Friday, April 1, 2011
After much internal debate, I've decided to move my blog to a new space. For future updates, make sure to go here:
Why, you ask? Well, a couple reasons. First of all, my other blogs are on that site, so it makes my life much easier to check stats and comments on just one platform. Another bonus was the templates they have: my new Wordpress site is laid out in a way that I think is much easier to read and navigate. I like Blogger (especially some of the goodies they offer in their stats, such as that lovely map that shows your readership,) but I felt like my page was getting a little busy with all the links and such. I'd love to hear what people think of the new site, and if there's enough demand I can always copy and paste posts here too!
I'll be checking this site too, so if you leave comments or have questions, I'll make sure to answer them!
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
1. What works in one field won't work across the board. Obvious, yes, but definitely some words to live by. I am usually pretty good at attracting readers through social media and getting some interesting discussion going in the comments, but the dynamic was completely different with this project. More people found my blog through oddly specific web searches (despite a social media blitz, I never got much over 50 Twitter followers), and the comments mostly had a different feel about them. I'm not sure if this is true of all food blogs, but most people would just post 1-2 sentence comments with tips or with information on where to order a product. It's very useful, but it was harder to engage readers when responding to those posts. Which leads me to my next point...
2. Engage your readers. I feel like I do an alright job on this blog (although if there's a feature/topic/something you'd like to see, I'd love to know!), but I feel like there was a lot of room for improvement with my other blog. Whether it was from my new-ness to the food/history blogging field, my topic, or something I overlooked, I felt like I could not generate the interest I hoped for. I asked for input from readers (very few people responded to questions in my posts) and tried to offer helpful resources, but I have been pondering on what else I could have done. Possibilities include focusing more on offering resources (those posts did get more interest than others), and expand my reach to spend more time also trying to tie it into book history (I did this some, but it would have been a fun way to draw in more history folk).
3. Keep yourself motivated. After a while, I felt like no one was reading the blog and I had other things going on (moving, graduating, all that good stuff) and so I didn't devote the amount of time to it that I would have liked in the last few posts. I like these posts (and the recipes), but I felt less compelled to add lots of exciting resources and context to the posts. If I do a future short-term blogging project like MM, I might consider setting up a more strictly-enforced posting schedule for myself, keeping an eye out for other projects and resources I can share with readers, and try to network with other bloggers working with culinary history.
You can find more of my thoughts on interdisciplinary blogging here. Also, if you've had experience blogging in multiple contexts I'd love to hear what you learned!
Friday, March 4, 2011
Lulu is the place where I will most likely be creating the POD version of my book, and so it would be easy to turn that into an e-book too. It looks like Lulu only sells in the iBookstore, which means you have to assign it an ISBN and you have to put a price on it. I want to sell my UICB book as I am planning on giving half the proceeds back to the department, but I want to just give my conference paper away. Since I uploaded a PDF rather an an ePub document, I don't have to mess with the iBookstore's minimum price (99 cents).
Setting everything up is easy: I selected 'sell everywhere' which requires you to have an ISBN (Lulu gives you a free one on the next page). I think the ISBN lists Lulu as the retailer, which makes me wonder if it's usable on other e-book sites. For the record, mine is:
Monday, February 28, 2011
LIS students--this is a must-read and the topic is one we should all follow. If for no other reason, as a patron who wants to read e-books or even share a book with another student, you want to know that you can use those texts. I have seen a number of people say that e-books are not paper books, and that we need a new set of rules to deal with them. Maybe, but whether or not the suggestions they make are the be all and end all, they are an awesome start because they deal with access and with getting books to readers: the purpose for which they were written in the first place. Since digital books open up the potential for even greater access and sharing because they can be copied almost instantly and without the overhead and resources necessary to create print books. I'm keeping my eyes peeled to see what happens.
I've included the text of the original post below: the authors have graciously made it a public domain work so that you can alter it to add your own insights about user rights you would like to see.
The eBook User’s Bill of Rights
Every eBook user should have the following rights:
- the right to use eBooks under guidelines that favor access over proprietary limitations
- the right to access eBooks on any technological platform, including the hardware and software the user chooses
- the right to annotate, quote passages, print, and share eBook content within the spirit of fair use and copyright
- the right of the first-sale doctrine extended to digital content, allowing the eBook owner the right to retain, archive, share, and re-sell purchased eBooks
I believe that authors, writers, and publishers can flourish when their works are readily available on the widest range of media. I believe that authors, writers, and publishers can thrive when readers are given the maximum amount of freedom to access, annotate, and share with other readers, helping this content find new audiences and markets. I believe that eBook purchasers should enjoy the rights of the first-sale doctrine because eBooks are part of the greater cultural cornerstone of literacy, education, and information access.
Digital Rights Management (DRM), like a tariff, acts as a mechanism to inhibit this free exchange of ideas, literature, and information. Likewise, the current licensing arrangements mean that readers never possess ultimate control over their own personal reading material. These are not acceptable conditions for eBooks.
I am a reader. As a customer, I am entitled to be treated with respect and not as a potential criminal. As a consumer, I am entitled to make my own decisions about the eBooks that I buy or borrow.
I am concerned about the future of access to literature and information in eBooks. I ask readers, authors, publishers, retailers, librarians, software developers, and device manufacturers to support these eBook users’ rights.
These rights are yours. Now it is your turn to take a stand. To help spread the word, copy this entire post, add your own comments, remix it, and distribute it to others. Blog it, Tweet it (#ebookrights), Facebook it, email it, and post it on a telephone pole.
To the extent possible under law, the person who associated CC0 with this work has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to this work.
Sunday, February 27, 2011
Here's the article I'm reviewing for the class:
The Importance of OA, OSS, & Open Standards for Libraries
Basically, the author discusses the benefits of 'open' models (Open Access, Open Source Software, Open Standards) for libraries. I chose it because it covers the basics without being intimidating, and is a good way to nudge those who are scared of giant, wordy research papers toward an understanding of the topic. What I like about it is it's short and to the point (probably as long as most of my blog posts) and gives a great, easy-to-understand overview of how libraries can benefit from implementing OA and OSS into their day-to-day running.
What is OA?
Most of my readers probably know, but for my classmates who may not have spent much time with it I'll give a brief description. Open Access publishing refers to a model that prizes accessibility over profits. Traditional publishing models have a lot of overhead (printing, large staff, advertising, etc) that translates to large subscription costs that are beyond the reach of most individuals and even most libraries. A good anecdote from our instructor: He met some folks from an African library (I can't remember which country) who were excited to win a 2 year subscription to an academic journal database. They were so disappointed after 2 years to discover how expensive it was, because it meant they had to cancel that subscription and were not able to offer those resources to their patrons.
Open Access journals do not charge readers and keep all content online, so it can be accessed by anyone with an Internet connection (not everyone has Internet, of course, but it's a useful resource for those who do). Part of the reason this is possible is the lack of overhead associated with printing, and other options to reduce cost and generate revenue vary depending on the journal (B Sides, for example, is a part of the University of Iowa IR so we don't pay for server space or tech support. We also don't pay our editors, so we don't have to generate revenue for salaries. For some other journals, revenue for server space, etc. is generated by charging fees to authors to submit. I personally think this should be avoided at all costs, but there aren't many other options open if you operate outside a large research university). For another discussion of OA, check out Peter Suber's page.
My Experiences with OA
You all know about my editorial experience, but I'm not sure I've talked much about my experience as an author. I have published one article in B Sides, and I have an essay in press at Library Student Journal. LSJ has a *much* larger editorial staff than B Sides, but the process is much the same: submit an article, it's read by reviewers, returned for revisions, and if the revisions are up to snuff it's published. What I love about publishing with OA journals is that I get a *much* wider readership than I imagine I've gotten in my other publications. I get monthly statistics emailed to me about my B Sides article, and it's had almost 200 readers in less than a year. For a journal that's just gotten off the ground and an article that probably 15 people would have read in a print journal, that's pretty impressive. OA journal staff, being a part of a movement to change publishing, also tend to have their fingers in other projects and are open to new ideas. B Sides is throwing a conference on March 25th to teach students about presenting/attendance and to facilitate networking. LSJ tries to provide new resources to students whenever possible (including their recently launched blog).
Ways for Students to Learn More
Students can get involved in Open Access publishing through already-existing journals (including my perennial favorites, B Sides and Library Student Journal). If your department or school has a student journal, that might be another option. For students who want to publish outside LIS, check out the DOAJ (Directory of Open Access Journals) to see what's out there. All journals provide opportunities to publish, although some also have openings for other ways to get involved by peer reviewing or serving on the editorial staff. It's a great way to learn more about OA and it looks good on your resume!
List of Suggested Readings
I'm going to be compiling this over the next few days, so if you have ideas, please feel free to share in the comments!
100 Extensive University Libraries Anyone can Access
Gives some great resources for those without all the databases of a large research institution (or for those looking for resources not in those databases).
Blog dealing with Open Source and Open Standards.
Thomas Jefferson and OA
Thomas Jefferson did not know anything about OA, but this awesome quote by him has been circulated by enthusiasts.
The first Open Source American
Interesting article on how Ben Franklin's approach to the creative process mirrors the Open Source movement.
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
What a way to open the Report of the Librarian! Some of you might remember my post on Helen McRaith of Iowa City, and her beautiful, flowery language when discussing the role of the library in modern life. I love that this sort of beautiful language was being employed in something as seemingly mundane as an annual report--Rose's writing sounds almost like the opening of a tense piece of homefront fiction. I haven't spent as much time with more recent annual reports, but it definitely makes me wonder if we're using equally compelling language to tell our libraries' stories today.
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
One member's response was basically, "if she wants to go against what THE BIBLE says, that's her right, but keep libraries out of it." I tend to stay away from angry listserv discussions (people get riled up about everything from tuna fish to book boards on the lists I follow, and most of the time I just sigh and delete the thread), but this instance was one where I felt compelled to respond and say that the list included non-Christian individuals, and that not only did that response make them uncomfortable, it took time and attention away from the library issues the list was created to discuss. I did not mention my stance on gay marriage in the hopes that I could diffuse things rather than add my own anger to the discussion (but, for the record, I'm an ardent supporter!) I also wanted to avoid belittling the author's views, because she has most likely formed them with as much care as I have formed my own.
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Why should you care about keeping track of your stats? As an LIS student or new professional, it's a good way to know what social media actions are drawing attention and thus to be able to use social media tools more effectively. It also helps you manage your online presence (for a really great post about 'listening' in social media, see Dierdre Reid's blog!)
Thanks largely to Dierdre's post, I started keeping tighter track of my online presence through Google Alerts: if you have a Google account, I recommend setting them up. I set up alerts for my Twitter accounts, B Sides journal, both my blogs, and my name. I get an email for each one around noon each day, and while many of the links are false positives, there have been quite a few links that ended up being accurate and led me to mentions of myself and my work that I otherwise wouldn't have known about! I also check my blog stats daily, and I check my Twitter mentions and retweets multiple times a day by making columns for them in my Hootsuite account. I'll be adding Topsy to this list!
Fellow LIS students, what are you using to track your stats? And what impact has it had on your online presence and your use of social media tools?
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Sunday, January 23, 2011
The first idea the publisher had was to situate the research in a broader context of WWI regionally and nationally. I do this a bit, but I agree that adding more context would help the material be informative to a wider audience, and would help them relate to it more easily. He suggested I start out by looking at Christopher Capozzola, and I'm going to revisit Wayne Wiegand's bibliography as well (any other suggestions are welcome!)
The second suggestion centered around appendices, and this is where I would love to have some input from the folks who are even vaguely familiar with the research I've done. My work centered around primary documents from the libraries, and it was suggested that an appendix of select documents would help to guide students' understanding and to show a progression of events at the institutions. I definitely have some favorites I want to include, but I want to know what documents readers want to see or know more about!
Lastly, I asked around about other ways to make useful appendices and here are the types of appendices I've been told would be most useful: a timeline, a map/maps, definitions, and suggestions for further reading. I would love to hear of anything else that you think would be helpful for readers!
Thanks in advance--I'm looking forward to seeing where this project takes me!
Monday, January 17, 2011
One of the first times I experienced this was when I worked at the State Historical Society of Iowa in Special Collections. It was through there that I met the Mather family via their papers. For those interested in pioneer or Quaker history in the Midwest, I would definitely give this collection a look (another good one on Quakers and Abolition is the Lewis Savage collection). Ellen Mather was the matriarch of the family, who moved to Iowa from Illinois to marry her husband Samuel (he and his siblings moved here by covered wagon, and his sister left an immaculately detailed diary of their journey day by day.) The reason I felt so attracted to her story was that she strongly believed in education for her daughters and in educating her community (for example, she brought professors from the University of Iowa to give talks in her home for her and her neighbors). She was also an active participant in Chautauqua (sort of an adult continuing education movement that swept the nation in the late 19th/early 20th century.) I can see her being someone who would get really excited (like I do!) about the potentials of the Internet for sharing and for education, and I can see her taking an avid interest in the way it's impacting education (she was a teacher in a one room schoolhouse for a while, apparently as a teenager she was the only teacher who could keep the whole class in line). Because of her passion for learning, all her daughters grew up to be successful, intelligent, and well-educated. Love it!
Another person we all know and love is John Cotton Dana. Most readers of this blog will be aware of his wide-ranging achievements in improving public library services, making materials more available through browsing, and reaching out to immigrant populations. Another reason to love JCD? He took a stand against censorship at a time when that wasn't entirely popular or common. If you read Wayne Wiegand's An Active Instrument for Propaganda (pgs 96-99) there's a great couple of pages in there describing a pro-war group during World War I that found some of the books in the Newark library (where Dana was Director) to be 'seditious.' Most libraries removed materials to support the war effort (this was before the Library Bill of Rights), but Dana did not. His response instead? "I came to the conclusion (which I still hold) many years ago, that liberty of thought is a very desirable thing for the world and that liberty of thought can only be maintained by those who have free access to opinion." (Wiegand, 96). The group that challenged the books, called the Vigilantes, was in a tizzy and called national media attention to the case, but Dana refused to back down (even though he didn't see much support from the library community) and did not remove the books. I was so excited to learn about this part of his past, and it made me respect JCD all the more (he's another one who I think would be thrilled by the possibilities for sharing and education that digital technologies provide us).
And at last we have Hugo Munsterberg. Most people today probably have never heard of him, but during his life Munsterberg was a well-respected psychologist and professor. He was passionate about his work, and passionate about fostering a positive relationship between the country of his birth (Germany) and his adopted country (the US). While there are a few things we probably wouldn't agree on (he didn't think women could handle the demands of graduate work, for example), I have a lot of respect for his desire to foster understanding during a time when tensions were running high. Munsterberg published a couple short books on American-German relations during neutrality (after the war started in Europe but before the U.S. entered), and these would be withdrawn from libraries for being 'pro-German' after the we entered the war. This is ironic as Munsterberg wrote an essay praising American libraries and their forward-thinking ways only a decade or two earlier. His story is a sad one, largely because of a rising tide of anti-German sentiment that was felt even before the U.S. declared war. He lost his job at Harvard, was thrown out of social clubs, and ostracized by friends and his community because he supported Germany. Munsterberg's views in this regard are interesting because he did not support either country in the war (i.e. he didn't want one side to 'win') but instead he wanted both sides to stop fighting and set aside their differences. His writing was removed from some of the libraries I looked at, so I got curious and looked up his books (you can download them to your Kindle from Open Library, if anyone's interested). I was impressed by the tone: his writing is sad about current events, but optimistic for the future, and as time goes on he seems almost to be pleading for peace and understanding. He died in 1916 at the lectern while giving a talk at Radcliffe. I think the reason I feel so drawn to Munsterberg's story is because he believed so strongly in peace and understanding, and still loved both his countries even when he was being shut out of social and professional circles. I always admire people who hold to their beliefs even when it would be easier to just go with the status quo, and part of me wonders if Munsterberg's death was due in part to the stress of fighting for peace when the rest of the country was preparing to go to war. Reading his story helped me to remember that, as historians, we have a duty to share a variety of stories to remind modern readers that past times were as complex and diverse as the modern day.
I would love to hear what historical characters other folks have encountered during research and how they have shaped your understanding. There were so many others that I've learned about but didn't include here (like the librarians at the Iowa libraries I studied) and I am looking forward to meeting more!
Monday, January 3, 2011
Graphic novels: I love them (who doesn't?) and there are some exciting folks both who are creating art and exploiting digital content (there's a whole section of them in the Kindle bookstore, for example, including V for Vendetta, one of my all time favorites. Fair warning: if you search graphic novels in the Kindle store some adults-only Manga comes up). I've been thinking about jumping into the graphic novel world after feeling inspired making conference zines, but haven't made definitive plans yet. I was excited though when a friend directed me to this site because she thought I would like the art. The art (and the name) are reminiscent of a *hugely* inspiring high school teacher I had (small world, eh?), and if you click on the goodies under 'graphic novel concepts' you will find some really fun concepts that make my artist self dance with excitement. I'm excited to see where these go in the future, especially as developers create both content and programs tailored to reading on digital platforms.
Book Artists: Some folks I'm excited about right now: I got to meet Alycia at Library History Seminar XII this year, but the reason I am directing book arts friends in her direction is because she makes an *awesome* zine (about her experiences as an NYC library worker!) and blogs about issues relevant to book lovers and creators. Other people to keep an eye on: the Center for the Book (we just added a new MA program, plus the website has gotten a major facelift making it all the more pleasurable to browse), and the Miniature Book Society (the tiny books I wish I could make!).
Digital content: I've mentioned before how excited digital forms make me because of their potential for artists (see my post on circular texts for more), and one artist I've run across who's really embracing the medium can be found at Ocotillo Arts. This site inspires me because the artist creates tangible versions of the works before posting images of his work online (which he allows you to copy, although not for commercial purposes--a way of approaching licensing that is very similar to my own!) I also am curious to know if any of my book arts friends are using Prezi as a platform for creating art--I think there's a lot of potential there, but I haven't had a flash of inspiration yet on how to harness it.
Ok, and I need to put this in here too:
Artist/historian friends: what sites are you recommending right now? I have many more great sites for calligraphy, etc that I want to post, but I'll save them to keep this post from reaching epic proportions. I want to start compiling some great lists both for library research and for book arts (and research), so definitely feel free to post any suggestions in the comments!