An unexpected award


On a Fourth of July weekend a few years ago I did something I'm sure hundreds of other nerds are doing tonight. I built a stupid web site.

I didn't expect anything to come of it. And, in some ways, not much did.

But it brought on one of the great pleasures in my life over past few years: An unexpected welcome from digital librarians across the country who are struggling to change their profession to meet the challenges of our newly wired world.

What I learned is that librarians have a lot in common with my tribe, the nerds in the newsroom fighting a similar battle.

I learned we're natural allies trying to build a more literate, more intelligent Internet that has a chance to outlive us.

And I learned that, like journalists, librarians enjoy giving each other awards.

Linked here is one I received today from the Library of Congress that I don't deserve. But I'd like to use it as an opportunity to call on anyone who has bothered to read this far to do more to ensure the digital work they do is preserved.

Our legacy is in jeopardy and unless we improve how we publish information online most of what you're reading and writing today will be lost in a matter of years. Don't believe me? Read this.

If you work at a news outlet that uses Wordpress let me know today.

I've hooked up with a crew of library people way smarter than me. We're pushing now on an open-source effort to build tools that we hope will be a showcase for how news sites can be both self-preserving and archive ready.

And we want you to be our guinea pig.