Monday, October 29, 2007

Internet Librarian

I'm on the road again, attending the Internet Librarian conference in Monterey, CA. I'm speaking tomorrow with a panel of other librarians working in Second Life, but today I get to be part tourist, part conference attendee.

After a long, long day of traveling yesterday (it's not a good sign when you arrive at the airport in a tow truck!), I took a quick walk down to Fisherman's Wharf this morning to watch a group of seals cavorting in the bay. At that time, it was sunny and quite pleasant, but by the time the sessions let out for lunch, it had become cloudy and cool.

The most interesting session so far was the keynote address from Lee Raine, Director of the Pew Internet & American Life Project. This project has been studying how Americans of all ages use and interact with the Internet. One of their most recent projects, and one that Raine discussed, is the Typology of Information and Communication Technology Users. Types range from the Omnivores, who have all the latest gadgets and are highly engaged with creating content to the Off the Network people who neither have nor want information technologies. You can take a brief online quiz to find out your own type.

I've taken the quiz a couple of times, and my results seem to vary with my mood. For example, today, when I'm away from home and dealing with car problems by long distance, I appreciate the connectivity my laptop and cell phone give me. When I took the quiz just now, I showed up as an Omnivore.

The type I identify with, however, when I read the descriptions is the Lackluster Veteran. These folks use information technologies a great deal, but they aren't thrilled with the idea of being connected to everyone all the time. Even though I have high-speed internet at home, there are days when I deliberately don't bring the laptop home so I can just ignore the rest of the world, read a good book, and spend some quality time with the cats and the dog. Given the cost of the car repair I'll have to pay for when I get home, I may be doing a lot more of that in the future!

I'm sending some photos to Jason Cooper to post on the Flickr site, so watch there for sightings of marine animals, crazy librarians, or interesting scenery.

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