Letters from LAVA and me

A few weeks back I reported on a workshop ‘Ontwerp je eigen lettertype met ontwerpbureau LAVA’ held at the Museum voor Communicatie in the Hague. I’ve been waiting impatiently since then to see the font ontwerpbureau Lava has made using the letters created during the workshop. The font is ready and can be downloaded from this page. The first thing I noticed – my ‘s’ is upside down! I suppose this is what they mean by ‘creative license’.

LAVA alphabet 1

Lava@muscom (33), originally uploaded by Museum voor Communicatie.

These are the stencils for the first half of the alphabet. Note my ‘C’ (egg shaped because of Easter)

LAVA alphabet 2

Lava@muscom (42), originally uploaded by Museum voor Communicatie.

Here’s the second part of the new font, The letters have been spaypainted onto the canvas through the stencils. Here you can see the ‘S’ the right way up!

His illegal self / Peter Carey

Peter Carey is one of my all time favorite authors and this is his new book. Peter Carey writes in a way that is surprising and convincing at the same time. He lets you see events through the eyes of his characters, and his characters through the eyes of other characters. He can take you back in time and from one continent to another, switch you from a sheltered life to one of of a fugitive. I couldn’t put this book down. Now I finished it I’m thinking of reading it again to see what I missed the first time.

Wiki voor Informatievaardigheden

Followers of the SPOETNIK program at the University Library of the Universiteit van Amsterdam are using a wiki to build a guide for new staff members. They are pooling their experiences to create an information resource for new and future users. They are also learning how to use a web tool (a wiki) by doing what they do best, providing information about information resources.

The LOOWI (Landelijk Overleg Onderwijs Wetenschappelijke Informatie) started using a wiki to exchange information about the information literacy activities of the participating libraries about a year ago. This not only eased the task of the note taker at the LOOWI meeting, it also made it easier for the participants to share their news and keep the information on their activities up to date. It’s a great time saver too during the meeting, leaving more time for questions about each others activities. The wiki, LOOWI-OUI, complements the LOOWI website which is a showcase for information literacy resources developed by libraries in the Netherlands and overseas. A wiki is a collaborative tool that fits perfectly with the aims of the LOOWI to work together to build and share resources.

Wiki’s waarheid

I’ve just finished watching the documentary, Wiki’s waarheid. This episode of Tegenlicht was devoted to Wikipedia (for a description of the program in Dutch please see the link in my previous post). The makers of the program showed us film of internet gurus talking about Web 2.0 and ‘Wikipedians’ including the founder, Jimmy Wales talking about how Wikipedia came about. Wiki’s waarheid presents Wikipedia as an example of a Web 2.0 application that is both enormously popular and heavily criticised. I need to elaborate on why I chose these last two describing phrases. ‘Enormously popular’ describes the huge number of readers and contributors from all walks of life around the world. ‘Heavily criticised’ describes the manner in which a few media experts including Andrew Keen, writer of the book: The cult of the amateur, and Robert McHenry, formally editor in chief of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, talk about the rule of the masses (Andrew keen) and lack of authority and publishers responsibility (Rober McHenry) in Wikipedia. Andrew Keen sees Wikipedia as a threat to established knowledge vetted by professional experts. His catchphrase was that Wikipedia was about ‘truthiness’ and not about truth. Personally I found the arguments used by Andrew Keen extremely muddy. He doesn’t like the personalization of the web brought about by ‘unqualified’ individuals expressing themselves, but if one isn’t ‘qualified’ to express one’s own self who is?. Andrew Keen seemed to have a very territorial attitude to knowledge, an ‘us and them’ thing. A ‘we, the experts have to protect the truth’, sort of thing. The worries that Robert McHenry had were those of an editor used to thoroughly researching and correcting information before publication. Ndesanjo Macha, an African digital activist sees Wikipedia as a tool for sharing knowledge and giving a voice to people who have traditional wisdom but no western style education.

And what do I think? Well, I have the advantage of a library school education, and one of the first things I learned about encyclopedias was that if you looked up 1 fact in three different encyclopedias you’d get 3 different answers. This is normal because knowledge isn’t static. If you want to try this for yourself, look up the length of the Amazon river. The lesson here is, you should never limit yourself to one source, however popular.


Wiki’s Waarheid 7 april, 2008 NED2 21:00 uur
In Tegenlicht (VPRO) leggen ‘Wikipedians’ uit hoe Wikipedia werkt. Voor- en tegenstanders komen aan het woord. Herhaling dinsdag 8 april 15:05 uur.