Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Definition of Community

Looking for a straight-forward definition of "community" ... then try someplace else, but if you want to read in interesting conversation about what community is, was, and will be, check out this conversation from CORANTE (via Nancy White at Full Circle). It's long, but full of precious bits and pieces and some damn good chunks!

I've been struggling with this issue of community of late, as I've been trying to figure out how to "build" it ... Our strategic plan calls for building community ... I guess I see it as an organic thing ... it grows ... it can be helped along ... watered, kept warm, and nourished by the light ... but built? ... hmmmm ...

I was reading Richard Florida's Cities and the Creative Class, and he talked about quality growth (which may be a way of describing economic community building) being determined by a community's approach to the 3Ts -- Technology, Talent, and Tolerance ... if you've got 'em, you build community ... if not ... well, you're just biding time until you go the way of the dinosaurs ...

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Designing for Civil Society - Models

I just found David Wilcox's blog from the UK (that United kingdom to those of you who are die-hard Kentucky fans) today ... looks like he's moving, but I thought the site was great ... I dug down a bit and found a piece from December 1, 2004, entitled Models for a Civic Commons. He listed a couple of interesting sites ...

I didn't spend a ton of time, but on first blush, iCAN! (from the BBC) is the most interesting to me. It looks like there are two components -- the BBC provided content, and the 'You" provided content which could "
  • Bring issues you care about
  • Publish advice and tips
  • Work with others to create your own campaign

Pretty cool stuff ...

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Blogging as PR for libraries

B.L. Ochman from Bacon's has put together a PR-savvy blog -- How To Write Killer Blog Posts And More Compelling Comments that, well ... doesn't suck! If your library (or other org) has a PR person or department, this would be a nice thing to run by 'em. Since most of the librarians I know are still unfamiliar/uncomfortable with the idea of blogs, it might be good to have the PR types pushing the idea ...

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Painting the invisible

Nancy White posted a piece on/by the artist Dawn Meson today ... gave me chills ...

"My work is an attempt to paint the invisible ... Using color,
translucency, textures and shape as symbols, I hint at the rich complexity and
mystery in the subatomic realm."

There is something beautiful about merging art and science ... math and music ... it's like Hesse's The Glass Bead Game ... Of course, Hesse wrote really long books, so you can find a beautifully written analysis in the introduction of D.D. Nolte's Mind at Light Speed (ISBN:0743205014) ... like I said ... chills!

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Four pieces of the web pie ...

I was talking with our Web Content Team a couple of days ago. I was trying to convey my philosophy for what our web services should look like ... here's a slightly less extemporanious version ...

I see four components of the library's web approach ... 1) questions; 2) inspirations; 3) interactions; and 4) enagagements. Each builds on the previous component, and moves us from simply providing a way to answer our customers' generic questions to inspiring deeper ones, and from deep questioning to linking them with others who share (or disagree with) their concerns, and from there to providing means and methods for turning ideas and conversations into real action.

I think we do the question thing pretty well ... we're able to put together content and tools that enable our patrons to ask us or search it out themselves. Currently, they're somewhat limited on what answers they can get, but it's getting better ... it's getting deeper and broader.

We're only just now beginning to venture into the inspiration of ideas ... for example, we've something called Project Insect starting soon ... an "artist in residence" will be painting a large oil on canvas of an insect ... she will be using the web to display her work, techniques, information about the insect she’s painting, etc. As they watch her, as they read about how she does what she does, they will be inspired.

Interaction with the artist is the easy part ... we can stream her, set up a blog and message boards, and use IM to get people involved. Ideally, interaction with the artist will lead to interaction with other viewers, readers, and bloggers.

The engagement thing ... to me, this is the really cool piece of the pie ... wouldn’t it be awesome if we could sponsor an online collaborative work of art created by our patrons with the artist in residence! And the funny thing is, it’s actually pretty easy ...