Digital Culture

the devil’s plaything

My hands have been far from idle these last few days. In fact, they’ve been nearly frantic…you certainly wouldn’t know it was Spring Break around here. I know that my life has gotten overly full when I realized that I didn’t realize that I hadn’t written here in days. Days!

In no particular order, here’s some of what’s keeping me up at night.

Old database page at UTCThe complete overhauling of our Database pages at UTC. We’re moving away from this organization eventually (going to be aiming for a more holistic presentation of our informational sources) but for the interim we still needed to update to the new website look and feel. While I was at it, we worked up some better ways to present the information, like collapsing the database descriptions using javascript. Overall, I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out. The pic is of the old page, the new one can be seen here. Throw me some feedback if you have any.

LITA podcast logoThe LITA election podcasts have started, and over at LITAblog things are getting good and busy. Some really amazing content in the podcasts…I’m thrilled with the way they turned out. I heartily recommend people head over and listen or subscribe to them before voting for LITA officers. Congrats go out to Jane, Karen, and David for helping make this a reality, and to the existing LITA officers for supporting it. More podcasts to come from LITA, so stay tuned to LITABlog for those…we’re hopefully going to seriously up our audio/video capture of portions of ALA Annual this year.

Lupton Library Alert BlogThe launching of the first official Lupton Library blog. I’m not linking to it, and it’s not google-able, because it’s designed to be an internal communications device…we’re trying to reduce the number of emails that get sent around updating people on status of things. Plus, its handy that it’s searchable and categorizable and such, so that we can return to it and see that, for instance, our printing system has been down 3 times this week. The goal is to get people familiar with seeing/using a blog, and the move forward more aggressively with a public one.

On top of the above projects, its Goal/Evaluation time around the old UTC. This is a hard year for me to evaluate, as I’ve officially had three positions this year, and my goals I wrote 12 months ago seem less than appropriate now. Oh, and, of course, today was the application review date for our two open positions, so I have stacks of applications to look at.

I’ve also been giving a lot of thought to technology usage. While we are using a blog (WordPress, of course) as an alert system, I made some concessions to existing technology usage and comfort. For instance, rather than teach everyone in the library the blog interface, as simple as it may be, I set up the blog so that it can be posted to via email (and only from the email addresses of our faculty and staff). In this way, there’s no learning curve for use…simply add the blog to your address book, and send away. It’s a bit of a hack (using Postie for WP and a cron job to force Postie to grab the pop email) but it works.

My question is: when does helping people move into the realm of enabling? Is there a point where, in moving forward, you risk leaving people behind, and how does that get managed in your organization? Libraries haven’t had to deal with this issue for very long…as I said to someone today, prior to the online catalog, libraries really hadn’t changed significantly in a long, long time. There are plenty of librarians who made it through that change…how was that handled, and did you have people who just refused to move away from the card catalog? Did you just have to remove the catalog to get them to move on, and how was that handled politically?

And after all that, what I should have really been doing was writing my due-all-too-soon book chapter. *sigh*

By griffey

Jason Griffey is the Director of Strategic Initiatives at NISO, where he works to identify new areas of the information ecosystem where standards expertise is useful and needed. Prior to joining NISO in 2019, Jason ran his own technology consulting company for libraries, has been both an Affiliate at metaLAB and a Fellow and Affiliate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, and was an academic librarian in roles ranging from reference and instruction to Head of IT at the University of TN at Chattanooga.

Jason has written extensively on technology and libraries, including multiple books and a series of full-periodical issues on technology topics, most recently AI & Machine Learning in Libraries and Library Spaces and Smart Buildings: Technology, Metrics, and Iterative Design from 2018. His newest book, co-authored with Jeffery Pomerantz, will be published by MIT Press in 2024.

He has spoken internationally on topics such as artificial intelligence & machine learning, the future of technology and libraries, decentralization and the Blockchain, privacy, copyright, and intellectual property. A full list of his publications and presentations can be found on his CV.
He is one of eight winners of the Knight Foundation News Challenge for Libraries for the Measure the Future project (, an open hardware project designed to provide actionable use metrics for library spaces. He is also the creator and director of The LibraryBox Project (, an open source portable digital file distribution system.

Jason can be stalked obsessively online, and spends his free time with his daughter Eliza, reading, obsessing over gadgets, and preparing for the inevitable zombie uprising.

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