“The promise of the Internet-as-(Library of )Alexandra is more than the roiling plenitude of information. It’s the ability of individuals to choreograph that information in idiosyncratic ways, the hope that individuals might feel invited by the gravitational pull of a broad and open commons to ‘rip, mix, and burn’ – to curate. This new sort of curator, in effect, is one definition of blogger: an amateur experimental librarian for the Internet, the curator of … a digital Wunderkammer, a private information choreographer who has made her alignments public.”
A world in three aisles, by Gideon Lewis-Kraus, Pages 47-57, Harpers Magazine, May 2007 (now online)
So next time you’re wondering about the stuff that gets posted here, see above. I’m curating, not blogging, dammit, curating. But my curatorial skills are more like, um, The Museum of Jurassic Technology or something. Well, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
And I would have to say that the indispensable Wood S Lot does a far better job of curating the internets than anyone one else I know of. Far better than moi!
I did like this part, too: There’s a tour of real librarians and one of them asks a dangerous question:
“â€¦Megan picked up a bound volume of Display World magazine and told the group … was a particular attraction for the artists and art classes who have come in search of visual materials.
“One librarian … didn’t quite get it. ‘Well, I can see how it would be interesting to artists,’ he asked, ‘but how do they find it?'”
“Megan, whose overwhelming kindness occasionally reveals truculent edges, looked at him as thought his was the stupidest question ever asked at the library. ‘We show them,’ she said, and moved on.”
Hey, it’s her private library, she can be as much of a control freak as she wants. Because, really, isn’t the history of modern librarianship or whatever it’s called focused on access? Librarians are there to help you find stuff, but moreover, they’re there to teach you the tools to find stuff. The private Prelinger Library is a nice exercise in an inaccessible collection with Rick and Megan, who strike me as the kind of people I would run from at full speed, set up as givers of knowledge. How esoteric. How Gurdjieffian. How nice for them. Next.
My friend Erik, whom I wish would blog (or curate) more, tells me the Seattle Library is a delightful place, but Harpers probably isn’t interested in that.