DOPA & librarians' reactions

Anyone who thinks librarians are a quiet bunch hasn’t been monitoring their responses to the Patriot Act, CIPA and, now, DOPA.

The US House Resolution 5319, the Deleting Online Predators Act (DOPA), was passed by a 410 to 15 vote recently, creating a flurried response both before and after it was passed.

Some blogs and articles to read to find great info on this

Techcrunch — US House: Schools must block MySpace, many other sites:

If the Resolution becomes law social networking sites and chat rooms must be blocked by schools and libraries or those institutions will lose their federal internet subsidies. According to the resolution’s top line summary it will “amend the Communications Act of 1934 to require recipients of universal service support for schools and libraries to protect minors from commercial social networking websites and chat rooms.”[snip]

410-15 was a shocking vote. I write about it here because it has the potential to impact a huge portion of our readership and the companies we profile on this site. Though the viability of enforcing such a law is open to question, web services offering collaboration in education are looking seriously endangered. Secondary collaborative consequences of commercial web sites used in schools aren’t looking good either. Or perhaps it’s just symbolic of the divide in the US between on one hand those of us who are excited about the incredible potential of web services to enable personal creativity and on-demand global communication and on the other hand those who believe that the internet is just a series of tubes.

I’m not the best person to analyze this though. Here’s who I recommend:

  • Declan McCullagh at ZDNet has posted a very thorough background article on DOPA.
  • Andy Carvin writes Learning Now, a blog about education and technology for PBS, and has set up a page called DOPAWatch to aggregate blog posts on the topic.
  • danah boyd is probably the web’s leading expert in analyzing the politics of MySpace and youth social networking.
  • Will Richardson’s Weblogg-Ed is a great source for all things Learning 2.0
  • Vicki A. Davis is a Christian school teacher in Georgia who uses blogs, wikis, podcasting and more in her classrooms. Vicki has written a number of powerful posts on DOPA and I would expect she’ll have something to say in the morning.

Tame the Web points to Don Wood’s Tell Your Senators Why DOPA Is Bad for Libraries:

Where do you stand?

ebay class

Believe it or not, I’m typing this in a break at a community college class I’m taking about selling on ebay. I don’t know yet if the class is a waste of time or not. What I do know is that I like getting out of my head for a few hours a week.

I’ll keep you up to date on whether I sell something… later.

packing light

Tips on how to pack light enough to take just one carry-on on your trip, from

Some general thoughts about the quite bearable being of lightness:

  • The amount of stuff you think you need is directly related to the size of your luggage. Get a smaller bag and you’ll make do with fewer things.
  • There’s really no difference between packing for a week and packing for a month or longer.

The list goes on, and on. These were my favorite.

(Found via 43 Folders.)

using Google sitemaps

Are you using Google sitemaps yet?

No? Here’s one reason why you should consider beginning:

Question #2: What exactly does a Google Sitemap do?

Answer #2: Well here it is… any time you add new content to your site or your blog, you’re going to want Google to include the most up-to-date version in its listings. In the past, this meant waiting for Google to index your site all over again… but since Google runs on its own agenda that could be next week… or next month… or next year. You never knew and it was extremely frustrating.

But finally Google has solved this problem with Google Sitemaps!

By using Sitemaps you can proactively tell Google every time you update your site so Google knows exactly when they need to come back and reindex it. And best of all, it’s free!

Think of it as sending Google an invitation to visit your site every time you change it and add new information. This is particularly useful for blogs or other newsy web sites that are updated regularly.

Very cool.

Dress for Success

I’ve been going through old links lately and found one that reminded me I have to clean my closet, and I can do it for a good cause. From Shop Girl:

As a shopping columnist, I spend my days looking for hot buys, great deals and the latest must-haves. I know, though, that not everyone can pick up a new outfit for the weekend, just because. I know that many women don’t have confidence-boosting suits in their closets for important interviews.

That’s where nonprofit organizations such as Dress for Success and the Houston Area Women’s Center lend a hand, and those of us who have so much are able to help women make a fresh start.

More info:

  • Dress for Success, 3915 Dacoma. 713-957-3779.
  • Second to None Resale Store, 1435 Westheimer. 713-528-6798.