Friday, March 13, 2015

Information Diffusion and Hip-Hop

Information and knowledge are diffused via artistic expression in Hip-Hop culture among other methods. Here is a very brief sketch of some ideas on this topic. ANY and ALL comments will be answered and are valued. 

Graffiti and Tags

There is a lot of metadata here!  
Tags and other graffiti carry metadata. for instance, when one sees a tagger's tag--and one is familiar with the the tagger, then one will know about them--how brave they are--by where they throw up their tags--the more dangerous, the braver. One would know much about their style oftentimes. If they are a local, they might have legendary status, people might know much about the tagger from the metadata derived from their tags, yet they might not even know the tagger's real identity.


Political Information Hip-Hop Mural

Hip-Hop murals tell stories. Sometimes the story is that of the local neighborhood. The art will be done by someone who intimately knows the neighborhood's characters, triumphs and tragedies. This kind of artwork is powerful, moving and imparts information and knowledge about the neighborhood even if the observer is a stranger to the area.

Educational Concepts in Hip-Hop Lyrics

Hip-Hop lyrics are often full of rich educational information that informs the listener in their own language and on their own terms via Hip-Hop music. For example, Immortal Technique imparts knowledge on a wider-variety of subjects from politics to the drug war. His song Peruvian Cocaine tells the story of the drug trade from the people's point of view--in this case indigenous people forced into the drug trade and how the governments involved in the drug war all profit from it in one way or another.

Dead Prez are another amazing example of Hip-Hop imparting knowledge via flow and beats. Their music addresses so many topics it is hard to cover. Some topics include, social behavior information, political information, historical information, artistic information among other great and relevant topics. Dead Prez has songs about health and fitness, discipline and education--real education--not the White-supremacist standard education, but education from the people's POV.

Both Immortal Technique and Dead Prez sample historical figures such as Malcolm X, Mumia Abu Jamal, members of the Black Panther Party for Self-defense and others. These samples allow young people to hear historical leadership and their ideas. They impart an historical narrative from a Black and Brown POV The information and knowledge imparted by Dead Prez and Immortal Technique cannot be underestimated.

Only Educational Opportunity for Many

In many cases these are the only arenas people will get a chance to hear about COINTELPRO, Colonialism concepts, other political viewpoints. Also, the people speaking are respected teachers and artists in our community and have authority to speak to social, cultural, educational and political issues. I know I trust these artists more than almost any politician I can think of today.

These ideas can be more fully developed, but I would love to work with someone to get more detailed articles written on this subject.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Whack a Mole...

When you are a person of color and you speak about race, you are playing a game of Whac a Mole and you are the mole.

Whac a mole player
Ready for the next one!
Something I have seen recently jarred me into consciousness about how peer pressure bullying works in combination with Race in the US.

Often, when a person of color brings up Race, they are most often told to shut up in one way or another.  If they don't or happen to bring up Race again, then they are most often attacked.

Once the initial attack happens, other bullies join in and reinforce the idea that non-White viewpoints on Race don't count and don't matter.

This has happened to me countless times and most often it happens with the bullies hiding behind the guise of paternal/maternal patronizing comments about the person of color being a racist.

This type of bullying has happened to me in forums, on Facebook, in person and in various other scenarios when speaking about Race.

Recently I was a witness to this on this kind of attack on FB.  A person of color had said something to a White Group that they didn't like.  That person was then ridiculed and chastised in such a powerful manner, one of my lifelong White friends tagged me into the conversation.  She thought I should see an example of a person of color being 'oversensitive.'  As she believes I am often oversensitive and could use some help seeing this in myself.   The insidious thing about this thread was that White people were chastising this person and telling them they should be peaceful and that they should NEVER talk about violence.  This thread was patronizing to the extreme and very mean.

Mike Brown murdered and displayed as an example for other POC

Obviously, the people in the thread live in a world where they feel safe from violence.  As a person of color who holds a higher education degrees and who is a professional, I don't feel safe from violence.  I feel I could be pulled over by the police at any time and shot.  I feel I could even be killed in my own home by the police or some other form of 'law enforcement' -- as has happened often to POC in the US.

The main bully on this thread had the audacity to state that they were dedicated to peacefully helping people of color, but would not allow POC to speak out of line.  Out of line in this case--being an alternative viewpoint that condoned self-defense and seemed angry.

While I do acknowledge the viewpoint was flawed, I won't stand by any longer and watch this kind of bully beatdown.  I did my best to defend them and myself and then left the thread very bothered.

Oxen encircles around baby oxen--protecting them
Protection From Dangerous Forces

We must not let these kinds of attacks happen to our people when we are witnesses.

I love my White friend, but she is so wrong.  In a sense by bringing me into this bullying scenario she was bullying me (albeit unconsciously).  You see--these scenarios serve to reinforce the idea that POC need to keep their mouths shut--that they are too angry and too ignorant to express themselves in a 'civil' manner.  All the while ignoring the uncivil violence and bullying that is going on by the dominant culture.   POC often jump on board and become 'overseers' during these scenarios.  We cannot let this happen!

I won't be bullied and I won't stand by and let other people bully people of color when we speak about race any longer.

I ask you to join me in this effort.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

2015 ALA Election Candidate Analysis from A Lowrider POV

ALA 2015 Presidential Candidates

Joe Janes

Joe Janes is an academic who uses run of the mill librarian arguments about the importance of libraries.  He sounds like a great guy who is really nice, but didn't have much to say about how he was going to lead ALA.

He gave some standard answers like, "We must rethink, reinvigorate, and reinstate our why--our rational for being--above and beyond the familiar."

I've heard that for a very long time already with little result.  We won't be getting any real changes with his Joe's leadership.  He will maintain the status quo.  I'm not voting for him.

James LaRue

James LaRue has been a librarian, a community leader, columnist, radio and tv show host, writer, teacher and a leader of a large organization.  His statement is concise and focused.  You can tell he has experience writing.

1)  We should elevate librarians as community leaders.  "Imagine librarians who catalog their community..."
2) We muse unleash our power in the marketplace.  "This means we should define and defend digital publishing agreements." 
3)We must showcase our leadership as 21century Literacy champions.  "This begins with early childhood literacy."

IJames LaRue sounds like he really knows what he is talking about and his writing is passionate.  His literacy champion idea goes covers human development and the need for information literacy at all points.  His messaging about messaging is accurate and exciting. 

JP Porcaro

JP Porcaro is a librarian, a DJ and a comics fanatic among other things.  His platform is really about relationships and people in our organization and in libraries.  

Presidential initiative: "As president, I will challenge ALA to embark on a large-scale public relations campaign demonstrating that it's the staff that makes the library."  

In the public eye: "Its time to step up our visibility as a profession and as a career--in the eyes of the public.  

Telling out stories: Jp told a story of consoling a student in mourning while on his reference shift and asserted that "human engagement" is a vital aspect of librarianship.

Promoting Diversity: "Comparing figures between ALA's 1985 "Equity at Issue" document with the latest ALA diversity figures, we have had little change in attracting people of color to our field."

The Library's Future is ALA's Future: "I have the hope that we can tell our story anew--the story of librarians--to the public."

JP is the only one of the ALA candidates to mention Diversity and Library Staff.  For these reasons alone I would vote for him, but his focus on human relationships and interactions is the clincher for me.  I'm voting JP.

Julie Todaro

Julie is a dean for a community college library.  She has vast work experience in a variety of libraries and settings and is also a consultant and author.  Her platform is all about leadership.

Libraries lead: "...I will be committed to stimulating innovation, expanding content, snd modes and methods of delivering messages."

Library Workers Lead: "...I will be committed to the design and delivery of education, training, and marketing content that illustrates and advocates the expertise of those who work in library and information settings."

Library Supporters Lead:  "...I will honor the contributions of supporters and stakeholders and ensure that they have positive and persuasive messages to influence decision makers and civic leaders..."

Julie clearly has real world skills and knows the library lingo.  I don't think there is much in her message that I have not heard repeated for years.  I like the leadership concept, but she really talked about it in such an objective manner that it came off sounding like the standard stuff people hear about library advocacy.  I'm sure she is a talented manager and Dean, but I am not sure she is the right person to lead ALA at this juncture in time.

Here are my choices in order:

1)  JP Porcaro
2) James LaRue
3) Julie Todaro
4) Joe Janes

Conclusion:  Vote JP!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Hackers Have a Stronger Sharing Ethic than Librarians

The dysfunctional model of Librarians, who already have great jobs as librarians--writing books for ALA, or other publishers who will then pimp their information out to libraries who can afford the price to these publications. Most often, these publications are on essential library best practices and technology implementations. To put up a barrier to this librarian created information is ethically and morally wrong. It goes against the librarian principle of sharing information.

This information should be made freely available to libraries who can't afford the new ALA techSource title, or to small rural libraries who can't afford to attend the 350.00 pre-conference.

Shit--I have learned more from Hackers for free than I have learned from librarians sharing their vital information.

This site needs to be hackerfied--meaning--it should be converted to an information sharing site:

When I was first introduced to computers and the internet I had a friend who was a hacker. He turned me onto a group of White Hat Hackers who dedicated their lives to sharing information.

Much of what they did was illegal, but it was not malicious. It was about sharing. These people would spend hours and hours creating tutorials for users--this is where I learned about ports, scanning, FTP and more--all for FREE.

This sharing ethic made such a huge impression on me that I wondered why more people don't share information so freely.

Then I became a librarian and was so excited by the purported ethic of sharing information with those who are in need. Once I became a librarian, I quickly realized that this was not the case. What I mean by that is that in order to serve your patrons well, then you will have to cough up the money (most often) to get that information in the form of a pre-conference, a publication or a trainer. BIG bucks paid to librarians, whose ethics are supposed to include sharing information--even with those who have nothing. There is something wrong when our profession sells information.

One of my academic friends on FB told me that it is a tenure issue--"...people need to publish in the antiquated system in order to be recognized professionally."

While, this is indeed the case for academic librarians, we ALL need to be pushing the envelope on the publishing platform issue. Blogs and other related platforms can and should be used by academia to publish their work and get critiques from colleagues and a wider breadth of readership than simply publishing your article in one journal. Blogging to a wider audience can inject a healthy dose of transparency, information diffusion and a diversity of ideas into Academia. Academia is in dire need of these things at the moment.

Librarians should set up a virtual publishing center and publish their work there. It should be Be freely available to anyone who needs the information and should also include multimedia production and storage capabilities.

I should note here that many library related publications that are written by librarians and sold by publishers do not pay a dime. However, the publishers make money if the book sells through library related channels.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Cannabis Pharmacy--a Book Your Library Needs...

Book Review!

Cannabis Pharmacy By Michael Backes

Michael Backes has done a great service by producing this wonderful book on medical cannabis.

His book covers a nice portion of material on cannabis and related subjects.  It is often hard to get all this material in one book.

Cannabis as medicine has a long history of usage.  

Here are the contents:

Contents of book.  Click image to enlarge.

This wonderful resource is broken into logical chunks of information for readers who want to learn about medical cannabis.  

Mr. Backes gives a great historical and social perspective on cannabis that is well-researched and is put in terms that the average reader can understand.

Adverse side effects are covered and explicated.

He then goes on to describe what makes the particular varieties of cannabis and shows a large sample of strains that have been developed by breeders.

Varieties of medical cannabis

He explains in detail the history, genetics and different types of cannabis strains and how they can be used to treat medical conditions. 

Strains of cannabis explained.

His notes and citations of different strains are profusely explained and the medical uses are broken out in handy little highlights.  

Disorders and other illnesses that can be treated with cannabis.
The notes and bibliography of this book are worth looking and and owning.  He even includes a handy glossary to help readers understand cannabis technical language.  

Book includes great notes.

I highly recommend this book for public libraries in states where cannabis is either medically legal, or recreational use is legal.  It would also be a nice addition to an academic library.  His writing is clear, cogent and to the point.  If you are looking for a primer on medical cannabis for your patrons--this book fits the bill nicely.  After July people will not need a medical cannabis card to purchase cannabis in Oregon.  I would anticipate that libraries will be getting questions on cannabis and also will be asked for resources.  Start building your collection now.  My local library is on it--that is where I found this book.  

Max with book from public library.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

New Article on Microagressions in Academic LIS

Racial Microaggressions in Academic Libraries: Results of a Survey of Minority and Non-minority Librarians


There is relatively little literature on racism within the profession of academic librarianship. To investigate academic librarians' experiences of racism, this research project uses the framework of racial microaggressions, which are subtle, denigrating messages directed toward people of color. According to the results of an online survey, some librarians of color have had racial microaggressions directed at them by their colleagues. Non-minority librarians, however, are unlikely to recognize these disparaging exchanges.


  • Academic libraries;
  • Racism;
  • Diversity;
  • Racial microaggressions


How to solve the illegal immigration problem