Back to blogging

There have been many things on my mind lately, and I’ve not had the
discipline in place to make them flow together coherently. The
“bookmarks” I have saved on my del.icio.us account
gives some indication of what I’ve been pondering, but by no means, a
complete picture. One thing is for sure: all this distraction has
pushed my blogging to the side. Today, I will get back on my blogging
podiums to write about both the personal side and the work side of what
I’ve been up to.

On the personal side:

As I jumped in wondering what I should actually write about, I felt
instantly pulled in too many directions. Fortunately, I was reminded of
the central lessons of the last weeks: that I should start in a place
of great stillness, which also happens to be a place of great depth. As
I hold myself still, I am able to accept that I am a little human being
living in a world with outsized needs, including my own. I remember the
pledge I had made to pray for Darfur, and I pause to do so. We put up a
display to raise awareness about Darfur at First Pres Berkeley and will host a postcard writing event for A Million Voices for Darfur
in early April. I am relieved that spring break is coming up, primarily
because it gives my students and me some breathing room for the course.

The absence of activity on my electronic presences belies the churn of
words on my computer. Having just read about super-prolific Stephen
Downe’s recently announced hiatus from blogging
to take time to stop and reflect made me wonder whether I’m going in
the wrong direction by trying to get back into blogging.

The situations are certainly not parallel. First, I’ve never been the
regular and prolific blogger that Stephen was. I have had lots of time
to reflect, though I can stand for more in this time of change,
challenge, and opportunity. Most importantly, I believe that regular
weblogging would be an excellent discipline for me since it would force
me to work in smaller chunks, to begin and to complete manageable
pieces of work on a regular basis. Without forcing myself to write
coherent sentences and paragraphs, I will generate monstrous lists of
suggestive phrases. Writers understand the seductiveness of such lists,
which seem to contain more content than they actually do.

On the work side:

There is a huge amount of change afoot in my workplace and in my own
professional career. Although it would be inappropriate for me to write
about some of these matters, I can certainly write openly about my
personal vision for information technology at UC Berkeley and beyond.
This is an opportune moment to rethink every aspect of my professional
work as I look at the field at large and the challenges, opportunities,
and risks before me specifically. The product of my (over?) cogitation
has been long EccoPro
outlines with phrases such as remix, interoperability,
gather/create/share, grids, bibliographic metadata, knowledge
repository, seamlessness. My job now is to write these outlines in
little essays that make sense to others. time to step back to ponder
what we do to best serve the academic and research needs of the campus.