Wednesday, May 23, 2012

My name is Joy, and I might be a Luddite

I have recently come to terms with the fact that I am a bit of a Luddite. And what, some of you may ask, exactly is a Luddite? According to the Oxford English Dictionary (that's the OED to its closest friends), a Luddite is "one who opposes the introduction of new technology, esp. into a place of work." A group of manufacturers were given this name after following one Captain Ludd in protests during the Industrial Revolution. They essentially tried to stop the march of progress by destroying the machines that were replacing them in the factories. Obviously, they weren't successful, but the name stuck. So that's something they accomplished.

It's not that I don't appreciate technology. Hey, I'm using a blog. I have a Facebook account. Email rocks. Twitter and LinkedIn may grow on me. We just bought a tablet (but I hate (!!) mobile apps. I want to see all of the options, not just the ones your choose for me). And the Internet, well, it's pretty cool.

The Internet: it's bigger on the inside (who's a Doctor Who fan out there?).

Love the IT Crowd.

Sorry. Back to the main topic.

It's just the rate that technology and gadgets are changing can be a bit mind numbing at times. Being in the information profession (that's fancy speak for librarianship), I think that I see so much more of the new technologies, and even what I see is only the tip of the ice burg. My position in the Tower does keep me a bit insulated from many new fangled notions since I'm just trying to pull us past the mid-1990's (I'm getting a new scanner!!). I just find myself thinking I wish I could just give it all up, plow an acre of land, make my own clothes, and coordinate an old fashioned book exchange for the other homesteaders nearby.

So what prompted this oh so very philosophical post? As I may have mentioned, I'm running for an office on the Board of SLA (that's Special Libraries Association). As part of the campaign process, we have to answer questions periodically to help the members get to know us. You can see my most recent post here. The question about techie gadgets just irked me a bit. I really had to tone down my snark. Again, it's not that I have anything wrong with techie gadgets, but they are certainly not the end all be all of helping people in a library or information resource or research setting (and I don't really think the question implied that, it's just where my mind went this evening).

Here was my work for the last two weeks: listening to recordings of carillon concerts (good, actually very enjoyable) combined with trying to get my computer to do something else so I could multitask (not so good) all the while trying to find carillon music appropriate to play during a 5K race (you can still participate). Today, I had 4 hours to actually burn the CD. Between the additional editing that needed to be done, the rare visitor that came to see me in the library, and my super slow computer, it took me 5 hours to accomplish this task. Yes, my computer is that slow. Really. It's not that I was just impatient. It took an hour and a half to burn 66 minutes worth of music to a CD today. What new techie gadget do I want? A computer that works faster than a snail's pace. A scanner with a wide enough bed to capture 8.5 x 11" paper (who buys a scanner made for A4 paper in the US?). A phone that doesn't get all static when a storm is approaching. Reliable electricity and temperature control (historic buildings are a bit of a bummer about things like that). Running water (I kid not). There are librarians out in the world doing what they can with a whole lot less. Tablets, smart phones, apps, blah, blah, blah. Let's make sure everyone has the basics before we go all crazy. The good news is that I should be getting a newer computer, scanner, and other 21st century computer equipment next week!! Eeee!

Call me a Luddite. It's ok. I'd even wear the t-shirt.

If I start a tech-free commune, who wants a plot of land?


  1. LOL Joy! Your mom just got a 2 TB backup to be able to scan hundreds of family pictures. I am still a bit leary that I am just wasting time doing that and the pics will evaporate into thin air! After all, I have lived through 3 versions of records, 8 track tapes, cassette tapes, CDs, IPOD and that is just music!
    Yes, technology is moving way to fast to get enamoured with any of it. However I do enjoy my IPAD, which is much faster than my computer! Sorry can't join your commune without it!

    Love you! I am SURE you will figure it all out!

  2. It's all your fault, Mom :-) I started reading Future Shock by Alvin Toffler, and I had to stop because it rang too true to home. What he observed in 1970 was really just the beginning.