LibrarianShipwreck

Libraries, Archives, Technology, Impending Doom

Prescience and Pessimism

Truly, I live in dark times! The guileless word is folly. A smooth forehead Suggests insensitivity. The man who laughs Has simply not yet had The terrible news. – Brecht, … Continue reading

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What could go wrong? Another question to ask of new technology

Those who spend a lot of time traveling by airplane steadily grow accustomed to the standard spiel issued by members of the TSA and airline personnel. Yet, recently, a new … Continue reading

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Google unveils more of the same

Here is a question: have you heard about the new smartphone that’s being released? Here is a completely legitimate way to answer the above question: which smartphone do you mean? … Continue reading

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How to gut a book

Here is a problem: there are too many books to read and not enough time in which to read them all. What is one to do? Obviously, this is the … Continue reading

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Guest post: #LIULockout

Pirates, here’s a guest post from our comrade Emily Drabinski, a librarian & faculty member at LIU Brooklyn here in NYC. The LIU Brooklyn faculty, who are unionized, have been … Continue reading

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Planned obsolescence comes for the headphone jack

Surprises are overrated. Well, probably not really, but such a shrugging sentiment seems warranted when it comes to the glitzy launch “events” held by tech companies. Lately, the things which … Continue reading

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Back to school…with much to learn…

Regardless of the particular month, it is always the right time to learn. Nevertheless, as it marks the beginning of the school year, the end of August/start of September stands … Continue reading

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Into and out of the woods – a review of Captain Fantastic

Supermarkets, strip malls, smart phones, school – for many, such are the unexceptional features of daily life. And though some people may occasionally experience dissatisfaction with the society in which … Continue reading

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How to move a large quantity of books

“Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.” – Groucho Marx Regardless of what you may have heard to … Continue reading

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Things I learned while working as a reference librarian

Since November 2011 I have sat at a library’s reference desk. And though my job title has changed several times over the years, as of 5:31 p.m. (EST) on Tuesday, … Continue reading

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An island of reason in the cyberstream – on the life and thought of Joseph Weizenbaum

The juxtaposition between the potential of technology and its actual manifestation can be rather jarring. Tools that promise to make tasks easier are used to automate people out of their … Continue reading

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Things I wish I had known before I applied to PhD programs

Only those in possession of a bizarre sort of personality genuinely enjoy the process of filling out applications. While, I confess, I may not have serious statistical data to back … Continue reading

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Beyond the Prototype: Libraries as Convivial Tools in Action

How important are the technologies found in a library to the actual library? Are libraries simply places where various tools and technologies are used, or can libraries (themselves) be viewed … Continue reading

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Rocks or ticker-tape? A review of Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus by Douglas Rushkoff

Digital technologies are often touted for their transformative potential. The Internet has made a massive amount of information easily accessible to its users, social media provides new ways of connecting, … Continue reading

July 21, 2016 · Leave a comment

What Pokémon can you catch at a library?

Though you might not suspect it, libraries are an excellent place to catch Pokémon! Indeed, libraries are filled with many kinds of wondrous, rare Pokémon that can be found there … Continue reading

July 14, 2016 · 1 Comment

Mars is still very far away – a review of McKenzie Wark’s book Molecular Red

There are some games where a single player wins, games where a group of players wins, and then there are games where all of the players can share equally in … Continue reading

July 7, 2016 · Leave a comment

AI and Drones and Bio-engineering, oh my! – A Review of A Dangerous Master by Wendell Wallach

Popular culture is lousy with tales of techno-science escaping human control. And as these stories — involving rebelling robots, murderous artificial intelligence systems, and genetically modified chimeras on a warpath … Continue reading

June 23, 2016 · 1 Comment

What Technology Do We Really Need? – A Critique of the 2016 Personal Democracy Forum

Technological optimism is a dish best served from a stage. Particularly if it’s a bright stage in front of a receptive and comfortably seated audience, especially if the person standing … Continue reading

June 16, 2016 · 3 Comments

Prefixes in Uncertain Times: Reconfiguring the Human in the Human-Built World

One could be easily forgiven for thinking that the present is a troubling time to be human. The specter of catastrophic climate change looms larger by the week, rapidly appearing … Continue reading

June 8, 2016 · 3 Comments

You Can’t Spell “Trending Topics” Without Control

Attempting to understand trends can easily give one an unpleasant headache. From fashion to music and from food to news articles – the reasons why a particular thing is trendy … Continue reading

May 19, 2016 · Leave a comment

Evidently, Democracy Disrupts the Disruptors

Anybody who has been watching the 2016 presidential primaries can attest to the simple fact that voting has consequences. Indeed, voters can propel a figure widely dismissed as “never going … Continue reading

May 12, 2016 · 3 Comments

How to Grade Assignments in a Library

At this very moment, legions of students are busily writing papers and studying for their final exams. Indeed, for the end of the semester is upon us! These students will … Continue reading

May 5, 2016 · 1 Comment

Broadcasting Resistance – a review of Low Power to the People by Christina Dunbar-Hester

In trying to build a different tomorrow, activists find themselves using the tools of today. And quite often the tools of yesterday as well. The choice of which tools to … Continue reading

April 28, 2016 · 3 Comments

En Garde! How to Defend Yourself With a Book

“Hungry man, reach for the book: it is a weapon.” – Bertolt Brecht 1. Popular parlance is filled with catchy phrases about the ways in which books can be harnessed … Continue reading

April 21, 2016 · 3 Comments

What to Do When the Internet Stops Working in Your Library

There may come a day when you find yourself happily sitting in a library only to have your pleasant feelings disrupted by the recognition that the Internet has stopped working. … Continue reading

March 17, 2016 · 2 Comments

Facebook Reactions Are No Laughing Matter

Prepare yourself for a not particularly shocking observation: when it comes to interpersonal communication, there are certain types of information that are not conveyed particularly well by information technology. Indeed, … Continue reading

February 25, 2016 · 7 Comments

Apple Is Not the Messiah

There is a lot of money to be made in crafting carefully manicured public relations campaigns for major corporations. Numerous large firms exist solely for the purposes of selling their … Continue reading

February 18, 2016 · 3 Comments

Not Ludd, Just Ludicrous – The Luddite Awards are Absurd

The bestowing of awards often has a rather self-congratulatory aspect. After all, the giving of such honors is an opportunity for an industry to praise itself by touting the fine … Continue reading

January 29, 2016 · 1 Comment

How to Keep What You Are Reading Secret

Is there anything more annoying than being interrupted with the question “hey, what are you reading?” while you are engrossed in a book? Is there anything more frustrating than feeling … Continue reading

January 21, 2016 · 2 Comments

Potential, Power and Enduring Problems – Anarchism and the Critique of Technology

What follows is the introductory section of an article titled “Potential, Power and Enduring Problems – Reassembling the Anarchist Critique of Technology” which I wrote for the journal Anarchist Developments … Continue reading

January 14, 2016 · 2 Comments

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