Thursday, April 07, 2005
on a blogging high

When going on a spiritual retreat, you come home on a spiritual high. You focus on God for a time and you get pumped up and want to go out and change the world. Then you realize that the world is just you left it and you have to change the world one step at a time.

After today at the Texas Library Association Conference, I am on a Blogging high. I want to go out and change the world. (And technically, since I don't even have a job, do I really have a world to change?)

My mind is so full of thoughts, blog-related and not. My mind is running so fast and so full that I hope I can successfully empty it here so that I will not be thinking-thinking-thinking like last night and not sleep even though I need to wake up early. Darn Daylight Savings.


Today I saw Steven Cohen talk twice. I was really looking forward to seeing him talk because I have kept up with his blog on library stuff for a few weeks. The experience of seeing a real human behind the weblog was not unlike my experience spotting Julia Barr from All My Children on the streets of New York City. Its just a little surreal. (oooh! while checking to see that surreal was spelled correctly i noticed a creative commons search on my firefox browser. At the top right. Has that always been there?)

The first presentation was about keeping current on professional advances: ways of communication, from email to RSS. Learning more about RSS was very helpful. It clarified somethings to me and opened my eyes to possibilities.

I learned how to make use of PubSub which I installed but have never really used. I also learned about cool websites like (uses registrations that people have volunteered so that you do not have to register to read every newspaper that demands registration to read the rest of the article), CiteYouLike(tagging stuff for academics), and Watch That Page (monitors websites for new info and emails them to you).

People in the audience needed clarification on blogs. Steven talked about personal and professional blogs. This one (and many others) fall somewhere in the middle. I question that sometimes. I question my purpose. Is my purpose just to amuse myself? Am I speaking to others or just creating a record for me? For now, I think it falls somewhere in the middle. Somedays I love it and other days that drives me crazy.

I stayed after and asked if having a blog somewhere in the middle is bad form. (You know, like Captain Hook in Hook. Or was it another character? You know, during the baseball game. Anyway...) I just wonder, if I link or trackback to a professional blog, do they think I am unprofessional after seeing that I have some library related things, some education related things, and a lot of "other" things.

So I asked the presenter's opinion. After guessing that I was a livejournal user (!!! Must have been the pink sweater.) Steven said that it was ok. And I think it is ok. But I am not sure that its what I want. But I don't really know what I want. Besides categories. I really want categories. If Walt (apparently a respected library person) can blog about food, that means something right? But what does he have? Categories. Oh. And for free. Well the wordpress was free. The domain? Not so much.

The second session was about social networking. Mmm. Love it. It was weird. I didn't expect to be going to sessions like this. I thought I would be going to a lot of Young Adult writers stuff (I did go to some... very interesting too!). But at this library conference, we talked about and wikipedia. I felt like all of the things that I had been reading about for weeks had been preparing me, and all the things I was interested in converged. It was awesome.

We (it was quite like a discussion instead of a one sided presentation) talked about as a way that everyone classifies information. The information is classified according to how the peope want to use it. I love it. But sometimes I search for things and I don't know if it is that it is not tagged yet or that I just don't know the correct tags to use. The other day I was looking for online professional development courses for teaching english in high school. I tried prof_dev. Well I tagged one thing I found as prof_dev and then I saw that someone else had tagged that. But that person used professionaldevelopment. The whole individual tags thing is great. It is what makes so fabulous. But if I want to contribute to the system and I want the system to recognize my tags, I (personal decision) want to use the ones that are most popular (assuming they work for me). So if most people use professionaldevelopment instead of prof_dev, I want to use professionaldevelopment. But what I really want, is a way to find out what most people use to tag certain things. Without doing a trial and error. Because I can do that. But I can only do that if I can guess at what people might be calling things or look at their own tags on the websites.

We talked a little about Wikipedia. The expected objections were raised. The conclusion was basically that Wikipedia is a great starting point, but everything needs to be verified. I learned about Wikipes - a wiki for recipes! And verticles. How have I missed learning about verticles?

One of my favorite parts of the whole day was when someone brought up the issue of who owns the content of something written in Copyright is a big issue for librarians. Who owns what. Who can use what. Who sues who. Rules Rules Rules. Steven's answer was that no one owns the content. There are no copyright issues because (the quote was so great I copied it down as best I could) "In the blog world and the world I live in, its a very open world." Caring and sharing and respect and no stepping on toes. Nice.


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