LISNews Netcast Network

Pondering Maple Leaf Circumstances

Let's talk about the editorial process in creating the podcast. This often may seem mysterious. Sometimes it may seem quite simple to where even a five year-old could manage it. In this brief note I turn my attention to a strange case.

The podcast is released on a weekly schedule. Occasionally we interrupt that schedule for special releases but those are fairly infrequent. When the podcast goes up at 0500 UTC Monday, I am already having to plan out the next episode. Trying to stick to "current awareness" means we cannot normally stack up interviews weeks in advance. The podcast resembles an indy weekly newspaper in terms of operating method.

There are times when stories blow up. We end up watching those. Sometimes those matters are like firecrackers where they shine brightly initially but burn out fairly quickly. Sometimes those matters endure. For the first case, we try to look for a librarianship angle that was not explored in mainstream reporting. For the second, we try to arrange an interview.

This week started with my preparing to work the phones. Depending upon the situation, this can be quite normal. Interviews do not get arranged by themselves. With the crisis in the Parliament of Canada and the agitation for a coalition uniting the left to take power, there would conceivably be some sort of impact on Canadian libraries through a change at the Ministry of Canadian Heritage. As the Queen's viceroy in Canada, Governor General Michaëlle Jean, was out of the country it seemed as if escalation would just continue.

One of the bones of contention in the crisis was the lack of an immediate economic stimulus package by the Harper ministry. Considering the integration of the economies of the United States and Canada, it is understandable that the Harper ministry did not put such forward. Since the first rebate checks were issued early in 2008, the economic stimulus measures put forward in the dying days of the Bush administration have had little effect. With the Canadian budget originally proposed to be put before Parliament after the inauguration of Barack Obama as President, a conscious decision seems to have been made to wait and see.

With the return of Governor General Michaëlle Jean to Canada, Prime Minister Stephen Harper had an audience. A prorogation was secured which concluded the current parliamentary session and otherwise stopped the transaction of parliamentary business. According to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the second session of this current Parliament will kick off on January 24, 2009. Until at least then, James Moore will remain Minister of Canadian Heritage. The need to immediately seek comment from all the political parties concerned is lessened.

Daily program releases rarely give time to assess what is happening. Weekly program releases require care to ensure that programs are still current and responsive. With some of the strange occurrences at this most stressful time of the year, being able to commission stringers abroad can make these sorts of cases easier to handle and have reports on even as events change rapidly. Until such commissioning is possible, things remain tricky.

Creative Commons License
Pondering Maple Leaf Circumstances by Stephen Michael Kellat is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at

LISTen Plan for 2009

With the collapse of Pownce through acquisition of its assets by SixApart, it is fairly reasonable to ask what is looming of a new media outlet. There are some areas through which the podcast operation wishes to expand in 2009. While these may sound like huge leaps, they are instead fairly timid when assessed against the broader realm of new media outside librarianship.

First and foremost, I want to expand coverage. Only a very brief glance at the world can happen from my perch in Las Vegas. In a time when technology means so much to so many, having boots on the ground can sometimes be far more effective. A goal in 2009 is to commission freelance works from English-speaking nations other than the United States so as to promote the sharing of perspectives.

Secondly, I want to expand reach. Not that many years ago there was a notion of a “digital divide”. In terms of podcasting, there still is perhaps not enough market penetration to call it a mass medium. For around a thousand dollars time can be brokered on a shortwave radio station to provide further access to program content for an entire year. With decent shortwave radios these days running between USD$50 to USD$100, this would be an option with far less overhead than that incurred in downloading a podcast. This goal in 2009 would be to secure access to a weekly time slot on a suitable shortwave broadcast station to ensure that both sides of the digital divide are potentially served.

While these goals are interesting in and of themselves, there is one aspect missing. That missing link is funding. One of the biggest costs in a media outfit is manpower hours. To produce some of the content heard lately requires full-time work. Navigating the realm of public relations officers is not something that moves quickly and can sometimes involve days of work.

While there are things like Google News already out there, that only serves to point at stories already told. Technology has not gotten to the point where we can completely separate human involvement from storytelling. North of Las Vegas one finds Creech Air Force Base where the operators of the Predator drones work every day. While the drones are great for demolishing targets, they aren't so great for talking to people in investigation. If they were, the United States would not have a need for agencies like the CIA and others.

This is not a request for dollars. No, that was sent out to fifty very particular prospects. No, that letter with enclosed budget figures was not over my signature but someone else's. All this post happens to be is my taking a moment to communicate.

Communication is a key thing that under-girds librarianship. Interlibrary loan could not operate without it. During a media realignment such as what we currently experience and considering the role of planetary economic woes as an accelerant, now is a fabulous time to build up something while cultivating as strong a base as possible. If that means we have to schedule a LISTen meet-up in Las Vegas, then that can definitely be considered and potentially forged into a plan for a cooler part of 2009.

While Mahalo CEO Jason Calacanis said on Twitter that the challenge in 2009 was to survive, I want to strive to do more than just survive.

Creative Commons License
LISTen Plan for 2009 by Stephen Michael Kellat is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at

LISTen: The Podcast -- Episode #50

In this week's episode we hear from Rob Lopresti not only about music but also about stolen books at Western Washington University. An analysis of a perhaps overlooked part of media coverage of the Mumbai incident is also presented.

As for the list mentioned by Mr. Lopresti in the interview, the address to write to is:

Rob Lopresti
Wilson Library
Western Washington University
Bellingham, WA 98225-9103
United States of America

A self-addressed envelope with USD$0.59 postage is requested from libraries located within the United States. While listeners outside the United States are advised to check with their respective postal authorities, it appears that enclosing a single Universal Postal Union International Reply Coupon may be sufficient to cover postage costs.

Related links:
Alexander Wolfe's blog post at Information Week
Report by Murad Ahmed at the Times of London
Report on Twitter in Mumbai at the site of the Courier Mail
Bloomberg News reporting on response by the Indian government
Mindanao Examiner talking about the Mumbai attack
Forbes on the use of Twitter in Mumbai
A Twitter user calling for no panic creation
Global Voices looking at Twitter in Mumbai
Potential Christmas gift for art lovers
Potential Christmas gift for lovers of information policy
Potential Christmas gift for those seeking to archive podcasts

22:05 minutes (8 MB)

LISTen: The Podcast -- Episode #49

This week's episode of LISTen is in full form. Starting off the episode one finds a chat with Blake Carver about a recent conference he attended. The event was sponsored by OpenText and talked about its very own document management system.

Following the chat with Blake, the episode turns to talking to Felicia Day. Ms. Day writes and produces the online series known as The Guild. Due to the paucity of materials detailing how such online ventures happen, Ms. Day helps fix in the tangible form of the podcast a discussion of such. The interview was geared towards giving YA librarians and others answers for when people inquire about how programs like The Guild are created.

Following the chat with Ms. Day, a round-up of stories listeners might have missed at LISNews over the past week was given.

Recognizing that the Thanksgiving holiday weekend is only occurring in the United States this week, it might be reasonable for listeners to question if an episode will be released on December 1st. The production team realizes that a sizable amount of listeners are located outside the territorial boundaries of the United States. Barring unforeseen complications, LISTen #50 is indeed slated to be released at 0500 UTC on December 1st (what is this in my local time?).

Related links:
Open Text Content World 2008
Book referenced by Felicia Day on writing
Official website of Felicia Day
Site of The Guild

27:12 minutes (8 MB)

Podcast-related stuff available

In case folks are not aware, there are some products available from the podcast team. Purchase of these products gives you something tangible while giving some us funding to cover costs like telecommunications.

This is the disc containing high-quality Ogg Vorbis format versions of the audio from BlogWorldExpo:

The price on the disc is USD$4.39 and does not include shipping. The podcast team only sees USD$0.99 as the overhead costs for media have increased slightly. The provider that you can order the disc through is a house that provides Linux distributions on-disc quite a bit. I've seen an example of their work when I bought a disc containing all the v3 installers and found it to be great.

There is a book the program's engineer produced in conjunction with an artist. The small book contains a variety of nudes. The book caters more to lovers of art and has been well received by art profs who have seen it. That is available at:

The list price for the print is $29.99 and that was set by the artist. If we got anything out of a sale, it would only be $5. The artist chose for the download price to be at a premium as he wants to encourage print materials over digital ephemera.

This is a printed collection of papers I have on file at E-LIS:

After the overhead costs of the item, we only get $3.98.

NPR has tote bags. PBS does auctions and fundraising drives. National Review Online is seeking money this week. While we don't have tote bags and the cost of fulfilling requests ourselves would be dwarfed by taxes, these are three ways we try to do much the same as bigger media outlets.

I'm not going to say anything like: "Buy These Now!" No, far from it. All I am going to say is that there are a variety of vendors that allow us to offer things and there hasn't been a consolidated list made up to date lately. These are some of things you might have missed, perhaps. -- Read More

Program Advisory

As a heads-up to listeners, it should be noted that LISTen #49 will be posted on a slight delay. The podcast rarely has to wait out an embargo. In this case we will do so.

LISTen #49 will have in it a special chat with actress and web entrepreneur Felicia Day. This is as announced verbally at the close of LISTen #48. You did listen to that shorter than usual episode, right?

As such, LISTen #49 will be posted at 0800 UTC on November 24th. You can find what that means in your own local time by visiting this link.

A special feature may post at the normal audio posting time. This remains tentative as some factors remain in play.

LISTen: The Podcast -- Episode #48

This week's episode is a brief one. After the run down of stories you might have missed, the program's engineer presents another installment of Tech for Techies. In the fourteenth installment of that segment, the engineer gives a brief overview of how to record audio at conferences and conventions. A lighter commentary is presented touching upon the need for authority control in today's increasingly interconnected world. The wrap-up contains a unique announcement.

There is no video planned for this week.

Related links:
DTV Transition Site
Presidential Transition Site
US Government Portal

11:17 minutes (8 MB)

New Vodcast

As promised, the video is posted. There is no audio counterpart to this one. No matter how hard you look, it was never posted as part of a podcast. The current vodcast has a devotional message:

LISTen: The Podcast -- Episode #47

Technical troubles didn't censor the podcast this week. This week's episode brings a chat with Blake, a chat with an artist about the business of art, and a commentary.

Although we have had video releases accompanying audio releases, such is delayed until a later day this week.

23:49 minutes (8 MB)

Happy 9th Birthday LISNews!!

LISNews started on this day in 1999. LISNews has been through 4 web servers, and 4 different content management systems. LISNews remains an interesting place to read and discuss issues thanks to all the many people who work to keep the site going.

Every year I do my best to thank everyone who works hard to make LISNews. People Like Stephen Michael Kellat who does the podcast. Everyone who has submitted stories over the years, Lee Hadden, Bob Cox, Charles Davis, Gary Price, Steven Fessenamiar.

All the LISNews authors who've come and gone like Steven M. Cohen, Rochelle Hartman, Ieleene and many others. The current authors like Birdie, Bibliofuture, Great Western Dragon and everyone else who posts stories I'd never find. More authors make this site better. More collaboration, more cooperation, and more involvement from more people can only help make LISNews stronger. They bring diversity, breadth, and depth. There must be a nice slogan there somewhere. -- Read More

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