2018: a year in gratitude

This year was largely complicated and often felt like a massive garbage fire to myself and my crew. I didn’t accomplish a number of my goals and was inconsistent about others, so recapping awesome things I did doesn’t feel appropriate and also happens to be a soft reminder of either failure or things not going as planned. I also tend to hate “best of the year” lists but I find them helpful to remember about where I found joy or the ability to connect to something outside of myself. I suppose this is an attempt to reconcile those things, or perhaps more in line with the end of year spirit, a way to articulate gratitude to the people and things around me that impacted me.

The work world

  • I’ve said it before but I am endlessly grateful for my time in ITLP as a period of reflection and growth, especially amidst my own professional uncertainty. It get out of my cultural heritage technology bubble for a while amidst other smart and talented colleagues from a pool of other institutions. It also helped reinforce a commitment to developing professional relationships into something much bigger. My time with everyone in the program was valuable, but I’d like to recognize my coach, Laura Patterson, and my colleagues Dani Aivazian from Stanford and Luis Corrales from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, for their support and strong feedback throughout the program.
  • While I tend to present at conferences with some frequency, the presentations of which I am the proudest are those which I got in touch with something deeper in me. I had two of those this year, which is pretty good by all considerations, and my thanks extends to those involved. The first was a panel with Aliza Elkin, Mallory Furnier, Monika Chavez, and Elisa Rodrigues at the New Librarian Summit on mixed/multiracial identity and librarianship. Their contributions were profound, thoughtful, and mutually supportive, and it was absolutely awesome to collaborate with group of information workers of color. The other was my lightning talk, “Evidence of Them: Digitization, Preservation, and Labor”, from the “Digitization Is/Not Preservation” session at SAA this year. We had a great group of controversial ideas - some funny, some troubling - and it brought me closer to pretty much everyone on the session. Again, thanks to Julia Kim, Frances Harrell, Tre Berney, Andrew Robb, Snowden Becker, Fletcher Durant, Siobhan Hagan, and Sarah Werner, and to Fletcher, Siobhan, and Maureen Callahan for being willing to take the lead on getting a pop-up session proposal submitted.
  • Huge thanks go to the Code4Lib community, especially as we prepare for Code4Lib 2019 in February in San José, California.
  • And of course, I have to acknowledge my broader professional family. I really feel lucky to be surrounded by smart folks with great ideas, and in 2018, I continued to learn and be inspired by Jarrett Drake, Eira Tansey, Hillel Arnold, Ruth Kitchin Tillman, David Staniunas, Maureen Callahan, Shannon O’Neill, Dinah Handel, Erin O’Meara, Camille Villa, and many, many more.

Personal life

  • My partner, Chela, has been a great source of support and strength. She has really done the world for me and helped me think through where I’m headed.
  • The San Mateo Quaker Worship Group has been instrumental in resituating my spiritual life.
  • Getting the courage to reconnect with the creative process around music has been huge. I just issued digital rerelease of a tape from 15+ years ago that I remain proud of. I’m grateful to everyone who encouraged me or gave me advice as I relearn lots of stuff about recording and music technology.

Music

This is not a ranked list, nor a list based on number of listens. Lots of records came out this year that are incredibly important to me. The list below are those that had the most profound impact. I probably listened to a lot of these alone, while on a hike, at the gym, on the train to work, or in the car. These are the records that struck a chord, that caused me to feel twinges of something, that made me feel either more or less alone. Thanks go to everyone who was involved with them.

What’s next

I want to extend this practice of gratitude into this new year, and I’m going to keep my goals a little closer to the chest at the suggestion of a few folks. However, I think that gratitude really needs to not be something to be reflected at the end of something - be it a year, a project, or anything else. I look forward to reestablishing a sense of connection between people and place and appreciating both of them, and hope you’ll join me in doing the same.