Monday, February 21, 2011

The Byte & The Bullet - New Series

After getting on the boat late with Egypt, I was nonetheless utterly fascinated by the way in which social media and digital technology shaped events in Tunisia and Egypt. Almost more importantly was how they perception of those events. In this new series of articles I hope to examine how the new digital age and the ubiquitous nature of digital recording and distribution technology will effect our world. I wonder if 2011 will be the 1968 of our time. I only hope this time we get it right.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Federal Funding for Libraries is Under Serious Threat

Representative Scott Garrett, apparently has a lot of time on his hands. So much so that he wants to cut library funding to keep reading books to kids. Garrett represents New Jeresy’s 5th district, a rich suburban district east of New York City. Both socially, and financially conservative Garret has co-sponsored bills like the ObamaCare role back, and also a much criticized bill that would redefine rape to make it harder for women to get support from the federal government for abortions related to rape.

If you not already fed up with Garrett, today Garrett crossed the line. Introducing Amendment 35 to the continuing resolution (how the government pays its bills), Garrett proposes to get rid of the Institute of Museum and Library Service (IMLS) by cutting its funding to zero. I guess Garret thinks this is just another money waster.

IMLS is the major grant agency of the US Federal Government that deals with libraries. Not only that, but IMLS has been a leader in assembling information about libraries, and tracking the developments in library services and programming. crucially the IMLS administers the Library Services and Technology Act, a law that’s been instrumental in closing the digital divide. If you’re a jobless American chances are you’ve been at the public library recently using their computers to look for a job. Many of those were paid for through IMLS grants. Zeroing out ILMS’s budget is an assault on libraries that’s equivalent to him getting rid of funding for the Library of Congress. With a yahoo like Garrett, who knows, maybe that’s the next cut coming down the line.

Take action now!

You can email your representative via Capwiz, or give them a call at (202) 224-3121

Remember for every dollar we spend on libraries they contribute minimally $4.20 back to the economy. Also out is a great post over at OCLC that sums up the economic benefits of libraries. Give it a read before you call your representive and back that rage up with some true facts.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Abby's Bells Are Silent - Brian Jacques, Author, dies at age 71.

I can honestly say if it wasn't for Mr. Jacques books I wouldn't be where I am now. As a child I was good at math, but not at reading. Over time my talents reversed themselves. In large part this was because I fell in love with reading. Through the work of authors like Mr. Jacques, and his Redwall series in particular, I developed a liking of fantasy into a love of fantasy, and through that love a real passion for the book and the act of reading. Growing up Brian Jacques' books made me want to be a reader.

Jacques books are some of my favorites. I remember as a child walking with my father to the near by Newport Library to check out Redwall, and Mossflower. Libraries were my primary interface with Jacques work, which may explain in part the subconscious motivations for my present career path. In 5th grade, my parents gave me a hard back copy of The Bell Maker, one of the first "nice" books I remember owning. The book still sits on my shelf almost 15 years later, in near perfect condition.

Later on as a bookseller Jacques became one of my go to recommendations for young readers. Jacques' stories are pure. While they embrace a certain romanticism which I am sure opens them up for critical attacks, his work has both a level of depth and excitement that makes them an easy recommendation. I loved hearing that young readers had already demolished the series just as much as seeing a face light up at the discovery of a new treasure.

From reading his obituary in the times I think that Jacques will be most missed by his family, and the children of England. Rather then using a staid author photo the picture used was one of Jacques in a library regaling children with stories of adventure. Jacques also hosted a radio show for children on his local BBC station called Jakestown. His contributions to children's literature, which were the spark for some of that still burns today, is substantial. Thanks for the adventures Mr. Jacques, it sounds like they were as fun for you as they were for your readers.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Egypt - Directory of Egypt Protests Resourcs

Are you a news junky hungering for actual news about Egypt faster than the main stream media can generate it? Tired of the talking heads who don’t understand the Arab street on the cable news networks? Complied below is a list of web resources drawn mainly from traditional news outlets. These will give you as good a real time view of what’s going on in Egypt as you’ll get. The Source list is largely real time live blogs from major news outlets. As a result the information is of varying quality. However, much of it will most likely be reported later once it’s been verified, or at least has a strong ring of truth to it. I complied this directory to provide people with a variety of ways to see what was happening and stay updated.

Live Blogs, and Updates

Egypt Live Blog Egypt Live Blog - Al Jazeera English

AJ is the premier Arabic news service. Analogous to the BBC or CNN in its heyday. AJE’s live blog is a phenomenal resources for consistent fairly reliable news. AJE uses a unique web address each time. The link above will change as I am able to get to it, but they can also be found on the main AJE site. Update: AJE is now using a different scheme for their live blog's web address. Hopefully this will provide a stable link for other websites to provide a stable link to.

Al Jazeera English Live

In the United States AJE is not available on cable in most places. It does however stream online for free. It’s become the source for many policy makers about Egypt. Also, AJE has a large archive of raw footage and reports under the CC license.

The Lede – NY Times.

The NY Times’s Lede blog has been doing an excellent job covering the situation in Egypt. Many of the sources here were found through the coverage of their live blog. It has fairly developed content with occasional context. While it has a unique web address for each day (the link above is for their generic blog address), the site has unique time indexed anchors, which make re-blogging, flagging, sharing or tweeting content from the site easy.

Wall Street Journal Dispatch - Egypt - The Wall Street Journal

The WSJ has a section of its site devoted to live updates. The content is similar to that of the Lede with less updates and slightly more depth.

Guardian News Blog - The Guardian The Guardians live blog of events in Egypt has been of phenomenal quality. It is a sub section of their news blog with a unique daily web adress (I've just linked to the news blog). The guardians blog mixes the depth of the WS journal blog with the timeliness of the Lede. The guardian‘s coverage Second only to perhaps the AJE blog of events unfolding in Egypt.

Egypt Unrest: Live Coverage - The BBC

For a truly multimedia experience of the events happening in Egypt. The site features a live stream and live blog, as well as easy access to the BBC’s world radio service streams. BBC is a high credibility source, and it’s doing its normal great coverage of Egypt.

Coverage of Upheaval in Egypt - Jerusalem Post

This isn't a live blog or updated nearly as much as I would like. I have included it primarily to add ideological balance. The English language Israeli press in general has been fairly pro-Mubarak. I'm just getting caught up on the JP's coverage, but they have a well earned reputation as a news organization. The link is to their coverage of the unrest in Egypt. Its made up mainly of full news articles with a sprinkling of editorials and opinion.


Speak2Tweet is a joint project between Google, SayNow, and Twitter. Speak2tweet is an international number that people can call into and leave a voice-mail message. The message is then recorded, uploaded to the web, and tweeted. It’s mostly in Arabic, however, there may be some English in there as well. All of the messages should be treated with some degree of caution as they are raw, and unchecked.

Global Voices Egypt Coverage - Global Voices

Global voices is an online distillation of posts, and articles from bloggers around the world. It’s coverage of Egypt has been of decent quality. However, it should be treated with some caution given the non-uniformed nature of its sources.

Live update from Egypt - Human Rights Watch

Human rights watch has several team members on the ground covering the situation in Egypt. HRW is a fairly credible independent human rights organization. And it’s staff members updates have been circulated and later included in printed reports.

Helpful links if you're in Egypt

It might save their lives -

This article was originally posted during the Green Movement's struggle in Iran. It's written by an anonymous police officer in the united state familiar with anti-riot tactics. While the analysis of the Basij no long applies, his advice about other anti-riot tactics is valuable.

Egypt Information Resources - Google Crisis

Google Crisis’s list of resources is a particularly good resource for those on the ground in Egypt. It including embassy numbers, airline numbers, the phone number of the military, ect. It also has a Google map embedded with basic (although slightly out of date) locations for protests, violence, ect.