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".