Link Digest, September 2008

  • Circus Amok season schedule

    Free kid-friendly political theater in public parks around NYC.

  • Intro to Drupal Session Notes
    Peter Dowling's step by step instructions on downloading Drupal onto your computer, installing modules, and theming. See my kind of sketchy, hopefully soon to be updated and/or improved notes about Drupal Camp.

  • OCLC WorldCat Hackathon
    I know a lot of folks are excited about this, but it seems fishy to me. OCLC (Online Computer Library Center), the behemoth--see Jeffrey Beall's essay from Radical Cataloging--is charging people for the pleasure of helping them with their project? And all they get is a lousy t-shirt? (Seen on Disruptive Library Technology Jester.)

  • One Web Day
    This seems somehow creepy to me, but I'm not sure if there's any way a group of luminaries such as these (Lawrence Lessig, Craig Newmark) attempting "To initiate an environmental movement for the internet. The theme this year: online participation in democracy. The internet is under pressure around the world - inadequate connectivity, censorship, huge digital divides threaten its future. This rally is designed to raise awareness of these issues and to help us focus on how the internet has changed democratic involvement in America." could come off as anything other than pep rallyish at best and condescending at worst. But maybe I'm too much of a cynic and a snob. I think the internet is a good organizing tool, but don't necessarily believe that online petitions and forwarding of messages really constitute activism.

  • Over 200 new NYPL card holders
    This is just one of the most fun and satisfying events I do each year (that I can find a willing librarian from the Morningside Heights branch of NYPL). Seeing people lined up three deep for library cards, when everyone knows that the library is dead now that we have the internet, makes me feel positively giddy.

  • RNC Welcoming Committee

  • [Siva Vaidhyanathan]'s essay on the myth of the "digital generation"
    "I have been hearing some version of the "kids today" or "this generation believes" argument for more than a dozen years of studying and teaching about digital culture and technology. As a professor, I am in the constant company of 18- to-23-year-olds. I have taught at both public and private universities, and I have to report that the levels of comfort with, understanding of, and dexterity with digital technology varies greatly within every class. Yet it has not changed in the aggregate in more than 10 years."

    I agree. I see a wide range of technical skills in the students I work with at my elite college library. I would also venture that their expertise doesn't necessary correlate to their family's wealth. Some kids are simply more interested in books, zines, crafts, bike riding, music, activism, etc. than in programming computers or even Twittering.

  • Taxpayers off the hook for GOP convention lawsuits
    You read it here, folks, the GOP took out police brutality insurance. I just can't believe they found anyone to write the policy, as the lawsuits are sure to cost more than the $10 million it cost. I guess that was the insurance company's way of donating covertly to the GOP. Thanks Monika Antonelli for the link.

  • White House DJ Battle
    Music is not a strong interest of mine, so I won't comment much on this comparison of McCain and Obama's top 10 song lists. I will say Obama's is a little classier and deeper than his opponent's, though.