/usr/lib/info -- hacker/librarian haven
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What is /usr/lib/info?

A concerted effort to infuse librarians with the hacker spirit. A wish that the librarian spirit wafts back over to hackers. A hope that someday it will no longer be necessary to distinguish between the two.

More to the point, /usr/lib/info is a collective weblog, used by a motley cabal of hacker/librarians who like chatting about how they go about solving the many problems facing them from day to day, and long-term.

/usr/lib/info is marginally different from the many other excellent weblogs out there because it is something more like a journal: we have editorial guidelines, and we encourage original contributions to /usr/lib/info which meet those guidelines. We've also posted a masthead. These differences don't make us any better than related sites, just marginally different. Truth is, we read all those other sites pretty darned religiously, and are pretty darned excited that such a diversity of individuals have chosen to share their views of the world with us, and are kinda hoping /usr/lib/info will compliment those efforts and encourage even more folks to speak up.


A librarian's gotta dream. And face it... Borges never had scoop!

There are deeply similar themes and memes in hacking and librarianship, and technology continues to blur the distinctions between our professions' objectives. There are many things hackers can teach librarians, and many things librarians can teach hackers, but we don't often end up in the same room. Of course, this is also true of myriad other professional pairings, but we're hacker/librarians, so that's what we care about.

We could also say that the future of librarianship depends on the profession's developing a greater wealth of technological ability. But that would be presumptuous... so we'll just say instead that it sure would help.

What's in scope?

Anything having to do with computing systems in libraries, particularly new software or standards developments, and anything that generally pushes folks who care about libraries toward becoming better hackers, and reviews or opinions thereof, and pointers to any of these. And, conversely, any of those same things in the world of computing systems toward which librarianly skills or insights might apply, particularly dealing with information organization or description (aka "metadata", which librarians like to call "cataloging"). There's also a diaries section to keep tabs on each other's daily hacking activities.

There are so many folks working on library-like systems in so many kinds of environments all over the world, some in big library departments, some as a sole voluntary employee, some in collective hacking efforts, etc., that we want /usr/lib/info to feel like one big virtual watercooler for all of us.

Who runs this thing?

You do! /usr/lib/info is a scoop site; scoop sites are unlike many other weblogs in that the community of readers shares editing responsibilities. So what the community -- this includes you, too -- wants to see here will be what the site grows into. The original scoop site is kuro5hin, which is highly recommended. We'd like /usr/lib/info to become something similar for hacker/librarians.

Wait a second... this sounds like some kind of leftist anarchist plot.

Not at all. All individuals and all politics are welcome! We are, however, participatory and egalitarian, so everybody's voice counts equally. We encourage dissent and debate, but keep it civil. If you violate these basics, you are no longer welcome. Otherwise, rant on!

Cool! How can I get involved?

Create an account here. You don't have to use your real name if you don't want to... some of us do, some don't. Once your account is set up, log in and follow the link to Moderate Submissions in your box (the box with your username at top) at the right. Stories get posted here only if and when enough users say they should. That means you get to help! You can also participate by posting comments, or if you have something to say or tell us about, post it in the appropriate section using the submit story link.

Please review the editorial guide to learn more about how sections are organized.

How can I become a librarian?

Check out becomealibrarian.org. It's not perfect, but it's a good start. More link suggestions are very welcome.

How can I become a hacker?

Check out How to Become a Hacker. It's not perfect either, but it's a good start also. More link suggestions are very welcome. Can I syndicate your headlines using RSS?

Sure. Use usrlib.info/rss/backend.rdf.

Wait another second... my machine doesn't have a /usr/lib/info!!!

This problem left unsolved as an exercise for the reader.

When will your plan for world domination be complete?

When the net works like one big library. That's One Big Library, not one big rights management system.

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