~ 17. October 2011 ~
I’m not really a fan of the “notes as blog post” genre. Hasn’t Twitter sort of made that obsolete? But, I’ve been taking notes at the Internet Librarian conference. Why not reshape them a little here?
I actually read John Seely Brown’s “Social Life of Information” book after getting tired of it hounding me on Amazon when I was in library school. Pretty good read, and the takeaway—that “working from home” doesn’t usually work that well—made some sense to me as someone who moved away from his grad program, then failed to finish his Ph.D.
I liked the opening of JSB’s talk. He argued that we are in a new moment in which the technological rupture we have experienced is not leveling off, not stabilizing, as technological ruptures of the past have. (Although whenever someone tells me we are in a totally new historical moment, I think, “really, just like the modernists said?”)
The bit about how it is increasingly difficult to evaluate textual authority was highly relevant, and only going to become more so. He had a lovely example of the Occupy Wall Street movement, which for a significant period was only covered outside of traditional news sources. A funny moment: he says, in this context, that librarians are more needed then ever. Of course I agree, but I know that in my organization (I do not exclude myself here), we still play the “these (more mediated) sources have authority, and those (Web/social media) sources don’t” game. We need to face these changes.
At times I could have used a few examples. For instance, “the half-life of a skill is now 5 years.” What kind of a skill are we talking about here? Not plumbing, or car repair. Not Web development—yes, the technologies change, but someone who learned HTML ten years ago would still be able to use a good deal of it, though they’d need to have kept up with developments. Although I guess I’m not even clear on what it means—sort of complicated to use “half-life” this metaphorically.
Like so many good talks, it sort of petered out as he told us that we need to embrace play for learning—I mean we knew that, right, even without the rest of it? Then remix, Harry Potter fan fiction, and we’re done. So, in summary, winners: Carla Hesse, David Weinberger, Andrew Sullivan, Piaget; losers: stuffy people everywhere.
I have lots of notes from other panels…
p.s. Many of the ideas in the talk appear to be in an article called Minds on Fire published in the Educause Review.