Book Thing #35: Hieroglyph: Stories & Visions for a Better Future

Since December is a busy month for many, we’re going to take a slightly different approach with Hieroglyph: Stories & Visions for a Better Future; a little non-ficiton a little fiction. But don’t let the size scare you off. Check out the special directions at the end of this post.

From Amazon.com:

HieroglyphInspired by New York Times bestselling author Neal Stephenson, an anthology of stories, set in the near future, from some of today’s leading writers, thinkers, and visionaries that reignites the iconic and optimistic visions of the golden age of science fiction.

In his 2011 article “Innovation Starvation,” Neal Stephenson argued that we—the society whose earlier scientists and engineers witnessed the airplane, the automobile, nuclear energy, the computer, and space exploration—must reignite our ambitions to think boldly and do Big Stuff. He also advanced the Hieroglyph Theory which illuminates the power of science fiction to inspire the inventive imagination: “Good SF supplies a plausible, fully thought-out picture of an alternate reality in which some sort of compelling innovation has taken place.”

In 2012, Arizona State University established the Center for Science and the Imagination to bring together writers, artists, and creative thinkers with scientists, engineers, and technologists to cultivate and expand on “moon shot ideas” that inspire the imagination and catalyze real-world innovations.

Now comes this remarkable anthology uniting twenty of today’s leading thinkers, writers, and visionaries—among them Cory Doctorow, Gregory Benford, Elizabeth Bear, Bruce Sterling, and Neal Stephenson—to contribute works of “techno-optimism” that challenge us to dream and do Big Stuff. Engaging, mind-bending, provocative, and imaginative, Hieroglyph offers a forward-thinking approach to the intersection of art and technology that has the power to change our world.

About Ed Finn:

Ed FinnEd Finn is the founding director of the Center for Science and the Imagination at Arizona State University, where he is an assistant professor with a joint appointment in the School of Arts, Media and Engineering and the Department of English. He is also an affiliate faculty member of the Human and Social Dimensions of Science and Technology program.

Ed’s research and teaching explore digital narratives, contemporary culture and the intersection of the humanities, arts and sciences. He is currently working on a book about the changing nature of reading in the digital era. He completed his PhD in English and American literature at Stanford University in 2011. Before graduate school Ed worked as a journalist at Time, Slate and Popular Science. He earned his bachelor’s degree at Princeton University in 2002 with a Comparative Literature major and certificates in Applications of Computing, Creative Writing and European Cultural Studies.

To earn 2 CE credits read the Foreword, Preface and Introduction, any three stories, and the Interview at the end of the book. (Feel free to read the whole book if you’d like.) If you’re having trouble choosing which stories to read, each of them has a “Story Notes” at the end which should give you a good idea of the topic of the story. Then answer the following three questions in a 300 word blog post or a three minute video posted to your blog:

  1. Which stories did you choose to read an why?
  2. What did you / what can librarians learn from this book?
  3. How might the focus of this book impact library service?
  4. How might the focus of this book impact library users?

If you would like to plan ahead, next month’s book will be Inner Navigation by Erik Jonsson.

Please contact the Information Services Team if you’d like to check out any of these titles from the Commission. Thanks.

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Thing #86: Google Keep

With all of the holidays at this time of year, one thing that many people need is a way to take notes and make lists. While paper is reliable, it’s easy to forget and not all that easy to share unless all the involved parties are in the same room. So, in the spirit of not giving you too much extra to do at this time of the year, yet also showing you something that you might fine immediately useful, I present to you Google Keep.

At its most basic level, you can think of Google Keep as online sticky notes. To create a new note just log in (via a Google account,) click Add Note, and start typing. Once you’ve created your note you can give it a title at the top and change various options such as color and images via the icons at the bottom of each note.

Google Keep in a desktop browser

Google Keep in a desktop browser

A note can be free text, or you can turn on the check boxes. For example, if you’re creating a grocery list and you use the check boxes, when you click a check box, the content of that item will be struck out; crossing a completed item off your list.

An open note in Google Keep

An open note in Google Keep

You can easily use Google Keep on a desktop or laptop computer or via an App available in the Google Play Store. (Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be an iOS app, but you should be able to use the Web version via Safari without any problems.)

The Google Keep app

The Google Keep app

Lastly, and this was a much needed improvement that was added very recently, each note also has a share icon through which you can share notes with another Keep user. So, if you need to collaborate on a note or list, this will allow you to do just that.

When you’re done with a note, you can archive it for later retrieval, or trash it completely.

I’ll admit that there are a few other features that I’ve not mentioned but I’ll leave you to discover those on your own.

Assignment

  1. Log in to Google Keep and create some notes.
  2. Check out the different features like changing colors, adding images, and check boxes. (See if you can find the features I didn’t mention.)
  3. Share a note with me. Send the invitation to msauers@gmail.com.
  4. Write a blog post about your experience. Embed your final product into your post or include links to anything you’ve created. Some things to think about:
    1. What tools did you use? How did they work?
    2. How might you use these tools in your library?

 

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Book Thing #34: No Place to Hide

This Month’s BookThing we’re diving into the issue of Edward Snowden and the NSA with No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State by Glenn Greenwald.

From Amazon.com:

No Place to HideIn May 2013, Glenn Greenwald set out for Hong Kong to meet an anonymous source who claimed to have astonishing evidence of pervasive government spying and insisted on communicating only through heavily encrypted channels. That source turned out to be the 29-year-old NSA contractor Edward Snowden, and his revelations about the agency’s widespread, systemic overreach proved to be some of the most explosive and consequential news in recent history, triggering a fierce debate over national security and information privacy. As the arguments rage on and the government considers various proposals for reform, it is clear that we have yet to see the full impact of Snowden’s disclosures.

Now for the first time, Greenwald fits all the pieces together, recounting his high-intensity ten-day trip to Hong Kong, examining the broader implications of the surveillance detailed in his reporting for The Guardian, and revealing fresh information on the NSA’s unprecedented abuse of power with never-before-seen documents entrusted to him by Snowden himself.

Going beyond NSA specifics, Greenwald also takes on the establishment media, excoriating their habitual avoidance of adversarial reporting on the government and their failure to serve the interests of the people. Finally, he asks what it means both for individuals and for a nation’s political health when a government pries so invasively into the private lives of its citizens—and considers what safeguards and forms of oversight are necessary to protect democracy in the digital age. Coming at a landmark moment in American history, No Place to Hide is a fearless, incisive, and essential contribution to our understanding of the U.S. surveillance state.

About Glenn Greenwald:

800px-Glenn_greenwald_portrait_transparentGlenn Edward Greenwald (born March 6, 1967) is an American lawyer, journalist and author. He was a columnist for Guardian US from August 2012 to October 2013. He was a columnist for Salon.com from 2007 to 2012, and an occasional contributor to The Guardian. Greenwald worked as a constitutional and civil rights litigator. At Salon he contributed as a columnist and blogger, focusing on political and legal topics. He has also contributed to other newspapers and political news magazines, including The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, The American Conservative, The National Interest, and In These Times. In February 2014 he became, along with Laura Poitras and Jeremy Scahill, one of the founding editors of The Intercept.

Greenwald was named by Foreign Policy magazine as one of the Top 100 Global Thinkers of 2013. Four of the five books he has written have been on The New York Times Best Sellers list. Greenwald is a frequent speaker on college campuses, including Harvard Law School, Yale Law School, the University of Pennsylvania, Brown University, UCLA School of Law, the University of Wisconsin, and the University of Maryland. He frequently appears on various radio and television programs. (Wikipedia)

To earn 2 CE credits answer the following three questions in a 300 word blog post or a three minute video posted to your blog:

  1. What did you / what can librarians learn from this book?
  2. How might the focus of this book impact library service?
  3. How might the focus of this book impact library users?

If you would like to plan ahead, next month’s book will be Hieroglyph: Stories and Visions for a Better Future edited by Ed Finn & Kathryn Cramer.

Please contact the Information Services Team if you’d like to check out any of these titles from the Commission. Thanks.

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Thing #85: Digital Storytelling

Everyone loves a good story. Reading and sharing stories is big part of our lives. And digital storytelling is a great way to tell your own stories by creating something that’s visually stimulating, compelling and engaging.

For this month’s Thing, we’re going to share our library stories with digital storytelling, a form of storytelling that uses computer based tools to create a story that is then shared online.

What is digital storytelling?

Digital stories combine the art of traditional storytelling with multimedia aspects. The result is short multimedia movies that combine photographs, video, animation, sound, music, text, and narration. These stories are then uploaded to the internet to share with others.

These tales usually have a strong emotional impact because they are interpretive movies that include personal stories that the viewer can identify with in some way. The documentaries of Ken Burns, such as Baseball and The Civil War, are a longer version of digital storytelling. He uses a combination of personal writings, still photographs, original video footage, and historical information to create a deeply emotional experience for viewers.

Digital storytelling can have many uses: sharing family history, creating local history and oral history projects, presenting business research and information to engage stakeholders. Those are only a few basic ideas, as any topic can be made into a digital story.

Tools to create your own digital story

Inanimate Alice and Snappy – Alice is a photo story you can read. Snappy is the program you can use to mashup photos, video, audio and art to make your own story.

My StoryMaker – Guides you through character choice, settings and plot development.

Storify – Create stories by collecting updates from social networks.

Storybird – Reverses storytelling by starting with the image – you write your story inspired by the image.

ZooBurst – Create an interactive 3D pop-up book.

Museum Box – Build the story of an event, person or historical period by placing items in a virtual box.

More resources

To learn more about digital storytelling, check out these sites:

Center for Digital Storytelling

Educational Uses of Digital Storytelling – University of Houston

Digital Storytelling for Communities

Digital Storytelling – Kathy Schrock’s Guide to Everything

Assignment

1. Pick one or more of the tools to explore digital storytelling. Create your own story or a story for your library.

2. Write a blog post about your experience. Embed your final product into your post or include links to anything you’ve created. Some things to think about:

What tools did you use? How did they work?

How might you use these tools in your library?

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Book Thing #33: This Book is Overdue

This Month’s BookThing we’re going to bring it back home as suggested by Susie Dunn and read This Book is Overdue: How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All by Mariln Johnson.

From Publishers Weekly:

This Book is OverdueStarred Review. In an information age full of Google-powered searches, free-by-Bittorrent media downloads and Wiki-powered knowledge databases, the librarian may seem like an antiquated concept. Author and editor Johnson (The Dead Beat) is here to reverse that notion with a topical, witty study of the vital ways modern librarians uphold their traditional roles as educators, archivists, and curators of a community legacy. Illuminating the state of the modern librarian with humor and authority, Johnson showcases librarians working on the cutting edge of virtual reality simulations, guarding the Constitution and redefining information services-as well as working hard to serve and satisfy readers, making this volume a bit guilty of long-form reader flattery. Johnson also makes the important case for libraries-the brick-and-mortar kind-as an irreplaceable bridge crossing economic community divides. Johnson’s wry report is a must-read for anyone who’s used a library in the past quarter century.

About Marilyn Johnson:

Marilyn JohnsonMarilyn Johnson is the author of three books: Lives in Ruins, about contemporary archaeologists (coming in November from HarperCollins), This Book Is Overdue! about librarians and archivists in the digital age, and The Dead Beat, about the art of obituaries and obituary writers. The Dead Beat was chosen for the Borders Original Voice program and was a finalist for the Barnes & Noble Discover Award. Johnson is a former editor at Esquire and Outside magazines, and a former staff writer for Life. She lives with her family in New York’s Hudson Valley.
Visit her websites at http://www. thisbookisoverdue.com and http://www.marilynjohnson.net.

To earn 2 CE credits answer the following three questions in a 300 word blog post or a three minute video posted to your blog:

  1. What did you / what can librarians learn from this book?
  2. How might the focus of this book impact library service?
  3. How might the focus of this book impact library users?

If you would like to plan ahead, next month’s book will be No Place to Hide by Glenn Greenwald.

Please contact the Information Services Team if you’d like to check out any of these titles from the Commission. Thanks.

Posted in BookThing | 2 Comments