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Grappling with web 2.0 by holding a large formal meeting

The UK library world (at least online) today seems obsessed by the debate/session being held at CILIP today to discuss the organisation’s involvement with web 2.0, mostly centered on CILIP’s failure to engage with anything like Twitter, Facebook, open blogs (by which I mean ones non-members could comment on, which they couldn’t until this whole thing blew up), RSS feeds (this being my own personal beef for some time), and the like. It all became a big issue following this post by CILIP CEO Bob McGee, followed by this post from Phil Bradley. I personally think it’s shocking, even if we take into account Bob McGee’s claim to be merely consulting on the issue, that CILIP have been so slow to develop any kind of presence in these kinds of sites and technologies. The reaction to hold a meeting was in some respects a good one, in some respects bad, as it shows how formal and slow CILIP still feels the need to be. They could have set up some official presences in various places like Facebook, their news feed could have been diverted to Twitter to reach a larger audience, and a vacancies RSS feed surely wasn’t beyond the realms of possibility, all cheap, quick, and easy to set up.

There are two issues here really: 1) that the professional body for information professionals is not involved in up-to-date methods of information dissemination, which is bad for its reputation and credibility; 2) that it is not using these technologies for its own purposes, e.g. marketing research into its own reputation and credibility, although, to be fair, Bob McGee started the whole thing by pointing out that people had been asking on Twitter about any official CILIP presence on micro-blogging websites.

Follow #CILIP2 on Twitter if want to see what is going on and you have nothing else to do this afternoon. I get the impression everyone who is going is also Twittering the event, so I wonder who will be actually partaking in the debate. The feed at the moment feels like a forum during the Eurovision Song Contest. There does seem a fair bit of optimism around the session, although I don’t think a formal session such as this can effect the cultural change at CILIP HQ to really make a difference, especially as these things keep changing and can’t rely on one meeting and one set of resolutions.

Bishop bashing in Bedfordshire

I fear that someone with a sense of humour may have been writing for the Bedfordshire on Sunday this week. Under the unlikely headline Bishop of Bedford bashing world poverty the article explains:

Bishop Richard took up one end of a rope with members of the Bedford Athletic rugby team on the other. He was the lone ‘tugger’ against the combined forces of the rugby players.

I suppose we just should be grateful the rugby team weren’t bashing the bishop while he tugged alone on his end of the rope. You’ll have to read the article for the whole story, which is entirely innocent and in fact all in a very good cause.

Ancient mysteries solved: the difference between raisins, currants, and sultanas

In the first of a series clearing up the great mysteries of our time, for my own benefit if nothing else, I here present the difference between raisins, currants, and sultanas. I think it is simplest to say that they are all raisins, a generic name for a dried grape; currants and sultanas are really specific types of raisin, although currant sometimes has a wider application. The etymology is given in square brackets:

  • Raisin: Dried grape.
    [O. Fr. for grape (also, of course, modern Fr. for grape)]
  • Currant: Dried grape of the Black Corinth variety, being a small variety of seedless grape from Greece.
    [Anglo-Fr. “raisins de Corauntz” or “Raisins of Corinth]
  • Sultana: Dried grape of the Sultana variety, being a white, seedless variety of grape from Turkey, Greece, or Iran, also known as Thompson Seedless grapes. Many raisins, including most California raisins, are in fact specifically sultanas.
    [Presumably from the word “sultana” as in the wife of a sultan or a female sultan, presumably from the geographical origin of the sultana grape in the regions of the former Ottoman Empire].

Almost all of the above information is derived from various Wikipedia articles, so must be true. I can’t see why anyone would put up false information about the origin of currants, so I would hope none of this is actually LIES. The etymology of sultana is my own presumption, as I hope I made clear.

Next: the difference between butterflies and moths.

Bedfordshire as ceremonial county

I now live in a purely ceremonial county now that Bedfordshire County Council no longer exists. I can’t say I’m particularly sad to see it go as the good services seemed to come from Mid Bedfordshire District Council and the less impressive services from the County Council, although this is something of a gross generalization. I also think the extra layer of local government was helping no-one. Waste, for instance, was collected by Mid Beds but disposed of by the County. I don’t really care as long as it is collected (and recycled and everything of course) by someone. I would be happy if it were central government if it worked. Considering the strong control that central government puts on local government anyway (not necessarily a bad thing in many ways), maybe this is an idea.

Anyway, Sandy is now in Central Bedfordshire (official site), which is basically the more rural bits of Bedfordshire without the buzzing metropoles of Bedford and Luton. It does include Dunstable and Leighton Buzzard, however, which by Mid Beds standards, do count as sizable towns.