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Wild World of Information

March 5, 2010

Today is a very exciting day for me (and I hope for you too, although probably for different reasons). Today is the kick-off event for the Faculty Learning Communities at my university and I’m facilitating the learning community on teaching with technology. It is exciting and anxiety-producing and all that other stuff. I’m also excited to talk, or I guess more accurately write, more about information today.

First up is this rather disturbing article: As the Internet Replaces Print Publishing, Urge to ‘Unpublish’ Means Censoring History. Archivists have to deal with issues like this all the time and they are only amplified with digital data. More information is being produced than ever before, but if it isn’t properly preserved and managed, all that digital information can be lost. On a positive note, at least this issue is getting more attention outside of library and archives journals. Hopefully this means we’ll actually make progress in preserving digital data and not “unpublish” the past.

Archivists will have no trouble identifying with the issues presented in this next article: Archives and electrons. It extends, yet again, the seemingly never-ending debate over history and digital sources versus traditional physical archival sources. That some historians stood up and testified that sources outside the archives are just as important, and sometimes make the researching and writing of history possible, was definitely a “Yes!” moment for those of us who work in archives and also in history. Again, like I’ve said before, the world is not binary (even if binary code is) and we don’t have to give up analog for digital or vice versa. Instead, we can use what makes sense for each project and program.

Not about “unpublishing” or debates over digital archives, but instead about finding fantastic, usable sources: 25 sources for Creative Commons content. I think anyone who has read posts on this blog understands how much I love Creative Commons and this list makes me happy. Now I have even more places to look for great Creative Commons content.

This article is just lovely: Students wary of sourcing Wikipedia from the Spartan Daily at San Jose State. As I teach information literacy to first year students and we often discuss Wikipedia, this article just made me smile. Wow, students acknowledging that Wikipedia may not be accurate, my teacher heart is happy. With that insight, we can move on to more interesting discussions about discernment, crowdsourcing content, and Web 2.0 conundrums.

In a different vein, I got asked yet again by a colleague if I sleep. Why do I get asked these questions? Do I really look that haggard? It is actually possible to be highly productive and also get enough hours of sleep so as to avoid all those nasty illnesses and health complications that come from not getting enough sleep. The real reason, I think people ask me if I sleep is because they can’t believe I don’t procrastinate and I must have to “burn the midnight oil” to get my work done. I contend that if you actually are passionate about your work, and really focus for 8-9 hours on work a day, you have more than enough time to sleep, eat, relax, meditate, and do whatever else you need or want to do. So I fully support Lifehacker’s It’s National Procrastination Week: Let’s Celebrate by not Honoring it. Just don’t procrastinate–it only hurts you.

And something else from Lifehacker that truly makes me smile: Naps can Seriously Improve All-Day Learning Abilities. Let’s hear it for nap time! This just supports my argument that I’ve been making since I got back from Bolivia that we really need to get the siesta mainstreamed in the United States.

Finally, something fun from The New Yorker The Subconscious Shelf. Check out the photographs of readers’ bookshelves and the analyses of what the shelves say about the readers.

Have a lovely day, a fantastic weekend, and don’t forget to read a lot. Because, as Seth Godin writes in his new book Linchpin “It’s not an accident that successful people read more books” (p. 126).

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