Urban Winter Green

Our New Raised BedsBy the time we finished installing our three new raised beds between the house and the sidewalk and were ready to start planting, it was already mid-summer—late July—when vegetable seedlings were no longer available at most local garden stores. Sky Nursery, the biggest plant store in our part of Seattle, had only a few picked-over sets left. I left with a few over-seeded packs of rainbow chard, iceburg and crisphead lettuces, and a couple of sturdy cherry tomato plants, and before long, the young plants were elbow to elbow in our new raised beds. Continue reading

Another “Future of” Post

Inside Higher Ed’s Blog U features a post today from Tracy Mitrano summarizing points made by Susan Perry and Jay Schafer about the future of academic libraries. It joins so many other prognistications echoing about the blogosphere, but is interesting for its technology focus (not surprising, given the source).

  • Purchasing and cataloging functions are changing rapidly and the need for traditional technical services staff is shrinking.
    Licensing, rather than purchasing, material is prevalent.
  • The Open Source movement is making many learning materials and computer applications freely available. However, maintenance of the applications requires staff. It is a trade-off between purchased applications with support and open source applications that you have to support yourself.
  • Digital asset management and production is becoming the name of the game. Continue reading

Editing as Collecting, Collecting as Editing

Being caught up lately in thinking and reading about library collections in the age of delicious, RSS, etc., and ongoing interest in the Fate of Journalism made this Kent Anderson post on Scholarly Kitchen jump out, Is Print an Elite Medium? Or a Medium of Elitists?

[A]side from being important to long-term career success, editorial work in the networked world may be vital to solving our much talked-about “filter failure” problem. The author [Paul Ford] observes that “[t]he Semantic Web is basically the edited web, for some very nerdy take on editing. Which implies editors,” and then argues that this layer of filtering, shaping, and contextualizing is what will keep the Web useful.

Although not so in the old analog world, publication editors and librarians are now often after the same thing, filtering and enhancing communication. What, if any, are the implications of this shared purpose? Could it be drawn out into useful collaborations of some kind? Or, instead, what new phoenix will or could rise from the passing away or transformation of these two traditional roles? Rutgers, the University of South Carolina, and probably other institutions are now offering masters degrees in communication and information studies–which, at face value, at least, seems to show some recognition of these overlapping roles.

Shirky’s Ontologies

Only now reading Clay Shirky’s Ontology Is Overrated. Feeling late into the game. Morsel #1 (my emphasis):

One reason Google was adopted so quickly when it came along is that Google understood there is no shelf, and that there is no file system [like there had been in Yahoo]. Google can decide what goes with what after hearing from the user, rather than trying to predict in advance what it is you need to know.

Two points are of especial interest in this statement. Continue reading