Posts Tagged ‘Freedom of Information’

As a follow-up to yesterday’s post on the Medieval Feminist Wikipedia Write-in event at Kalamazoo, here’s an interesting post from the Hack Library School blog on librarians using, and actively editing, Wikipedia. My becoming a Wikibrarian is looking more and more likely by the day. Who’s with me?


Are you a Wikibrarian? I recently became one—a librarian who edits Wikipedia (“the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit”)—and I have found the experience rewarding in the extreme. I have even stumbled into a role as an embedded consultant, helping faculty teach undergrads how to write Wikipedia articles on gender history, on which improvements are urgently needed. So what are the benefits to becoming a Wikibrarian while in library school?

Wikipedia is legit

My role as a Wikibrarian is possible because Wikipedia has become increasingly “legit” among the more open-minded educators and information professionals. Wikipedia’s rigor and quality have come a long way from Steve Carell’s classic deadpan in The Office a few years ago. Now Harvard University’s rare books library is recruiting a Wikipedian in Residence! Best uses of Wikipedia are to find background information, bibliographies, topic ideas, quick facts, and keywords. Selective editing, conflict of interest, copied and pasted text, and other…

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Christine de Pizan, in her study at the beginning of the ‘Cent balades’. From her book of “Various works” (also known as ‘The Book of the Queen’), Harley 4431, c.1410-c.1414, France. (Copyright: British Library.)

This post is partly to publicise and partly copied from the wonderful In the Medieval Middle blog, which I can’t recommend highly enough. Some of my favourite medievalists, most notably Jeffrey Jerome Cohen (Professor of English and the Director of the Medieval and Early Modern Studies Institute (MEMSI) at the George Washington University in Washington).

Delegates attending the upcoming International Congress on Medieval Studies at Western Michigan University, known as Kalamazoo (where the University can be found), from 8-11 May, will have the opportunity to take part in a “Wikipedia Write-in”. The particular focus of this Wikipedia exercise, organised by the Society for Medieval Feminist Scholarship, is a Medieval Feminist Wikipedia Write-in. (more…)

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… for a week, anyway.

Voices for the Library

Voices for the Library

World domination needs must start small. Starting on Monday 13 May – just two days to go! – I will be Taking over Twitter through @voiceslibrary.

The Twitter Takeover began in the week leading up to National Libraries Day on Saturday 9 February, 2013. I was one of seven libraries to take on a day of tweeting through the Library Voices account, the purpose of the exercise being to fight against the closures of libraries and the replacement of librarians with volunteers by showing what we do and how we and our places of work are valuable, essential parts of society. The need to demonstrate this has not gone away since National Libraries Day; in fact, it is more important than ever before, as cuts continue and deepen.

As a regular user of public libraries whose local library has been replaced with a volunteer-run book-lending service, I only get frustrated every time I go in there. The lack of training and experience shows in every interaction. I look at what the service ought to be, I remember the wonder of the local library and librarians who helped bring me up (that is how often I was there), and I experience what this other place is now, and I realise that we need to fight harder than ever to stop this becoming the norm.

The more people that think about what libraries mean to them, and the more people who share those feelings, and act upon the need to keep them alive, both now and in the future, are a crucial part of Voices for the Library. Just look at the several testimonies to libraries on the website. This excerpt from Carola’s story of Orkney Libraries is typical, and shows how essential libraries are to the past, present, and future:

Carola's testimony, on Voices for the Library

Carola’s testimony, on Voices for the Library

I’m still working out my full plan for the week. I will spend some time introducing you all to my library world, but that’s not enough. This week is not really supposed to be about me. I need to talk about libraries and what they have done for me as a reader and researcher, how they have helped to bring me this far, and how I want to make sure that they are around to take me as far as I can go. I need to talk about how libraries and librarians must be there to help current and future generations on their path into and inside the library.

I hope to see you all on Twitter from Monday morning onwards.

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Even if you don’t want to stand up for the rights of children to read fairytales, and/or for guns to be banned or made more difficult to own, please think of the fictional grandmothers being callously deprived of wine. It’s a small pleasure in a dangerous world where one may literally be eaten by the wolf at the door.


The text: “One child is holding something that’s been banned in America to protect them. Guess which one?”

Some background: The Charles Perrault version of Little Red Riding Hood, the one that was banned by two California school districts, was controversial not because both the grandma and the little girl are eaten by the wolf by the end of the story, but  because – as the Christian Science Monitor notes,  “one of the refreshments for her grandmother that Little Red Riding Hood carried in her basket was wine.” Yes, parents evidently had an issue with the depiction of the alcoholic beverage…



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Which door do I open next? (image from Fiction Fixers: Adventures in Wonderland)

When I realised that I would not be able to complete 23 Things for Professional Development by the original deadline in October, I decided that I would take some of the pressure off myself, by resolving to finish all 23 things by the end of 2012. Because I go away for a few days tomorrow, I want to write my last CPD23 post this evening to keep my resolution. I would like to thank the Evil Geniuses behind CPD23; I hope that they realise what a great thing they do for the rest of us. (more…)

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Speak up for Libraries (source: Speak up for Libraries website)

It is with fabulously good timing that I write my response to CPD23 Thing Sixteen: Advocacy, speaking up for the profession and getting published, as yesterday I received confirmation of my place at this Saturday’s Speak up for Libraries conference. If you cannot attend the conference itself, you can follow our discussions on Twitter at the hashtag #SUFLConf. (more…)

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The internet blackout against SOPA and PIPA going through Congress is about to begin.

The following trustworthy sources are providing a good overview of the issues involved herein, and will direct you to some interesting links. I am not at my best today, so cannot do very much, but I hope to be able to to read and write more coherently on such a crucial issue which affects all countries.

  • IJ Brown, Librarian, gives a great summary of the issues involved here
  • THe BBC has a concise discussion of the facts of the issue, with relevant links attached for further reading.
  • Please don’t forget that during the blackout of sources such as Wikipedia and Google, you can still contact Librarians through various sources. The British People’s Network has an “

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