Tuesday, December 2, 2008

An End and a Beginning

I am in midst of final preparations to graduate from Emporia State University with an Master's Degree in Library Science and Information Management with an Archives Studies Certificate. The draft for my capstone portfolio is complete. I am going to Portland this Saturday to do my presentation and to see my friends and classmates, some perhaps for the last time. It is a bittersweet moment. The following Sunday, December 14th, will be a joyous time as our cohort graduates, and we see friends from other cohorts, people we've met at conferences in the past few years, our mentors and advisers before we scatter to new places and new adventures.

My life as an MLS student ends and my life a librarian/archivist begins. The story continues.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

A Universal History of the Destruction of Books

I'm working on a review of this book for a journal, Community and Junior College Libraries. The book begins with this quotation:

Where they have burned books, they will end in burning human beings. Heinrich Heine, Almansor, 1821

I find it ironic reading this book right after writing about a woman who thought it a perfectly fine idea to burn a book to prevent others from reading it and only retracted her comment after a furor was raised.

Monday, October 20, 2008

In My Own Home Town, No Less

I really should pay more attention to what happens in my tiny (population: 750) hometown, but sometimes I miss things.

It seems that a local mother, Taffey Anderson, is upset because the high school library has a cartoon book entitled The Book of Bunny Suicides by Andy Riley. Her 13-year old son checked it out of the library and now she vows she will never return it, claiming that "it is not appropriate for children".

Now I might be upset the school district is spending its very limited funds on cartoon books instead of on the academic materials our rural students need, but that is another topic. This book was bought, cataloged, put on the shelves, and was made available to be checked out and read by students. Ms. Anderson certainly has the right to tell her son he cannot read or check out the book, but she has absolutely no business telling other families in the district that they cannot access it. That's called censorship, Ms. Anderson. The news article states that she contacted the high school principal who told her about the districts' book-challenge policy. Ms. Anderson plans to fill out the forms, according to the article,

...but she's not taking any chances. Once the review is over, regardless of the outcome, she plans to burn it (the book). "They're not getting this book back," she said, adding that if the library replaces it: "I'll have somebody else check it out and I'll keep that one. I'm just disgusted by the whole ordeal."

Here is a great opportunity for the school district to stress why we consider it important to make controversial books available in the library. It's called intellectual freedom. Americans have the freedom to borrow, and read library books, even controversial ones, even those some don't personally like or approve of. Ms. Anderson may be well intentioned and sincerely concerned about the welfare of the students in the district, but good intentions do not give her the right to determine what others may borrow or read or to decide for other parents what their children may read.

And the irony is that the inevitable result of trying to ban something is that far more people want to get hold of it than would ever have done if it were left alone.

A personal example: At Mass one Sunday, when I was twelve, the priest ranted against seeing a particular movie. It was "Splendor in the Grass". I had never heard of this movie, but you can bet I remembered the name of it and as soon as I possibly could, I went to see it. I have to wonder how many local high school students are now scouring the public libraries nearby to find a copy of this book, a book only a few students would have read if it hadn't been for the publicity Ms. Anderson brought to it.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Strange Maps is a wonderful blog for those of us who love maps. The reason I love maps is because I often get lost or at least, I worry a lot about getting lost.

I especially enjoyed reading about and seeing the road navigation device called the "Routefinder" used in England during the 1920s. Worn on the wrist, it contained little map scrolls showing travelers the roads they were traveling, gave them the mileage covered, and even told them to stop when they came to the end of their journey.

Other fascinating posts are: the genetic map of Europe, the world as seen from Paris, and a cheese map of Canada.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Twitter, Explained

When I've told people who aren't familiar with it how much I love Twitter, they usually look at me funny even after I explain to them what it is and how it works. Wikipedia defines it as "a "free social networking and micro-blogging service that allows its users to send updates (otherwise known as "tweets") which are text-based posts of up to 140 characters in length." They just look at me and shake their heads and say "What's the point? I don't get it".

I didn't get it either. I was on Twitter for months and only followed a few people until everything exploded and I began to follow others and others began to follow me.

There was an article in Friday's New York Times entitled "Brave New World of Digital Intimacy" which helps explain the appeal. The author begins with discussion of the development of Facebook and how the addition of a News Feed, allowing someone to access all the new information their friends had posted on one page, changed everything. At first people were upset and angry--they didn't want constant updates on all their friends and yet, when it was offered, they found it both intriguing and addictive. Why? It's called "ambient awareness".

It is, they (social scientists)say, very much like being physically near someone and picking up on his mood through the little things he does — body language, sighs, stray comments — out of the corner of your eye.

Oh, and how did I find out about this NY Times article. Why from a tweet, of course! It read

incessant online contact=“ambient awareness,” says NY Times Magazine article. like the phrase. http://tinyurl.com/5pzslt

I responded

Thnx! Now when others are looking at me funny when I tell them I love Twitter, wondering "what is THAT!?", I can explain. :-)

I like the phrase too. And the idea. Now, please excuse me. I'm going to go send a few tweets.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

SAA Stream of Consciousness

I will be writing about my experiences at SAA and I'll begin with a list of scribbled notes I kept while attending sessions and meetings for the past three days.

Issues of ownership, consultation, mutual understanding and respect
Different ways of knowing, understanding, doing, and remembering.
Resilience and flexibility.
Archives are sites of power where archivists make decisions shaped by political and social factors
Different conceptual terms with different meanings/context, authentic, authority
Archives are inert; nothing happens until someone weaves it into a story; the telling is different from what happened.
Absences in the archives have an effect
Meanings can be impeded or concealed
Archives are arranged to frame different questions; to ask, reveal, conceal and obscure.
Archival records are produced from culturally embedded assumptions.
Purposes of archives/document and protect cultural heritage, protect legal rights, essential evidence
Archives are alien and mysterious to most
Relationship between documents and social memory
Archives are sites of power relationships in society
We rely on the integrity of archives
Privileged groups can control societal memory by manipulating archives
Archives are not about the past; they are about the future.
How do we pluralize and make definition of records inclusive?
Words like custody and holdings imply possession; try guardianship and stewardship
Describe yourself in a way that is useful to me so that I can understand it.
Job postings focus on digital skills and cultural understanding; latter is not valued
“I am the caretaker of the old words”
Access—retrieve information passed on orally
Archives organized by season of the year
Archival programs related to political change/example: end of colonization
Consultation= collaboration.
Culture= carrying a message from the creator
Construct, act, and listen
Look at it from a moral, not just legal, perspective
Protocols are not demands; they are an invitation
How can we resolve spiritual concerns in Protocols with separation of state and religion?
How can we resolve concerns about how material objects are viewed? Artifacts should be allowed to die a natural death/preservation.
If it’s afternoon you can’t listen to a morning song or then it would be an afternoon song; come back tomorrow morning.
Gaps and silences are just as important as records
Respectful subject headings
Information about creation of documents necessary to provide context
Demystify special collections/consider multiple perspectives
Who has the authority to speak for the community?
In Western law intellectual rights are for individual, not community

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Near Union Square

There isn't much going on with the conference today (although I did run into Mary Jo Pugh in the hotel lobby and spoke to her for a few moments),so I was out and about exploring today. One place I visited was Britex Fabrics. It is four stories (!) of fabrics of all kinds--cottons, wools, silks, brocades, lace-- trims, ribbons, accessories as well as a collection of over 30,000 different buttons.

There were a number of art galleries. My favorite was the Weinstein Gallery which features the work of Marc Chagall. How thrilling to think that someone, if they had enough money, could actually buy one of these works and have it in their home!

I was very disappointed to learn that the downtown location of Kozo Arts is closed. They offer handmade papers from Japan as well as handmade journals and albums made by San Francisco bookbinders.

I did, however, walk by an antique store which had a window full of intricately carved ivory Japanese figures. I also enjoyed street musicians and singers, listening to people speaking (and some arguing) in languages I didn't recognize, and the chaos of the crowded streets with tourists (like me!) stopping to take photographs, locals walking quickly as they smoked their cigarettes, police walking, in cars, and on bikes, panhandlers asking for change, a few people who seemed as though they might be both homeless and mentally ill, women beautifully and elegantly dressed in high heels and construction workers who took the time to look at them appreciatively.

See more of my photos on flikr.

San Francisco

I arrived in San Francisco for the Society of American Archivists Conference yesterday afternoon. The one thing I didn't like was flying over the Bay before we landed. There's water and then there's the runway. I wish I hadn't looked and kept mentally reviewing what to do in case of a water landing, but, of course, there were no problems and we landed safely.

I am staying at the conference hotel, the San Francisco Hilton, only a few blocks from Union Square. I spent a little time time sitting in the lobby yesterday afternoon, people watching. The concierge provided me with a nice list of restaurants within walking distance and I had a wonderful dinner of red snapper and rice at Cafe Mason only a block and-a-half away.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Comic Books--A Small Rant

My brother cut his reading teeth on comic books Until he was ten, his entire allowance was spent on comic books. Among them were The Flash, Archie, Batman, Superman, Scrooge McDuck, the Disney family, and the Loony Tune gang. As soon as he got his allowance he would buy that week's quota of comic books, run home and plop down in the middle of the living room floor and read them all afternoon, entering a
hypnotic trance that closed off the real world. He'd hardly move a muscle except to turn the pages and reach for the next comic book. There were times my mother would be tempted to put a mirror to his mouth to make sure he was still alive.

He would spend the rest of the week rereading his new comics as well as those from previous weeks that still survived, longing for the next Thursday and his next allowance. He was mesmerized by the pictures; they led his captured eyes and mind to the words in the white verbal clouds that drifted around the characters' mouths.

He read his comic books on the living room rug, stomach down, chin resting on his cupped palms, balanced on his elbows. He read them on his bed, at times on his back
holding them high above him and at other times draped draped over a pillow. He read about his champions while eating his breakfast of champions. He hid them away and
read them secretively at school and lost a few that were discovered. He rolled them in his back pocket and took them with him wherever he went. He read them by the beam of a flashlight hidden under the covers way past his bedtime.

The covers fell off and, despite liberal applications of scotch tape, pages loosened themselves from their stapled anchors and soon disappeared. Remaining pages got torn. He read and reread them until they fell apart in his hands or were nothing but torn tatters.

Adults would sometimes scold him for reading comics. They called them trash. They ought to have encouraged him. Comics opened my brother's world and mind to other worlds and created an appetite to read. Soon he graduated to the Hardy Boys, and then Arthur Conan Doyle, H.G. Wells and Jack London.

I believe that children do need to read great works. Eventually. But first, get them to read! Get them to love reading. Read anything. I don't care what they read. It
can be non-fiction or westerns or ghost stories. It can be Shakespeare, Dr. Seuss or the sports section. I don't care. I just want them to read.

The only problem is how to get them started. A lot of people will argue that to do that isn't that simple. It IS that simple! Blitz them! Blitz them early and get
reading materials, any reading materials into their hands. They'll want to read about the things that matter the most to them and then they'll be readers for life. THAT is the way to make readers!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Summer Term

Summer term will end next week. Fall term begins August 20th, but I'll be taking only the one credit class I still need to graduate or that and a three credit class on Legal Research. That decision will be made on the basis of whether or not the grant will require me to take a minimum of four credits. I'd rather take just one.

I'll have two weeks between the end of the term and going to the SAA Conference in San Francisco. I don't know about wearing flowers in my hair, but I remember the summer of 1967. I had just graduated high school and was getting ready to head off to university to study Political Science.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

American Library Association Conference

Safe travels to all of you heading for Anaheim in the next few days! Have fun!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

All Things Are For Human Beings

I've just finished reading this article
Araghi, G.F. (2005) Users satisfaction through better indexing. Cataloging & Classification Quarterly, 20(2), 5-17 for my cataloging class. I was impressed with this sentence:

One must not forget that although highly-automated technology dominate, all things are for human beings. (p. 14)

My primary professional interest is in providing reference service. Finding accurate information quickly is my passion. I agree that the classifier is the co-partner of the reference librarian. It doesn’t matter how good a reference interview I do if I can’t then find the answer to the user’s question because the information needed has been badly cataloged and remains hidden and cannot be retrieved.

I work as a part-time reference librarian at the Oregon State University library. I provide reference services face-to-face, by telephone, and through email. I also provide chat-based virtual reference services through L-Net and Meebo and I find that the most challenging of all. The questions from university faculty and students may be very detailed and complex, requiring a half-hour or more to answer. Many users are K-12 students asking basic homework related questions and there are always a few questions from members of the general public. Because it is a virtual environment and there are no visual cues, a good reference interview is essential. Some of the questions I receive are like this (real) example: “How much does a fully loaded tank weigh?” Where do I start?!

Araghi’s comment about “the ambiguity of index terms across cultures, languages, and time” has much truth in it. Language just isn’t always precise; there are countless opportunities for misinterpretation making access to accurate information complex. In the above example, what did the user mean by “tank”—gas, air, fuel, military, fish, something else?

Providing the information the user wants in a virtual environment also requires providing ongoing reassurances that I’m still there and looking for the information requested. Many expect an instant answer. I may ask the user to give me a minute, come back in less than that with the information they’ve requested only to discover the user has already logged off. I’ve found that recognizing there is another human being on the “other side” of the computer screen by using emoticons and addressing the user by his or her log-in name is very helpful in keeping the user engaged.

Monday, June 2, 2008


I had the great good fortune to be able to attend the Northwest Archivists and ARMA Spring Conference, New Frontiers in Archives and Records Management, which was held this year at the University of Alaska, Anchorage from May 28-31.

I was honored to be one of panel members for a session entitled Breaking the Ice: Protocols for Native American Archival Materials and Archivists in the Northwest. I learned a great deal, reconnected with people I'd met before, met more new, wonderful people and had a great time. I didn't have the opportunity to take many photographs. I did see a moose, but didn't have my camera at the ready.

However, as I always do when I go to a conference, I made certain to take photographs of the library where it was held.


I've used many of the web2.0 social networking tools, but twitter is the one that has my heart. I like it because it's so simple, you can follow others and they can follow you, and you can respond to one another. It also doesn't take much time and I've learned how to express more with fewer words because there's a 140 character limit to each tweet. I made a twitter cloud. (Click on it to make it larger.)

Monday, May 19, 2008

The New Blank Society and Web 3.0

Web 3.0 is the content and services produced by people using Web 2.0 as the platform. It is the reinventing of the online world. And like anything new,it's exciting and scary.

The implications for the future mentioned in this blog post are intriguing.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Never Judge A Book By Its Cover

I was very tempted to title this blog post ARGGGGG!!! I came across this article, Read a Book, Harass a Co-Worker at IUPUI a few months late, but it is timeless. This kind of nonsense just never ends. The article begins

In a stunning series of events at Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), Keith Sampson, a university employee and student, has been charged with racial harassment for reading a book during his work breaks.

Sampson is in his early fifties, does janitorial work for the campus facility services at IUPUI, and is ten credits shy of a degree in communication studies. He is also an avid reader who usually brings books with him to work so that he can read in the break room when he is not on the clock. Last year, he began reading a book entitled Notre Dame vs. the Klan: How the Fighting Irish Defeated the Ku Klux Klan. The book, which has garnered great reviews in such places as The Indiana Magazine of History and Notre Dame Magazine, discusses the events surrounding two days in May 1924, when a group of Notre Dame students got into a street fight in South Bend with members of the Ku Klux Klan. As an historical account of the students' response in the face of anti-Catholic prejudice, the book would seem to be a relevant and worthwhile read, both for residents of the state of Indiana and for anyone interested in this chapter of American history.

A shop steward told him this was like bringing pornography to work and a co-worker told him she was offended. A racial harassment complaint was filed against Sampson. No one had any interest in hearing what the book was really about. He was ordered to not read the book in the presence of his co-workers and to sit apart from them whenever reading it.

Why did I write at the beginning of my post that this nonsense never ends? Because,when I was a high school student, I was reading a book by Somerset Maugham during my lunch break when a teacher came up to me and grabbed it from my hands, scolding me saying "What would your mother say if she caught you reading that book?" I took my book back and, to her shocked face, replied that it was my mother who had suggested I read it. The name of the book? Of Human Bondage. Clearly this teacher had neither read nor heard of this classic book and had based her attempt to censure me solely on her assumptions about the content from the title.

P.S. I did find a follow up article Victory at IUPUI: Student-Employee Found Guilty of Racial Harassment for Reading a Book Now Cleared of All Charges

Administrators at Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) have revoked their finding that a student-employee was guilty of racial harassment merely for publicly reading the book Notre Dame vs. the Klan: How the Fighting Irish Defeated the Ku Klux Klan. Following pressure from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), IUPUI has declared that Keith John Sampson's record is clear and said it will reexamine its affirmative action procedures relating to internal complaints.

and this article by Keith Sampson My ‘racial harassment’ nightmare published in the New York Post earlier this month.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

SAA Harold T. Pinkett Minority Student Award

I have just been informed that I am one of two students nationwide to receive the 2008 Harold T. Pinkett Minority Student Award , sponsored by the Society of American Archivists Society (SAA). I am the first Emporia State University SLIM student to capture this award. Established in honor of archival pioneer Harold T. Pinkett, the first African American to be appointed an archivist at the National Archives, the award recognizes and acknowledges minority graduate students of African, Asian, Latino, or Native American descent who, through scholastic and personal achievement, manifest an interest in becoming professional archivists and active members of the society.

The award will provide me with full complimentary registration and related expenses for hotel and travel in order to attend the SAA Annual Meeting in San Fransisco in August, 2008. I am very honored to have been given this award and I am grateful to SAA for making these types of opportunities available to students. I also wish to thank Mary Jo Pugh, Tiah Edmunson-Morton, and Erika Castano for nominating me.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Always Looking for More Books/Reader's Advisory

I am an avid and prolific reader. I usually have a couple of dozen fiction books checked out of the library at a time, average reading at least two a week beyond the non-fiction and textbooks that I must read, and I'm always searching for more. So where do I look? One place is Amazon. If you have an account they love to give you recommendations based on what you've bought. And even if you don't have an account, if you go look at a book that you do like you'll see their "customers who bought this item also bought" feature.

Another tool I use is The Readers Robot although there aren't very many books there yet. It is growing, however.

The Reader's Advisor Online is for

readers' advisors and bibliophiles who work with readers. You'll find essential news, tips, fun stuff, and a community for exploring RA issues.

There are a number of these kinds of websites including Reader's Advice and the Reader's Advisory Link Farm.

The keys are knowing the collection, knowing the reader, and knowing where to look to find good recommendations if they're not right there at the tip of your fingers. There are some authors I especially enjoy and once I discover them, I devour all of their books. There are some series I like and again, I'll read every book in the series. Some I've found just by browsing. Others are recommended to me personally.

I use LibraryThing to keep track of my books and I also use that as a tool to find others using tags. I have signed up to be an Early Reviewer and have requested books, but so far I have not been one of the chosen.

Read on!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Cultural Ownership

I've only read the review of Who Owns Antiquity? by James Cuno
Treasures on Trial: In Defense of Museums That Resist the Call To Repatriate Ancient Artifacts, not the book, but I think the author makes some good points. I especially liked this:

He felt momentarily part of immemorial human endeavor. That kind of wonder may still be possible only in an "encyclopedic museum," where antiquities from all cultures are assembled to reveal the full range of human genius. As the French poet Paul Claudel wrote: "For the flight of a single butterfly the entire sky is needed."

Part of the power of archives is the ability to make us feel part of a whole.

The question, however, is who has ownership and who has control. Whether antiquity can be owned or not, I don't know, but certainly physical items have ownership. Whether the item is owned by the community, the legal government, an archives or museum, or an individual is the question. My tendency is to want ownership by the community whose members created the items. I think the comment "this is where they can do the most good" from Neil MacGregor, director of the British Museum when refusing even to lend the Elgin Marbles to the Greeks is misguided at best, arrogant at worst. I also have reservations about partage; it smacks too much of "dividing the loot" and "finders keepers".

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Traditional Buckskin Dress Found in Garbage Dump

This traditional dress was found in the garbage at Capilano, Vancouver, British Columbia. It is suspected that it may come from Alberta or the States. If you have any information about the owner, please contact:

Alice Besito
Financial Aide Worker
West & Central Regions
Sto:lo Nation Social Development
Phone: 604-847-3299
Fax: 604-847-3280

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Cultural Respect in Preservation and Conservation

This topic will be discussed at the North Carolina Preservation Consortium Annual Conference, which will be held on November 20, 2008 at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Preservation and conservation of collections in libraries, archives, museums, and historic sites are guided by professional ethics, standards, guidelines, and best practices.

This year's North Carolina Preservation Consortium (NCPC) annual conference will address the issues of cultural respect. Objects of material culture often hold intangible values for the community of origin. Do collection institution leaders honor these values with policies of respect and community collaboration? Some artifacts may not be intended for use or view by the public. Do collection institution caretakers place restrictions on access and exhibition? Some communities may wish to use artifacts in traditional ceremonies and rituals. Do collection institution stewards approve such requests? Some communities believe their cultural objects should deteriorate naturally. Do preservation and conservation professionals permit this to happen? We often profess to champion diversity in our collections. Do we respect multicultural perspectives on the preservation and conservation of heritage collections? Is there a moral imperative to preserve and conserve books, manuscripts, documents, photographs, film, sound recordings, art, and artifacts?

One of the papers presented at the Indigenous Graduate Student Research Conference discussed ancient baskets. During the discussion it was mentioned that there are some tribes in California which view baskets as sentient beings which are created for a specific use and that it was wrong to put them in glass cases where they could not be handled and touched, where they would not be allowed to do the task they were intended for, and where they would not be allowed to die a natural death.

I find this a fascinating topic. I'm hoping that I have the chance to read more and perhaps write a paper on this topic for my class on Preservation this summer.

Saturday, April 26, 2008


I'm going to the Northwest Archivists & ARMA 2008 Spring Conference being held May 28-31 at the University of Alaska in Anchorage. This afternoon I came across this AP article: Anchorage digs out from snow again.

Anchorage continues to dig out from a snowfall that set a record for the day and the month. The National Weather Service says 17.2 inches fell at its office just south of Anchorage's international airport and 22 inches fell in northeast Anchorage on Friday and Saturday.

I hope it melts quickly.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Copyright Slider: Quick Easy Access to Copyright Laws and Guidelines

I'm taking a class on Copyright this semester and, while doing some research, came across this handy little tool, a creation of the ALA’s Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP). You can find more official information over on ALA’s Washington Office blog (Let the OITP Copyright Slider Answer Your Questions!) and order one of your own for only a bit more than $5.

This single, sturdy product provides instant access to copyright laws and guidelines. Simply align the arrows by date of publication and determine a work’s copyright status and term. And the “Permission Needed?” box provides a quick answer to this very important question.

The Copyright Slider lets you answer questions such as :

* Is a work in the public domain?
* Do you need permission to use it?
* When does copyright expire?

What a cool little tool!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Stories and Words

I received my copy of Easy Access, the newsletter for the Northwest Archivists, about a week ago. I have been thinking long and hard about the President's Message written by Terry Baxter. In it he talked about what we archivists are--we are the keepers of the stories-- and what records are--the stories told by someone and waiting for someone else to listen.

He quotes this powerful poem, The Forgotten Dialect of the Heart, from The Great Fires: Poems 1982-1992 by Jack Gilbert:

How astonishing it is that language can almost mean,
and frightening that it does not quite. Love we say.
God, we say. Rome and Michiko, we write, and the
get it all wrong. We say bread and it means according
to which nation. French has no word for home,
and we have no word for strict pleasure. A people
in northern India is dying out because their ancient
tongue has no words for endearment. I dream of lost
vocabularies that might express some of what
we no longer can. maybe the Etruscan texts would
finally explain why the couples on their tombs
are smiling. And maybe not. When the thousands
of mysterious Sumerian tablets were translated,
they seemed to be business records. But what if they
are poems or psalms? My joy is the same as twelve
Ethiopian goats standing silent in the morning light.
O Lord, thou art slabs of salt and ingots of cooper,
as grand as ripe barley lithe under the window's labor.
Her breats are six white oxen loaded with bolts
of long-fibered Egyptian cotton. My love is a hundred
pitchers of honey. Shiploads of thuya are what
my body wants to say to your body. Giraffes are this
desire in the dark. Perhaps the spiral Minoan script
is not language but a map. What we feel most has
no name but amber, archers, cinnamon, horses, and

And yet and yet.... When I say ma maison you may wish to translate that into English as "my house" and not "my home", but that's not quite right either. If there are not two words--one for house and one for home-- does that mean French speaking peoples have any less feeling for home and everything that home represents? Do they not get homesick even if there is no word for it?

And the people in northern India may not have words like our words that are endearments. We may recognize little bird and twinklet and poppet as endearments, but would they? Surely they must feel love and if they do then they must express it to each other. And, well, if they don't then that's the reason their people are dying out, not because they lack the words to express love.

Archivists are indeed the keepers of the stories, but the stories are not the same for us all. They're not told in the same ways. Stories important to one people may not be important to another. Some stories are sacred and profound. Some are secret. Others have more than one meaning. And all stories are more than mere words.

P.S. See The Whale Hunt, "an experiment in human storytelling" in which photographs only are used to tell a story.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Last Week-end in Portland (Spring Semester)

The Oregon EDI students (me, Chau, Terrilyn, Max, and Toan) and Dr. Agada.