Thursday, September 9, 2010

Unplugged but Tuned In

Yesterday I went to the Museum of Ethnography and Folklore. What an amazing place! I met the director of the museum and the chief librarian who gave me a tour of the research library and the archives. This woman was an ALA fellow and has worked in research libraries in the United States, so we had a lot to chat about, particularly regarding the profession and the challenges in each country, comparitively. Overall, I´d say that while Bolivians are more meticulous about preserving their history in myriad ways, the Americans have better technological resources to do so. I sense a collaboration here. For example, yesterday, the MUSEF´s Opac system had gone down, and the researchers at the library had to approach the reference desk to find materials. And there was limited or zero access to the online research databases.

While I am most defnitely online at work, I do not have internet at home,and this gives me an odd sense of peace. Generally people here are significantly less "plugged in" than in the US (or in New York at least) and here I don´t constantly dodge the text zombies who SMS furiously whilst walking quickly down busy city streets. Nor do you see many people speaking on cell phones on the street or (personal pet peeve) leaving their phones on the table while dining. I have your full attention and you have mine. We are living in real time. And though slower internet and prohibitively expensive cellular service have drawbacks, I like living in real time. Call me old fashioned.

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