NYC Collective November 2006 Meeting Minutes

Radical Reference NYC Collective meeting 11/17/2006

present: Julie, Jenna, Tracy, Melissa, Gretchen, John (recording secretary pro tem)

  • Item I: NCOR in DC, late March (?) – National Conference on Organized Resistance – last year RR did workshops on factchecking and FOIA and using the public library for activist research. It was agreed that it would be good to be involved again. Eric and Jenna may do a presentation on open source tools for websites, based on RR’s experience. Another idea would be a "reverse factchecking" presentation – how to establish credibility in a zine/website/newsletter. Carrie from DC has discussed this with Jenna; others are more than welcome to get involved.

  • Item II: Park Slope Food Co-op as a venue for RR presentations – Co-op member Melissa discussed the feasibility/potential draw for this with the responsible party there. "Internet for activists" was mentioned as a topic that would be of interest. The co-op needs two months or more lead time for booking; they would do a flyer to promote the presentation. There is no Internet/wireless access subscribed to by the co-op, so we should plan on using slides – though it seems likely that there might be some signal up for grabs in the area.
  • Item III: Anarchist Book Fair/NYC – RRers Jenna, Melissa and Gretchen have been attending meetings. A date/venue is close to getting set – possibly April 14 at Judson Church, or possibly another Sat. in April at St. Marks on the Bowery and/or Theater for the New City. Ideally rooms are needed for exhibition space, presentations and child care – none of the above mentioned spaces are ideal. We discussed RR’s role in support: doing outreach to vendors and/or presenters. There is a sense that some of the people behind this event are coming from a more "theoretical" perspective than groups RR has worked with in the past. The possibility of doing a more research-based presentation to suit that perspective was raised – perhaps alternative resources in social academics, or an overview of gov doc resources. The latter idea, using the government’s publications/resources for anarchist purposes, seemed to strike most of us positively. If the amount of time or number of sessions we can do is limited more activist-oriented presentations we have done in the past such as legal resources, FOIA and factchecking should not be shortchanged. Also on the praxis side were suggestions for presentations on social networking tools such as RSS and, and/or "managing information" for the Grassroots Media Conference. Using "scenarios" to set up how to use information.
  • Item IV: AskMetaFilter model as replacement for Lightning Bug – consensus seems strong that LB is far from ideal for our purposes. Ask MetaFilter is a collaborative website which is a forum for questions; the software underlying it could be adapted for RR. Jessamyn West has a piece on MetaFilter in the Oct. 15, 2006 Library Journal (131 no17 p.88: "MetaFilter: Going Your Way"). The MetaFilter model, as noted in Jessamyn’s article, uses a moderator. Perhaps RR could have a few committed people who could serve as moderators one day a week each (for example). Hopefully either through this or another means we can lead to greater involvement and collaboration.
  • Item V: US Social Forum – to be held July 27-August 1, 2007 in Atlanta. It would seem like a good idea to have a librarian presence there, perhaps in collaboration with other progressive librarian groups such as PLG, SRRT, etc. Also, the NY radical tech group (?) could use help with website content.
  • Item VI: ALA Midwinter: no one in attendance was planning on going, so there wasn’t much to discuss.
  • Item VII: Website content – Green Scare page. In response to criticisms from some of those involved, the list of names of those arrested now notes who are cooperating with the prosecution. We discussed the need to support activists while at the same time providing accurate information. It was decided that a more detailed explanation of what "cooperating" means would serve both ends.
  • Item VIII: UMich Drupal projects – Students in the tech program at University of Michigan will be acting a consultants for some projects using Drupal (such as we use on the RR site). RR has responded with our willingness to be involved in this program, but have yet to hear back.
  • The meeting then changed gears and we had our salon discussion on race and privilege, and our responsibilities (both as activists and as library workers) to anti-racist work. There was even a handout.

    Minutes submitted by John, posted and edited ever so slightly by Jenna.