Design for the New Web

I ran across this posting by Ellyssa Kroski today: InfoTangle :: Information Design for the New Web :: April :: 2007

It is basically a summary of her presentation on Web Design at Computers in Libraries. Since I wasn’t able to attend that, I thought this posting was really great! She gives a really nice overview of current trends in web design and it was informative on a level that I could easily follow.

Thanks Ellyssa!

Incidentally, I stumbled upon it in the Library2.0 ning that libnetters have been talking about today! I just joined and I think it’s going to be really fun!


Facebook & Privacy?

Sarah Steiner, Learning Commons Librarian at Georgia State University, posted a link to the following video Does what happens in the Facebook stay in the Facebook?. The video makes interesting and disturbing claims about privacy concerns regarding the site Facebook. It quotes from the terms of service posted on Facebook, which I have to admit, I’ve never read. Here’s a quote.

“When you post User Content to the Site, you authorize and direct us to make such copies thereof as we deem necessary in order to facilitate the posting and storage of the User Content on the Site. By posting User Content to any part of the Site, you automatically grant, and you represent and warrant that you have the right to grant, to the Company an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, publicly perform, publicly display, reformat, translate, excerpt (in whole or in part) and distribute such User Content for any purpose on or in connection with the Site or the promotion thereof, to prepare derivative works of, or incorporate into other works, such User Content, and to grant and authorize sublicenses of the foregoing. You may remove your User Content from the Site at any time. If you choose to remove your User Content, the license granted above will automatically expire, however you acknowledge that the Company may retain archived copies of your User Content.” Facebook. 25.May.2007

Naturally, I wanted to find out more about the validity of the claims presented in the video, so of course I googled the author. The video was created by Georgia web designer Vishal Agarwala ( When I searched for his name, I ran across another post by Fred Stutzman on his blog, Unit Structures (here) that references this video. Stutzman points out seemingly contradictory statements in the Facebook Developer section of the site (which I couldn’t actually find myself). Some of the comments to Stutzman’s post include good counter arguments, especially refuting the allegations in the video about Facebook ties to the CIA and Department of Defense, which were provocative, but not well grounded in fact.

So what’s the bottom line? Well, it sounds like Facebook users grant Facebook the right to redistribute their user generated content, and Facebook promises to be ethical in its use of this content. Also, it requests that Facebook developers likewise respect user privacy. It sounds like Google’s “Do no harm” mantra. I suspect that most users, who like myself haven’t even read the terms of service, will only really become concerned about the possible privacy violations that could occur when they do occur. Until then, we’ll just keep posting with a refreshingly naive and trusting attitude. Be gentle with us Google and Facebook!

If you want to talk about this, sit with Ivan Gaetz (Dean of Libraries at Regis University) at lunch at the CALC Summit on June 1st. He will be facilitating a table talk regarding Privacy!

Educause Gets Net Savvy

Here’s a new white paper published by Educause that is right on the money in describing students’ habits and attitudes and the need for information literacy. I haven’t had time to read the entire paper yet, but just the quote below looks highly promising. Thanks Diana Oblinger! Sorry you couldn’t make it to our CALC Summit in May!

EDUCAUSE Quarterly | Volume 30 Number 1 2007
Constantly connected to information and each other, students don’t just consume information. They create—and re-create—it. With a do-it-yourself, open source approach to material, students often take existing material, add their own touches, and republish it. Bypassing traditional authority channels, self-publishing—in print, image, video, or audio—is common. Access and exchange of information is nearly instantaneous.

Barack Obama Goes 2.0

Today, in English101 class, we evaluated different Barack Obama websites as examples of different types of sites for different information needs. This site is his campaign site and I found it very interesting. It’s essentially a MySpace for Obama supporters. It has many Web 2.0 features, including the ability to create ones own profile, invite friends to join, create a blog, and more. Here’s a screen shot:
This quote is from the blog on as an illustration of the personal connection Obama is able to generate with this type of site. “Andrew from Denver, Colorado has set up his own fundraising page where people take their height and then donate $10 a foot. He even enlisted “Hiro” the ice cream man to create his own graphic to help you understand…classic!
If you’re interested in helping Andrew reach his goal of $5,280 (for the mile high city of course), click here to help out – especially if you’re REALLY tall.”

The Machine is Us/ing Us – We are the Web

This is the video of the week! Everyone is talking about this video, which was created by Professor Michael Wesch and his class of Digital Ethnography students at Kansas State University.

Some of the important statements he makes in this video are:

  • XML allows us to separate content from form. This is important because content can then be moved around, reformatted, repackaged, reused. How does that impact our understanding of authorship, copyright, etc? How much does context effect meaning?
  • We are the Web. The social nature of Web 2.0 technologies means that information we view is not static. It can constantly be rewritten. How does that impact our understanding of authorship, copyright, and truth?
  • Text is no longer the medium of choice. Video and audio are now prevalent means of communication. How does this change our experience and understanding of information? Of ourselves?
  • He says, “We are teaching the machine. Each time we forge a link between words, we teach it an idea.” When read in the context of the last video I posted on regarding Google’s use of personal information, what does this mean for us in terms of privacy and identity? Who is writing the code that allows the “machine” to learn?
  • “The Web is no longer linking information, it is linking people.” In the end, will we no longer recognize any authority? How will we identify authority?

apophenia: a spazzy danah talk

One of the most prolific speakers regarding MySpace and social networking sites gave a talk at UNC Chapel Hill regarding her research towards her dissertation about MySpace. I haven’t listened to the whole talk yet, because it is fairly long, but I plan to. She has a lot of interesting things to say about teenagers and MySpace. This would be an interesting clip to show in some of our Mass Comm/New Media classes.

Of what I’ve heard so far, the most interesting comment to me personally is that teens today are so controlled and hyperscheduled (is that a new word?) that they don’t have the freedoms we had growing up to socialize in an unsupervised environment. Thus, they turn to MySpace where they can have that freedom. On a personal note, I’m now left wondering what I’ve done to my children’s social development skills, because I have invaded their MySpaces (with their permission). In fact, I asked my 15 year old daughter before I tried to add her to my own space if she would mind, but she said it would be fine. I try not to get on her page too often. My eleven year olds love it when I comment on their spaces.

I have also created a forum open to all the students at our University to chat with me about the library on MySpace and a few have responded, so I guess some don’t mind the adult intrusion. However, the vast majority have ignored me. Well, I genuinely want to meet them in a social setting, so I don’t try to usurp the communication tools too much – I think that would be a bit creepy. But the ones I’ve met have been delightful.

apophenia: a spazzy danah talk
September 28, 2006
a spazzy danah talk

When i was in North Carolina a few weeks back, i gave an off-the-cuff talk at UNC. The ibiblio folks have uploaded a video of it to their site. Since i still can’t stand seeing myself speak, i won’t watch it but if i remember correctly, about half of it is me answering various questions that i received before the talk and the second half is me answering questions in the room. It’s by no means a formal talk but rather a spewing of random ideas, thoughts, and observations. I don’t know if it’ll be interesting to anyone, but i figured i should at least post about it since so many ibiblio folks are wandering over here from their site (hi!!!)

My Innocence is Shattered – Lonelygirl15 is a FAKE!

Ok, so I’m still learning about Web2.0 and social software. I’m a novice. But I was a happy, innocent novice. I really enjoyed lonelygirl15’s videos on YouTube. I reveled in the thought that there was such a teenager, who actually knew who Gilbert and Sullivan were. I ignored the rumors and buried my head in the sand. Today, my innocence is shattered. I confess to feeling a bit used at the thought that what was portrayed as “real” was actually an experiment! Read more about the admission on Monkey Bites:

“As if the clues weren’t all pointing in this direction already, we now have confirmation. A group of independent filmmakers have been producing the famous LonelyGirl15 videos and posting them on YouTube. Bree and Daniel are actors. Danah Boyd has the full run-down.”

Do we really want the Internet to become just another reality TV show?

Heavy sigh!