Posts Tagged ‘libraries’

I’ve become increasingly more active with a volunteer group of humanitarians who give technology aid after a major disaster, such as the one that occurred this week in Japan.  For those that haven’t heard of this emerging interdisciplinary field of crisis mapping, crisis mappers were featured on CNN for the instantaneous response and creation of the  person finder application and aggregation of news sources.  Voluntweeters around the world started self-organizing in the information space, using twitter and other microblogging environments to collect and disseminate information, creating mash-ups of satellite images for disaster and crisis management support — in just the last 24 hours. As a rule, time is the most valuable resource during these events and crisis mappers are very fast to respond when a crisis happens.

So what does this mean for libraries? Part of my graduate research is looking at the needs of crisis mappers from an information needs perspective. This emerging field of crisis mapping during a disaster is supported by loosely organizated individuals en masse without geographic restrictions. As librarians and information specialists we need to start looking at how we can help seek and provide information they are looking for. Why? Because it is our job.

In my research I am looking at crisis mapping for two reasons — how are crisis mappers doing it and how can we help as information specialists? This brings up more questions: If the crisis mapping community sets up interactive maps to help identify needs and resources of a community, how can we support that data? How can we help support and manage the evolving coverage of resources being created in response to a major disaster? What is our role in organizing that information and making it universally accessible and useful? Do we have the skills to support the many new web-based relief tools emerging — and do we want to have a role?

I hope to have the answers to those questions in the coming months as I continue to do my research.

Librarian Intelligence. It’s the new now.


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RE: Haitian Earthquake —

Global Relief Technologies (GRT) is planning to use satellite-linked PDAs to map and record the destruction on the ground — giving relief workers critical realtime information as they race against the clock.

More online at the Mobile Libraries blog.  (AKA @GMcKBlogs on Twitter.)

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In a New York Times article published yesterday, African children demand “Give us libraries and librarians.”
And it’s so sad —  You would never hear a child in the United States, Canada, the EU demanding information and education this way.

Even where there are libraries, very few countries (outside of South Africa) have started looking at library infrastructure  and knowledge management, said Kimbo Mchombu, a professor at the University of Namibia. Because of this African countries  are falling behind in building online libraries and digital archives.

I would hate to be the one on the management chopping block to say no to libraries for these kids:

The marchers in Cape Town, who numbered in the thousands. The marchers echoed a children's uprising against apartheid in 1976.  NYT/ Pieter Bauermeister

The marchers in Cape Town, who numbered in the thousands. The marchers echoed a children's uprising against apartheid in 1976. NYT/ Pieter Bauermeister

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airline-routes-chart-002Taking a cue from trends in flight patterns, a recent post in treehugger discusses the 20 most popular airline routes. (Posted from the Financial Time based on a study by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network.) But how do flight patterns relate to librarianship? If we start thinking of these flights with a business opportunity mindset, we will start thinking of these individual flights as patron opportunities  — a fluid patron base. (Go where the people are.)

Over 2 million people fly Hong Kong to Taipei yearly — meanwhile  the Library of Congress, the world’s largest collection of legal materials, films, maps, sheet music and sound recordings,  had 1.6 million physical visits. Perhaps it is time to redirect some of our marketing not towards where our potential patrons are, but where they are going. The potential to meet these people where they are headed rests not just in the bookstore at every airport.

I’m begging that the future of a globalized world and increase of international travel may lead to airport libraries. Check out a book,  read it on the plane, return it at your destination. It beats paying for an overpriced copy of Freakonomics that will be left on the plane (to be picked up by a flight attendant and regifted).

Further ideas are endless: collaboration with local partnership to provide free internet access? In-flight magazine ads hyping up local destination-based libraries? There are already a few grassroots initiatives in some subways and rail stations world wide that have free book trade stations allowing commuters to trade books.

Just a few suggestions before Book Vending Machines takeover our trade.

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Community Development, Technology, and Libraries:
Why the Modern Library is a Catalyst for Change

June 11, 3:00-4:30 pm
West End Library, 1101 24th St NW, Washington, DC

The International Research Exchanges Board (IREX) in partnership with the Public Library in the District of Columbia is featuring an international program on libraries, technology, and development. The program will feature:

  • Nancy Davenport, Interim Director of Library Services, Public Library in the District of Columbia and the former President of the Council on Library and Information Resources
  • Scott Andersen, Deputy Director, Global Libraries, Romania
  • Colin Guard, Program Director, Global Libraries, Ukraine

In the United States and abroad, libraries have been overlooked as vehicles for community development initiatives. The concept of libraries has evolved beyond a storage house for books into a community space where people can access information and engage with their fellow citizens on educational, cultural, and civic issues. By making libraries a focal point of development efforts, organizations can tap into existing resources and local knowledge to launch sustainable community-based projects that connect with the service mission of a library.

RSVP by June 8 to: techseries@irex.org or call Swathi at (202) 628-8188, x140

Refreshments will be served.

More information is on the IREX blog.

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TwitterThanks to @aarontay for tweeting about this library-centric Twitter League. Nearly 500 libraries are represented worldwide, but again the majority are from the United States, Canada, and Europe. The library with the most followers? The U.S. Library of Congress http://twitter.com/librarycongress

Visit here: http://ow.ly/5JKO

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