27 August 2008

promise, tool, bargain

Chapter 11 of Shirky's Here comes everybody is entitled "Promise, tool, bargain." The premise is that "Every story in this book relies on a successful fusion of a plausable promise, an effective tool, and an acceptable bargain with the users" (p. 260). Boy, that really resonates. The problem with my office is that folks haven't bought into the bargain which does have some promise of helping the user and we've even got some decent tools that could evolve and become even more effective.

26 August 2008

"Harvie Krumpet"

Thanks to Emerson Morgan for posting this charming film on his Facebook page -- "Harvie Krumpet" by Adam Elliott, narrated by Geoffrey Rush.

series and accretions

There's been a big discussion on the PCCLIST about series authority records and it's morphing into BIBCO records and full/core records ... and now into Enhance. I keep thinking that what we really need is something more like accretion than enhance on master/other records. Someone puts a record into the common bibliographic universe, someone else adds another access point or two, someone else adds a contents note, now a book jacket or review. A combination of our traditional control with some of the jazzy new-generation stuff. Or perhaps an RLIN cluster with the accretions of the secondary cluster members more visible. I know we're getting there but big long reports on simplifying cataloging processes can be so dreary. Just go catalog. I think I will ... but, first, supper with Diana Mitrano.

24 August 2008

everything is dangerous?

With having read David Weinberger's Everything is miscellaneous and now reading Clay Shirky's Here comes everybody, I was ready to read a lot into the news report on the 40th annual conference on "planetary emergencies" now finishing up in Erice, Sicily. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/24/world/europe/24sicily.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=erice%20global%20risks&st=cse&oref=slogin or search "erice global risks" at nytimes.com

It did resonate too because I'd been talking with Christie yesterday about our long-planned and -delayed trip to Sicily, with Erice on the map as I surveyed where we might camp out for a couple weeks as we roamed around Selinunte, Agrigento, Piazza Armerina, etc etc.

Back to the conference, this year's theme risks included cyberterrorism, climate change, nuclear weapons, and the energy supply. In one session, Hamadoun I. Touré of the International Center of Insect Physiology and Ecology in Nairobi spoke about pervasive computer use offering the prospect of a global knowledge society as well as making billions of individuals into potential superpowers. He is quoted as saying "Every single brain on earth is equal and can trigger an attack."

That report was in today's paper. Yesterday's op-ed page had a column by Bob Herbert on "Voters want more from Obama." A really interesting discussion of how Obama should let the folks in general know more about how when things are a mess, you need informed and reactive change. We're ready for some strong leadership that works FOR the people's needs other than jingoistic nationalism and America-first crap.

23 August 2008

Weeksville & Alfred

Christie and I ventured out to Historic Weeksville in Bedford-Stuyvesant today. It is a small collection of historic houses, originating from the decades after the Civil War. http://www.weeksvillesociety.org/ The three extant houses are decorated to periods 1870s, circa 1900, and 1930s so there's an interesting variety of furnishings. The guide Anna was enthusiastic and informed. They are called the Hunterfly Road Houses because the road along there was called Hunterfly, a corruption of the Dutch name. The road was originally a Lenape Indian trail. Just like Broadway and many of the roads and streets in the U.S.

The 1930s Williams House was especially poignant because both Christie and I are thinking about retirement. I am contemplating living in Alfred in the family house which was built in the 1870s by my great-grandfather and his father-in-law. Some of the stuff in the kitchen was evocative of the house I still think of as my grandmother's though she probably thought of it as HER grandmother's. You can see a couple pictures of the house at http://people.alfred.edu/~fmuller/VillageProject/164011/1016/index.html

Living there would mean that I'm the fifth generation of my family in the house. When I was a child, my grandmother and her second husband lived downstairs and my great aunt and her second husband lived upstairs. My folks lived upstairs after my great aunt's health weakened and she moved downstairs with my grandmother. After my great aunt and grandmother had died, my folks moved downstairs and my brother and his wife moved in upstairs until they built their house on the hill outside the village of Alfred. So, actually, I wouldn't be the first fifth-generation person to live there.

17 August 2008

encounters with ...

Elizabeth Lilker had highly recommended seeing Werner Herzog's Encounters at the End of the World, for the images. And it is a beautiful film. As I was watching it at the Quad (I'm now eligible for senior rate; yea!), the scenes of McMurdo air base on Antarctica looked familiar, like the photos of An-My Lê. Indeed, her photos are also of McMurdo, a bleak but serene landscape. And then on Friday, I'd been to Murray Guy and the wonderful Flemish frieze of saints masquerading as soldiers had been on the office wall. It's such an incredible photo: a frieze of soldiers in various stances looking like a scene of standing saints.

After Murray Guy, I went up to P.P.O.W. to see the Wojnarowicz show. The image just inside the door really confronts you aesthetically and thematically. The rest of the show was pretty interesting too. A lovely photo by Wolfgang Tillmans of feet and lower legs: "in the night."

On to Long Island City. I got there early enough to visit P.S. 1 before the ARLIS/NY tour of the Richard Meier Model Museum. The P.S. 1 courtyard show this summer is Public Farm One, part of the Young Architects Program. Lots of interesting info and fun to look at too, particularly so soon after standing in my brother's garden as he thinned the beets. I wasn't doing any gardening myself but I did take the weeds as Doug pulled them and tossed them on the mulch pile.

The Richard Meier models are great. There are several whole-site ones of the Getty as the design evolved as well as the huge final model. There are also some wonderful detail models such as staircases and light wells. After we visited the museum, about a dozen of us went on to Lounge 47 for a snack, drink and chat. A lovely afternoon. If you do get over to Long Island City, don't miss the show of women earth artists at the Sculpture Center. There's a great staircase/amphitheater by Alice Aycock, a great Jackie Ferrara in the courtyard, and a number of other really interesting works. Oops, just checked: the show closed in late July.