Posts Tagged ‘cil2010’

How Do You Define the Book?

April 21, 2010 2 comments

Yesterday, David Lee King shared a blog post entitled What’s a Real Book? It describes an occurrence that took place during David Ferriero’s keynote at last week’s Computers in Libraries conference. (I wasn’t able to attend the conference this year. However, I was able to follow the keynotes on Ustream (cool!), and I distinctly remember the moment that is being described in the blog post.)

At the center of attention? Book vs. ebook.

The point of David Lee King’s post is (1) to ask which is more important–the physical make-up of the book (“container”) or the substance contained therein (“content”) and (2) to suggest that “it’s time for us librarians to get over our paper fetish.”

I love the look, feel, smell, and functionality of the pulp and ink thing we call the “book,” but I tend to agree with David Lee King. My personal preferences aside, I believe there is an underlying concept that encases both what we call the book and the ebook.

I certainly am no philosopher (and, yes, I am just spit balling here) but perhaps it is a question of semantics. For centuries, our definition of “book” has centered on a physical description (book, the container). Just pick up any dictionary that’s at least 5 years old, and look up “book.” With that in mind, is it possible for us to maintain such a traditional definition for “book” and yet agree that there is also a broader, more philosophic definition of the term? A definition such as:

Book — A collection of content (regardless of format) generally centered around the written word and organized in such a way to document and convey meaning, ideas, information, images, etc.

To help illustrate what I am trying to say, I will turn to another passion of mine: music. I still have my collections of audio cassettes and, yes, vinyl LPs. I also have collections of CDs and mp3 files. When the CD arrived and shifted our music from the analog to the digital realm, did the songs (content) change? Of course not. My LP, cassette, CD, and mp3 of Boston’s debut album all have the very same “More Than a Feeling” on them–same lyrics, same music. Some of them may sound better than others or I may prefer to use one version over the others (I don’t even have a record player anymore) but all of that is directly related to the format (container) and my preferences. It’s not because one is more “real” than the others.

I believe there is room for us to (1) continue debating the pros/cons, strengths/weaknesses, etc. surrounding the different iterations–containers–of books, (2) continue having our favorites, and yet (3) agree that there is a unifying concept of “the book” that encompasses all–print books, ebooks, and whatever other formats may follow. This is ground where I believe we can all stand and do our best to be (in the words of David Lee King) “adapting and growing and watching the horizon.”

Just thinking out loud and providing a target for discussion and dart throwing.

So, how do you define “book?”

Pic credit:


6 Ways I’m Following CIL2010 Online

April 13, 2010 8 comments

For the last three years, I have enjoyed a trip to Arlington, VA about this time for the Computers in Libraries (CIL) conference. Alas, CIL2010 began yesterday, and here I remain on the homefront. I was not able to attend this year due to library budget restraints, but I have tried not to let that fact dampen my spirits. No standing in the corner pouting for me. Rather, I have chosen to use this as an opportunity to reach for the silver lining. I can’t be there in person, but (thanks to today’s technology) I can be there–to a large extent–virtually.

So I did some homework last week, and here are 6 ways I am following CIL2010 online:

  1. – This website/blog, provided by Information Today (who organizes the conference), serves as a grand central station of sorts. From here, you can access Resources@CIL2010 (including such things as the conference agenda, program, and wiki), CILLive (for live streaming of the 3 keynote addresses and an additional Tuesday morning session), follow a nearly real-time stream of tweets coming from conference attendees with Twitter@CIL2010, see a list of Bloggers@CIL2010, and more.
  2. Twitter – Following tweets with the hashtag #CIL2010. This can be done several ways. You can follow the tweets feeds at Twitter@CIL2010 or What the HashTag?!, use Twitter Search to search for the hashtag #CIL2010 (which regularly prompts you to refresh the search), or build a custom Twitter search column in TweetDeck or HootSuite to monitor tweets that include #CIL2010. (I am experimenting with all these approaches, but my favorite is the feed at What the HashTag?!.) Following the Twitter activity from CIL has been an interesting, close-to-real-time exercise. It was informative and down right fun to watch, for example, the tweets that were rolling during a session on transliteracy by Bobby Newman, Matt Hamilton, and Buffy Hamilton. You could sense the connection being made between the session’s audience and the presenters.
  3. USTREAM Computers in Libraries Channel – Live streaming (complete with live chat) of the 3 keynote addresses as well as Michael Edson’s Tuesday morning session “Strategic Planning & Encouraging Change” at 10:30am. Thanks to the live streaming, I was able to watch Lee Rainie, director of Pew Internet & American Life Project, give the opening keynote address on Monday. I always enjoying hearing him speak. (Thanks to David Lee King for operating the live stream!) The next keynote is Tuesday (that’s this morning!) at 9:00am if you’re interested. If you miss the live streams, no worries. The videos are archived at USTREAM for later viewing.
  4. SlideShare – Here you will find session slideshows uploaded by session speakers. Only a few slideshows are currently available, but over time, I expect the number to grow.
  5. Blogs – Quite a number of librarians in attendance at CIL2010 are blogging from the conference. I already follow many of these blogs with Google Reader, but CIL has also created a handy-dandy list of Bloggers@CIL2010 which has proven useful as well. The nice thing about blog posts is that they can be read over time.
  6. Delicious – A number of folks are bookmarking links to web resources mentioned at CIL2010. This allows for some interesting browsing.

So there you have it. Yesterday I began immersing myself as much as possible in “virtual conference attendance”–something that will continue for the next couple of days and beyond. This is my first foray into this type of exercise, and yesterday’s experience went well. While it is not quite the same as being there, I look forward to the rest of my online monitoring of CIL2010.

Barring any major setbacks, I hope to be able to make the physical trip to CIL2011 in about 12 months. In the meantime, allow me to offer a heart-felt thanks to all those who have contributed to making as much of the CIL2010 experience available online for those of us unable to be there. Conference planners, presenters, and attendees who are collectively posting, tweeting, streaming, and blogging–thank you all!

Pic credit: NASA via WikiMedia



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