Friday, October 01, 2010

Rambling with Silver: 30 Sept/ 1 Oct 2010

[Explanation: This post may not make a lot of contextual sense to you, if you're not David Silver or Ivan Chew :) But isn't meant to. It's an archive for my own personal reference and reflection. To record the memorable bits and pieces from my Skype conversation with David, Associate Professor of Media Studies at the University of San Francisco. Us catching up on personal levels, talking about family, life, play and work... in just about that order. Oh, you're welcome to join the conversation, by leaving your comments.]

Ramblings with Silver

New shoots
It's really neat to see Siena grow up on Flickr :)

Tools Vs Applications
David doesn't use his iPad much (his university provided him with one, to let him experiment in the classroom setting). I remarked that the iPad may not be useful by itself. It's the applications that create the value.

Bringing Soul to Social Media
Shared with David that increasingly I'm turning down invitations to conduct workshops that merely involve creating blogs, podcasts, etc. I still do them occasionally, but I'm very conscious about 'bringing value' to those sessions. If it's just about "how to start an account", I don't think that will add a lot of value to the participants.

David shared a similar sentiment too, in terms of his teaching. He said something smart: "It's about bringing Soul to Social Media".

Intersection of Work and Play
We talked about work. And how it's important to strike a balance between work and personal life. But there's also that "in-between" area where work intersects with personal interests. I thought David's intersection was something like this. And I pointed out to him that he may not have realised that he's been teaching me, and making me more aware, about simplicity and sustainability.

Kevin Lim got mentioned in our conversation. David knows Kevin (through tweets, if I recall) and also they share a common connection through Alex Halavis, Kevin's former professor. [aside: I'm more and more convinced we're just Six-Degrees to Kevin Lim, lol]

David: "Libraries are wonderful at giving... but what happens when libraries "get" stuff?"

Hmm... that question has a broader implication in terms of the roles of libraries. It's about the library's philosophies, policies, and processes. In that order.

I pointed David to Gave him a rambly explanation of what it was about.

Post-chat Reflections (aka my own pretense at appearing philosophical):
  • Technology is merely a tool. Tools are neutral by themselves. 
  • Tools don't automatically bring people closer nor does it necessarily isolate people. It's entirely up to us on how we choose to apply the tool.
  • In that same sense, libraries (encompassing it's content, services and facilities) are tools and largely DIY. Therein lies both problems and opportunities. 
  • The more "DIY" libraries become, the library function become mere technical tools. Tools are easily replaceable. 
  • The opportunity is that the people who work in libraries are now at a crossroad to redefine that role.
  • The library, as an institution, is like the iPad platform. So what's the applications that we provide? 
  • My personal conviction is that the way to go is "Librarians as Trainers/ Educators/ Teachers". Libraries are the classrooms (some of the time).


  1. Agree wholeheartedly that devices, platforms and applications are merely tools and means to an end. The critical shortage is in producing engaging content that is either created (block by block) or meaningfully curated (by a trusted tastemaker). I honestly feel libraries in Singapore have done a lot in this space and it is time for museums and art galleries (notably mine) to up the ante. :)

  2. I'm looking forward to TNAGS doing just that, Walter!

  3. I've tried to teach a few classes on blogging, and found it quite frustrating. The key is people have to have something to say, personal or professional, and most don't. Today is my 7th blogiversary. I have 12 blogs. Finding something to write is like writing home to mom and dad--the more you do it, the more you have to say.

  4. Hi Norma, good point! I think the key is about writing as if you've something personal to say. That's one way to sustain it. Oh, nowadays I end my blogging/ wiki workshops by showing participants a picture of a bicycle. Then tell them that the workshop is like showing them how to ride a bicycle. But ultimately, they decide where they wanna go to.


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