Another assignment from my introductory class was a paper on a library issue of my choosing. At the beginning of my program I was just starting to hear about Creative Commons and used this assignment to understand this movement. This paper gives an overview of copyright law, public domain, and then described Creative Commons and what it hopes to accomplish. These topics speak directly to universal access to information because they are the gatekeepers to information in all formats. How these laws and licenses function directly affect who and how works can be used. These issues have become particularly important in the digital realm, as the format of digital works makes control a challenge. Creative Commons importance in the copyright discussion is great, due to the flexibility and control of works based on the users stated restrictions, without the confines of a heavy legal interference. This research became instrumental for me because my understanding of these issues became a firm foundation for other learning in many other classes, like collection management, crisis informatics, and academic libraries.
This artifact is from my crisis informatics class. This exercise was to create a resource that connects people to information regarding a selected crisis event. These resources had to relate “to an information and / or communication perspective of the crisis.” The crisis that I chose to study was the phenomenon named Colony Collapse Disorder. This crisis was and is a national concern as it potentially destabilizes our nation’s food supply. Briefly, late in the 19th century there was evidence of a steep decline in the commercial bee population. The declines were around 30-50% of populations. As a significant portion of our nation’s food depends on commercial pollination, this issue resulted in an increase in research and dialog on this topic in order to reverse this phenomenon.
What is important to note is that the commercial beekeeping industry is largely mobile. These beekeepers roam across the country as each agricultural zone comes to its flowering season, making research and communication about bee populations difficult. This resource intended to aggregate and communicate a number of resources connecting researchers, beekeepers, policy makers, environmentalists, and others to information that they would need to combat this crisis.
In class we studied and discussed the role that libraries play in crisis events. Librarians are in a unique position to serve in those times as we have the technical capability and access to resource that facilitates getting the right information to the right people, in a time dependent manner. We also should be involved in preventative measures for the same reasons. This exercise and this class showed me the expanding and necessary field of crisis informatics and the role that we are ethically obligated to play in important information communication scenarios.
The artifact selected is my version of the creation myth of Sedna. This artifact came from the class “Storytelling for adults and children.” I had a personal interest in storytelling because my interest in writing and editing outside of my education. I had expected to learn the craft and technique of telling stories, but from the beginning it was more than that. There is an ethical code to storytelling that involves the respect of the source and culture that it came from. We discussed at length why the class focused on using myths as source material rather than modern, authored works. Myths we are allowed to transform into our own works. We are allowed to take the collective versions of a myth and create something new from it. We are not allowed to do this with authored works. Authors crafted stories with a particular turn of phrase and intentional wording. To alter that or to remake that violates the authors’ work, especially for anything within copyright. And it is equally important that if we are working from myths and cultural histories that we retain the truths behind those histories. We are obligated as storytellers to understand the material and culture behind it so that we do not offend or misrepresent what the story tells.
This artifact is my version of the Inuit myth Sedna, goddess of the sea. It leans heavily on the version by Joel Rudinger as that was my first reading of it. I was immediately taken with his version, but for my assignment I needed it to be shorter. I consulted other texts at other libraries and online versions for variations. What I learned was that this story is a creation myth and certain key features were predominant: her hair, the betrayal from those close to her, and the creation of all sea creatures through her. Using these elements, I crafted my version. This particular assignment was pivotal for me in this class because it was the first time that I understood and engaged in story creation as it was intended. This could not have been done without the understanding of the cultural context and ethical considerations when creating this version.