Thursday, November 30, 2006

new reviews in cyberculture studies (december 2006)

[via RCCS] a new set of book reviews for december 2006:
  1. Allegories of Communication: Intermedial Concerns from Cinema to the Digital
    Editors: John Fullerton & Jan Olsson
    Publisher: John Libbey Publishing, 2004
    Review 1: Kristen Daly

  2. Close Reading New Media: Analyzing Electronic Literature
    Editors: Jan Van Looy & Jan Baetens
    Publisher: Leuven University Press, 2003
    Review 1: Mary Leonard

  3. Eloquent Images: Word and Image in the Age of New Media
    Editors: Mary E. Hocks & Michelle R. Kendrick
    Publisher: MIT Press, 2003
    Review 1: Vika Zafrin
    Review 2: Alan Razee
    Author Response: Mary Hocks

  4. Half-Real: Video Games between Real Rules and Fictional Worlds
    Author: Jesper Juul
    Publisher: MIT Press, 2005
    Review 1: Curt Carbonell
    Review 2: Randy Nichols
    Author Response: Jesper Juul

  5. How Images Think
    Author: Ron Burnett
    Publisher: MIT Press, 2004
    Review 1: Leanne Stuart Pupchek
    Author Response: Ron Burnett

  6. Internet Politics: States, Citizens and New Communication Technologies
    Author: Andrew Chadwick
    Publisher: Oxford University Press, 2006
    Review 1: Viviane Serfaty
    Author Response: Andrew Chadwick

  7. Literate Lives in the Information Age: Narratives of Literacy from the United States
    Authors: Cynthia L. Selfe & Gail E. Hawisher
    Publisher: Lawrence Erlbaum, 2004
    Review 1: Lisa A. Kirby
    Author Response: Cynthia L. Selfe & Gail E. Hawisher

  8. Mobile Cultures: New Media in Queer Asia
    Editors: Chris Berry, Fran Martin, Audrey Yue
    Publisher: Duke University Press, 2003
    Review 1: Terri He
    Author Response: Chris Berry, Fran Martin, & Audrey Yue

  9. My First Recession: Critical Internet Culture in Transition
    Author: Geert Lovink
    Publisher: V2/NAi Publishers, 2003
    Review 1: Michel Bauwens

  10. Rhetorical Democracy: Discursive Practices of Civic Engagement
    Editor: Gerard Hauser, Amy Grim
    Publisher: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2004
    Review 1: David Schulz

  11. The Deepening Divide: Inequality in the Information Society
    Author: Jan A. G. M. van Dijk
    Publisher: Sage, 2005
    Review 1: Alan Zaremba

  12. The Digital Sublime: Myth, Power, and Cyberspace
    Author: Vincent Mosco
    Publisher: MIT Press, 2004
    Review 1: Dale Bradley
    Author Response: Vincent Mosco

  13. The Souls of Cyberfolk: Posthumanism as Vernacular Theory
    Author: Thomas Foster
    Publisher: University of Minnesota Press, 2005
    Review 1: Michele Braun
    Review 2: Kim Toffoletti
    Author Response: Thomas Foster

  14. Twisty Little Passages: An Approach to Interactive Fiction
    Author: Nick Montfort
    Publisher: MIT Press, 2003
    Review 1: Russell Mills
    Review 2: T. Michael Roberts
    Author Response: Nick Montfort

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

usf event: citizen josh: a performance and Q & A session with josh kornbluth

i first learned about josh kornbluth via his interview show on KQED (i especially liked his recent interview with annie leibovitz). yesterday, josh was on campus, as part of a multiple-campus tour as he searches for the meaning of democracy! yesterday, josh visited us in digital democracy.

this friday, he'll be putting it all together:
"Citizen Josh:" A Performance and Q&A Session with Josh Kornbluth
Friday, December 1st, 2006
The Studio Theater on Lone Mountain

Bay Area writer, director, and public television host Josh Kornbluth will perform an improvised piece focused on the central question of democratic involvement and possibilities for democracy in today's world. This performance will be a culmination of Kornbluth's week-long visit to the USF campus and various Politics department classes.

A Q&A session will follow the performance. All USF students, faculty, and staff are welcome to attend.

About the artist: Josh Kornbluth was raised in New York City and moved to San Francisco in 1987. He has been writing and performing monologues - including "Haiku Tunnel" (which was made into a feature film in 2001), "Red Diaper Baby," and "Ben Franklin: Unplugged") - throughout the Bay Area and beyond for several years. He is currently hosting an interview program on KQED-TV titled "The Josh Kornbluth Show." More information can be found at his website (also: check out his blog).

"Citizen Josh" is being co-sponsored by the USF Politics, History, and Philosophy Departments, as well as the Honors Program in the Humanities.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

final project for digital democracy

for students enrolled in media studies 390:
1. Answer a question with support from outside readings
  • Formulate an interesting question you have regarding new media.
  • In no more than 4 double-spaced pages, answer your question.
  • Your answer must include at least one use of Dan Gillmor's We the Media. If you do not know how to integrate readings into your writing, see me immediately.
  • Your answer must integrate ideas and/or evidence from at least 3 outside readings beyond Gillmor. Any reading in any medium is acceptable as long as it is credible.
  • Zero typos. Zero grammatical mistakes.
  • Include a bibliography. Alphabetize your bibliography. If you don't know how to make a bibliography, ask a librarian in Gleeson Library.
  • Blog at least 3 times about your project and its development.
  • Hint 1: Before turning in your paper, consider swapping drafts with another student or students in class. Give and receive edits, suggestions, and questions with that student or students.
  • Hint 2: Select a question that makes you genuinely curious.
2. Read/Write the Web
  • From the reading and class discussion, we've discussed 12 read/write technologies: mailing lists and forums; blogs; wikis; sms; mobile-connected cameras; internet broadcast; peer-to-peer; RSS; online photo-sharing; online video-sharing; social bookmarking; and social networking sites. Select one of these that you wish to learn more about.
  • Spend time with the software and the community around it. Explore. Experiment.
  • Be sure to read and write – to download and upload – and pay attention to what happens.
  • Blog at least 3 times about your project and its development.
  • In no more than 3 double-spaced pages write about your experiences.
  • Write about both what you download (learned) and uploaded (contributed), but mostly write about what you uploaded.
  • Zero typos. Zero grammatical mistakes.
  • Hint 1: Consider selecting an application you have zero familiarity with.
  • Hint 2: If you are not having fun with your read/write technology, you probably have not selected the correct one.
Your papers are due in class on Tuesday, December 12. No late papers accepted. Be ready to informally introduce your findings during our last class. Pizza will be served.

technorati tag:

Monday, November 27, 2006

dinner in oakland

last week, sarah and i drove over to oakland to share dinner with colleague, friend, and fellow blogger michael robertson, his wife eydie, and their friends carla, virg, and caroline. it was a feast.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

ACRL conference

in late march and early april, i'll be in baltimore, attending the association of college and research libraries (ACRL) conference. i attended ACRL last year, in minneapolis, and it was awesome. the conference is a dynamic blend of academic and research librarians, information technologists, and educators. this year's theme is "sailing into the future - charting our destiny." i am one of the invited speakers.

here's my abstract:
Digital Media, Learning, and Libraries: Web 2.0, Learning 2.0, and Libraries 2.0

Let's be clear about it: The term Web 2.0 is, first and foremost, a marketing gimmick. Its purpose is to create a sense of new, foster a buzz about new media, and generate new investment. So far, it's working.

At the same time, for those of us with access to recent developments on the web, it is difficult to deny that something new is indeed afloat. New social software coupled with new social interactions seem to be generating new forms of collective intelligence. Although these forms manifest in different ways, they most often share an important similarity: They encourage users to contribute - to add and annotate, as well as to read and reflect - to the collective intelligence.

With help from sites like,, intellipedia, and librarything, this talk seeks to open discussions around the intersections among social software, student learning, and academic libraries.

David Silver
Department of Media Studies
University of San Francisco
there's over 250 panels to attend, a conference wiki to collectively build, and the very, very cool cyber zed shed. plus, one of the keynote speakers is baltimore's very own john waters!

Saturday, November 25, 2006


for me, thanksgiving = food + family. on thursday, both food and family were well represented.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

a prequel

this morning, sarah and i drove down to santa cruz to meet up with mom and get ready for tomorrow's thanksgiving feast. this, my mom's famous beef pot pie, was tonight's dinner.

tomorrow, at my sister cara's home in palo alto, we'll enjoy sarah's famous sweet potato pie.


Monday, November 20, 2006


job at usf: tenure-track position in international politics (assistant professor)

new job at usf - this one in the excellent department of politics.
    The Department of Politics at the University of San Francisco invites applications for a tenure-track position in International Politics at the Assistant Professor level, to begin in Fall 2007. In addition to broad training in international relations, the candidate should have a regional specialization in East Asia or Europe. Of particular interest are candidates whose expertise extends to one or more of the following fields: critical international political economy, development, international law and organizations, nationalism and migration.

    Teaching responsibilities: The successful candidate must be prepared to teach the Introduction to International Politics (for Politics and International Studies majors) as well as to support the growing International Studies major. Candidates are expected to teach upper division courses in their area of expertise. The teaching load consists of two courses per semester, plus one additional course over two years (2-2-2-3 over two years).

    Qualifications: Candidates must have university teaching experience, a strong commitment to undergraduate teaching, evidence of scholarship (or substantial promise for research and publications), dedication to service, and an earned doctorate by Fall 2007. The candidate will be expected to develop an independent and ongoing research program.

    Applicants should submit a letter of application, curriculum vitae, graduate transcripts, brief description of research plans, evidence of teaching ability (including two sample syllabi, student evaluations, and a statement of teaching philosophy), a sample of scholarly work, and three letters of recommendation to:

    International Politics Search Committee
    c/o Professor Robert Elias
    Department of Politics
    University of San Francisco
    2130 Fulton Street
    San Francisco, CA. 94117-1080

    Applications must be received by January 26, 2007 in order to ensure full consideration.

    We particularly encourage minority and women applicants to apply. USF is an Equal Opportunity Employer dedicated to affirmative action and to excellence through diversity. The University provides reasonable accommodations to qualified applicants with disabilities upon request.

    The University of San Francisco is a Jesuit Catholic university founded in 1855 to educate leaders who will fashion a more humane and just world. Candidates should demonstrate a commitment to work in a culturally diverse environment and to contribute to the mission of the University.

it's about time, eh?

omg! i got a haircut! just in time for thanksgiving family gatherings!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

LaborTech 2006 at USF

yesterday, i attended and presented at labortech, a conference that brings together labor movements and media activism. the chair of media studies at USF, dorothy kidd, is also a member of labortech's program committee; through dorothy, i learned about labortech and was able to share ideas.

the conference, which began on thursday and runs through today, was a combination of plenary talks, presentations, and workshops. in the morning, i attended a panel titled "community media, public television, max-fi and internet neutrality," featuring seeta gangadharan (phd student in communications at stanford, adjunct professor in media studies at USF, and member of CIMA and media alliance) and chris witteman (telecommunications attorney who focuses on communication democracy and who represented the california public utilities commission in a successful suit against cingular wireless), with dorothy serving as moderator.

i don't know much about media policy so i'm always eager to learn more. seeta's overview of google's attempt to provide "free" wireless for the city of san francisco was extremely interesting and thought provoking.

here, chris witteman (standing on the right) provides some context of bay area media policy history. and, if you look closely, you will see shinjoung yeo and james jacobs (of, among other things, free government information).

later in the afternoon, i was part of a panel titled "video/audio blogging, social networks and labor." the panel was comprised of jay dedman (an educator of web blogging and broadcasting and the person responsible for the excellent site freevlog), john parulis (media democracy activist and labortech program committee member), colette washington (web site coordinator of the california nurses association and genius behind About Time for 89, arguably the first rap music video to be written about a proposition), and myself.

our panel was well attended and the audience ranged from savvy media producers to labor activists curious about using blogs, video blogs, and audio blogs for organizing.

in general, i highlighted strategies that involved collective blogging and already existing information for time-strapped labor organizations. my brief notes focused on five tips:
  1. blog the daily work you do. give readers (and potential interns, staffers, collaborators, and funders) a sense of what you do on a daily basis. you think we know; we don't.
  2. blog about articles and media coverage that relate to the work you do. the articles should come from both mainstream and alternative outlets and can be used to help explain to readers why the work you do is so important. hint: always include the full name of the journalist who wrote the article.
  3. blog your staff meetings. blogging staff meetings helps readers understand the complex decisions you and your organization deal with and it provides an opportunity for collectively writing (and negotiating) your institutional history.
  4. blog about your allies; blog about your enemies. give link love to your allies and collaobators! provide a counter discourse for people searching on technorati about your enemies!
  5. blog your sucessess - big and small. celebrate all victories. blog about the people who benefit from your victories. and blog about the future victories that will be built upon present victories.
this was my first year to attend labortech yet it certainly won't be my last. congratulations to the organizers and attendees and may we continue to imagine and build strong and creative bridges between labor and media.

update: breaking ranks has additional notes (including nasty stuff about samsung) about labortech. plus pics.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

job at usf: Digital Collections Librarian (Assistant Librarian Rank)

do you have your MLS? do you enjoy working with digital collections? wanna work and live in san francisco?

this looks like an exciting position in USF's gleeson library. for more information regarding this job, visit the USF web site and select the quick link marked employment.
    Position Title: Digital Collections Librarian (Assistant Librarian Rank)

    Job Description: This position will have an important role in a team-oriented environment to develop and manage the Library's digital collections under the direction of the Head of Library Systems.

    Position duties include: Working with faculty and librarians in the identification of print materials to be transferred to digital media; coordination of workflow for digitizing and cataloging digital collections; cataloging and assignment of metadata to digital materials; identification of external funding sources and grant writing; coordination of marketing for digital collections; consultation with campus legal office on copyright, licensing and rights management issues related to digital collections; consultation with faculty and other producers of digital media in the creation of an anticipated institutional repository. The position will also include some bibliographic liaison and cataloging responsibilities and serve as back-up in some areas of library system administration. The position will support the teaching, learning and research needs of the University of San Francisco faculty and students.

    Requirements: MLS from ALA-accredited program. One to two years of professional experience preferred with demonstrated aptitude for and interest in project planning and management, digitization standards, technical services, electronic resource management, or related areas. Preference will be given to candidates with experience using bibliographic utilities, such as OCLC; integrated Library systems, particularly Innovative Interfaces; content management systems such as CONTENTdm or DSpace; and metadata protocols. Knowledge of current trends in digital library development, digitization standards, long-term management and preservation, and rights management issues relating to digital materials. Demonstrated ability to work effectively in a team environment, working both independently and collaboratively, strong commitment to customer service, effective written and oral communication skills, demonstrated organizational ability and problem-solving skills. Interest in and potential for establishing a record of professional achievement and service is required.

ucla's powell library + campus cops with tasers + a middle eastern-looking student + other students (some with video recording devices) + youtube =

update: rock on to the daily bruin, ucla's student newspaper, for providing some of the best coverage of the incident and subsequent developments. their most recent coverage includes this online exclusive which covers friday's campus protest. interesting points include:
    More than 50 student organizations sponsored the rally, during which students demanded that an independent investigation be conducted into the officers' actions.

    "Let's stay nonviolent, because we are marching against violence," said Sabiha Ameen, president of the Muslim Students Association and a rally organizer.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

deb kaplan

deb kaplan, assistant professor of communication, former community journalist, and all around lovable human being, died the night before last in her sleep. i met deb about three years ago when she became a professor at university of washington in the department of communication. she was engaged: engaged about teaching, engaged with the world, engaged about suffering. she was also a bundle of fun to be around.

before going to grad school, deb worked as a journalist for nearly twenty years. she was a reporter for the detroit free press and an editor of the metro times (an alternative weekly in detroit). at some point, she went to grad school at the university of north carolina and studied mass communication and cultural studies. i know that she was heavily influenced by larry grossberg, one of key scholars of cultural studies.

in general, deb studied social inequalities and social change; in particular, she studied homelessness. for deb, studying something and making that something better were inseparable. as a journalist, a researcher, and a teacher, deb presented inequalities not as something to merely recognize and assess but also to fight and eradicate.

deb was one of the few UW professors i kept up with. the last time we spoke, she was excited about her books - the book that was almost finished and the book that she was currently researching. and she was excited about her graduate class; deb loved working with and learning from graduate students.

over the years, over coffees, over dinners, and over cigarettes, we complained about the fools who stood in our way and the fools who didn't believe in themselves. but most of all, we talked about making a difference, we talked about affecting change, we talked about believing in what you do, and we talked about teaching.

and then we would end our conversations the same way we'd begin them: with a huge bear hug. i miss you deb kaplan.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

usf event: film screening of the peace patriots

from robbie leppzer, director of the documentary film the peace patriots:
In the months leading up to the U.S. invasion of Iraq, I watched as the protests grew from thousands of people to millions of people across the United States and around the world. This grassroots movement against the Iraq war grew at a larger and faster rate than the Vietnam anti-war movement of the 1960s. And yet, it received very little coverage in the mainstream media. As an independent documentary filmmaker, I felt compelled to make a film about this important grassroots movement that would show in a very personal way some of the people who are protesting this war.
today on campus there will be a free screening of this film. the event is sponsored by the USF Politics Society, Leo T. McCarthy Center for Public Service & the Common Good, Peace and Justice Studies Program, Politics Department, and Media Studies Department.

    tuesday, november 14th
    McLaren 251
more info:
    THE PEACE PATRIOTS is an intimate portrait of American dissenters reflecting on their personal participation as engaged citizens in a time of war.

    Narrated by actress and Air America Radio host Janeane Garofalo, this feature-length documentary film follows a diverse group of individuals, ranging in age from 14 to 75, including middle and high school students, college students, teachers, clergy, and war veterans from Korea, Vietnam and the Persian Gulf, as they take part in vigils, marches, theater performances, and civil disobedience sit-ins to protest the U.S. invasion and on-going military occupation of Iraq.

    The film features contemporary music by 2005 Grammy Award winner Steve Earle, Pete Seeger, Ani DiFranco, Billy Bragg, Jonatha Brooke, Stephan Smith, Saul Williams, DJ Spooky, Jami Sieber, Shelley Doty and original music by John Sheldon.

Monday, November 13, 2006

a reading in the castro

last night, sarah and i made our way to books inc, in the castro, to hear readings by authors matty lee (35 cents) and d travers scott (one of these things is not like the other).

we know trav from seattle. three (four?) years ago, he enrolled in UW's master's program in digital media (established by my friend and colleague ty lau). trav is my kind of media scholar: a sharp media critic and a sharp media creator.

in other news - unfortunately, i wasn't able to see USF visual arts professor richard kamler's veteran's day installation on campus on saturday but judging from local coverage in the paper it appears quite powerful.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

faculty positions: digital media studies at the university of denver

my friend and colleague, lynn schofield clark, notified me of two great looking assistant professor positions at the university of denver's forwarding thinking digital media studies program:
    The Digital Media Studies program and the Department of Mass Communications and Journalism Studies at the University of Denver invite applications for two 9-month, tenure-track assistant professor positions to begin September 1, 2007.

    1. Digital Media Theory
    The successful applicant will demonstrate a substantial commitment to innovative research and scholarship in emerging digital media forms and the cultures that surround them. The successful candidate should combine analytic and creative strengths across several areas, which might include the following: mobile, tactical, social, personal media, media convergence, physical computing, global media and international communication. The successful applicant will be responsible for teaching courses that take critical approaches to digital media while at the same time fostering the applied theory and practical components of the DMS program and the Dept. of Mass Communications, as well as teaching courses for the University's general education requirements.

    1. Digital Media Technology
    Applicants for this position should have a developed background in digital media arts and technology. Along with outstanding applied skills, candidates should demonstrate their potential for research and scholarship in emerging digital media forms. The primary instructional responsibilities of the successful applicant may include teaching courses in interactive multimedia production, computer games, multimedia performance, electronic literature, virtual environments, and related areas. Instructional opportunities also include developing courses taking innovative, critical approaches to digital media and technologies, both for the DMS program and the University's general education requirements.

    Additional responsibilities for both positions will include supervising graduate theses and projects, as well as undergraduate and graduate student advising. Successful applicants are expected to take an active role in shaping this innovative, interdisciplinary program among the School of Art and Art History, the Department of Computer Science, and the Department of Mass Communications. Applicants should be ABD in an appropriate field of media studies, arts, production, or related areas. Preferred candidates will have the terminal degree (Ph.D. or M.F.A.) in an appropriate discipline.

    All applicants must submit online applications for these positions by going to Please submit a letter of application and c.v. as part of this online application process. Teaching evaluations and three letters of recommendation should be mailed separately to Professor Trace Reddell, Search Committee Chair, Digital Media Studies Program, Sturm Hall 216B, 2000 E. Asbury Ave., Denver, CO 80208 (303-871-3874). DU is an EEO/AA Employer and is committed to enhancing its faculty and staff diversity. Applications are particularly encouraged from women, minorities, people with disabilities, and veterans. For full consideration, applications should be received by January 5, 2007.

Friday, November 10, 2006

ISLMA keynote: consumed young minds, creative young minds

this morning, i gave a breakfast keynote at the illinois school library media association's (or ISLMA) annual conference. the title of the talk was "consumed young minds, creative young minds."

my talk covered nasty stuff (consumer culture, militarized culture) and exciting stuff (participatory culture, creative culture).

to introduce these two concepts, i began by describing election night at USF. i told a brief story (better heard than read) that recounted how many of the students in attendance were in middle school in 2001 and how i tried to imagine what they thought when president bush followed september 11 by encouraging us to go shopping. next, i discussed how students used multiple media - laptops, cell phones, television - to follow the election, how they talked and debated about their findings, and how they created media (in the form of posters on walls) to update and share their findings. i think i may have mentioned that in a society which too often educates youth to be consumers, it sure feels inspiring to watch them become citizens.

having established the two themes - youth as consumers, youth as creators - i continued by discussing the immersive consumer cultures within which today's youth swim. i began with (what else?) america's next top model, a reality show that takes cross-media promotion and product placement to a whole new level. warning the audience that things would get worse before they got better, i introduced america's army, a computer game ("the official US army game") that serves as a recruitment tool. i then showed do something amazing, a youtube-like archive of "reality" video clips of everyday life (without the blood) of the US air force. (i didn't have time to talk about the US air force's profile on myspace, nor was i able to talk about intellipedia, but i was able to say that for the communities that lack access to technology, the US army was more than willing to bring the tech to the community: in the form of a graffiti-clad, dj-riding, computer game-stacked hummer visiting a black or latino neighborhood near you.)

as a transition from consumer culture to participatory culture, i showed a mashup of america's next top model. it was a nice way to introduce what henry jenkins calls participatory culture. like yesterday's workshop, i discussed the five elements of participatory culture:
  1. relatively low barriers to artistic expression and civic engagement;
  2. strong support for creating and sharing one's creations with others'
  3. some type of informal mentorship whereby what is known by the most experienced is passed along to novices;
  4. members believe that their contributions matter; and
  5. members feel some degree of social connection with one another (at the least they care what other people think about what they have created).
reading over these five elements to a ballroom full of librarians was an experience unlike anything i have witnessed: it was as if a huge collective bubble of BIG IDEAS AND BIG CONNECTIONS surfaced and it was at this point that i was reminded that no group understands collective intelligence better than librarians.

i finished the talk by tracing some possible intersections between participatory culture, school libraries, and ISLMA. i introduced a number of projects and ideas that are waiting to be projects, including student-annotated library catalogs and student reading mentorship programs. next, i called up wikipedia (which was met with a few groans!) and searched for the entry on ISLMA. nothing. i returned to jenkins' elements of participatory culture and asked the audience what would happen if ISMLA members collectively wrote the wikipedia entry for ISLMA? what kinds of negotiated knowledge would arise? what elements would be highlighted or glossed over? in short, what happens when you collectively and publicly construct and negotiated knowledge?

i finished with dvds. i acknowledged how frustrating it must be for librarians to see students walk in the library, walk past the stacks, and head straight for the dvds. at the same time, i remarked how interesting it is to note that many youth go beyond the main movie and watch the extras - the making of, director's commentary - which, to me, suggests a kind of research, a willingness to pursue secondary sources, and, most importantly, evidence of a sense that seems to be evaporating among too many of our students - curiosity. i ended with an idea i heard from a librarian at a one-day conference for jesuit university librarians (convened about two weeks ago at USF by librarian locke morrisey) - wouldn't it be great to set up a web 2.0 site that essentially says, if you liked this dvd, you're gonna love these books.

it's a gamble. as new media becomes more and more integrated into the lives of our students, many of us are worried that basic literacy may suffer. at the same time, as scholars like jenkins argue (in "confronting the challenges of participatory culture: media education for the 21st century"), reading and writing literacy is often the cornerstone of participatory cultures. regarding this last point, i am still uncertain, but i am certain that curiosity is something our students - not to mention ourselves - could use a lot more of, and fast. and i am certain that curious minds belong, grow, and thrive in libraries.

like always, my time management was lacking but as the talk ended and people began to file out of the ballroom i managed to remember to snap a few photos:

update: i've learned of two new ISLMA-related wiki projects! the first is the 2006 ISLMA conference wiki which features, among other things, slides and notes from over two dozen conference presentations. the second is bookbattle, a wiki set up by erin wyatt at highland middle school in libertyville and katie kirsch at lake bluff middle school.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

ISLMA workshop: using new media to stimulate creativity and collaboration

[crossposted from ISLMA conference 2006 blog]

today i'm in arlington, right outside chicago, for the illinois school library media association's (or ISLMA) annual conference. this afternoon i led a workshop titled "using new media to stimulate creativity and collaboration"; tomorrow, i give the breakfast keynote talk called "consumed young minds, creative young minds."

the focus of the workshop was collective intelligence and student learning so the audience of k-12 librarians and teachers was perfect. the workshop was three hours long and included somewhere around thirty librarians and teachers.

we covered a lot of ideas in three hours and here's a few things i remember:

web 2.0
i began with an overview of web 2.0, noting that much of it is a marketing meme for (surprise) web 2.0 start up companies. that said, i introduced the notion of collective intelligence (something librarians know a lot about) and talked about adding and editing (or annonating), tags and folksonomy, and user-driven content. (much of this part was generated from multiple readings of tim o'reilly's important and influencial "what is web 2.0?") i coupled web 2.0 characteristics with web 2.0 sites like amazon, blogs, facebook, flickr, wikipedia, yelp, and youtube.

participatory culture
next, i discussed portions of henry jenkins' "confronting the challenges of participatory culture: media education for the 21st century." i love this paper because it describes participatory culture as something that can take place online or offline, on blogs or in libraries. in particular, i discussed jenkins' five elements of participatory culture:
  1. relatively low barriers to artistic expression and civic engagement;
  2. strong support for creating and sharing one's creations with others'
  3. some type of informal mentorship whereby what is known by the most experienced is passed along to novices;
  4. members believe that their contributions matter; and
  5. members feel some degree of social connection with one another (at the least they care what other people think about what they have created).
(at some point during the workshop i mentioned that jenkins' paper was funded by the macarthur foundation's $50 million, 5 year initiative on digital media and learning. i suggested that in addition to funding individiual scholars at individual universities perhaps they might fund organizations like ISLMA which serves to network multiple libraries at multiple schools across the state of illinois. plus, if we are talking about digital media and learning, doesn't this include libraries and media centers?)

then, the fun part - examples! borrowing heavily from the insights of brian benzinger (of solution watch blog), and especially his blog entry titled "back to school with the class of web 2.0: part 3," we discussed educational uses of flickr, course blogs, and school blogs. along the way, i mentioned the many and wonderful ways the rambling librarian uses blogs to promote, extend, and re-imagine libraries, including the role of computers games in libraries. [i promised participants citations for other web 2.0/library 2.0 blogs and here's two of my favorites: and free range librarian. i hope participants will add more!]

but the best part was when workshop participants began talking about their own projects. we talked about what individual librarians and teachers are doing, what classes are doing, and what libraries and schools are doing. and we talked about what we could be doing - with modest technological help, with modest funding, and with modest collaboration with teachers and administrators.

we talked about getting buy-in from teachers, students, and administrators. we talked about starting with modest projects and letting them grow as needed. we talked about projects that require a minimal amount of technology (not to mention time and labor) and we talked about projects that would require a lot (or too much) time.

we talked about a lot more than my notes above reveal. but it's hard to conduct a workshop and simultaneously take ample notes for a blog post! some can do it, like kathleen, but i'm still learning.

i've always enjoyed conferences and am a regular attendee of AIR and ASA. but there's something about library conferences - whether it's ALA or PLA or ACRL or ISLMA - that is so much more exciting, so much more communal, so much more collective. when done right, conferences are about collective intelligence and, once again, this is a topic librarians know quite a lot about.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

much more humane

it is an odd feeling to feel good on election night. tonight feels good.

tonight, the majority of americans said no to the war in iraq. we said no to the right and their agenda of fear. we said no to republicans and their massive tax cuts for millionaires. most of all, tonight we said no to george w bush.

now let's build something big and strong and much more humane.

election night

pizza, popcorn, cookies, laptops, tv, and lots of excitement. the election results are just now streaming in but here's what the scene looks like in crossroads cafe.

professors stephen zunes (standing, left) and corey cook (standing, right) use a commercial break as an opportunity to explain some of the numbers.

news seems to travel faster through the web than through tv. it's great when a student with a laptop can call a race faster than the suits on CNN.

the moment new data gets posted to the web it gets posted to the posters. the left side of the poster, the democratic side, is filling fast.

please vote

and then be sure to join us this evening as the results roll in.

Monday, November 06, 2006

usf event: election night at usf

where will you be when election results begin to stream in?

corey cook (a USF professor of politics), students enrolled in his Legislative Process class, USF's department of politics, the leo t. mccarthy center for public service and the common good, and USF's politics society have organized an excellent event for tomorrow night. it takes place between 6 - 9 pm in crossroads cafe.

from the press release:
Students, faculty, and staff from the University of San Francisco are invited to an election night party at the Crossroads Café. We will be watching the local and national coverage on large screen televisions and have laptop computers set up to get immediate election returns from around the country ... In addition, faculty experts will be available to speak about the most competitive U.S. Senate races in the country including those in Connecticut, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Tennessee, statewide and state legislative races, local races for county supervisor in San Francisco, and state and local ballot propositions.

University of San Francisco Department of Politics
Leo T. McCarthy Center for Public Service and the Common Good
University of San Francisco Politics Society

Corey Cook, Politics
David Silver, Media Studies
David Wolber, Computer Science
kudos, thanks, and much respect to corey and the politics society for giving us something to do collectively on such an important and exciting evening. and i'll look forward to seeing my friend and colleague dave wolber and his excellent project who's funding whom? i hope to see you there.

update: i forgot, free pizza!

california ballot guide

tomorrow? vote, vote, vote.

each year, Darien DeLu (former co-president of WILPF) puts out a voter guide for california. i disagree with Darien with 1E (flood bond) and 86 (cigarette tax), but like the looks of the rest of it. thanks, Darien, for taking the time to put this together and for distributing your knowledge to others.
    Darien's Ballot Guide to the Propositions:
    California Ballot - Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2006

    Once again, with the help of many people and sources, I offer this progressive guide. Along with the positions of a number of other groups and organizations (abbreviation key follows) my own views are expressed with short analyses and recommendations - and with clearly stated judgments.

    Groups Abbreviated in Endorsements Below:
    ACLU of Northern CA ACLU
    CA Chamber of Commerce CofC
    CA Federation of Teachers CFT
    CA Labor Federation (AFL-CIO) Labr
    Friends Comm. on Legislation FCL
    League of Women Voters of CA Lge
    Republican Party (CA) Rep
    Democratic Party (CA) Dem
    Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assoc. Jrvs
    Peace & Freedom Party (CA) P&F
    Green Party (CA) Grn
    Sierra Club (CA) Sra
    Planning & Conservation League PCL
    Nat'l Organiz. for Women (CA) NOW

    Note - Groups on this list are always shown as a yes or a no when they've taken a position.

    I especially value the reasonable discussions in the FCL newsletter, which you can see at -

    Prop. 1A: "The Automobile Protection Amendment" - NO
    This measure will further tie the hands of our elected representatives in the face of some crisis or economic downturn. At a time when we should be *increasing* the flexibility of our use of excise *and* sales taxes from gasoline sales - for example, in order to begin to build an alternative infrastructure for a post-petroleum society - this *constitutional amendment* goes in the opposite direction.
    Why should transportation projects *always* get a higher priority for gas sales-tax funding than *any* other state expenditure? Yet that was the decision made by Prop.42. Prop. 42 has scant flexibility for critical situations, and 1A eliminates nearly all of that. What's more, 1A would also allow the Legislature, with the approval of the governor - but not the voters - to issue *new* bonds backed by gas sales taxes. Don't fall for the "plug loopholes" talk!
    No - FCL, P&F
    Yes - CofC, Jrvs, CFT, Labr, Dem, Rep

    Prop. 1B: Very Big Bond Bucks for Roads, etc. - NO
    Calif. spends about $20 billion per year on transportation infrastructure. This measure would provide another $20 billion - more than 1C, 1D, & 1E combined! It will ultimately cost nearly $40 billion (with interest). What is this - a special "one for the price of two" offer? Esp. now that is Prop. 42 in place, roads have *guaranteed* funding - unlike the other 1C-E.
    Only 1/5 of this bond goes for public transportation projects, and mere crumbs for cyclists and pedestrians. As the Calif. Bicycle Coalition (CBC) says in their opposing statement, 1B "will increase sprawl and worsen air pollution, and undermine efforts to curb global warming".
    No - Grn, P&F, CBC
    Yes - Lge, CofC, Jrvs, Labr, Dem, Rep, lots of newspapers
    No position - FCL

    Prop. 1C: Housing Help Bond - YES, YES
    Proposition 1C would provide $2.85 billion (cf. $20 B. in 1B!) in funds for 13 new and existing housing and development programs for battered women shelters, low income senior housing, veterans housing and shelter for homeless families. Here we have what I see as a good reason for a bond, much like a mortgage to buy your own home. Yet home ownership has become a hopeless dream for the groups this bond addressed by this bond.
    Yes - CofC, CFT, Labr, Dem, FCL, Lge, PCL, Sra, NOW
    No - Jrvs, Rep, P&F

    Prop. 1D: School Bond - Yes
    Providing $7.3 B for schools - including colleges/universities - this is another big bond. OK, I'm a sucker for the value and benefits of education. Still, I'm concerned about the general refusal of voters to pay for tax increases in order to provide school funding, given "The Trouble with Bonds". (See article, below.) Yes - CofC, CFT, Labr, Dem, FCL, Lge, Sra, Now
    No - Jrvs, P&F

    Prop. 1E: Flood Bond - No? [Yes]
    I'm not saying that we don't need $4.1 billion in flood control projects, but we must also enact zoning laws that prevent construction in areas likely to flood. Without such controls, aren't we simply subsidizing those making a buck at the expense of ill-informed, uncaring, or desperate home buyers?
    No - P&F
    Yes - CofC, CFT, Labr, Dem, Rep

    Prop. 83: They Came for the Sex Offenders... - NO
    Emotionalism and fear make for bad law, esp. in a time when repressive measures seem to have become more acceptable. This prop. would put *severe* restrictions on where sex offenders could live - so severe that they would find it impossible to live in many towns. Beyond that are many effectiveness problems. The measure is so indiscriminate that enforcement costs would drain resources that would be better focused on the most likely offenders. Besides, this prop. is based on the myth of the dangerous stranger; per FCL, 90% of children know their perpetrators. Also, research in Florida showed that perp's go out of neighborhood so as not to be recognized.
    No - ACLU, FCL, P&F, Grn
    Yes - Dem, Rep

    Prop. 84: Water Bond - Yes
    It is said that the today's wars are about oil, but tomorrow's will be about water. Already in Calif. many of the lowest income people - farm workers in rural areas - are paying the highest prices for their drinking water. Protecting the quality and supply of drinking water is, I believe, a critical governmental function. This $5.4 billion bond measure will also do other water projects - such as coastal restoration and (cf. Prop. 1E!) some flood control.
    Yes - CFT, Labr, Dem, FCL, Lge, Sra
    No - Jrvs, Rep, P&F

    Prop. 85: Anti-Abortion for Minors - NO!
    This constitutional amendment seeks to restrict abortion access for minors. Wasn't it just last Nov. that we defeated the nearly identical Prop. 73, 53% to 47%? Of course, all parents would like to be able to talk to their minor daughters contemplating abortions, but the daughter who chooses not to tell her parents has compelling reasons! This prop. will cause girls' deaths from illegal abortions; and legal abortions, by being delayed, will become more dangerous. The option to go to a judge is a sham for an already frightened teen. Scary - with 44 states already with such laws, without reducing teen pregnancy.
    NO - ACLU, CFT, Dem, FCL, Lge, NOW, P&F, Sra, Grn
    Yes - Rep

    Prop. 86: Cigarette Tax - No [Yes]
    This *constitutional amendment* is a huge cig. tax increase that would be extremely regressive, given that smokers are disproportionately lower income people. The funds raised would go to many programs, but only a fraction of them - less than 10% - are even slightly related to tobacco use. Also, 86 would override some more directly tobacco-related program funding under the Prop. 99. Law enforcement fears tax avoidance by illegal & casino purchases.
    No - CofC, Jrvs, P&F, Rep
    Yes - CFT, Labr, Dem, Lge

    Prop. 87: Oil Exploitation Tax to Fund Alternative Energy - YES
    This is the most expensive prop. campaign in Calif. history, with oil companies on one side and those looking to make money on alternatives on the other. This *constitutional amendment*, creates a tax on oil extraction, similar to what most other oil producing states have. Where that annual $225-$485 million goes is clearly defined, as well as the composition of the administering Board - in a way that provides accountability to the tax payers. The prop. also prohibits gas producers from passing the tax to consumers. Other market forces may push up gas prices, but these same forces may also keep prices down - especially as investment of the millions of dollars raised by the tax succeed in reducing gasoline consumption.
    Yes - CFT, Labr, Dem, FCL, NOW, P&F, Sra, Grn
    No - CofC, Jrvs, Rep

    Prop. 88: Regressive Parcel Tax for Schools - NO
    Another regressive tax - charging the same amount, regardless of the value or size of the parcel - and a *constitutional amendment* which could start a new wave of special-purpose state property taxes.
    No - CFT, Dem, Rep, FCL, P&F, Grn, Calif. PTA, Jrvs, Lge
    Yes - ?

    Prop. 89: Reducing Corporate Control of Elections - YES
    This prop. to limit campaign financing is an imperfect measure, as they're all likely to be as long as the Supreme Court continues to equate money with "freedom of speech". This *will* limit corporate contributions to ballot measure campaigns, and that difference would be huge!
    Yes - FCL, Lge, NOW, P&F, Sra
    No - CofC, CFT, Dem, Jrvs, Rep

    Prop. 90: Money Rights, Not Community Rights - NO!
    This *constitutional amendment* is *not* really about protecting home owners. Instead, 90 would force the government - ie., tax payers - to pay off companies and wealthy individuals when new laws (such as air pollution laws) could be construed as reducing the value of property. Basic laws that we now think of as a community's rights - zoning, environmental protections - could require millions in "ransom", even when real impacts are unclear.
    No - CFT, Labr, Dem, FCL, P&F, Grn, PCL, ACLU, Sra
    Yes - Jrvs, Rep
for additional recommendations, see the league of women voters of san francisco voter's guide (in english, spanish, and chinese!), the san francisco bay guardian's printable PDF voter guide, and danah boyd's california/san francisco/los angeles voter guide.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

stanford university event featuring stewart brand, kevin kelly, howard rheingold, and fred turner

for those in the bay area, there's a great sounding event organized by my friend, colleague, and librarian superstar ShinJoung Yeo (of radical reference) at stanford university. check it:
    From Counterculture to Cyberculture: The Legacy of the Whole Earth Catalog
    A symposium featuring Stewart Brand, Kevin Kelly, Howard Rheingold and Fred Turner

    Thursday, November 9 from 7:00 to 8:30 PM
    Cubberly Auditorium, Stanford University

    During the 1960s, student marchers chanted "Do not fold, spindle or mutilate!" as they railed against computers and the Cold War-era military industrial complex they seemed to represent. But within just three decades, computers had become emblems of countercultural revolution. This symposium will feature a conversation with three people who played key roles in that transformation: Stewart Brand, founder of the Whole Earth Catalog, Kevin Kelly, former executive editor of Wired Magazine and
    author of Out of Control: The Rise of Neo-Biological Civilization and New Rules for the New Economy, and Howard Rheingold, author of The Virtual Community: Homesteading on the Electronic Frontier and Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution. The discussion will be moderated by Fred Turner, assistant professor of communication at Stanford and author of the new book From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network and the Rise of Digital Utopianism.

    This event is sponsored by the Stanford University Libraries, the Department of Communication, and the American Studies Program. It will be introduced by Henry Lowood, of the Stanford University Libraries, and followed by a public reception.

    [for more information, email ShinJoung Yeo at shyeo [at] stanford [dot] edu]
unfortunately, i'll be in chicago attending this excellent conference but i hope the event will be streamed and archived!

also, if any readers are interested in reviewing fred turner's from counterculture to cyberculture: stewart brand, the whole earth network and the rise of digital utopianism for RCCS, please contact me via email or comments.

update: sarah has some nice pictures from the event, as does eszter.

another update: mind mob was on the scene, too!

some day soon RCCS's book reviews will allow comments

soon, i hope to enable comments on the monthly book reviews featured on RCCS. essentially, the book reviews and author responses should act like blog posts - it would be great if people could 1) read the reviews and then 2) add comments to the reviews. right now i'm working on a number of projects but i hope to commentify RCCS by summer.

reading mark bernstein's two blog posts - Figurski and Women, a Footnote - makes we wish the comment feature were working NOW.

bernstein is founder and chief scientist of eastgate systems. established in 1982, eastgate is best known, i believe, in academic circles and has published some of the most classic works of what some call "serious hypertext," including shelley jackson's patchwork girl, stuart moulthrop's victory garden, and michael joyce's afternoon, a story. eastgate is also the publisher of richard holeton's figurski at findhorn on acid, which jessica laccetti reviewed for RCCS for november, 2006.

bernstein takes issue with a number of things in the review, but focuses especialy on a point laccetti makes in a footnote about gender and hypertext. laccetti notes:
    Additionally, the prefix, "hyper" problematizes feminist thought (which has sought to destabilize hierarchies such as mind over body and vision over touch) as it adds inscriptions of hierarchy to an already seemingly hierarchical and male-dominated field. The theorists are male (Bolter, Landow, Amerika, Lanham, Joyce, Aarseth, Moulthrop), the hypertexts often discussed are written by men (Landow, Bolter, Joyce, Coover, Amerika), and the visions they present us with are distinctly male.
bernstein's post notes many female theorists including Kate Kayles [sic], Marie-Laure Ryan, Diane Greco, Irina Aristarkhova, Anja Rau, Wendy Morgan, Susanna Pajares Tosca, and Jill Walker, female industry researchers Cathy Marshall and Wendy Hall, and female hypertext authors Shelley Jackson and Deena Larsen. cool.

i'm grateful that bernstein has brought attention to these scholars, researchers, and authors; i am familiar with some but not all. but i wish bernstein weren't so belligerent. his posts are extremely condescending. it's as if he wants to argue a point rather than foster a dialogue. i neither study nor read as much hypertext as i did as a graduate student (does anyone?), but the past and present field of hypertext studies is, like all academic fields, a field where males occupy the most privileged places, positions, and voices.

one thing bernstein skips is the novel itself. i have not yet read figurski at findhorn on acid, but how can i not read it after jessica's description:
    A general synopsis would spotlight the main protagonist Frank Figurski who has recently concluded his jail term for the murder of Professor Quentin Kingsley. Since leaving jail, Frank is on a mission to uncover the authenticity of a seventeenth-century mechanical pig (which washed up on the beach in Findhorn Park). Frank's journey will be complicated and perhaps even dangerous; he is not the only one after the truth and he is on acid.
now that sounds like an interesting hypertext novel.

(one quick note of clarification: bernstein writes that the resource center for cyberculture studies is at the university of maryland. yo, RCCS is at the university of san francisco; it hasn't been at maryland since september, 2001.)

at RCCS, books are just the beginning - they are read by people who then generate reviews. soon, i hope, RCCS reviews will be another beginning - they will be read by people who will generate comments about the books, comments about the reviews, and comments about the comments.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

USF event: school of americas halloween dinner

i first learned about school of americas watch in the early 90s, when i was finishing school at UCLA. at the time, i didn't want to believe that the US government would sponsor a school that would train their students how to torture, how to instill fear among a population, and how to overthrow democratic governments. over the years i continued to hear about the school of americas watch, mostly through their annual vigil in november at fort benning in columbus, georgia.

i first heard about USF's school of americas watch from amber mcchesney-young who is enrolled in my course digital democracy. amber, with the help of many other students including bethy whalen and ryan ericksen, has spent much of fall semester organizing last night's school of americas halloween dinner. the dinner is the main fundraiser for USF's school of americas watch and generates funds necessary for fourteen students and staff to travel from san francisco, california to columbus, georgia to be part of the vigil and protest to shut the school down.

the event was awesome. it was packed - i'm not good with numbers but i'd predict between 200 and 300 people, mostly students, showed up, many in halloween costumes. following a tasty burrito dinner, there was a brief talk about torture, several spoken word performances, and a halloween costume contest (judges included members of USF's jesuit community). there was also a SOA watch video by coreen salamanca and a musical performance by francisco herrera.

last night was educational, inspiring, and fun. it raised funds and consciousness. it filled our bellies and our hearts. but the best thing about last night was that it was organized by students.

later that night, sarah and i walked a few blocks from our pad to the castro to witness the gyrating spectacle called halloween. we joined a reported 400,000 other people, mostly peaceful, and got out of there before ten people were shot. one day, americans will learn to party in the streets without violence.