Tag Archives: language

Monday’s Link Roundup.

Monday's Link Roundup

In today’s Monday’s Link Roundup don’t miss Why obituaries seduce us. It examines why the best obituaries are mini biographies. And whether your interviewing, writing, or promoting you’ll definitely want to read The psychology of language: Which words matter the most when we talk.

  • Bookstore Of The Year 2013. “Every year, industry bible Publishers Weekly names a Bookstore of the Year, and it announced yesterday that the 2013 award would be given to to Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi, “the center of the fictional Yoknapatawpha County in William Faulkner’s novels.”
  • StoryPress for the iPad. “StoryPress is an iPad app (with an Android version promised “real soon now”) that helps you preserve your memories in your own voice by recording spoken history…Subscribers to StoryPress are greeted with a sequence of questions to help them create a story. The app uses a book metaphor for each story, allowing the user to enter the author’s name, date of birth, and story title. Users also can use a photo from their iPad photo libraries for cover art on their story.”
  • Why obituaries seduce us: They’re a door on a world that’s vanishing. “Properly done, obituaries are “biographical essays that set a life in context, pay tribute to achievements, and account for failures and faults,” as Sandra Martin, who has produced many great ones for this paper, wrote in her recent collection, Working the Dead Beat: 50 Lives that Changed Canada.”
  • Free “Perspectives on Personal Digital Archiving” Publication. “We [Library of Congress] are very excited to unveil our new e-publication, Perspectives on Personal Digital Archiving! This is something new for us: a published compilation of selected blog posts published in The Signal. All of these posts are written by NDIIPP staff as well as guest bloggers from inside and outside the Library of Congress. This resource can serve as a primer for the digital archive novice, as well as a refresher for those with more experience.”
  • The psychology of language: Which words matter the most when we talk. “Recently, a lot of the long standing paradigms in how our brain processes language were overthrown. New and cutting edge studies that produced quite startling and different results. The one study I found most interesting is UCL’s findings on how we can separate words from intonation. Whenever we listen to words, this is what happens:”
  • Too busy? Maybe you’re procrastinating. “Here’s the thing: when we’re busy we can easily trick ourselves into thinking that all of that activity means that we’re not procrastinating.  We’re busy, sure, but we’re not focused on the things that should really have our attention. If someone were to tap us on the shoulder and say, “that thing you’re doing, is that the best use of your attention right now?” we would hesitate to agree. We’re busy procrastinating.”

If you enjoyed this post, get free updates by email.

Monday’s Link Roundup.

Monday's Link Roundup

With Christmas near  I couldn’t resist including 1937-1966  ‘Post Early for Christmas’ posters in this Monday’s Link RoundupIf you’re a nostalgia buff, don’t miss these. I’m a big fan of simple words when it comes to conveying a message so I was delighted to find this short animation, The Power of Simple Words.  If you’re planning to launch your business in 2013, take a look at  The Entrepreneur’s Handbook: 101 Resources for First Time Entrepreneurs. It contains a wealth of information.

  • Can Immigrants Heal Through Storytelling? “Renowned journalist and storyteller Ira Glass says “Great stories happen to those who can tell them.” Newcomers to Canada have some of the richest stories of all;…Pah Wah was born in Burma (now Myanmar)…Her story was created in an innovative program from NYCH [North York Community House] called digital storytelling that captures the stories of newcomers to Canada.”
  • 8 Mistakes to Avoid When Starting a Business From Home. “Launching a business from home can provide tremendous flexibility and the kind of work-life balance that we all crave. But the reality is that home businesses bring their own set of challenges, says Caroline Daniels, lecturer for entrepreneurship and technology at Babson College in Wellesley, Mass. For example, “doing your business on your own from home can get stale. It’s hard to keep feeding the imagination all on your own.”
  • The Power of Simple Words.[Video] “Long, fancy words designed to show off your intelligence and vocabulary are all very well, but they aren’t always the best words. In this short, playful video Terin Izil explains why simple, punchy language is often the clearest way to convey a message.”
  • Library of Congress releases 1,600 brilliant photos of America’s World War II-era past. ” A government photo album is giving viewers a rare invitation into America’s colorful past. The Library of Congress has released over 1,600 color images of American society, all snapped during the World War II era.The nostalgic photos, taken between 1939 and 1944, give viewers a look at different slices of life in the then-48 states, from women working at an airplane plant in California to farmers surveying their property in New Mexico.”
  • The Entrepreneur’s Handbook: 101 Resources for First Time Entrepreneurs. “Are you looking to take the leap into starting your own business in [2013]? If you’re just starting to think about it, or if you have been planning it for a while, you still may have lots of unanswered questions. The following 101 resources will help you learn more about entrepreneurship, startups, small business, and much more.”

If you enjoyed this post, get free updates by email.

Encore! Personal Historians, Are You LGBT Language Sensitive?

The following article is reprinted with the kind permission of Personal Historian, Sally Goldin.  She is a member of the Association of Personal Historians and can be contacted here. 

__________________________________________________________

As a lesbian mother and personal historian, I’ve been thinking about the issue of LGBT invisibility in regards to preserving life stories.

Even though LGBT issues have become more visible and acceptable in this society, there are still situations where you can be fired, harassed, or physically attacked for being an LGBT person. I was clearly reminded of this because of the harassment and discrimination a teacher friend of mine experienced in the Houston Independent School District. In this YouTube presentation to the Board of the H. I. S. D. he describes the harassment he encountered.  (The picture clears up at 30seconds). This is a person who had previously been named Teacher of the Year twice in 5 years… Read more.

If you enjoyed this post, get free updates by email.

Monday’s Link Roundup.

In this Monday’s Link Roundup I seem to have been intrigued by disappearing things. There’s Disappearing Ink Book, ideal for the procrastinator. Endangered Languages, an online resource to record languages in danger of disappearing. And  Vanishing Languages, a National Geographic site containing some frightening statistics on the weekly disappearance of languages.

On a lighter note you might want to check out Top Punctuation Howlers.

  • Disappearing Ink Book. “For less voracious readers and those with busy lives, finishing a book can be an elusive task continually pushed to the bottom of to-do lists, right along with reorganizing a closet and learning French. A small Argentinean publisher, Eterna Cadencia, has found a way to combat this: They created an ink that begins to fade away after only two months of interaction with light and air.”
  • India’s paper trail runs for centuries. “Hundreds of years before the colonizers came, Indians were counting, sorting and filing with a precision that the British could only hope to envy. They went deh-be-dehi, or village-by-village, he [Mohammed Irfann] said in the mellifluous Persian of the Moghul Empire, and they made meticulous lists of everything from castes to trees. Dr. Irfann, archivist in the Oriental Division of the Indian National Archives, understands how monumental a task that was. He is near the end of more than 25 years of work cataloging a trove of 137,000 Moghul documents, known as the Inayat Jang Collection.”
  • Endangered Languages. “…an online resource to record, access, and share samples of and research on endangered languages, as well as to share advice and best practices for those working to document or strengthen languages under threat.”
  • Top Punctuation Howlers – The Comma. “What’s so great about the comma? It clears away ambiguity, confusion, and on occasion steers us away from cannibalism. For example: Martha finds inspiration in cooking her family and her dog.
  • Vanishing Languages. “One language dies every 14 days. By the next century nearly half of the roughly 7,000 languages spoken on Earth will likely disappear, as communities abandon native tongues in favor of English, Mandarin, or Spanish. What is lost when a language goes silent?”
  • “I Am Allergic to Abstraction” by Carlo Rotella. “What does it mean to explore the world through stories? Martin Eiermann sat down with scholar and writer Carlo Rotella to talk about vivid characters, Bostonian accents, and the future of suburbia.”
  • 11 Ways to Bore the Boots Off Your Readers. “I’ve collected the 11 most common mistakes bloggers make that bore the hell out of their readers. And of course, if you prefer to engage, entertain, and entice your readers … just turn these around, and make your content really work.”

If you enjoyed this post, get free updates by email.

Monday’s Link Roundup.

This Monday’s Link Roundup has a couple of useful articles that’ll improve your website. After reading Are You Making These 7 Mistakes with Your About Page?,  I realized that I’ve got some work to do on my About Page. And How to Write is a pithy 10-point list that all bloggers need to take to heart. If you’re a personal historian and unfamiliar with Cowbird, you owe it to yourself to read Cowbird Debuts New Saga on Valentine’s Day. It’s another innovative way of collecting stories.

  • My Memoir Helped Me Reconnect With My Family. “The writing of Man Shoes was a legacy exercise for my sons that turned into a therapeutic exercise for myself. The healing and understanding that has come about through the writing of Man Shoes is miraculous. At fifty years of age, I am now a much stronger, more secure, happier, and more productive individual than I have ever been. Hopefully Man Shoes continues to inspire others in the coming months and years–just as it did me as I wrote it.”
  • Graphic Atlas. “…a new online resource that brings sophisticated print identification and characteristic exploration tools to archivists, curators, historians, collectors, conservators, educators, and general public.”
  • Cowbird Debuts New Saga on Valentine’s Day. “Email and text messaging have left many of us accustomed to instant gratification when it comes to communication, though impulsive tweets and status updates often lead to regret. Our methods of communication have evolved so rapidly, many of us can now tweet about anything (or nothing) within a few seconds. In the era of 140-character updates, when the lingo has become so foreign that you may need a translator to follow Twitter conversations, have our messages lost their depth? Jonathan Harris thinks so – and says his new project, Cowbird, houses personal, searchable storytelling – and may someday be the one-stop shop for an inclusive public library of human experience.”
  • How to Write. “On September 7th of 1982, advertising legend David Ogilvy sent an internal memo to all employees of his advertising agency, Ogilvy & Mather. The memo was entitled “How to Write,” and consisted of the following list of advice.”
  • A Way with Words. “Public radio’s lively language show.” [Thanks top Wendy Ledger of VoType for alerting me to this item.]
  • Best of the Blogs: Old School and New Skills. “Don’t have time to keep up with design and photography blogs? Keep calm and read on. In this blog round-up you’ll find the most popular fonts of 2011, an amazing type book from 1912, a Herb Lubalin video from the 1980s, and a Photoshop cooking demonstration from 2007. Plus, there are plenty of Photoshop how-tos, digital photography tips, and design ideas.”
  • Are You Making These 7 Mistakes with Your About Page? “…lots of website owners have an easier time proposing marriage than they do writing a solid About Page. If that’s you, you’re probably overcomplicating things. A good About Page is simple, straightforward, and it communicates just a few key things.”

If you enjoyed this post, get free updates by email.

Monday’s Link Roundup.

In this week’s Monday’s Link Roundup I particularly enjoyed My life story is written on my bookshelves. It reminded me once again how much the objects in our lives are touchstones to memorable stories and events. My grammarian friends will definitely want to check out Where Did That Sentence-Ending Preposition Rule Come From?  It’s Slate magazine’s new television program exploring all kinds of language issues.

  • 99 Tiny Stories to Make You Think, Smile and Cry. “Sometimes the most random everyday encounters force us to stop and rethink the truths and perceptions we have ingrained in our minds.  These encounters are educationally priceless.  They spawn moments of deep thought and self-reflection that challenge the status quo and help us evolve as sensible individuals.”
  • Old Quilt Provides a Glimpse of History. “Sometimes the best genealogical finds are not in public records but in old objects — an address book, a box of surveyor’s tools, a set of military dog tags. In my case, I discovered a great deal about my family’s history buried in a box at an estate sale halfway across the country.”
  • My life story is written on my bookshelves. “After 20 years of living and reading together, we have gathered what some might call a sizable library. One problem: We don’t actually have a library to put the books in…It was time to take action…Our books show what we’ve cared about, where we’ve visited (or perhaps wished to visit) and the challenges we’ve faced. How could I give that away?”
  • In ‘Pilgrimage,’ Leibovitz Explores Portraits Without People. [PBS video]“Known for portraits of celebrities and musicians, Annie Leibovitz has given herself a new assignment: capture striking landscapes and visit the homes of iconic figures to document significant items from their past. Jeffrey Brown and Leibovitz discuss her “Pilgrimage” book and exhibition at the Smithsonian’s American Art Museum.”
  • Lost Malcolm X Speech Heard Again 50 Years Later. “Last semester, Brown senior Malcolm Burnley took a narrative writing course. One of the assignments was to write a fictional story based on something true — and that true event had to be found inside the university archives…Malcolm X came to speak at Brown University in Providence, R.I., on May 11, 1961. Burnley noticed that at the end of the article, there was a brief mention of another article — also from the Brown student newspaper — written by a senior named Katharine Pierce. Her article was the reason Malcolm X wanted to visit Brown.”
  • Where Did That Sentence-Ending Preposition Rule Come From? “In the first episode of Slate’s new language program Lexicon Valley, producer Mike Vuolo and On the Media co-host Bob Garfield explore the history of the terminal preposition rule, and whether there are good reasons to follow it. Lexicon Valley is a new audio program created by Mike Vuolo. In the coming weeks we’ll explore a broad array of issues surrounding language. They’ll range from linguistic pet peeves, syntax, and etymology to sociolinguistics, neurolinguistics, and the death of languages.”
  • Who Owns Your Personal History? “In an era when nearly everything we do is recorded, we have less control over what we choose to remember, and perhaps more crucially, what to forget.”

If you enjoyed this post, get free updates by email.

Monday’s Link Roundup.

In this Monday’s Link Roundup I found PANTONE: A Color History of the 20th Century a reminder of the important role of color in our memories. The book looks gorgeous. It’s definitely on my Santa Claus list. Anyone want to play Santa? ;-)

  • The Terrible Word of the Year “Voltaire famously said that the Holy Roman Empire was “neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire.” Yesterday, Oxford University Press announced that, for the first time, their U.S. and U.K. lexicographers (along with “editorial, marketing, and publicity staff”) had chosen a “global word of the year.”
  • On the Future of Books: A Discussion with Seth Godin. “The industry of publishing ideas has been undergoing a revolution for more than a decade, and where it’s headed is still an open question…Today I share a conversation I had with best-selling author, blogger and publisher Seth Godin on the future of books, publishing and blogging. It was fascinating.”
  • Nile Rodgers’ top 10 music books. “From Beethoven’s letters to Bob Dylan’s Chronicles, the musician chooses books that reveal the private lives behind the public melodies.”
  • 16 Ways to Leave a Legacy. “You’ve spent years digging up data and stories to breathe life into the grandparents and great-grandparents who’ve made your existence — and your children’s — possible. But what are you doing to ensure your family’s legacy will be around after you’re gone?”
  • PANTONE: A Color History of the 20th Century. “… longtime PANTONE scholars Leatrice Eiseman and Keith Recker explore 100 years of the evolution of color’s sociocultural footprint through over 200 works of art, advertisements, industrial design products, fashion trends, and other aesthetic ephemera, thoughtfully examined in the context of their respective epoch.”
  • EyeWitness to History.com. “Your ringside seat to history – from the Ancient World to the present. History through the eyes of those who lived it.” [Thanks to Mim Eisenberg of WordCraft for alerting me to this item.]
  • The Legacy Project. “The Legacy Project began in 2004, when I started collecting the practical advice for living of America’s elders. Using a number of different methods, my research team systematically gathered nearly 1500 responses to the question: “What are the most important lessons you have learned over the course of your life?”

If you enjoyed this post, get free updates by email.

Personal Historians, Are You LGBT Language Sensitive?

The following article is reprinted with the kind permission of Personal Historian, Sally Goldin. She is a member of the Association of Personal Historians and can be contacted here. 
_______________________________________________________

As a lesbian mother and personal historian, I’ve been thinking about the issue of LGBT invisibility in regards to preserving life stories.

Even though LGBT issues have become more visible and acceptable in this society, there are still situations where you can be fired, harassed, or physically attacked for being an LGBT person. I was clearly reminded of this because of the harassment and discrimination a teacher friend of mine experienced in the Houston Independent School District. In this YouTube presentation to the Board of the H. I. S. D. he describes the harassment he encountered.  (The picture clears up at 30seconds). This is a person who had previously been named Teacher of the Year twice in 5 years.

I wonder how many of us are aware of the language we use, both on an everyday basis, and in presentations about personal history? You cannot tell if someone is lesbian or gay by looking at them. (Well, maybe sometimes you can, but not always . . .) Therefore, we have to be conscious of the words we use in conversation, and make an effort to be inclusive in our communications.

For example, a simple question such as, “Are you married?” might be difficult for a lesbian or gay man to answer, depending on where they live.  I live in San Francisco. I would not be allowed to marry a romantic partner.

During an interview with a woman, without thinking, you might ask, “Do you remember your first date? What was he like?” It would be more appropriate to say, “Do you remember your first date? What was the person like?

If you are getting to know someone, ask about a “sweetheart” or “special someone” instead of a boyfriend (for a female) and girlfriend (for a male).

Do you offer a family tree as part of your services? If so, how do you incorporate into that tree a child who has 2 moms or 2 dads? My son is now 25 years old and his family tree would include his 2 moms, his donor father, a half sister and a half brother with the same “donor dad”, 3 other unknown half-siblings, my ex-partner’s wife who has known him since he was 10 years old, and 3 sets of grandparents (from his 2 moms and his
father). Whew!

When talking to a group about personal history, remember to use the term “family” or “parents” as opposed to “Mom and Dad”.

Don’t assume that if a family is Hispanic or African American (or some other non-white ethnicity), they would not have lesbian or gay family members.

I am grateful and proud to be a member of the Association of Personal Historians, an organization that strives to be inclusive and diverse, and where I do not have to hide all of who I am from the membership.

Photo by  Charlie Nguyen

If you enjoyed this post, get free updates by email.

Monday’s Link Roundup.

My favorite article in this week’s Monday’s Link Roundup is Belongings.  You won’t want to miss it! For an item that’s  quite wonderful in a strange sort of way take a look at The Happy Cemetery. And something we can all work on is covered in  Can You Say It In One Short Sentence?

  • Belongings. “There are three million immigrants in New York City. When they left home, knowing it could be forever, they packed what they could not bear to leave behind: necessities, luxuries, memories. Here is a look at what some of them brought.” [Thanks to Lettice Stuart of Portrait in Words for alerting me to this item.]
  • From research to story. “A bevy of biographers gathered in May in Washington, D.C., at the second annual Compleat Biographer Conference to discuss how to chase down subjects and make their lives into great stories…Today, we have highlights from the panel on “Turning Research into Narrative.” Speakers included Anne Heller, John Aloysius Farrell, Jane Leavy and moderator Amy Schapiro.”
  • The Happy Cemetery. “Originally begun by a peasant grave carver named Stan Petras in the 1930s, and carried on today by the Pop family, the cemetery has become one of the most popular tourism attractions in rural Romania, with tour buses pulling up and unloading foreigners hourly.”

If you enjoyed this post, get free updates by email.