Librarians can help to make coding another tool that is openly accessible.
For my final project for Online Searching I decided to create a Prezi geared towards teaching First Reponders (those EMS, police, fire and other emergency personnel who deal with the crisis and disasters of our world). I offered demonstrations and useful tips for three databases: ProQuest Dialog (mainly Medline), PubMed and the Disaster Management Information Research Center (which is a great site full of grey material brought together by medical librarians seeking out all the great work that tends not to aggregated anywhere else).
Isn’t this the most amazing time in the history of the world to be alive. It might just be all the cream and sugar I put in my tea but I just love that elance is so successful and that these brilliant young people traveled all over Europe in a bus coming up with great ideas and that the idea that won is an app to help remind people of their social networks and emotional capacity when they are depressed. I kinda wish I was young again and just starting out – but the great part of this information revolution is that it doesn’t matter who or where you are what matters is how well you can sell your ideas. Here’s to changing the world one amazing idea at a time.
Today I finally figured out how to process my hull-less oats so I could eat them. After planting, growing, harvesting, curing and threshing my oats I had run into a problem. The inner shell of the chaff was really strong and it was almost impossible to remove without being pried apart using my fingernails grain by grain. Have I completely lost you? (This will explain).
If you understand what I am talking about you are probably wondering why? Well about 3 summers ago I found a seed package that promised to help me create my own 100 mile diet (remember this food fad when people committed to eating only what had been grown within 100 miles of their own home?). Well I was surprised to find it comprised mostly of grains and beans. I had never really considered them something I could grow in a home garden – vegetables sure, some fruits yes, but even though where I live commercial farmers grow wheat and canola and soybeans I had never considered them an option. Well my eyes were opened and I started experimenting. The first year I grew flax, amarynth and kamut (a type of wheat). I harvested both flax and kamut but I didn’t realize that the work was just starting.
I’ve done a lot of travelling and I’ve watched women in the village I was living in sitting outside all day long with their big woven circular trays flipping the grains up and down to let the wind blow off the chaff. I’ve looked out the bus window and seen the shoulders of paved roads used as a drying area for grains. I have one vivid memory of one electric fan blowing away chaff from the grain a man was cleaning while around him sat a dozen women manually sifting. They all make it look easy: a reminder that what to me is anachronistic is to millions a regular way of life.
Anyway my eldest daughter really took to the whole idea so whenever we had a windy day we’d grab a plastic tablecloth and our dried grains and spend some time trying to separate those tiny grains from all the other crap. Let me tell you it is hard, its time consuming and you lose a lot of your grains because if the wind is strong enough to effectively blow away your chaff when you toss up your grain it is also strong enough to blow away some of your grains too. Proof of this was the wheat and flax that grew the next year in our lawn where we had been winnowing.
In the talk by Elizabeth Norton of the Medical Library she said that in the second part of the training they encourage librarians to do some hands-on work in the community. This makes a lot of sense: you learn the vocabulary, meet key players and gain experience in what may or may not be important.
Part of our individual responsibility is to be prepared to look after ourselves in an emergency. I admit that I don’t have a 72 hour pack of supplies ready to throw in the trunk if I have to evacuate. There is a lot to think about and do in regards to emergency preparedness.
The experience of processing the oats makes me very grateful that my family is not relying on me to feed them with my efforts. But it also instills in me the knowledge that if I had to I could. It all contributes to my training to be ready in case of emergency as an informational professional.
p.s. I have yet to read an apocalypse/zombie/distopia book which mentions a librarian; I shake my head at the authors’ lack of imagination. Sure its always good to have somebody who knows their way around a gun in your group, but for my money I’d pick a librarian to help me survive.
One of the blogs that I have started readings since starting this course is called, “The Face of the Matter”. It is written by
“In today’s world, what you say is as important as what you do” is the tag line to his blog.
This is how he describes himself, “Jim actively works to advance government communications by advocating for the integration of social media, the end of audience-based campaigns and more inclusive emergency planning.”
So although some of what he is talking about is more marketing related his perspective is very relevant to public libraries and much of what he discusses is directly related to the topics in our course.
He has discussed trust and ..but the post I want to talk about is called “Winter is Coming”. The winter which is being referred to is a concept from the Game of Thrones written by George Martin and dramatized by HBO where the winter season is unpredictable in both its timing and length and creates the potential for great loss of life especially if societies have grown complacent in the long summer and forgotten to prepare sufficiently. In fact when described like that it could be a metaphor for an influenza pandemic.
The topic of the blog is a discussion about the relative merits of following the publics agenda or standing solid in one’s own beliefs and practices. Garrow uses the practice of naming Winter storms as illustration and Carolyne Mitchell (in her comment) uses hash tags fom a Scottish storm. Their conclusion is that it is better to follow the crowd and be part of the discussion than talk to oneself in an empty room.
A link to a post by Kim Stephens over at idisaster.wordpress.com expands on the use of hashtags during an emergency and recommends “trendspottr” to help you figure out which hashtags to use.
So here is to #snOMG and #BAWBAG long may you make us laugh while we mop up another present from Mother Nature.