I have been ridiculously busy getting ready for the five talks I have coming up in the next three weeks. I have to have the slides for them all totally done this week because I’m going on vacation from the 13th until the start of Internet Librarian. And, for the first time in a long time, this will be a work-free, e-mail free vacation. For over a year, I’ve been using vacations to work on my book or whatever other project I have going on. And then I figure, since I’m working anyways, I might as well check my work e-mail and answer some of the more important ones. UGH! This time, that will not happen. Cell phones will be off and computers will only be used to find out what hours the wineries in Napa and Sonoma are open. And I plan to spend most of my vacation in no condition to be answering e-mails anyways. :)

There have been a lot of topics that have caught my interest lately — from the Learning 2.0 initiative at PLCMC to Paul Pival and David Rothman’s discussions of why students have a hard time distinguishing scholarly sources from those that are decidedly not (and here’s another article on that topic from Educause). Since I don’t have time to go into any real depth right now on any of these topics, I figured I could at least point you to the articles and blog posts that I’ve found interesting lately in the hopes that you will get something useful out of them.

Here’s, the good…

  • Danah Boyd’s list of people doing scholarly research on social networking software and a list of scholarly publications on the subject. If you’re interested in social networking software or are going to be writing an article about it, this is a great place to start your research.
  • If you’re at all interested in gaming culture, definitely take a look at “Where Everybody Knows Your (Screen) Name: Online Games as ‘Third Places’” by Constance Steinkuehler and Dmitri Williams from the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication. It gives a great survey of research on the topic as well as a nice view into the social worlds of MMOGs.
  • Whether you’re a fan of the term Library 2.0 or not, you can probably see that there is a definite shift in the way libraries and the general public are using technology to communicate, collaborate and build community online. David Lankes and Joanne Silverstein explore how Web 2.0 technologies can facilitate conversations between libraries and patrons in the report Participatory Networks: The Library as Conversation. I’ve only had a chance to read the executive summary so far, but it looks like it will be great airplane reading.
  • If you’re kind of new to social software and other bleeding-edge technologies and want to learn more, there are two courses going on now that you can independently follow along with at your own pace. Learning 2.0 is the Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County’s initiative to “encourage staff to experiment and learn about the new and emerging technologies that are reshaping the context of information on the Internet today.” There are “23 Things” or topics that teach users about a certain technology and then include a discovery exercise that gets the participant to actually use the technology. Very cool, concrete and simple. Reading the comments from the participants who’ve made it to the end of the course is literally electrifying (congrats Helene!)! Other libraries are already replicating this groundbreaking program! Also, take advantage of LIS 757 course on Social Software that Amanda Etches-Johnson is teaching at the University of Western Ontario’s Information School. Pretty much the entire course is taking place on blogs, so check out the reading list, look at the activities Amanda recommends for each week, and get learning! Both are just amazing treasure troves of free learning for all of us!
  • Hot Jobs: CIA Librarian and NPR Blogger.
  • Check out this International Calendar of Information Science Conferences (with an RSS feed!). Thank you NEASIST!

…the Bad (well, not that bad)…

  • Jill Hurst-Wahl has noticed that lots of people have been jumping into tech projects without properly planning them and only realized that they needed more planning after they’d already made the project public. This is really a big problem in our field and is something I was guilty of several times when I first started working at Norwich. If you’re implementing blogs, wikis, podcasts, etc. at your library, be sure to really plan the project just as you would any other technology project at your library. Think about maintenance, sustainability, stakeholders, etc.

… and of course, the utterly hillarious!

  • South Park meets World of Warcraft. OMG, one of the funniest episodes ever. A must watch for gamers or anyone with a sense of humor.
  • Weird Al’s White and Nerdy video. Wow, he’s kind of a good rapper! Many, many funny geek culture references. My brother and I were big Weird Al fans when we were kids, so it’s nice to see he’s still at top of his game. ;)