Can libraries thrive in a young democracy? Considering Myanmar
Late last year, my research on libraries in Myanmar, democratic reforms, and the role of information in development was published, Myanmar Libraries after the Opening Up. The working title was “Portrait in time”, which seems ever more appropriate given what happened immediately before, and after, the article was published.
I worked on a development project with Myanmar Library Association between 2013 and 2016, and had been hoping to return this year to participate in the CONSAL conference but the timing of my relocation to Australia meant that wasn’t possible.
The eternal return of blogging
Blogging requires exercise. This much I have learned after years of diminishing posts, culminating in a hosting provider move and a malware attack that went spectacularly wrong. I’ve written before about how blogging is taking off in research, and yet found it difficult to keep on writing, preferring instead to post to social media. But for me, this must change.
I agree with Dan Cohen that the ease of sites that we as consumers do not own or manage has played a big part in the decline of blogs.
Hello. You might remember me from such blogs as Semantic Library or a decade or more back, blisspix.net. On Twitter I’m @fiona_bradley. In celebration of #OAWeek, I have updated my online presences. As part of this process, I’ve also resurrected my former blogs.
Some of the posts are laughably dated now, such as this 2009 post: > How can we steer away from designing apps and authentication just for PCs, Android, or Symbian, or Palm and design universally?
Libraries, Information and Development
If you’re interested in the role of data, ICT and libraries, take a look at my blog post for Post2015.org, which is running a fantastic series of posts from different perspectives on how to realise the data revolution called for in the High Level Panel’s report to the UN on the post-2015 development agenda. As librarians, our perspective is that access is not enough: making available open budgets, development data, and information about public services is needed and important, but without skills and access, and places like libraries, people won’t be able to make use of it.
She's lost ctrl again (and the post-CMS future)
The post-CMS landscape This week, I installed Drupal, then module after module after module to get it content-ready for a new project. Drupal is excellent, but it is big. Over the years, CMSs have made it easy to create content, but they have increasingly hidden the technology behind them. CMSs were certainly not giving me much motivation to get up to date with HTML5, CSS3, or jQuery.
Development Seed is an organisation whose work I’ve admired for years – their open data and government projects are exceptional.
Blogs are still where its at
After the pins, tweets, status updates, vlogs and life journals, it seems that blogs are still the place to be. Harvard Business Review Blog argues that many blogs have as much credibility as their print counterparts, citing a blog authored by a New York Times journalist, and The World Bank, where researchers can use some staff time to blog.
On the face of it, these examples argue in favour of a resurgence in blogging, but they need a bit of unpacking.
Thinking in the New Year
Another year, and another round of resolutions. Last year, I traveled 150,000 km and was on the road more than 100 days. And the year before, and the year before that. In November, I moved to the Hague for a new job and am looking forward to having more time for all kinds of projects, and inevitably, started the year with a resolution to update this blog more often.
This year, I’m interested in exploring the future: what impact will demographic change have on libraries 20, 50 years from now?
Race around the world
I have been known to joke at times that my life feels a bit like The Amazing Race, but the past few weeks have not been too far off. 6 weeks, 6 countries and 60,000km later my evaluation visits have ended on a very bright note in Vilnius, Lithuania.
Lithuania has taken every opportunity in their path and made the most of it: Libraries for Innovation has modernised libraries and built partnerships with government and industry.
20 years into the post-Soviet era, Ukraine continues to transition to new attitudes and practices. Libraries are not immune to the massive impact this change has had on every aspect of life in the country. Some still look to the state to solve every perceived problem. Others described how laws and regulations make it difficult for libraries to buy books, not to mention the restrictions on buying econtent which means people are already turning to downloading unauthorized copies of books in massive numbers because the titles they want aren’t readily available for sale or loan at libraries.
One of the outcomes I’m looking for in this series of visits is unintended consequences. Did things happen that we didn’t predict, or plan for in the project? Did things change for the better, or worse? Here in Peru, I’ve been surprised and impressed at how the project has spun off across the country. A small pilot project to visit schools to promote libraries and librarianship as a profession. Collaborations with municipal governments on the development of new regional libraries.