Saturday, March 27, 2010

Think it's safe to put away the shovels?

Dodged the wintertime mix yesterday, so away they go!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Quote of the Day: Let us learn to show our friendship for a man when he is alive and not after he is dead

Let us learn to show our friendship for a man when he is alive and not after he is dead" - Meyer Wolfsheim (in F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby)
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For my grad school friend, Joe Pagano.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Quote of the Day: When a thing is new, people say 'It is not true.' ...


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Originally uploaded by martin_kalfatovic
When a thing is new, people say 'It is not true.' Later, when its truth becomes obvious, they say 'It is not important.' Finally, when its importance cannot be denied, they say 'Anyway, it is not new.'
- William James
The above quote represents a frustration many of us working in the digital world or areas that change rapidly. The corollary  is the all too common work experience of the staffer who regularly introduces a new idea to their superiors only to have it batted down again and again ... and then, one day be told, "Look at this great idea, why didn't you tell me about it?"

And then you do the forehead slap ...

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Apollo Theatre

The M60 bus from LGA was going past, so I hopped off and then walked back down to 81st St.

Welcome to New York

Landed at LGA

US2166: DCA to LGA

I know, take the train. .. but plane schedule was better and, well, $4cheaper. Even counting cab fare

Jerry Brown for President, er, Governor


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Originally uploaded by martin_kalfatovic
Early this month (March 2), Jerry Brown, currently Attorney General, announced he was running for Governor.

Jerry, or Governor Moonbeam, was governor of California when I was growing up. Coming on the heels of the glittery Reagan governorship, he seemed quite a change (refusing to live in the new Governor's Mansion, dating Linda Ronstadt) from the Hollywood of Reagan (uh, well, maybe not toooo much). The son of former Governor Brown, he brought a bit of the counterculture as well as political dynasty to the office.

So, what about the picture here? Well, in 1979, I was in college in Washington and it was an election year. Jimmy Carter was having a bad time and he was being challenged for the nomination by, among others, Ted Kennedy.

It was the first year I could vote, so it was an exciting year. So, when I saw this poster around campus, well, had to go. So, on November 8, 1979, trekked down to the National Press Club early in the morning and watched Gov. Brown announce. I don't really recall much of what he said, but as he was leaving the press room in a crush of people, I jumped up an vigorously waved. I didn't think he'd noticed since he was nearly down the hall by then, but then he turned and said, "that you man is so enthusiastic, I have to shake his hand." And he came back and shook my hand, I wished him luck and off he went ...


I think we're both looking a little older 31 years later, but in any case, Jerry, good luck in the election this year.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

BHL presentation for St. Patrick's Day @ SIL

Here's a preview of the Biodiversity Heritage Library update I'm giving at the SI Libraries' staff meeting.

The majority of the images are from Gemeinnüzzige Naturgeschichte des Thierreichs : darinn die merkwürdigsten und nüzlichsten Thiere in systematischer Ordnung beschrieben und alle Geschlechter in Abbildungen nach der Natur vorgestellet werden / ausgefertigt von D. Georg Heinrich Borowski ...
Publication info: Berlin ;bei Gottlieb August Lange,1780-1789, but there are a few thrown in from other sources (e.g. Haeckel’s work, Kunstformen der Natur).


Overdue or Future Discard?


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Originally uploaded by martin_kalfatovic
Don't know why, but all the hoopla (at least in libraryland) about:

THIS BOOK IS OVERDUE
How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All
By Marilyn Johnson
272 pp. Harper/HarperCollins Publishers. $24.99

give me the feeling that the library profession is getting patted on the back just at the gold watch is getting handed over and it's shown to the door.

Bernie Sloan, in a post on LITA-L captured my sentiment on March 15 in his take on the NY Times review of the book:
"Johnson cheerleads for these Brave New Librarians, championing the efficiency of online searches and digitized archives. And yet, without meaning to, her book comes off as a paean to a previous age, when fact-finding meant trekking through the Dewey Decimal System. Johnson writes best when she’s meandering and browsing, in the manner of a woozy reader exploring the stacks. In her most absorbing passages, I felt as if I were back in the children’s library, scrutinizing a volume of the World Book Encyclopedia." (NY Times)

I guess even when folks are championing the future role of librarians in society, they tend to wax rhapsodic about the libraries of their pasts. Which may not be particularly helpful to those of us trying to shape the library systems of the future... (Bernie Sloan)
Just a thought ..

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Monday, March 08, 2010

Quote of the day: good enuff?


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Originally uploaded by martin_kalfatovic
There is hardly anything in the world that some man can't make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price only are this man's lawful prey.
John Ruskin

Reading a great blog post (E-Library Economics) and one of the comments on the post quoted Ruskin above.

We're being deluged with the idea of POGE (Principle of Good Enough); here's a great Wired story on it, and pretty much, though no one really likes to say they'll settle for POGE, it's true now and has always been true. The world thrives, and grows and creates better things, because of POGE.

Back to the Ruskin quote above, is this really a Ruskin quote? I can't seem to find a good citation and there are only second hand mentions of it in the Great Google (I tried a search in Google Books limiting to the works of Ruskin, but no luck). The Victorian Web also says that the Ruskin attribution is a mystery. Well, whoever chose to use this quote to support their argument, felt that the quote was good and the general attribution to Ruskin was important, and well, it was good enough to use the quote in a blog comment ... and well, overall, it was good enough ...

Thanks to Jim Michalko for pointing out the blog in Above the Fold.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Quote of the Day: The revolution will be webcast


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Originally uploaded by martin_kalfatovic
It’s easy to say “preserve the best of the old and combine it with the best of the new,” but in revolution, the best of the new is incompatible with the best of the old. It’s about doing things a whole new way.

I'm too often torn between the "slow and stead, change will come" and taking a more proactive bull by the horns approach to just say, to quote Bob Dylan, "Your old road is rapidly agin’.
Please get out of the new one if you can’t lend your hand".


The above quote is from Clay Shirky at the 2010 NFAIS meeting and does sum up some of my current feelings.

Read more about his appearance here:


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