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This Week…

24 Mar

Someone referenced my blog in conversation this week, reminding me that – RATS! – I got off track again. But I appreciated the prompt to send me back here.

I’m working on preparing a session for this year’s Massachusetts Library Association’s annual meeting happening in Falmouth, MA in early May. The session, “Getting to ‘AHA!’ Using Creative Freedom to Build Justice through Empathy” is a brand new one for me. I’ve long been interested in the intersection between creativity and other aspects of life, particularly how physical activity and creativity are linked. This topic is helping me discover the depths to which creating things – art, music, writing – can help us develop empathy towards others. I’ll share more as I begin to pull the workshop together, but for now, I’d like to point you to a great resource I discovered. The Minneapolis Institute of Art’s Center for Empathy and the Visual Arts has some excellent on-site programming (for those who live in the area), as well as great things to follow on-line. You can find recommended readings, a white paper, toolkits, and more on their website. Check it out!

I also re-read an interesting blog post from last spring about citational justice. It’s easy to forget some of the inherent biases in current citation practices and worth thinking about how we might aspire to change them for the better.

Both my women’s and men’s NCAA March Madness brackets are in shambles, but my March Mammal Madness bracket is holding strong! I love that we have a friendly MMM competition each year in my library. A little animal trash talking is good for the soul. If you’re unfamiliar with this AMAZING activity, you must educate yourself. Dr. Katie Hinde and her colleagues, including librarians, at Arizona State University do an incredible job of bringing this fun, educational, and downright brilliant tournament to the world each year. MC Marmot’s “Rodent Recaps and the Twitter Play-by-Plays are not to be missed. And LET’S GO, SEA OTTER!!

Mike Baird, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

I’m wishing the Research Data Access & Preservation Association (RDAP) a terrific 2023 Summit next week. One of my roles as the Associate Editor of the Journal of eScience Librarianship (JeSLIB) is to shepherd the special edition of JeSLIB dedicated to RDAP each year. I look forward to seeing what emerges from next week’s meeting!

Finally, I host a radio program on my local, community radio station, WCUW, every other Tuesday evening. This week, I celebrated Women’s History Month with a 2-hour program featuring all women artists. You can listen to the archive of the show through April 3.

Happy Spring, everyone!

Picture This

27 Jan

My gosh, it’s still only January and I missed a weekly post already. Argh! But back at it this afternoon.

This past week has been about data (data sharing, data visualizations, data love), sketchbooks, and artificial intelligence. Some things to share:

The beginning of a new calendar year means it’s time to pay association dues. The time to pay association dues also tends to bring out some grumpiness in folks. Why does it cost so much? What do I get for all that money? Why is MLA so much more expensive than ALA? Ahh, yes. Every year. So I got to thinking about the cost and decided to start brushing up (off?) my skills to compete in the upcoming NNLM Data Visualization Challenge. How much does an MLA membership cost this year? $245 or approximately sixteen 4-packs of decent craft beer. For me, put that way, it seems pretty reasonable. My professional home is worth that to me. No complaining here.

And speaking of that Challenge, be sure to check it out! Per the website, the contest is open to “anyone who has taken part in NNLM activities (e.g., training or grant programs), any health sciences library staff, health sciences librarians working in non-library settings, library or information students, or NNLM staff members are eligible to apply.” Find some data from an open data source and have at it! Should be a lot of fun. Thanks to the National Evaluation Center for the NNLM for bringing it to us.

Another thing for your calendars, the National Library of Medicine is hosting daily events during Love Data Week next month, February 13-17. Love Data Week is sponsored by Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR), part of the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan.

I received a sad email last week. The Sketchbook Project, a wonderful, global, artist-driven effort is ending its run. The physical library in Brooklyn, NY closed last year and during the move of the collection to Florida, a fire broke out in the trailer carrying the books. That was but one set-back that helped founder, Steven Peterman, make the difficult decision to wrap it up.

I participated in several projects of The Sketchbook Project over the years. I had 2 sketchbooks in the Brooklyn Art Library, plus one in a traveling exhibit. I also did themed artist exchanges; wonderful ways to give and receive art with others around the world. With news of the end, I was able to get my sketchbooks back from the Library. One has water damage from the fire, but it’s still readable (and digitally archived – word to the wise). The other was untouched. They arrived back to me this week. It was fun to see them again.

My question of the week is prompted by all the recent news of ChatGPT. What is the purpose of writing a paper or taking an exam? Is is simply to write the paper and pass a test? If so, then what is the purpose of learning?

3 Plus 1 Plus 1

13 Jan

So last week I claimed I was going to reset/restart my writing here with a format of 3 interesting things I discovered during the week, plus a question. I’ve always noticed that if/when I start looking for things, I inevitably find more. That’s what happened this week. I’ve got 5 – 5 fun and interesting things from the week to share. Here goes:

The Noun Project’s Free 2023 Marketing and Social Media Content Calendar

If you’re unfamiliar with the Noun Project, I highly recommend the site. Even more, if you afford it, I recommend an annual subscription (around $40). This gives you not only unlimited downloads of high quality icons and photos to use in presentations, handouts, social media posts, etc., but it also helps support the site and all of the graphic artists who contribute to it. The free calendar suggests icons and images throughout the year, relating to holidays and other observances. I’m one of the social media posters for my library and I’m always looking for ideas of things to post that coincide with whichever days I’m assigned. I’ve bookmarked the calendar site for future reference.

Massachusetts Center for the Book Tour Series, aka Book Trails

Break out your state map (or GPS) and plan some trips to visit places around Massachusetts related to literature. You can use the resource to plan visits to museums like the home of Louisa May Alcott (Concord) or the House of Seven Gables (Salem) or The Mount, Edith Wharton’s home in Lenox. You can also explore the deep and rich history of African American authors in the state, from the Underground Railroad site in New Bedford, where Frederick Douglass settled for awhile, to Malcom X’s Roxbury home, to the home site of W.E.B. DuBois in Great Barrington, as well as his residence on Flagg St in Cambridge. He lived in the latter while attending Harvard, as he was not permitted a dormitory space on campus. While this resource is targeted at sites in Massachusetts, check out your own state’s Center for the Book to see if they have something similar.

Journal Targeter (JOT)

Created by the Townsend Lab at Yale University’s School of Public Health, this is another tool to help authors find the most appropriate journals to submit manuscripts for publication. Users enter the title, abstract, and references for their paper into the service and it generates a list of matches to pursue. This isn’t an uncommon question in my library, so tools like this are always helpful to recommend.

The American Chemical Society’s Guide to Scholarly Communication

This resource from the ACS is filled with great information on scientific communication, scientific writing and publishing, peer review, data management, style conventions, graphics (many towards chemistry, of course), and an important chapter on inclusivity. This most recent chapter presents guidelines on writing and presenting related to age, disabilities and health conditions, gender and sexuality, diversity and inclusion, accessibility, socioeconomic status, and more. Another one I’ve bookmarked for easy reference in the future.

Cookie Monster’s Real Name is Sid

Not that you want to skip any of this, but if you scroll to the 7 minute mark, you’ll see!

A Question

What does anyone ever really get out of denying people the opportunity to read?