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Member: martinhalbert

CollectionsYour library (933)


TagsFree Culture (1), Digital Libraries (1), Music Industry (1), Social Change (1) — see all tags

MediaNot set (2), Book (930), Paper Book (925), Ebook (5), Other (1), Map (1)

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About meMain interests:
Leadership and Social Change We are in the midst of a particularly turbulent period of change in social structures and styles of leadership. I find myself frequently reflecting on the ways that these changes are manifesting, in the form of our new president, moments of prominent shifts in perspective, and different kinds of organizations that are becoming the most effective agents of change through social mobilization. I am a particular admirer of Barack Obama's book The Audacity of Hope, which is one of the clearest and most honest examinations of American politics today that I have ever read. Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point is a beautifully concise summary of research about different types of individuals that mobilize change in society, and how they do it. And crowdsourcing may be one of the best hopes for public sphere collective mobilization that we have ever seen. Finally, I think the best speech ever given on ultimate social aims against tyranny is the famous Barber's Speech against fascism in the 1940 film "The Great Dictator.
Digital Libraries: This is one of my primary professional interests and responsibilities. I have research interests in automated metadata aggregation and organization, scholarly portal design, and digital curation. A strong example of a scholarly portal that I created through the application of digital curation principles is the Transatlantic Slave Trade Database. I am interested in both particular digital libraries that are exemplars of content development and various digital library technologies. The best, most well-rounded example of a digital library is Wikipedia, which has overturned almost everyone's notion of how to create and organize digital content. This website is itself an instance of the Mediawiki software. Another example of a great digital library is my friend Dr. Greg Crane's Perseus Digital Library, which is outstanding in terms of the quality of its scholarship and technology.
History of Media: The history of developments in media is the history of the mechanisms by which humans mediate their dealings with one another, how they think, and how they communicate. Some of the seminal thinkers that have influenced my own perspective on this topic include Walter Ong (whose research beginning with a study of Ramus led him to many insights about how media structures thinking), Harold Innis (who had sweeping insights into the effects of media on civilization), and Jean-Fran├žois Lyotard [who articulated the Postmodern Condition as a fundamental change in how we understand ourselves and mediate our relations through communications technology).
Science Fiction: I am a great aficionado of the SF genre, and have been influenced and inspired by SF all my life. Some of my favorite works are the Dune series by Frank Herbert, a tremendously rich body of work that explored interwoven themes of ecology, religion, and politics, and the Known Space Series by Larry Niven, a very compelling example of classic "hard science fiction". The VALIS Trilogy by Philip Dick is probably the most significant spiritual SF that I've read. Going back a little further in history, I personally consider Jules Verne and H.G. Wells the fathers of SF (aspersions cast on 20K Leagues Under the Sea are virtually all associated with the deliberately inaccurate British translations by Lewis Page Mercier of Verne's works that have persisted for so long). In film, I am a great fan of the Matrix Series by the Wachowski brothers, which is a beautifully layered exploration of the deepest and most pervasive themes in religion, philosophy, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence (and, obviously, these movies are a kick-ass kung-fu action series as well). I also confess to being a die-hard, lifelong Star Trek fan.
Space Exploration: The "Final Frontier" is simultaneously a real and metaphorical frontier. It poses interlinked questions of both technological advancement and social mobilization. Some triumphs in space exploration that I am intrigued by include the Cassini-Huygens Mission which was an amazing accomplishment in terms of peaceful international collaboration, the NEAR Asteroid Mission, the first and most fascinating example of systematic exploration of a minor planet, the Voyager Program, the most incredible saga of distance planetary exploration that any of us are likely to live through, and of course the Apollo Program, the greatest example of human exploration in history which literally touched the mythic side of humanity's psyche, the Moon.
Philosophy: My undergraduate major was philosophy and I am still fascinated by it. I studied under several faculty at Rice University that influenced me, including Konstantin Kolenda, Larry Temkin, and Mark Kulstad. I had the opportunity to take a course from Derek Parfit which was extremely thought-provoking and which I have been mulling over ever since. Some of my favorite philosophers were Josiah Royce and Friedrich Nietzsche, although I can find something interesting in almost any philosopher's work.

About my libraryReflects my main interests.


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Member sinceSep 17, 2017

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