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Interesting Things I’ve Read

March 14, 2013

I think I’ve been in library school long enough that it’s starting to skew what I find fascinating. When getting ready to register for classes, I  felt triumphant and excited that I’d gotten into the Metadata class, for example. Definitely skewed.

All the same, what library science boils down to, is really information and how to organize it.

And that’s got to be important to anyone, really, especially in the age of constant media bombardment.

So, here are some things I’ve read that I think may have crossover appeal. I”ll say they’re definitely academic articles, but not aggressively so:

Ontology is Overrated, by Clay Shirky. Don’t let the technical-sounding title scare you. This is about sorting, and making sense of large chunks of information, and about the very real shift in who gets to decide what to sort- from trained librarians making hierarchies, to crowds sorting information by group consensus, tagging in ways that matter to them.

Anything by Siva Vaidhyanathan. For class, we read his “Critical Information Studies,” and I won’t deny that parts of this essay have a strong whiff of Ivory Tower Academia. But, for academic and philosophical concepts, it’s beautifully constructed. He can be kind of mind-bogglingly brilliant, but approachable about it- referencing hip hop and abstract information theory on the same page.

Also try: The Anarchist in the Library and Copyrights and Copywrongs. More by Siva Vaidhyanathan. They combine intellectually chewy writing with a smart sense of pop culture that makes them fun to read. Think of it this way- it’s like reading Fast Food Nation for your information and media consumption.

I’m sure there’s more, but we’re reaching the part of the semester where I’m a little bit marker-stained and cramming my brain full of the ingredients of term papers. And, gentle blog readers, I love you all far too much to make you read some of the copyright theory I am trying to digest.

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