Monday, 10 January 2011

New Media and Literacies: amateurs vs. professionals

an article by Tibor Koltay published in First Monday Volume 16 Number 1 (January 2011)

New media are not supportive of critical thinking and conscious selection of information. Literacies of our age stress critical thinking and take many forms. Despite differences and similarities among information literacy, media literacy and digital literacy, all of them have to differentiate between amateur and professional contents produced in new media. Similarly to the traditional division of labor among libraries, the needs behind amateurism and professionalism have to be satisfied differently.

Full text (HTML) available here

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Saturday's Sumptuous Mixture (late, as usual)

We saw some of High Bridge, Kentucky in the previous miscellany. here’s one more old one and a much more modern video of a train on the high bridge which gave the place its name.

Upstairs, Downstairs: 1907
via Shorpy Historical Photo Archive – Vintage Fine Art Prints by Dave
Upstairs, Downstairs: 1907
Circa 1907
“Cliff stairway, High Bridge, Kentucky”
Oops, forgot my car keys!!
8x10 inch glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company
View original post

Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained leans on tropes of the bad black man that have long been part of the African-American memory of slavery and its aftermath... more

The Most Beautiful Opera Houses in the World
via Flavorwire by Alison Nastasi
Rising from the Oslofjord inlet like an iceberg is the Oslo Opera House. Co.Design recently wrote about a faceted wall installation inside the modern performance space created by Danish-Icelandic artist, Olafur Eliasson. Glowing walls line the foyer, adding a striking effect.
We felt inspired by the design and went searching for some of the most beautiful opera houses in the world. These grandiose venues conjure the drama, history, and craft associated with the art form.
Take a trip around the world in our gallery, where we've selected 15 of the most stunning spaces for opera aficionados and architecture/design lovers.

Is increased biofuel demand in the US causing more poor in Central America to starve?
via Boing Boing by Xeni Jardin

Richard Perry/The New York Times
A worthy and overlooked story in the NYT by Elizabeth Rosenthal about a new economic riptide hitting Central America, a result of America’s changing corn policy. The US is now using 40% of its own corn crop to produce biofuel, and tortilla prices have doubled in Guatemala, which now imports about half of its corn.
“Recent laws in the United States and Europe that mandate the increasing use of biofuel in cars have had far-flung ripple effects, economists say, as land once devoted to growing food for humans is now sometimes more profitably used for churning out vehicle fuel.”
Read the rest, and check out Richard Perry’s photo slideshow.

Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
Do animals make music? Consider the hermit thrush: nondescript, flitting about the underbrush, where it feeds on insects and berries. But, oh, its song... more

Early Pirate Bay server now in a museum
via Boing Boing by Cory Doctorow

The Computer Museum in Link√∂ping, Sweden has a “50 Years of File-Sharing&ready exhibition on that includes a machine characterised as the first Pirate Bay server, though there’s some nuance to that description:
A Pirate Bay insider informed TorrentFreak that the contents of the computer case in question were initially hosted in the blue box pictured here. In the same photo are also the three other servers that were operational at the time, a laptop, tower case and the red server box.
So, in just a few years, the hardware moved from an old blue box to a prominent place at the Computer Museum.
“First” Pirate Bay Server on Permanent Display in Computer Museum

1940 : The original and only Miss Drake’s Home Cookery
via Retronaut by Swinburne University of Technology

“Swinburne University of Technology is an Australian public university based in Melbourne, Victoria. The institution was founded by the Honourable George Swinburne in 1908. It achieved university status in June 1992.”
This was, of course, long after the aforesaid Miss Drake has been delivering her cookery courses which were, apparently, extremely popular.
The Swinburne Library Blog tells us that the updated book is now available in a digital format.

Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
When he was 26, Frank Ramsay oversaw Wittgenstein’s Ph.D. thesis. The young prodigy led a short but brilliant life... more

How the Blues Brothers got made
via Boing Boing by Cory Doctorow
Video embedding withheld by request!
Vanity Fair’s history of the making of The Blues Brothers is amazing, a story as madcap and improbable as the movie itself (though there’s a lot more coke in the story of the movie). This is one of my favourite films of all time – at one point I could quote the whole movie by heart (which created a lot of dissonance when I saw the DVD release and they’d added scenes – it was like discovering extra rooms in a house I knew so well I could get around with my eyes closed).
Continue reading

My Favorite Rembrandt
via Picture This: Library of Congress Prints & Photos by Jeff Bridgers
The following is a guest post by Katherine Blood, Curator of Fine Prints.
Picking a favourite Rembrandt might sound about as reasonable as choosing a favourite star or a single book to take to a desert island. But I do have a favourite – Rembrandt’s 1648 etching St. Jerome beside a Pollard Willow.
St. Jerome beside a Pollard Willow
Continue reading

“E-stablishing a Learning Society”: ...

the use of the Internet to attract adults to lifelong learning in Wales

an article by Neil Selwyn, Sara Williams and Stephen Gorard published in Innovations in Education and Training International Volume 38 Issue 3 (August 2031 [sic])

The Internet has recently been heralded by both politicians and educators as a ready means of promoting “lifelong learning” and widening the numbers of adults participating in education. Yet, despite such enthusiasm, the use of technology to attract adults to lifelong learning is only now beginning to be implemented on a widespread basis. Thus much of the technology-based vision of a “learning society” remains empirically unproven. This paper, therefore, concentrates on the longer-established efforts are being made in Wales to use the Internet as a gateway for learning opportunities for adult learners. Focusing on a Web-based Welsh language programme over a 12-month period the paper empirically examines the role of the Internet in providing effective access procedures to adult learning and, moreover, gains a sense of who such methods are attracting and what learners are beginning to use the Internet for. In particular the paper examines:
  • how the programme was presented on the Internet;
  • when learners were using the Internet-based learning programme and what they were using it for; and, finally,
  • who was accessing the learning programme via the Internet and how usage of the programme reflected the wider goals of extending participation beyond those social groups already engaged in learning.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

The full story behind the increase in part-time workers

Resa Galgut, writing in HR Mrmagazine, provides an insight into the figures produced by the Office of National Statistics which show that part-time work has reached the highest level since ONS began its employment series records in 1992.
    8 million people are now working less than full-time hours. That accounts for 27% of those in employment in the UK, and represents an increase of 6% since the start of the recession.
Written from the viewpoint of a part-time recruitment agency –Women Like Us – this short article may aid employment advisers.

Read in full here

Monday, 3 January 2011

Cyberbullying: ...

Labels, Behaviours and Definition in Three European Countries

an article by Annalaura Nocentini and Ersilia Menesini (University of Florence, Italy), Juan Calmaestra and Rosario Ortega (University of Cordoba, Spain) and Anja Schultze-Krumbholz and Herbert Scheithauer (Freie Universität Berlin, Germany) published in Australian Journal of Guidance and Counselling Volume 20 Issue 2 (December 2010)


This study aims to examine students’ perception of the term used to label cyberbullying, the perception of different forms and behaviours (written, verbal, visual, exclusion and impersonation) and the perception of the criteria used for its definition (imbalance of power, intention, repetition, anonymity and publicity) in three different European countries: Italy, Spain and Germany. Seventy adolescents took part in nine focus groups, using the same interview guide across countries. Thematic analysis focused on three main themes related to:
  1. the term used to label cyberbullying,
  2. the different behaviours representing cyberbullying, and
  3. the three traditional criteria of intentionality, imbalance of power and repetition and the two new criteria of anonymity and publicity.
Results showed that the best word to label cyberbullying is “cyber-mobbing” (in Germany), “virtual” or “cyber-bullying” (in Italy), and “harassment” or “harassment via Internet or mobile phone” (in Spain). Impersonation cannot be considered wholly as cyberbullying behaviour. In order to define a cyberbullying act, adolescents need to know whether the action was done intentionally to harm the victim, the effect on the victim and the repetition of the action (this latter criterion evaluated simultaneously with the publicity). Information about the anonymity and publicity contributes to better understand the nature and the severity of the act, the potential effects on the victim and the intentionality.

LLUK loses license

NAEGA News on 13 December said that “Lifelong Learning UK (LLUK), the Sector Skills Council (SSC) for the lifelong learning workforce, will not be relicensed as a SSC in its own right, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has announced.”

Not overly informative but ...

the LLUK website is not much more so.

Darren Clinton writes (on 9 December): “Relicensing outcome announced
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has announced its decision not to relicense Lifelong Learning UK in its own right.
We are of course disappointed by this outcome. However, there can be no doubt that lifelong learning is a priority sector for promoting social inclusion, active citizenship and employability, all of which are vital to economic growth, and we remain committed to our vision of the UK’s lifelong learning workforce being the best in the world.
The Chair and CEO of Lifelong Learning UK are in talks to identify the best alternative arrangements for our work, and details will be announced in due course. In the meantime Lifelong Learning UK will continue to deliver on its plans and commitments.
Our work has been, and will continue to be, driven by the belief that a world class lifelong learning workforce is essential to ensuring fairness, encouraging flexibility and delivering value for learners, employers and society as a whole.”

Hazel’s comment:

Sector Skills Councils have, in many cases, not had enough time to impact sufficiently on “their” sectors and yet changes are afoot. Yes, I know that cuts have to be made but it is also important to look at the overall support provided to different sectors of the economy and which bits of that support is vital to maintain the employment standards.

Perhaps not in this instance but many of the cuts remind me of the old saying about babies and bath water.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Information, Advice and Guidance consultation

The UKCES (UK Commission for Employment and Skills) is running a consultation exercise on the needs of young people and adults for IAG.
    “To support employability and progression, individuals need clearer information, sounder advice and, where appropriate, more helpful guidance in making decisions on qualifications and training courses as well as jobs and career choices. This is vitally important for young people but increasingly important for adults too.

    The main focus of the work we are undertaking this year is to explore how new technologies including web 2.0 and web 3.0 can be used to provide robust, accessible information, advice and guidance. The intention is not to develop tools, programmes or applications, but rather to understand and advise on how technology can most usefully support the delivery of IAG and what behaviours or stimulants may be needed for this to become a reality in the market place.

    We have already carried out some work to inform the evidence base and from this have developed a consultation paper which reports the findings so far and invites people to respond to a series of questions. If you do have comments in this area we would welcome your input.”
Further details and links to the principal documents are here

Saturday, 1 January 2011

10 non-work-related items that I found fun or interesting

via Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
As humans domesticated cattle, sheep, pigs, horses, cats and dogs, they at the same time domesticated themselves: we made ourselves human... more

via Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
Alexander was a bright paragon brought low by uncontrolled pride, said Quintus Curtius Rufus, who wanted to warn his fellow Romans... more

via Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
From Arabian night to Assyrian horrors. The history of Mesopotamia is one where culture, psychology, tribalism, and religious belief have never quite allowed for civil society... more

via Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
"If I want to get home from work," observes Noam Chomsky, "the market offers me a choice between a Ford and a Toyota, but not between a car and a subway"... more

via Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
George Washington: poor, untraveled, and totally self-educated son of a minor planter. Yet he made himself into the man of the minute. And got lucky... more

via Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
Rhapsodies to machines that tamed nature, say, the steam engine, have given way to impatience with machines that don't instantly indulge our whims... more

Friday Fun: Assault Fleet via the How-To Geek by Asian Angel
Assault Fleet
The object of the game is to blow up a series of planets using the resources that you have available when you enter each star system.
Play Assault Fleet
but not, as suggested by the How-To-Geek, at work on a Friday afternoon!

via Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
The best cocktails are not of the 1950s, when the Rat Pack set the standard, but the 1920s, when piano bars and hot jazz ruled... more

via Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
David Greybeard, Goliath, Gremlin, Fifi, Olly, and the murderous cannibals Passion and Pom: Jane Goodall remembers them all. Chimpanzees of Gombe... more

via Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
The general problem with America is not poverty, it is inequality, which is much worse since the 1970s. We can shift back, argues Kate Pickett... more

2 million children with no web access at home

Phil Bradley, newly-elected vice-president of CILIP (Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals), comments on a recent Guardian article. Even in South East England, said to be the richest regional of the UK, one in four homes does not have access to the Internet.

It appears that the divide between the haves and the have-nots is getting wider as the disadvantage of the lack of Internet access creates an inability to do basic school work.

Anecdotally, I have noticed that many homes with access are using it for social media and using Google to provide answers to basic questions. There is no distinction made between “an” answer and “a complete, authoritative” answer to the question.

The answer? Access via public libraries with knowledgeable staff to help people young and old (and anywhere in between).

The reality? Cuts in library services in many areas of the UK and the divide getting wider and wider!

Read Phil’s blog post here

Income and Living Conditions in Europe

by Tracey Ellis (BizResearch from the London Business School)

This new publication issued by Eurostat examines the incomes and living standards of the people of Europe. Its findings are based on data taken from the EU-SILC survey. Each section looks at how the workers of Europe earn their living, about the living arrangements of Europeans, about their social participation, and about the ways in which their incomes are affected by taxes and transfers. It also addresses many of the social issues confronting Europe. How much income poverty is there in Europe? Is inequality increasing? Does a job guarantee escape from income poverty? How is Europe's welfare state coping with the economic crisis?

Read Tracey’s post (with useful abstract of main findings) here and the full report (seems to be 418pp + intro and covers (my PDF reader wouldn’t produce a page count)) here.