Thursday, January 29, 2009

Can you argue with Wikipedia?

This post's title is a question that came from an online article about Jessica Alba. For the full story, read this link. Alba apparently defended herself when O'Rielly called her "dumb" for saying that Sweden was a neutral country during World War II. So Wikipedia says, according to Alba, Sweden along with Switzerland did not side with axis nor allied. Thus, the press gave it to Alba for knowing her history.

But the question piqued my interest to dig further into what Wikipedia claims as Sweden's neutrality. In another website, Sweden was indeed neutral only because it did not ally itself directly with Germany.

Sweden was never attacked by Germany. This was probably due to the fact that Germany did not have to. Germany was dependent upon Swedish metal ore from the mines in northern Sweden. Throughout the entire war, the Germans had no trouble in getting this metal ore. Sweden also exported ball bearings to the Germans, vital for their production of tanks and aeroplanes. German troops were transported to Norway and Finland on the Swedish railroad system during the war.

Reading between the lines, Sweden had to take a politically motivated action to save its government and its people from the losses and brutalities of war. There are online articles , however, that question this neutrality of some European countries during that dark age. It is an interesting topic indeed, and one that could prompt students and teachers of world history into further debate.

Going back to Alba and the article, Wikipedia may provide basic information and one that proves to be useful too. A critical reading and evaluation on what lies beneath the information it gives the reader is necessary. This holds true to print resources as well. To comprehend, one has to read the lines, between the lines and beyond it either in print or in online sources.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Wicked Wiki

The rise of Wikis in the early 2000s signaled a poignant change in the way information is created in the web. It promotes collaboration, openness and egalitarianism. Thus, freedom of speech and expression has never been this good. The growth of liberal thinking and scholarly approach to the creation and communication of information online was at a rapid speed. It seems that Wiki, Hawaiian word for fast, is living up to its name.

Read a typical research paper or report done by a grade seven student and you'll find Wikipedia in the list of references. How the information in the Wiki was used and if it was critically evaluated before using it on the report is another matter though. The popularization of Wikis, made with all the good intentions, could have draw backs and disadvantages for the young learner. Reading print encyclopedias is one thing and using Wikis is another. Now that's a digression.

The point is, Wikis serve their purpose and for good reasons too. Allow me to name two examples of locally made Wikis that has substantial content and designed well enough for easy navigation.

One is the PAARL Wiki where current and relevant research on librarianship could be found. A good number of professional articles, PowerPoint presentations and studies by scholars of the discipline from abroad are linked there, but a majority of Filipino Librarians' works are featured too. Its list of essays and scholarly papers is comprehensive. It nearly covered everything under Library and Information Science. So who ever said that Filipino librarians are lesser writers should visit the site and reckon on this. What's more, it has a directory of its member institutions, seminars, fora, awardees and news about Philippine librarianship in general. Blogs by librarians, local and international ones, are an added treat. True to its adaptation of the Wiki spirit, its developers and writers are professional and licensed Filipino librarians who are not paid for the articles they write for the Wiki nor for the time they devout in developing it.

Call it an advocacy. Call it a mission. In my book, I call it passion. Passion for the profession and the growth of Philippine librarianship.

And then there's WikiPilipinas by Vibal Publishing House. I only have two words for this wiki -- impressively ambitious. It tries its best to cover as much topics on Filipiniana, Filipinos and the Philippines. Not bad for a start since there is a dearth of printed Filipiniana materials in the market. I'm speaking from the school library context. Perhaps WikiPilipinas could fill this need. Maybe not entirely. It's worth going back to the site to extensively explore its contents.

In the age of bytes and wikis, content is still king.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


I'm counting the many social networking sites I subscribe to -- Friendster; Hi5; Multiply and of course, Facebook. Apart from these, I'm also in Flicker, Slideshare, You Tube and Photo Bucket. I have more than two email accounts and I keep a slew of mailing lists and e-groups of varying interests. This goes to show that a sliver of my life has been allotted to Internet technology and the many perks it offers.

And it seems that I have not exhausted all it's treasures, and, trash as well.

Just recently, I discovered Scribd when a faculty asked for Hemingway's The Old Man and The Sea. It's a book read in high school so, we could not offer the print version. To go the extra mile, a library staff checked the database of the high school library. I checked Google. Google gave me the e-book version through Scribd.

One needed to sign in for free to view, read, print, upload and download documents. In my initial walk through of the home page, it appears that a wealth of information is right there for the picking. Original works from poems to essays, plays to novels are also available. The website provides a list of topics and subjects linked to documents in pdf. and ppt.

I'm still new to Scribd so there's a lot to explore. Check the link and do your own exploring!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Hermie Salazar, Filipino Librarian

This is my friend Hermie Salazar.

She is currently the University Librarian of the University of North Eastern Philippines. I met her in 2004 and we were together during the IFLA-UNESCO sponsored workshop in Bangkok, Thailand on Information Literacy (IL). At that time, IL was the new buzz word particularly in school librarianship. We presented scholarly papers and country reports together with other librarians of the Southeast Asian region. Needles to say, we had a blast and promised to keep in touch. We did. Over the years, we'd meet and exchange news, going ons in the profession and share a sliver of our personal lives with each other.

Just recently, Hermie whipped up a Storytelling Workshop which I conducted for her learning community in UNEP. The visit was enough for us to finish the whole gig and business of the workshop. Fortunately, a little time was left for some catching up.

I've always wondered why she chose to work in Iriga, of all places, when work for a librarian of her caliber abound in the city. So she claimed that she is out there on a mission. Now that is one thing I've learned from Hermie. Maybe it's about time for me to revise and revisit my views, dreams and purpose on this career. Perhaps, it's about time for me to see beyond the profession.

Advocacy is good. But living out a mission is another.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Quest

For ordinary folks moving about in the Araneta Center at lunch this afternoon, it seemed like any ordinary Saturday. Without them knowing, three Filipino Librarians met after three years of being drawn asunder. For the untrained and the uninitiated, it would be difficult to see the sparks of light that these Filipino Librarians emit. These three have been blessed by the book spirits to go forth into the world and fulfill a mission. They each carry a talisman to light their way into the dark and bloody world populated by the evils of ignorance and prejudice.

Ok. I'll stop there before you start thinking that I'm going nuts.

Von and Peachy are both in town for the holidays. Peachy will fly back to Australia with her family tomorrow while Von will have an extended stay in Manila to finish his dissertation. Toronto has to wait.

The lunch date was peppered with stories of life overseas, anecdotes of work and the "hazards" of the profession. News in Philippine librarianship was shared a plenty and jokes went around in abundance. We split at 2pm and in between good byes, wishes of good luck for endeavors to continue and pursue were exchanged.

We all have our own quests to finish, thinking about it. As for myself, all I could say is that I am standing at the crossroads at the moment, discerning what to choose.

Quest or quiet?

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Salanga Prize Winners 2009

The winners of the 2009 Salanga Prize are the following:

Grand Prize:
Raymund Garlitos (Ang Higante sa Loob ng Aming Bahay)

Honorable Mention:
Perry Mangilaya (Di Ko Man Kamukha sina Inay at Itay)
Victoria Bravo (Lola-Lola)


Thursday, January 1, 2009

Keeping Up With A Blogging Tradition

For the past two years, I have been posting the monthly first posts of the past year at the beginning of the new year. At least, not later than the third week of January. I'll be busy pretty soon in preparation for the New Year, so I'll be doing this blogging tradition earlier than the usual. Here's the list of the first posts in this blog by month.

January: New Year Greetings
So I started my blogging life of 2008 with some New Year's greetings I got from friends and family via SMS. It goes to show how texting has ruled and influenced our lives.

February: PAASCU @ San Felipe Neri Parochial School
My first PAASCU visit for 2008 was at San Felipe Neri Parochial School in Mandaluyong. The school principal, Mr. Henry Davalos, was with me as co-accreditor when we visited Divine Word College Legaspi early this month. Small world.

March: specta-KYu-lar
Kenneth Yu was my first blog post in March. Kenneth Yu is a writer, editor and publisher. He is also a true blue Xavier alum. Patronize your own, so they say.

April: The 4th Philippine Blogging Summit
I missed the event last year. My summer had been very busy indeed!

May: GS LRC Purposing
2008 was a challenging year for me as a library manager and administrator. At the onset of the school year, my mantra has been this, "What could not kill me, will make me strong!"

June: Sa Muling Paglipad Ng ibong Mandaragit
Ang unang post ko gamit ang Inang Wika. Syempre, nakisawsaw ako sa isyu. Blogger, e!

July: Another Launch
Looking back, there were plenty of book launching events and invites in 2008. They say the economy was bad and that it's getting worse. But, it does not stop the nation from reading, writing and publishing.

August: Licensed Librarians in Philippine School Libraries
This is a two-for-one post, actually. I wrote about licensed librarians in public school libraries and the PAASCU Convention I attended in late July. 2008 is my PAASCU year, so it seems.

September: MIBF 2008: Words Without Borders
What an eventful September! I got to meet old friends and made new ones at the Manila International Book Fair this year. September is also Salaysayan month so visit my archives to relive some storytelling memories.

October; 2nd Best Filipino Blog of The Week
What can I say but thanks for those who truly voted for my blog. And this I say with pride -- I did not tweak nor tinker with technology to land 2nd best!

November: National Book Awards 2008 for Children's Story
For Anonymous, who asked who won the NBA of 2008 for Children's Story --
The Boy Who Touched Heaven By Iris Gem Lee; Illustrated by Serge Bumatay III and Published by Adarna House & CANVAS

December: Back To Bicolandia
My back to back trip to Bicol was the highlight of the month. The workshop in UNEP was a successful one. While the PAASCU visit at Divine Word College Legaspi is the most unforgettable yet. Seeing Mt. Mayon in all its glory was the perk.

All in all, this blog only had 85 post for 2008 compared to 113 from 2007. Going over the months is like reviewing how my blogging life, professional life and personal life has been the past year. I go back once more to the first blog post I did in January 2008. I smile to myself because somewhere out there are people whose arms have grown too short to scratch their fleas infested back.
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