LibrarianShipwreck

Libraries, Archives, Technology, Impending Doom

Facing Reality – Reflections on the IFG’s Techno-Utopianism Teach-In

Occasionally, an acronym does the work of an entire argument. Case in point: FRED, which stands for Facing the Reality of Extinction and Doom. A good acronym need not be … Continue reading

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Between the Scythe & the Reaper Drone – A review of Nicholas Carr’s “The Glass Cage”

Here is a thought experiment: reflect back on the last forty-eight hours of your life, how often did you find yourself relying on computerized technology for performing a function that … Continue reading

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Emma, Utah, You, and Me

Pirates! One of your faithful librarian got laid off last Thursday, so you will probably be hearing more from me, as I try to fill the hours and days of … Continue reading

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The Good Life or “the Goods Life” – The Thought of Lewis Mumford

Possessing tremendous foresight is not always an uplifting attribute. Likewise, a keen sense of hindsight may provide as much of an education in ruins as in woebegone romance. Yet it … Continue reading

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Program and Be Programmed – A Review of Wendy Hui Kyong Chun’s Programmed Visions

Type a letter on a keyboard and the letter appears on the screen, double-click on a program’s icon and it opens, use the mouse in an art program to draw … Continue reading

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On Telling Time

I. The very idea of an heirloom quality computer seems amusingly absurd. And yet this does not mean that any concept of passing pieces of technology across generations is laughable. … Continue reading

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With Great Technological Powers…What of Responsibility?

Who amongst us has not entertained a fantasy of possessing powers beyond those held by most mere mortals? The ability to fly, to be able to heal quickly, to be … Continue reading

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Corrupting “The Corruption of Liberalism” – Brooks gets Mumford Wrong

The thought of public intellectuals may easily outlive their mortal bodies, their work enduring past the point at which they can still command much claim to a public. The work … Continue reading

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A Question of Priorities

Human ingenuity has been a source of all manner of creations that have filled people with awe. Yet, this awe has just as often been awful as it has been … Continue reading

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Tilting at Windmills

To be critical of a society is to invite a variety of staid, boorish, and simply hostile responses. Common amongst these retorts are those that do not attempt to engage … Continue reading

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Librarian Is My Occupation: A History of the People’s Library of Occupy Wall Street

As we’ve mentioned several times (sorry [not really]), your dear co-captains wrote a chapter in the recently-released book Informed agitation : library and information skills in social movements and beyond, … Continue reading

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To-Do: Western Mass, NYC, Chicago

A pal brings this event, in Amherst, MA, to our attention: The publication of Hampshire College librarian Alana Kumbier’s book Ephemeral Material: Queering the Archive will be celebrated on Oct. … Continue reading

October 2, 2014 · Leave a comment

All Hitherto Existing Social Media – a review of Christian Fuchs’s “Social Medial: a Critical Introduction””

Legion are the books and articles describing the social media that has come before. Yet the tracts focusing on Friendster, LiveJournal, or MySpace now appear as throwbacks, nostalgically immortalizing the … Continue reading

September 25, 2014 · Leave a comment

Read Banned Books – Support Your Library

Displays of challenged, or banned, books generally provoke rather predictable responses: one group contentedly observes that somebody is speaking up against such filth, another group stares in bemused shock that … Continue reading

September 23, 2014 · 1 Comment

“The Courage to Be Afraid”

Of the various emotions that we are alternately encouraged or discouraged from feeling – fear is one that occupies an odd position. After all, fear is a very powerful emotional … Continue reading

September 19, 2014 · 3 Comments

Books Through Bars Fundraiser

Hey, real quick, pirates. Here in NYC Books Through Bars, “a non-profit community group and collective which sends free donated books to people in prison,” is having their annual bingo fundraiser … Continue reading

September 18, 2014 · Leave a comment

Not all Apples are Biodegradable

Buried within the excited announcement of a new model of a popular device is the dirge for the generation of devices that have just been made obsolete. Granted, there is … Continue reading

September 16, 2014 · 3 Comments

Placing Bets and Asking Questions

Though there was not terribly much question about it, there is now clear confirmation that “wearable technology” will be the next major front in technological society. While there had been … Continue reading

September 12, 2014 · 3 Comments

Speeding Towards a Slowdown

When things change quickly an appropriately speedy response may be warranted – especially in cases where delaying for too long may result in the opportunity to act being missed. The … Continue reading

September 9, 2014 · 2 Comments

“The attempt to keep conscience alive” – Reflections on the book Burning Conscience

The threatening shape hanging above the horizon these days does not resemble a mushroom cloud. This is not to suggest that the potential threat of nuclear weapons has completely receded; … Continue reading

September 5, 2014 · 1 Comment

Back to School…With Much to Learn

Even if the first day of autumn is still several weeks away, the passing of Labor Day always seems to signify that summer has come to a close. And with … Continue reading

September 2, 2014 · Leave a comment

Who Was Captain Swing?

General Ludd, and the army of redressers that gathered behind his name, has become something of an all-purpose avatar for any attitude towards technology that is less than fawning. Whether … Continue reading

August 28, 2014 · 1 Comment

For Want of an Epiphany

When surrounded by things that beep, buzz and otherwise bombard with their unceasing demand for attention – it can be tempting to dream of turning them all off. If one … Continue reading

August 25, 2014 · 3 Comments

A Mechanical Moses

An odd thing occurs if one tries to locate Mount Sinai within a recent atlas – for that mountain of such storied import is no longer where one might expect … Continue reading

August 15, 2014 · 8 Comments

Hope Comes Pre-Installed

There is an odd dissonance playing out in the news of late – a rather jarring juxtaposition between euphoric promises and doom tinged proclamations. While a defining feature of the … Continue reading

August 12, 2014 · 4 Comments

Concerned about Privacy? Consider going Postal!

The contents of a mailbox can become amusingly mundane: bills, solicitations, catalogs, credit card offers, and assorted other odds and ends that wind up in the recycling bin without being … Continue reading

August 8, 2014 · 1 Comment

LIS WTF

Hold onto your hats, librarians, you’re hardly going to believe these two bits of news. Yes, they are that busted. ***** First, comes the saga of the Evanston, IL, public … Continue reading

August 6, 2014 · 1 Comment

Response Ability or Responsibility?

The decisions that one makes in the course of a day are subtly and overtly influenced by a host of factors. From the opinions of others to long term goals … Continue reading

August 4, 2014 · 6 Comments

The Laboratory or The Library?

Using social media has always involved a vague recognition that the platform (and the company behind it) will be using the user right back. Usually this understanding has involved a … Continue reading

July 31, 2014 · Leave a comment

The Luddite Response

Would it be fair to call those who advocate for online privacy Luddites? It seems a rather absurd question. After all, those who encourage people to use TOR, encryption, or … Continue reading

July 28, 2014 · 3 Comments

Can We Have Our Cake without Soylent Goo?

What we are eating often remains a bit of a mystery. We may know what it says on the packaging or what it says on the menu – but when … Continue reading

July 24, 2014 · 14 Comments

Ne'er do wells

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libshipwreck

  • “Oh, plenty of hope, an infinite amount of hope—but not for us.” - Kafka. On the false hope of techno-utopianism: wp.me/p38S12-rX 15 hours ago
  • "The future has been cancelled.” - Langdon Winner (speaking at the @IFGlobalization teach-in on techno-utopian myths). 15 hours ago
  • And yet beneath it all the subtext is that the culture industry has won... 15 hours ago
  • Me: This looks like a job for the high capacity stapler!!! #library colleague: You realize you just shouted that? Me: It's important! 15 hours ago
  • #library patron: Can I use a weighted snake? Me: here are two, don't tie them together. Her: [laughs]. Me: That wasn't a joke. 15 hours ago
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