After hearing through the family grapevine that the new version of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is worth seeing, I caught it last night at LSC at MIT for free. What my family didn’t tell me that I’ll tell you is that the “real life” parts of the movie are completely different from the 1947 version’s storyline. Instead, they deal with Life magazine shutting down and the transition the publication and its staff go through to begin entering the digital age. Sound familiar? Walter is a “negative asset manager,” aka photo negative librarian/archivist—one of us news and photo librarians. Like many of us, he must figure out what to do next with his career and, well, life because of changes to the media industry and its downsizing.
Several scenes happen in the physical photo archive. I guess I gasped audibly when the characters entered that area the first time because I saw my companion glance at me. Levels of classic metal shelves in a common library architecture. Hollinger boxes. Memories.
I’m not a big Ben Stiller fan by any means, but I did enjoy the film, especially because I can relate to the plot line involving Walter’s job. Going through another job transition, I’ve been pondering my own career path, where I’ve been, and what various changes might mean for my professional future. Someone recently asked me where I see myself in five years. Five years ago, I wouldn’t have predicted I am where I am now. (But, amusingly, I may have just done a loop and ended up in a position that makes great sense based on where I was five years ago.) Where should I be in five years? Where do I want to be in five years? Sitting on a Himalayan mountainside photographing and observing snow leopards seems terrific to me, but quite orthogonal from where I am now.
Anyway … LSC shows The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013) again tonight at 8 pm in 26-100 at MIT.
Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts is free today thanks to a special Free Fun Fridays program from the Highland Street Foundation. One of the four original copies of the Magna Carta is there this summer. I saw it Wednesday night. When in your lifetime are you going to have the chance to admire such a fine document from almost 800 years ago (799, really)? It’s amazing to think about how someone had the presence of mind that long ago to try to preserve that thin parchment and those elegantly penned lines that became critically important to many governments.
The exhibit does not allow photography, so alas, I personally have no proof. (Yeah, no selfie with 800-year-old parchment.) It made me wonder how, in this age of sharing, it would change things if the museum or the document’s owner, Lincoln Cathedral, or someone would provide an image or something we could all share, send to friends, and view to get closer looks at this amazing piece of history.
Like the gorgeous quilts on display now, it makes me ponder why some people keep some things and not others, why go to the lengths to preserve some of the things we do. Not that I’m saying these things are not worth preserving, just how is it that some of these things that are hundreds of years old have survived, been handed down, found their way into hands that would cherish them, etc. And items like the quilts end up telling us so much about how people lived and what they had in the 1800s or so. What cultures influenced others; what colors, patterns, and fabrics were available; what was likely to end up in a blanket. But talking about the quilts, even though some tell terrific stories and, of course, they’re fibre arts–hobbies closely associated with librarians–is not nearly as germane as talking about a major historical document. It would be way too off topic, perhaps, for me to say that the collectors focused on the same pattern as my Mom’s quilt, the one she and some women made when our church experimented with a quilting group a while back. The ones on display were amazing variants on that pattern, one of which in particular caused more people than just me to gasp and admire it in wonder. Oh, the patience and creativity that went into some of those threads!
Besides, what else are you going to do tonight? It’s not like there’s a football game.
Through an American Library Association group on LinkedIn, I found a list of free programs offered over the Internet for librarians in June. Sure, the month is almost over (*gasp!*), but materials related to past ones may be available online still and a few of the upcoming ones could be quite useful, including a Thursday (6/19) discussion about solo librarianship. (OK, maybe that’s a bad example because registration is closed, but it’s still possible to register to receive the presentation materials.) They also offer leads on people and organizations who offer training, like Florida Library Webinars. (See that, Lincoln?)
For National Preservation Week, the MIT Libraries are sponsoring a free showing of The Monuments Men via LSC at MIT, Tuesday, April 29, 2014, at 8:00 pm, 26-100 (that’s Building 26, room 100, a big
movie theatre lecture hall not too far from the landmark Stata Center). Did I mention the showing is free? Come out to show support for the MIT Libraries!
*yells “LSC … !”
I can’t help sharing this tale with you. Besides, Liz would love that I blogged it!
While doing a search in Google tonight for something somewhat random, a link to Infomaniac: Behind the News popped up in the first page of search results. I gasped.
Liz Donovan’s blog is still out there. Her words are still floating around on Blogspot. Terrific! It’s good to know her words live on. She was such an amazing woman, one very respected by her news librarian colleagues. She definitely influenced me and my career. You’re reading one outcome of her persuasiveness. I can recall several conversations years ago where she asked me if I had heard of this thing called a “weblog” and how she thought I should start one. She was often an early adopter and evangelist. And she was absolutely right (even if I don’t get around to writing here much these days). So in April 2003, I started a new hobby.
The match to my search terms was not even a good one. Seven words grouped with parentheses in a pattern of 5 and 2. Only two words of the first set of five were in the particular post Google pointed me to. Why is it that Liz’ blog is popping up now? It makes me laugh. Hello, Liz!
Wishing everyone a safe and wonderful Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Let’s hope 2014 is a great one!
Posted by Rich
The New England Chapter of the Special Libraries Association is presenting a panel discussion called Special Libraries Career Profiles: The Role of Information Professionals in Business Development and Marketing on Wednesday, October 29, 2013 at the Boston Public Library, Concourse Level, Room CO6 at 6 p.m. The event is free, but you have register by Monday October 28, 2013 so they will know how many are coming:
“This discussion will feature research professionals working with the Boston-based economic consulting firm Analysis Group, Inc.
This 3-person team of full-time researchers work within the company’s Marketing Department, providing business development, legal, marketing, and business research support.”
“They will be joined in the discussion by another Marketing colleague who supports the company’s direct marketing efforts through research and list building, and by a part-time legal research specialist.”
“The moderated conversation will focus on team members’ career paths, how they use their library skills outside the traditional library
setting, and how they strive to remain relevant in an evolving market and a growing company. Ample time will be provided for a question and
Speakers: Victoria Hopcroft, John Aubrey, Rosemary Zankiw, Catherine Boothby, and Mary Liz Brenninkmeyer
Moderator: Devon McArdle, President, SLA New England
Attendees are advised to enter at 700 Boylston Street and take the stairs or elevator down one floor to the Concourse level. The conference rooms will be on the right.
For more info:
Posted by Rich
BarCamp Boston 8 2013 is being held on October 26-27, 2013 at the MIT Stata Center in Cambridge, Mass. Cost is free and open to everyone, though donations would be appreciated and have their benefits.
“BarCamp Boston topics include: technology, development, food-science, startups, sci-fi, 3d printing, social media, gadgets, communities, design, hardware hacking, UI & UX, entrepreneurship, AJAX, open source software, robotics, art, mobile computing, bioinformatics, RSS, social software, programming languages, the future of technology, and much, much more!”
For more info:
Another event I have to pass on (sigh)
Posted by Rich
Addendum during BarCamp Boston: Well, Rich wasn’t able to attend, but I, j, went.
Saturday, I really enjoyed connecting with introverts and discussing strategies for overcoming shyness during a roundtable. Following that, I led a greater discussion about how to network as an introvert, including sharing some ideas about introducing ourselves (like giving a 2-minute story or elevator pitch or whatever you want to call it), how to start a conversation, and how to find events to attend in the first place (asked by a newcomer to Boston).
Sunday, I participated in the smart homes roundtable first thing. We talked about some remote applications for controlling energy consumption and potential future apps we would use (I mentioned kitchen inventory management and pet feeding and monitoring; the fellow next to me broached garden and plant systems.) Then a few of us discussed home repair and related issues. Following that, xxv shared the details of building and installing the world’s smallest museum in Union Square, Somerville, between Subway and The Independent. As well as repurposing some materials (like a fish tank), the museum creators designed and fabricated some aspects of the museum from scratch (like the tiny spotlights). Fascinating!
Since the speaker for the session on freelancing did not show up and I was the one of two people in the room who had freelanced and didn’t mind giving a presentation on it, I shared my experience and encouraged the other fellow to talk about his. Questions from the audience drove what we covered. We came up with a list of places people could potentially find freelancing gigs, including professional organizations, personal networking, LinkedIn, Craig’s List, elance, small companies, start ups, etc.
WordCamp Boston 2013 is being held on October 25-27, 2013 at the Microsoft NERD Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts. WordCamp deals with the WordPress blogging program which this website uses. Beginners and advanced users are welcome.
Costs: Full weekend $60.00
For more info:
Posted by Rich
The Boston Book Festival 2013 is being held on October 17-19, 2013 around Boston’s Copley Square area. Most of the events are being held on Saturday, October 19 starting at 10 am and are free.
Some of the writers scheduled to appear are Tomie dePaola, Steve Almond, Laurie Edwards, Linda Barnes, Peter Abrahams, Leigh Montville, Christopher Castellani, Caleb Crain and Kevin Cullen.
For more info:
Posted by Rich
The Wikimedia New England General Meetup happens Saturday, July 20, from noon to 2:30 pm at Wu Rosen Associates, 6 Edgerly Place, Boston, MA. RSVPs are appreciated.
The New England Technical Services Librarians, a section of the New England Library Association, is hold their annual spring conference called The Many Hats of Technical Services on Friday, April 12, 2013 at the College of the Holy Cross, Hogan Campus Center, Worcester, MA.
Keynote speakers will be Susan Gibbons, University Librarian, Yale University and Jessamyn West, Library Technologist & Community Manager, Metafilter.com and her library blog, http://www.librarian.net/
Nicole Engard, Vice President of Education, ByWater Solutions and her library blog, What I Learned Today http://www.web2learning.net) will be holding a morning session called The Accidental Systems Librarian: Using our Librarian Competencies in Managing Systems.
Currently Unemployed / Library School Student – $25.00
NETSL/NELA Personal Member – $50.00
Non-Members – $80.00
Registration ends on Friday, March 29, 2013. There are no walk-in registrations.
For more info:
Posted by Rich
Even though RSVPs are closed, I thought I would mention the presentation folks from the National Records and Archives Administration (NARA) are giving at MIT’s Center for Civic Media Thursday (2/21) from 12-1:30 pm.
Our speakers will provide a brief introduction to the kinds of records that the National Archives maintains, a discussion of some of the new ways that we are seeking to make the content in those records available and more useable, and how we are looking beyond traditional researchers in the process.
My library network, NOBLE, is looking for a full-time System Support Specialist. The deadline for applying is Thursday, Feb 7, 2013. Knowledge of Linux operating systems is required,
Institution: NOBLE, North Of Boston Library Exchange
Job: Systems Support Specialist
Duties/Description: Systems Support Specialist needed to participate in
operation of servers, networks and software for the North Of
Boston Library Exchange (NOBLE) in Danvers. Operate and
update servers, troubleshoot issues, file bug reports,
working with NOBLE staff, staff of other networks, system
vendors and the open source community.
NOBLE is an automated library network and technology partner
for 28 public and academic libraries operating an open
source Evergreen library management system as well as
providing web hosting, email, a telecommunications network,
downloadable ebooks and audiobooks, and digital repository
Qualifications: Knowledge of Linux operating systems required. Familiarity
with perl, PHP; relational databases (e.g., MySQL,
and programming concepts desirable. Knowledge and
experience with software development, including version
control, documentation, and sound security practices,
computer applications in a library setting, web servers, and
Apache experience with HTML5, WordPress, Evergreen a plus.
Bachelor’s degree or equivalent in Computer or Information
Science or a related field and 1-3 years of increasingly
responsible related experience optimal. Ability to work
independently and with initiative as needed, and the ability
to work collaboratively.
Salary: $52,100 with benefits
Closing Date: February 7, 2013
Send: Applications accepted until position is filled. To
ensure consideration, applications should be
submitted by February 7, 2013 to
gagnon at noblenet.org, attn. Systems Support search.
Posted by Rich
Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society is offering a 12-week online copyright course to 500 selected students. Applications are available now through January 3.
We’re excited to announce that Berkman Faculty Director Terry Fisher will be teaching a version of his Copyright course on the edX platform in the spring, beginning Jan. 28: https://www.edx.org/courses/HarvardX/HLS1x/2013_Spring/about.
Unlike other “MOOCs” (massive open online courses), Copyright will be offered to a relatively small cohort of 500 students, who will be admitted via an application process and supported by a small army of Harvard Law School Teaching Fellows. The Teaching Fellows will lead weekly, real-time discussions for course sections.
The application process is open now through Jan 3. We’re looking forward to diverse and international participation, and would very much appreciate if you could help spread the word to your communities:
edX Copyright course page: https://www.edx.org/courses/HarvardX/HLS1x/2013_Spring/about
edX Copyright application page: https://hub.law.harvard.edu/copyrightx/courses/1?course_tracker_id=1
If the world doesn’t end soon, that is.
Via a Washington Monthly blog post, RKO told me a college close to my heart, Newberry College, now offers a social media major. According to the press release: “Offered through the Department of Arts and Communications, the Social Media major will be an original interdisciplinary program that would capitalize on the strengths of existing courses in Graphic Design, Communications, Business Administration, Psychology and Statistics. Four innovative courses, created specifically for the Social Media major are also included in the curriculum.” The Washington Monthly wonders what kind of value such a major would have. Would students be better off earning allied degrees, such as design or marketing, then honing social media skills on the side (which so many of us do anyway)? I guess we’ll find out once graduates from the new program get jobs.
And that’s all I’m going to say about that because of my ties to the college involved.
Need some travel ideas? How about visiting some haunted libraries?
This international list features exciting destinations like Mexico, England, Ireland, Australia, and South Africa.
The list of US hauntings inspires a tour of the Midwest and Southwest with a few wanderings to other regions.
Some of the ghosts are librarians, library users, and former land owners.
Tonight, 11/8, from 5:30 – 7 pm, the New England Chapter of the American Society for Information Science and Technology (NEASIST) discusses an upcoming case where someone made academic journal articles available to the public, US v. Swartz.
Champions Sports Bar, Marriott Hotel
Kendall Square plaza (next to the Red Line)
50 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02142
Aaron Swartz has been charged with felonies for accessing JSTOR via the MIT network, getting many articles, <strike?and making them publicly accessible elsewhere (correction in the addendum). Tonight’s conversation focuses on many aspects of his actions and the consequences.
I thought I had posted about this situation before, but apparently not. The NEASIST blog post points to some articles for background.
Disclosure: I know Aaron.
Addenda: 11/08/2012 I am mistaken about what Aaron did with the articles. All he had done with them was download them.
The meeting was not a presentation or summary and discussion as many of us hoped it would be. We made small talk waiting for someone to start the meeting. When it became apparent that wasn’t what was happening, some of us talked about US v. Swartz. Since many of us had come to learn about the situation and its present status, we weren’t really prepared to have any indepth discussion about it. The folks I chatted with came up with far more questions than insightful perspectives.
01/13/13: It is with great sadness that I share the news of Aaron’s death. I will miss him and his brilliant mind.
Kevin Poulsen of Wired Magazine summarizes some of Aaron’s accomplishments: “When he was 14 years old, Aaron helped develop the RSS standard; he went on to found Infogami, which became part of Reddit. But more than anything Aaron was a coder with a conscience: a tireless and talented hacker who poured his energy into issues like network neutrality, copyright reform and information freedom. Among countless causes, he worked with Larry Lessig at the launch of the Creative Commons, architected the Internet Archive’s free public catalog of books, OpenLibrary.org, and in 2010 founded Demand Progress, a non-profit group that helped drive successful grassroots opposition to SOPA last year.” He also reports that MIT is investigating their “… involvement from the time that we first perceived unusual activity on our network in fall 2010 up to the present. [MIT's president] asked that this analysis describe the options MIT had and the decisions MIT made, in order to understand and to learn from the actions MIT took.”
Just the other day, I was telling someone about blog group’s quest to attend campaign events for the Democratic presidential nominee candidates back in 2003 and how I should have been thinking about doing a little bit of that this fall while I don’t have a full-time job taking dibs on my weekdays. Today, one of my friends sent me a link to register for a ticket to a major Democratic rally featuring President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton in Concord, NH on Sunday, November 4. Tickets to New Hampshire events with Mitt Romney are available for Portsmouth on Saturday, November 3, and Manchester on Monday, November 5.
Libertarian Gary Johnson will be elsewhere in the country. Green Party’s Jill Stein will be in Tennessee until the debate with other candidates in Washington, DC, Sunday night (11/4). From their campaign sites, I could not figure out what Virgil Goode of the Constitution Party and Rocky Anderson of the Justice Party are doing until the Washington, DC debate.
But I did figure out where some web designers could possibly get jobs … I’m going to rest my sore eyes away from the computer now.