The following list contains articles on native and Precolumbian America recently published in electronic journals. To access the full-text of the articles you must be at an institution with subscriptions to the journals (including within the Metropolitan Museum) or access WATSONLINE remotely (read how here).
I think it's about time to bow to reality and admit that this blog never really got off the ground: a great idea, but my heart's never really been in it. I'm afraid I'm like the parent of three children -- they being my three blogs -- and Library of primitive art is like the middle child: well-behaved perhaps, but slightly neglected and definitely underappreciated. Any professional-ish posts have ended up migrating to goldwaterlibrary.org, whereas the more personal ones find their home @ sixes & sevens. And frankly, when it comes to blogging, I'm just more interested in recording my observations of the greater world that is not my place of work. Maybe if I were twenty years younger or in library school or on the library front lines ...
For the foreseeable future it seems most likely that posts that would have ended up here will show up in @ sixes & sevens. Those interested only in LOPA-style posts will simply have to pan all the other travel and linguistic posts there for the few nuggets of fool's gold. The blog itself will stay here even as it gets staler and staler. And you never know, I might discover a renewed interest in posting here sometime in the future.
I tried to post a comment to Michael Stephen's Tame The Web, specifically in response to a guest post on Generation Jones written by Michael Colford. After muttering under my breath, I finally realized I can simply post the comment to my own blog and pray for trackbacks. So here goes:
Add me to those unfamiliar with the GenJones term, but who will gladly adopt it henceforward. Apart from being a librarian (and isn't that why I'm reading this anyway?), I'm at the bottom -- or rather, early -- end of the Gen, at a whiskered 50. Older than my fellow commenters, I believe I feel that sense of tween-ness even more strongly.
Some of my peers have no interest, in fact an outright fear of the new technology: they feel positively threatened by it.
I am looked upon by the younger, connected-since-birth generation as something slightly extraordinary: pretty hip for an oldster, or at any rate getting cred for wading into 2.0 with only modest trepidation.
And I'm at the tail end of the more established Boomer set, the ones who wear suits and run libraries, the ones who let the youngsters fiddle around with the technology. I suspect they think my interest in the profession's technological future is a career killer (and time waster). Or maybe it's that they anticipate being safely retired when the future finally comes to pass.
But being the youngest family member to older, 'true' Boomers, this sense of being between generations has been with me since childhood: The Boomers had all the fun we missed out on, whereas we had to come of age in the unenlightened Seventies.
So wot the hey, wot the hey! Best we just soldier on. What is it we Gen Jonesers can add in this multigenerational muddle? The experience that says that play is good -- and learning better -- but not every toy makes a good tool.
Here's something that could have fallen into either of my blogholes, from the Spanish-language library humor site (¡sí, existe!) BiblioTICando con humor, about Alfons Cornella Solans, the information theorist and founder of Infonomia, 'the network of innovators'. (Here is the pdf English-language version of its About Page.)
Among the term he has coined in his writings is the captivating infoxicación. I feel as if there must certainly be an English-language term that capture this as succinctly. Even though 'infoxication' has a Google presence, I'm afraid that it doesn't capture the same sentiment while hinting at other, less savory other sentiments. Any sugestions out there?
This conference seeks to bring attention to Pacific collection materials that are not well known but that have special value to Pacific communities and to the general public. It also seeks to focus attention on issues and developments regarding access to these materials, as well as to digitizing projects underway. An international group of Pacific librarians will share information about their collections and discuss common concerns.
The keynote speaker for the conference is award-winning poet, author, and former librarian Robert Sullivan, a UHM assistant professor of English. Other featured speakers include David Kukutai Jones, Maori specialist at the Alexander Turnbull Library in Wellington, Aotearoa/New Zealand; and Ewan Maidment, Executive Officer of the Pacific Manuscripts Bureau, Canberra, Australia. The conference convener is Dr Karen Peacock, UHM Pacific curator and head of Special Collections.
Conference registration information is on the Web. Registration is $20 general and $5 students. The registration deadline is 1 March 2007.
The conference is sponsored by the UHM Center for Pacific Islands Studies through a US DOE Title VI National Resource Center Grant. It is also supported by the UHM library system.
Above: An example of a rollover for a single object in an installation photograph. Read below to see what I mean.
Not that anyone would suspect it, but the prolonged silence at this space hasn't been for lack of something to say. Okay, maybe a lack of something to say, but not a lack of activity. Much of my activity has been concentrated on local project planning -- offsite storage, WiFi, and a few stray efforts at improving reference tools.
One of the latter projects was an idea I came up with to use flickr! to assist in object-based reference questions. One of the most frequent questions asked at MPOW is: "Can you help me to find out more about an object in your galleries?" There are nearly 1,200 objects on display in our galleries. Keeping track of them in your head is impossible. In the best of all worlds our patrons would arrive with most of the information we needed to identify the object. Sadly and predictably, this is seldom the case. Absent that there has never been a practical way for us to match these often vague object references (“It’s in the case on the right as you come in, about halfway down, on a stand”) with the specific citation in the library's reference resources. Right now our only recourse is to send them back down to the galleries to copy down the pertinent information – an option I’ve never particularly liked: I worry that they’ll simply never come back again.
What if we had a way to share installation photos with our patrons to identify object they want to know about? And what if the photo had rudimentary information about the objects in the photo, enough to launch a fuller research effort?
While walking through the galleries one afternoon it struck me that I could tailor some of the existing features of flickr! to suit my needs. By using the ‘Add Note’ feature over an installation photo, I could create rollovers for each element in an installation photo, and presto!
I proposed a pilot project to the head of my department, who suggested that I start with objects I knew cropped up often with our walk-in patrons. She also informed me that our department’s segment of the museum-wide collection management database (TMS) already includes many installation shots, stored on the department’s shared drive, that are associated with specific objects.
For my initial effort I picked a wall of Benin brass plaques. I located the relevant installation photo in TMS, downloaded it to my PC and uploaded it to flickr! I created four sample rollover notes with only each object’s unique accession number and the object title. I created a mock flickr! set for it and future photos from the specific gallery in which it resides.
I tagged the photo with some boilerplate terms common to all the objects in the installation photo. I have my colleague Dan to thank for suggesting that I could tag the accession numbers as well as put them in the notes. As I subsequently discovered, tagging in flickr! is an imprecise art. Unlike our collection management system, there's no truncation, for one thing, making a search across accession numbers impossible.
I intend to use the 'Comments' section as a feedback mechanism to solicit suggestions and answer questions from the (for now) closed community with access to the project in vitro.
As is so often the case with projects employing museum photography, I’m waiting for the powers that be to determine if this use of the images complies with museum policies. I don’t know which of several real or imagined aspects of their use that might be giving our administration pause. Fortunately flickr!’s image options allow us to limit access as narrowly as library staff only if called upon. Naturally I’d prefer the resource was available to a much larger audience.
The project is still in development at this writing, pending approval from the administration and a lot more tinkering with the specific features of the tool. I had considered keeping this quick-and-easy DIY application of flickr! to myself until I could showcase a more finished project. But I'd rather put this out there now and see if it might have an application with other museum collections.
With apologies for the delay in posting, here is an interesting post, 'Nature's Open Peer Review Experiment Closed', from RSS4Lib on the failure of a web-based peer-review mechanism to take hold among Nature magazine's academic readership. It seems that while scholars were willing to post their articles online, their peers were reluctant to use the web forum to post comments. And while a majority of those authors who participated expressed satisfaction with the system, the experiment nevertheless failed to generate enough participation.
RSS4Lib's Ken Varnum wonders in his post,
I'm likewise curious to see if an experiment like this aimed more directly at rising scholars -- those in the midst of, or having recently completed, their doctorates -- might have different results. Or is the tradition of anonymous peer review is so deeply embedded in academia that it trumps these newfangled "web 2.0" tools?
I can see where new academics initially might be reluctant to rock the boat when it comes to promoting alternatives to traditional publishing. And it might be some time before these new academics have sufficient tenure and clout to make changes in the established tenure norms. Would this be a chicken-and-egg question or who flinches first?
Putting the 'me' in meme, this exercise in social 'tag-you're-it'-ing
I guess it was inevitable that I would be fingered by a fellow librarian from the biblio-blogosphere to participate in the latest virtual parlor game, Five Things You May Not Know About Me. Fortunately for me the tagger was Jenny Levine, and she is such a new (and most welcomed) friend that there's a good chance she might not know these things about me. This post's for you!
I had half a mind to phrase it entirely in the negative, as in "Isn't double-jointed, can't touch his elbow with his tongue, nor engage in any similar amusing party tricks." Or perhaps I could weigh in on the "boxers vs. briefs" controversy. (Where's the novelty in a 50-50 proposition?)
Anyone who knows me even a teeny bit already knows w-a-a-a-a-y more than they need or care to know about me, so forthcoming am I with autobiographical factoids at the drop of a hat. There'll be no revelations in this for my long-suffering coworkers.
I am beginning to worry about the poor individual who ends up the last to be asked her/his five lesser known things. In what might be an illuminating sign, many of my library pals don't feel yet any calling to blog. If they do blog, they're also steadfastly fad-resistant. Fortunately Jennifer "Don't Call Me Jenny" Macaulay (see 5 above), who has weighed in with her five things before I could tag her, has in her valedictory comment left me a perfectly gracious way not to worry:
6. "I never pass along chain letters, chain emails, pleas for help or money, etc."