12/6/21

End of Semester SLIS Dance Party

It’s been a year, hasn’t it? Amidst everything going on we returned to in-person teaching at Simmons SLIS and the fall semester is almost concluded. An advisee of mine who is part of the leadership of LISSA (Library & Information Science Student Association), our student organization here at SLIS, asked me if I would be a part of their end of semester celebration by creating a 30 minute playlist for a virtual event they dubbed the “Serotonin Swing” Virtual Dance Party. Here’s what I came up with, the Spotify playlist is embedded below and I’ve got some more context and commentary after the embedded player. Consider this my personal liner notes for this playlist!

  1. “Dancing in the Street” – Martha Reeves & The Vandellas. This was the first song that came to mind when thinking about this playlist. It’s such a joyful celebration of self-expression, as well as a sort of anthem for the Civil Rights era (more about that here).
  2. “Pelota” – Khruangbin. I’ve been listening to this band so much during the past few years, and really loved their most recent album Mordechai which came out in June 2020. This particular song is catchy and danceable, with irreverent Spanish lyrics about the singer being a ball and going on various adventures. There’s also a music video which is pretty great.
  3. “Wrapped up in Books” – Belle & Sebastian. The chorus of song, from the 2003 album Dear Catastrophe Waitress, says “Our aspirations are wrapped up in books.” Is there any more appropriate sentiment for library school students? I think not. The music video looks like it takes place in a bookstore instead of a library, for what it’s worth.
  4. “Move on Up” – Curtis Mayfield. A classic funk/soul anthem from Curtis Mayfield, which you may recognize due to its sampled use in a latter day hit. The lyrics are about striving and working towards a brighter future, which is an inspirational message at the end of a long semester. For a different take on this song, here’s a live version from Curtis himself back in 1987.
  5. “Robot Rock” – Daft Punk. This song provides the perfect soundtrack to an interplanetary dance party. It’s the first single from Daft Punk’s 2005 album Human After All and a longtime favorite.
  6. “Hypotheticals” – Lake Street Dive. I suppose that one song released this year should be on this playlist. This is from LSD’s 2021 album Obviously and I think it’s a super catchy, fun, well constructed song. Bonus points for the fact that this band was formed at the New England Conservatory of Music, right down the road from the Simmons campus!
  7. “A Minha Menina” – Os Mutantes. This song is built on a memorable guitar lick and has an addicting groove infusing it with dance. Os Mutantes means “The Mutants” in Portuguese; this band is influential in 60’s Brazilian rock and has been compared to The Beatles. Can you hear the similarity in their sound?
  8. “Waterloo” – ABBA. I want to start by saying that this is my favorite ABBA song. I absolutely love that it’s about a pivotal historical battle and also a pop song about love. When I was a rebellious teenager who thought I was too cool for this type of song, my parents explained to me that ABBA was the international language of music. I eventually got over myself and now have a major soft spot them, this song in particular. Check out this 1974 clip of them performing the song as part of Eurovision, it’s a legendary performance.
  9. “I’m Amazed”- My Morning Jacket. This song, from the 2008 album Evil Urges, is a triumphant declaration of an approach to the world (with all its clearly visible flaws) from the perspective of wonder. It’s a relevant lens for graduate school, and life in general! Here is an alternate version of the song, from the David Letterman show back from 2010. I’ve been a fan of this band for years and have been fortunate to see them in concert a handful of times. Bonus fact: this album has a track called “Librarian” on it which was considered for this playlist but ultimately rejected because it was too slow for dancing, and because the lyrics are NSFW. Go look for it yourself if you’re interested in listening to more from this band 🙂

Let me know what you think about these songs! What did I leave out, what are your favorite songs about libraries, archives, museums, and/or organizing information? Thanks again to LISSA for inviting me to be a part of their end of term festivities, this was a fun task and I was honored to be asked.

04/25/13

Adventures on Wikipedia

Everyone procrastinates. One of my favorite ways to waste time while not feeling too bad about myself is to edit Wikipedia. The first edit I made on the site was back in 2006, and I’ve been known to dabble a bit with writing my own articles, cleaning up dead links, and reuniting orphan pages with the rest of the wiki. This is my user page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Adamkriesberg.

A few of the articles I have written were biographical articles about musicians I listen to. My rule of thumb is that if I’ve heard of someone, they must meet the notability threshold for inclusion on Wikipedia (very scientific, I know), which brings me to the real subject of this post. Like all good internet citizens, I watch videos on YouTube. Some of these videos are of artists performing original material and gaining impressive amounts of views. One musician in particular who goes by Danielle Ate the Sandwich is a personal favorite of mine. She is a singer-songwriter who plays ukulele and guitar, and has been posting videos for a few years. I’ve been following her on YouTube for long enough to know that she has gotten popular enough to tour smaller folk venues and make a living off of music full time. A few days ago, I googled her name so I could find her website to check her upcoming tour dates: I thought she was coming to a town near me. However, instead of clicking her personal site, I decided to check out her Wikipedia page, the second or third link on the results page.

Danielle Ate the Sandwich's Wikipedia Page

Danielle Ate the Sandwich’s Wikipedia Page, current version

Much to my surprise, Danielle Ate the Sandwich’s Wikipedia page was a mess. No references, no internal links to other articles, and to make matters worse it had been nominated for deletion! I had only a few days to act so I could save this page and ensure its continued existence on the web. I worked to add internal links, referenced the unsourced statements in the article, cleaned up the formatting, and added an infobox with a picture (Creative Commons licensed from Flickr, of course). As I moved to delete the proposal for deletion, I wondered about the user who nominated this article for deletion and clicked the username. As it turned out, this user was one of the most active editors on the wiki and had authored an insane amount of articles. With the article much improved, I don’t think he’ll be back to propose deletion again. More likely, he’s reading through other articles in need of serious work and thinking about what really belongs on the world’s largest open encyclopedia.

This interaction sums up many things I love about the internet. First, the fact that I even ended up on this article speaks to my experience discovering music online. Second, my ability to edit Wikipedia reflects my commitment and fascination with the site, and a desire to make it as accurate and useful as possible for the next person to come along and wonder how they can listen to this woman’s songs. Third, I am routinely reminded of how many dedicated folks are out across the internet every day, working on these same goals. They inspire me.

Either that, or I was looking to procrastinate and felt like spending some time making sure this article didn’t disappear from Wikipedia.