Archive for May, 2010

For the Win
Our friend Cory Doctorow has out his second Young Adult book, For the Win. His first, Little Brother, is on its second week on the the National Independent Bestseller list.

We’re looking forward to having him here to read at our local indy store, Fly Leaf Books, on Sunday at 1 pm. Fly Leaf has done a great job of getting the word out and of explaining who Cory is and what the book is about.

Over in Cary at Barnes & Noble, it’s a different story. Their synopsis of the book is completely backwards from that the book is actually about. They say:

His new teen novel, For the Win, incorporates online role-playing games into a real-life, global war. Teens are recruited and unionized by ruthless bosses to sabotage the global economy.

Err #FAIL

After a little conversation with Cory and his publisher Tor, B&N now reads:

His new teen novel, For the Win, features international teens organizing and fighting, both digitally and physically, for their rights, in a world where online games are a major driver of the global economy.

Much better

The book is about macroeconomics, video games and the labor movement. Yes, that’s right. But the HEROES are the Union organizers, the IWWWW, the Webblies (a name borrowed by Cory with acknowledgment from Scotland’s Ken MacLeod). The global and therefore macroeconomics discussed are about the importance of collaboration, of love of work and play, of pressures against workers many of whom are children and of the costs of resistance and why those costs however precious are necessary to pay.

Whilst I’m on misreadings, let me point out that there are positive misreadings to be had from For the Win too. Cory dedicates the book this way:

For Poesy: Live as though it were the early days of a better nation.

This is a borrowing from another Scots author — one of my favorites — Alasdair Gray:

Work as if you live in the early days of a better nation.

Gray says that he borrowed this phrase from the Canadian poet Dennis Lee who wrote this couple in his 9th Civil Elegy:

And best of all is finding a place to be in the early days of a better civilization.

I love how each author took the sentence and changed it slightly each a personal misreading and owning of the line. Dennis Lee was Toronto’s first Poet Laureate. Alastair Gray’s quote is carved in stone on the new Scottish Parliament Building’s Cannongate Wall. Cory’s is a dedication of a book to his daughter. Canada -> Scotland -> Daughter of a Canadian living in England.

Those are the better misreadings.

Come hear Cory Doctorow‘s reading, not misreading, on Sunday May 23 at 1 pm here at Fly Leaf Books.

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The recently appointed University Librarian at UNC-Charlotte, Stan Wilder, played host to folks from Rochester, Rice, Notre Dame, OCLC and Library of Congress who are working on the open sourced eXtensible Catalog. I was lucky enough to be asked to entertain err educate during drinks and dinner before the meeting really got down to business. Since I can’t juggle, I gave a talk on the End of Search, the slides (which may be familiar but not in this configuration) are here:

Don’t worry this was a brief talk. The bartender was there ready to pour when I stopped but he looked interested in the talk so I brought him into the conversation and we were all better for having shared his experiences as a part of our talk. Sorry no video.

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I pretty much took the month of April off this blog. The main reasons were so that I could focus on the end of semester and the great end of semester projects/reports from my students and so that I could fret about the WWW2010 Conference.

There was no fretting necessary about WWW2010. Kathy Greene, our conference Diva, and the wonderful professional conference organizers from YCC did such a fantastic job that no sane person could fret. A conference co-chair could be nervous nonetheless. Between Kathy, Doc Searls and I, we did a good bit of press contact and interviews. And thanks to Janna Anderson of Elon who organized the co-located FutureWeb2010 and her students, there is a lot of the conference — especially that which is of more general interest — on the web now. Janna also recruited Pew Internet’s Lee Rainie to lead interview/chat sessions with all of our plenary speakers and several others.

And I can’t say enough about my co-chair, Michael Rappa, who put a ton of time thinking from the very beginnings of our endeavor together about how to form the experience and to control expenses and who provided not only his wisdom and insight but some serious resources through his Institute for Advanced Analytics at NCSU.

Local to UNC, the great students in the School of Information and Library Science provided some very significant volunteer hours and good humor. Dave Potenziani organized the Future of Public Health panel. Fred Stutzman organized the Future of Social Networks panel. Penny Abernathy, Woody Hartzog (JoMC), Alice Ammerman, Kurt Ribisl, Deborah Tate (Public Health), and Anne Klinefelter (Law) all served as panelists at FutureWeb2010.

Papers and posters from UNC authors included:

What are the most eye-catching and ear-catching features in the video?: implications for video summarization
Yaxiao Song, Gary Marchionini, Chi Young Oh

INEX+DBPEDIA: a corpus for semantic search evaluation
Jose R. Perez-Aguera, Javier Arroyo, Jane Greenberg, Joaquin Perez-Iglesias, Victor Fresno

Using BM25F for Semantic Search.
José R. Pérez-Agüera, Javier Arroyo, Jane Greenberg, Joaquin Perez-Iglesias and Victor Fresno.
Semantic Search Workshop Best Paper Award

I did a little overtime work by chairing the Future of Media panel which included Penny Abernathy, Michael Clemente, Dan Conover, Sam Matheny and Doc Searls, sitting in for Michael Tiemann (who was held over at what turned out to be a very important software patent trial in east Texas) on the Open Source panel, being part of the plenary panel on Government Data with Tim Berners-Lee, David Ferriero, Andrew McLaughlin, and Nigel Shadbolt with Jim Hendler as our moderator.

As co-chair, I got to introduce some great and generous old friends – plenary speaker Carl Malamud and Bebo White as well as help handle the questions for Vint Cerf and danah boyd.

Greg DeKoenigsberg really pitched in and helped me create a Developers Track on far too short a notice. Thanks to Greg’s strong outreach, we had strong presentations and the right people in the rooms to here them.

[still writing this]

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