus or in the park is a pleasant enough diversion or means of sharing a moment with others in verse. The track command fills in a missing piece, as it affords the writer a natural way to tag the tweet so that others interested can follow them.
So, in the spirit of eating one's own dogfood, I've launched the Haiku-Twittering mashup with the tag of Haiku-Seattle. Write your well-formed doggeral, slash-delimited lines, followed by three slashes and the tag "haiku-seattle". Non-denizens of the Rainy City also welcome. Void where prohibited. No talent necessary to win.
We'll know its successful when we get spam haiku. ----- A newly opened building in Singapore near Albert Court.
Listeners to Morning Edition on NPR this morning will have heard a report on the use of Web 2.0 technologies in grass-roots efforts at emergency coping in the California Wildfire crisis. The story described round-the-clock reporting emanating from an NPR affiliate (I think), a station that lost its own power due to the fire, but which benefited from the gracious decision of an entertainment station whose management decided that the best contribution they could make would be to broadcast the first station's signal. (The notion of public service apparently survives in the radio community of San Diego).
The Web 2.0 angle involves the use of Google's MyMaps and Twitter, used to provide what apparently became the most authoritative spatial coverage of fire damage in the area, and updating about it.
I couldn't find the link to the story on the NPR site, but a related story on MSNBC has some ineresting links.
I'm feeling less embarrassed all the time about admitting... yeah...I Twitter... you? Of course, there's still the difficulty of explaining it to your Mom. -----
A gracious reader Jodi Schneider, found the missing link to the story I allude to above. Thanks, Jodi (the Web is not only self organizing, but self editing as well!). I wish writing papers worked more like that.
----- Image: Water Capture by a succulent yard plant on my walk home.
I know this sort of thing is supposed to be good for me, but the epic-poem style doesn't add much to my appreciation of the lesson. The dulling repetition of phrases in stanzas leads me to skim, and then wonder what I missed, and then not to care. This re-interpretation by a modern writer (no doubt with the intent of making it more accessible), however 'authentic', leaves me with further suspicion. I don't care about Oliver Stone's rendition of the JFK assassination, and even less about a scholar's rendition of an ancient epic. It doesn't touch me and if it did, I wouldn't trust it.
It is possible that my attention span just doesn't support retrospective appreciation for the 'classics' that are the purported foundations for western civilization. The question of whether and how reading these keystone cultural antecedents contribute to our understanding of ourselves, our times, and our origins is perplexing, and I confess I don't have confidence in my judgment on the ever-with-us great-books arguments.
Reading is important (in part) for the opportunities to travel to places and ideas I cannot otherwise reach. The ancient classics by and large leave me too little texture and context, and little or no insight, about my own place in the world and what I should do about it. Give me a museum any day. A single glance at a 7,000 year-old ceramic hippopotamus bed urinal in the Shanghai Museum gave me more sense of the foundations of civilization than I learned in all the western classics I've ever read.
Shoulda paid more attention in Western Civ... my bad, no doubt. ----- Image: A young girl in the temple city of Bagan, Myanmar. I wonder if Gilgamesh would give her insight into her future under the Junta? (More images from Bagan on FlickR)
No mean task, finding a voice for a group such as is gathered in Woodinville, Washington for strategizing about the role of global research libraries in the early 21st century (GRL-2020). As a group, we listened to 'framing discussions' the first day, and on this second day found considerable (but helpful) distraction in the prospect of the NSF's DataNet call described in my previous post.
Break-out groups addressed issues that emerged from discussions and from risk-impediment-opportunity cards we filled out the day before. A variety of action items emerged from these groups. My extemporaneous summaries fail to do full justice, but it ain't called blogging fer nuttin'. Here goes:
GRL 2020: A call to action
Several of the breakout groups identified a need for advocacy that might start with a white paper (manifesto?) articulating the need and changing roles for the global research library in the support of global information problems.
The phrase I liked the most in these discussions is advocacy for the digital civilization of
the future (Peter Young). Many global problems require support for the research enterprise that transcends political boundaries, and demands new infrastructure and cooperative frameworks. These aren't palliative abstractions, but rather important elements for addressing the clear and present dangers of global climate change, world-wide health threats, and daunting economic problems.
Are there principles common to a trans-national research library community? Some candidates:
Innovation and knowledge creation rely on sustained availability of information (information drives discovery)
creation of public value is central to the mission of GRLs
Selection, sharing, and sustainability are longstanding components of library missions, and remain so, even as they grow more difficult to achieve world-wide.
Long-term custody of content is critical: persistence of identification and access.
Overlapping infrastructures arenecessary to support the global research community, and they have a common core, which will benefit from collaboration. To the extent that common, interoperable components of such infrastructure can be agreed upon and shared, costs of various dimensions of the enterprise can be reduced.
Infrastructure is used here to include people with appropriate skill sets, systems, standards and protocol suites, and even policy frameworks. They need to be intentional and inclusive. That is, the choices we make play out differently in disparate economic and cultural environments, and while no set of choices will suit all circumstances, the long term goals of the global community will benefit from better understanding of the complexities of the trade offs.
Harness the wisdom of the crowds: Break down barriers -- cultural, national, economic, institutional, and language -- through systems that support the emergence of a broad spectrum of expertise and perspective about our common problems. Work with, not just for constituents.
New interdisciplinary perspectives for the
information profession(s): There is wide recognition in the group that reformation of professional training is a key to renovating global librarianship in the future. The new librarianship will:
draw on skills from archives, library science, information technology, and computer science
encourage a new mentality and approach in the allied information professions
recognize that grassroots local/regional/national advocacy are necessary precursors to raising awareness and bringing concerted action to bear on the international level.
Actions to support such changes might include:
forums to support best practices
international fellowships and exchange
encouraging new, interdisciplinary
Promotion of cross-sector collaboration
Leadership development: look for opportunities to support the development of leadership in the global research library community. Sharpen existing leadership. Nurture future leaders.
Identify Proof of Concept projects that use existing suites of standards and middleware to provide the basis for improved global interoperability. Look
for public-interest informational problems and address them in light of GRL perspectives.
Funding challenges: Problems
are global, funding is local. Persuade national politicians of the necessity for global action, and establish
international funding partnerships
IPR issues lurk behind every library shelf and on every machine-room disc drive. Recognize aspirations for open access as well as the exigencies of a commercial publishing world. We'll live in a mix of fee
and free scholarly
communication and data management for the foreseeable future.
tenure and scholarly reward systems: The metrics for reward and recognition can reinforce or distort the mission. Harry Bruce volunteered to fix this (good luck, Harry!)
Honest Brokers: Promote adoption of GRL principles and actions by stakeholders who have transparent interests in the domain of the GRL-- organizations, institutions, funding agencies, protocol and standards activities, and research communities.
I trust my fellow conferees will forgive the distortions and omissions of this summary. Future issue from this estimable collection of thoughtful people will provide a more coherent picture.
What's next? Perhaps the best indicator of success in our two days of effort was the eagerness of many among us to contemplate a follow-on meeting. Arun made the point that our too-safe, too-comfortable deliberations just can't be taken very seriously in the third world. Next time? A riskier venue, with riskier ideas.
Many thanks are due Tony Hey's group at Microsoft and Betsy Wilson and her staff at UW libraries for bringing us together, and making us comfortable and welcome. Lee Dirks, Linda Ambre, and Ann Ferguson are due particular homage. It was a pleasure and honor to participate!
--------- The group photo. I swore no more wedding pictures, but here it is. There is at least one eyeball and half-a-head for each participant (apologies to Barbara, Bob, Mackenzie, Arun, and Peter for not doing better).
The call is a $USD 100 million carrot (5 years, 5 organizations @ $20 M each) which will tempt quite a lot of the horses in the field.
Chris articulates the goal of creating new types of organizations that
combine and integrate archival perspectives, library science skills, expertise in computer Science, information science, and policy capabilities appropriate to the challenge of managing and curating the explosive increase in data of all types.
The support of long-term preservation of data will require adaptability and flexibility in the face of a rapidly evolving
environment, thus requiring migration of formats over time, and research and development for problems we don't fully understand at the moment. An explicit facet, then, is remaining at the frontiers while supporting stability. A daunting remit. Oh... and it has to be self-sustaining within a decade.
The outline of the program is, then,
Sustainability, economically and technically
Interoperability: a federation of repositories will evolve (the 5 awardees will
become parts of a federation of data networks as a condition of participation)
Digital capability: the machine room is the paradigm, rather than shelves.
The machine room is expected to be managed with the model of a library in mind -- a sustainable, cross-sector data library that has budget and policies that match its mission.
This is not a domain-oriented call… there are lots of precedents for that, and Chris suggested that these have not produced sustainable models. They require ongoing support from the NSF, and their activities increasingly are mortgaged to this maintenance. NSF wants to see preservation belong to society as a whole, not just a given
sector or government agency, and this call is a broad overture to the community to support this perspective. ----- Image: from the opening reception of GRL 2020
The GRL 2020 meeting began in the cool, Pacific
Northwest rain last night (according to the locals, more Novermberish than
Octoberish, but what is normal in climate these days anyway?). UW Libraries and Microsoft have convened three dozen or so conferees, cross sector and a
cross section of research library leadership from many libraries and information agencies around the world, including WHO, the EU, ISTI-CNR, CISTI, NSF, the National Agricultural Library, and major research libraries in the US, Europe, Australia, and Asia. Lots of experience, lots of insight.
There are risks, opportunities, and impediments in the
topography of the global research library, complicated by shifting business models, changes in research paradigms and scholarship, and disruptive cultural and technological infrastructure. And the users just aren't the users we were. They are of the digital tribes who think email is archaic, a pre-social-web dinosaur. So 20th century!
Peter Young, director of the National Agricultural Library,
spoke to me at the reception on Sunday night about the need to move effort away from simply resource description towards a better understanding of user characterization, so connections can be more easily made between the resources and those who need them [my characterization... Peter would no doubt put it more succinctly]. User-centric libraries. Imagine. Talk of Web 2.0 reverberates in most of the talks and discussions thus far, but can the greybeards (us) really grok the way things need to change to make library services (information services more generally) meet the needs?
Betsy Wilson is white-boarding the question... "My time here will be worthwhile if..." phrases that characterize the responses:
emerge with a vision
concrete steps to be taken towards an envisioned future
a set of research questions
road map for progress
understand technological obstructions
ideas for increasing cross cultural and socioeconomic inclusivity
cross sector pilots
alignment among funding agencies to tackle problems
intellectual deliverables to share the ideas emerging (and preserve them)
opened channels for community feedback (and push-back)
framing and scoping of problems (structural, political, leadership problems)
needed infrastructure to support solutions global research
Whew. We have till Wednesday. ----- Image: the Sulle Pagoda, at the center of Yangon, and one of the focus points of recent demonstrations in Myanmar