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Travels into Several Remote Digital Realms of the World
PART I: A Voyage to Libraryland

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Location: Champaign, Illinois, United States


Master Master

This weekend I earned my second Master's degree, this one in Library and Information Science. I came across Beautiful Ground today and it made me think about what a long strange trip it's been to get here. I didn't get to stand up and do my Academy Award speech, so here it goes.

Thanks to Ms. Tate, my 5th Grade teacher, for encouraging me to attend computer camp where I learned BASIC on a TRS-80.

Thanks to my parents, I could fill several blogs with the support they've given, but I've definitely earned back every cent they spent on my very own TRS-80.

Thanks to to Pat Stewart who taught me lots about the Apple ][ when I started working at my public library at the tender age of 15, making me the youngest digital librarian on the block at the time (OK, so I was just a lowly page then...)

Thanks to all my instructors and professors over the years. You, big guy. I can't remember your name, but I've finally found a use for all the symbolic logic you taught me. Jackson Speilvogel gave me my first shot at teaching and at looking at problems in new and interesting ways. Carl Mitchum introduced me to the idea that technology was socially shaped (and shapable). Thanks to Lee Stout for teaching me about archives and spending all that time finding juicy bits for my thesis. Thanks to J. Ritchie Garrison for giving me the opportunity to start building online museum exhibits (P.S. I think Ritchie and Roy Tennant were separated at birth... ).

To Suji Gupta, who made me the SILS tech guinea pig, thanks! And thanks to Lou Rossignol for giving me a long leash to play with dBase III.

Thanks to Barbara Benson for letting me play a critical role in the development of interactive kiosks for Distinctively Delaware. All those late nights scanning really paid off.

The folks at HSP turned me into a one man tech support department which has proven extremely useful in getting myself out of jams and rescuing fellow panelists.

A special thanks to Liz Bishoff and Nancy Allen at CDP. Thanks for your stories of baby librarians, your leadership and teaching me how to pull this all together. Unfortunately you overdid the whole "you need a library degree" thing, now I'm sticking around for a PhD in the stuff.

Thanks to the whole MCN crew. I am always humbled by being part of such a great organization with such a long history of leadership in museum technology.

Thanks for the encouragement of all the faculty here at GSLIS. I want to know what you put in the water. Really. I'd say more, but it's policy here to not comment on ongoing investigations.

Whew...the music is coming up and I haven't even gotten to friends, drinking partners, acquaintances, or strangers in the night yet. Thanks to all of you!


w00t! RBMS Preconference

I've been awarded a scholarship to attend the ALA Rare Books and Manuscript Preconference, August 20-23 in Austin, TX.

Congratulations to all the other scholarship winners! Looking forward to meeting all y'all in Austin.

If you're coming to Austin or are an Austin-ite, give me a shout. I'm looking for recommendations for sites to see and music to hear.


End of Semester Update

With the launch of Musematic I can get back to writing about my ongoing adventures as an LIS student. There's only a few more days left in the semester and I'm busy wrapping up final projects.

This morning I finished our group report that analyzed metadata workflows at our local public broadcasting station, WILL. The PBCore working group just released a draft schema that seems like it will be well suited to both WILL's capabilities and the need to record information specific to the audio-visual content they create. But like other standards based on Dublin Core, it's only part of the picture. I'm actually finding WILL's metadata environment not all that different than some of the museums I've worked with - distributed metadata creation by curators/producers largely driven by their own needs, systems designed to do one thing well being leveraged to do something totally different. They have a good foundation to start with, and with a little guidance and planning can make significant improvements in their current workflows.

I've created a second prototype for a virtual gallery in Second Life based on Roman collections at the Spurlock Museum's and with the help of David MacCaullay's City: A Story of Roman Planning and Construction. I decided to pass on some of the more complex scripting required to create a more interactive gallery for the moment. Just like building a real exhibit, building in a virtual world also takes careful planning and development of a good script. It was outside the scope of the assignment to go that far, but I did find a good example in the Pot Healer Adventure. PHA is a Myst-like puzzle game built inside of SL that could be a model for a museum artifact based adventure. I haven't been able to find out too much about its development, but it uses some fairly complex scripting that would require a good programmer (or more time than I had to become a good Lindenscripter) to pull it off. But it demonstrates that it is possible to do in SL. I also started a "Museums in Second Life" group, if you're a SL citizen you can look it up under Find->Groups.

Stay tuned for the update on my Knowledge Representation paper that explores part-whole relationships in museum artifact descriptions.