Things read this weekend

As best as I can remember, these are the things I’ve read (or re-read) this weekend (not including blog posts, email, Facebook and Flickr conversations, …):

The News-Gazette (Sunday, 28 Jan) newspaper

Parade Magazine (Sunday, 28 Jan)

Coyle, Karen and Diane Hillmann. “Resource Description and Access (RDA): Cataloging Rules for the 20th Century.” D-Lib Magazine 12 (1/2) Jan/Feb 2007. Re-read for like the 4th time in the last 8 day.

Tudhope, Douglas, Traugott Koch and Rachel Heery. Terminology Services and Technology: JISC State of the Art Review [pdf version] Read through section 3.2.4, so far. Part was a re-read, but now I’m digging into the full report. This report will provide the main foundation for my independent study this semester.

Chapter 3, “Bibliographic Entities” of Svenonius, The Intellectual Foundation of Information Organization. Re-read.

Milstead, Jessica L. “Standards for Relationships between Subject Indexing Terms” in Bean & Green, Relationships in the Organization of Knowledge.

Hudon, Michèle. “Relationships in Multilingual Thesauri” in Bean & Green.

Maniez, Jacques. “Relationships in Thesauri: Some Critical Remarks.” International Classification 15 (3) 1988: 133-138.

Raybeck, Douglas and Douglas Herrmann. “A Cross-cultural Examination of Semantic Relations.” Journal of Cross-cultural Psychology 21 (4) Dec 1990: 452-473. Cited by Hudon.

Janée, Greg, Satoshi Ikeda and Linda L. Hill. The ADL Thesaurus Protocol. Re-read.

Zins, Chaim. “Redefining information science: from “information science” to “knowledge science.” Journal of Documentation 62 (4) 2006: 447-461. DOI 10.1108/00220410610673846

Radford, Gary P. and Marie L. Radford. “Structuralism, post-structuralism, and the library: de Saussure and Foucault.” Journal of Documentation 61 (1) 2005: 60-78. DOI 10.1108/00220410510578014

Now, after the Radford & Radford I best get back to slogging through Foucault’s The Archaeology of Knowledge.

Update: Just read chapters 4 and 5 of Part III of Foucault. On to Part IV, another day.

Just upgraded to WordPress 2.1

Thanks, Blake, for the almost instantaneous response! LISHost rules people!

I just upgraded my WordPress install to version 2.1. Hopefully things are all kosher.

Let me know if you see any wackiness. I know I’m looking forward to exploring some of the new features.

I had to upgrade my backup plugin and haven’t tried it yet. I sure hope it actually works. The previous version (it has been taken over by a different developer) only worked about 1 in every 25 times. And, no, I am not exaggerating. It used to really piss me off! Here’s hoping.

Now I’m off to try the contact form.

So far very painless; except for trying to get a current backup.

And on a related topic … fun in the classroom

While not exactly a crush—although I won’t speak for others in the class—any teacher who makes a discussion so much fun that students willingly stay in their seats for 45 minutes past the end of class, an evening class no less, deserves a fair bit of respect.

Last night in LIS590OH, Ontologies in Humanities, Allen made axiomatizing FRBR so much fun that we all stayed an additional 45 minutes before we decided we needed to end. Several stayed even longer. I would have liked to but I had a bus to catch and an early class this morning.

Things got real interesting when we were discussing whether there can be such a thing as an unexpressed work, or an unrealized expression. For my money, it pretty much comes down to your beliefs on the language of thought (for the unexpressed work anyway, which is what we focused on). But then most of this is irrelevant philosophizing. As much as love I such things, I think they are side issues to FRBR. Yes, the conceptual model should account for (or preclude) such things and it doesn’t.

Some folks tried to bring up previously but no longer existing entities. FRBR does need to account for such things but, again for my money, it only needs to account for real examples and not possible world-type scenarios. I have little truck with possible worlds and most forms of (philosophical) modality quickly leave the realm of actually having an impact in the real world.

One thing that did not come up was imaginary works or imaginary expressions, manifestations or items. So as soon as I got home I posted to our class forum [I see no reason I cannot reproduce my own statements]:

Some of you are probably happy we didn’t go down this road. Nonetheless….

My question, which I prefer to keep in the context of FRBR and bibliographic control and not as an abstract philosophical discussion—although if you make it interesting enough I may join in—is can there be imaginary works?

Now these would be imaginary works that have been also imaginatively expressed, realized and embodied. Do they exist within the realm of the bibliographic universe (BU)?

Don’t answer too quickly. First off:

Mark’s assumption #1: Not sure what xxxxx’s version of the BU is, but mine requires an existing (or once existing, although I could care less about modality/possible worlds, etc.) entity (persons/institutions) that wants to bring the sorts of entities that are described by FRBR Group 1 entities under control.

Mark’s assumption #2: Catalogs and catalog records are not the only things FRBR are concerned with. In fact, FRBR has no inherent concern with catalogs or catalog records (possibly). It is trying to model the BU universe, which consists of various forms of citation and discourse, among other things.

Various extant works do, in fact, mention imaginary works (down through the item). There are works which have as a subject an imaginary work. There are discourse communities around some of these works. [And, boy, do I sure wish I could think of an example, but I do know they exist. So if anyone can think of an example, please throw it out here so the discussion can be better focused. Or. See below for some quick possible examples.]

It might be easier with an imaginary “cultural heritage” work or musical. Again, I can’t think of one at the moment. The best I can do—I’m afraid to toss it out here because it comes with too much other baggage and, thus, may be a bad example, or even not one—would be the monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey. I mean the monolith as an imaginary work … to its imaginary item.

Hopefully, the fact that it was built so the movie could be filmed isn’t going to get in the way. If it does, I might respond with, “What if it was done with computer graphics?” But again, all this is extraneous to my question.

The imaginary object that is the monolith in 2001 has a vast field of discourse around it. It may even be cataloged in some way. It is certainly referenced and cited. These are things which FRBR as a model of the BU is concerned with.

So, can imaginary works … imaginary items exist and might they need to be brought under some form of bibliographic control using the FRBR model?

Possible examples:

Reviews of imaginary books
Flickr imaginary book & CD covers pool
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy [ignore the fact that there is a book/series/movie/play/radio series with this title for the moment. I am referring to the work that those works/expressions are named after.]


Maybe that should be fleshed out a bit more for here, but I’ll leave it as is with only one name change to protect the not so innocent, and a fixed typo. And I did mean imaginary musical work, not an imaginary musical, but in shorthand it’s the same thing. It’s just not very clear.
There are no replies yet, but then I don’t think my fellow students have found the new forums yet because with 4 postings I seem to be talking to myself. 🙁

Anyway, just wanted to say that any professor who can have students engaged enough to stay an extra 45 minutes in an evening class deserves a bit of respect, and maybe even an intellectual crush or two. As some of you already know, Allen Renear rocks!

Intellectual crushes and more mature relationships

[NB: I’ve had 3 pints of Guinness, but I believe in telling the truth. So in the interest of full disclosure …. Also, sorry for the overly familiar tone, but I am trying to be playful.]

This past summer and early fall I had a (intellectual) crush on Elaine Svenonius. Seriously. That relationship has finally matured, though. Now I am simply trying to read all I can by Elaine. And enjoying doing so.

Nowadays I have a serious crush on Rebecca Green. What can I say? She (her writing, fool!) is getting me hot under the collar.

Somehow, somewhere, I stumbled over some of her articles on “conceptual syntagmatic relationships” when I was working on my paper for Carole Palmer on mapping thesauri for use by interdisciplinary scientists. I was unable to use much of her work—although I did manage to work in a bit—in that paper. But now that I’m working on relationships for LIS590RO this semester I have dove in deep into Bean & Green (2001) Relationships in the Organization of Knowledge. In fact, thanks to my own personal copy is on the way.

Rebecca has the intro chapter in Bean & Green and she cites one of her own papers (2000), “Locating sources in humanities scholarship: the efficacy of following bibliographic references.” Library Quarterly, 71, 201-229.

Her articles on “relationships” already had me all aquiver, but now I am totally smitten.

I am an inveterate footnote chaser. In fact, I rarely ever search, except for known items. Now I can even justify that tactic. Be still my beating heart.

You will be reading more about Dr. Green’s work here; that I can promise. You will definitely be reading about the humanities sources article once I’ve had a chance to re-read it. If you are a librarian who supports humanities scholars then don’t wait on me; “just do it” as they say. That is, read it.

One of the things they told us at the First-time Attendees brunch at ASIS&T was to just go up to the folks we admired and tell them because they’d get as big a kick out of it as we would. And they were right! It was painless and fun; I just wish I had done it with more people. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for Dr. Svenonius and Dr. Green the next time I attend a conference.

And now I want to know—current students, past students—who are, or were, your intellectual crushes? Don’t be shy. Fess up! Feel free to comment here or post on your own blog and link back here. C’mon. It can’t hurt.

Another semester shaping up

As we head into the second week of the semester, here is how things are looking:

LIS590OH: Ontologies in the Humanities with Allen Renear

First class consisted of introductions, discussing the proto-syllabus [first time offering], and where we might want to take the class. There are about 10 students almost evenly split between “old-timers,” like me, and some of the more interesting seeming newer students. I am very glad to see some 2nd semester Masters students in here and I look forward to learning from them, and from my “old-timey” friends, too, of course.

Coursework looks fairly easy but then, as this is an “intermediate research seminar” in Allen’s ontology of course types, the true work is in individual and group learning. We will also learn a bit about the ontology editor, Protégé, and have the opportunity to substitute a practical ontology project for one of our papers.

I’ve managed to get all of the discussion readings and background readings read for this week. While I may not always get the background readings done, especially when I have read them before as in this week, I was happy to revisit some of them. Actually, in truth, I skipped one discussion reading. Gasp! As good as it may be, how often can one re-read Barbara Tillett’s pamphlet, “What is FRBR?: A Conceptual Model for the Bibliographic Universe”? [pdf]

I did enjoy revisiting the 1st 3 chapters of the FRBR Final Report [pdf], Buckland’s “What is a Document?”, the 1st 2 chapters of Smiraglia’s The Nature of “a Work”, and Denton’s FRBR and Fundamental Cataloguing Rules. There were also 2 Renear co-authored papers, one on axiomatizing FRBR and one on refining the OHCO model of text.

The next couple of weeks will allow me to revisit chapter 3 of Svenonius’ The Intellectual Foundation of Information Organization [set-theoretic view of bibliographic entities] and some classic articles by Frege and Popper.

I’m not sure where my interests will take me in this class, but I am excited nonetheless.

LIS590RO: Representation and Organization of Information Resources with Kathryn LaBarre

This will actually be week 1 as we did not have class last week with Kathryn at ALISE. This seminar also has about 10 students, although most are either “mid-career” or newer students. But again, it looks like a brilliant group and I look forward to much interesting learning as we all explore our own varied interests within the structure of the class. About half of us are together in Allen’s class above, too, which may provide its own interesting angles and benefits.

Our “textbook” is Morville’s Ambient Findability, which in my experience wasn’t all that findable. The other, optional, text is Svenonius. Thankfully! [see above for Svenonius link.]

I read Morville over break and while it eventually got (a bit) better than I expected, it is still tripe. I have refrained from slagging it here so far since I will have the privilege of critiquing it in class. If, like me, you prefer to buy books, do yourself a favor and get this one at the library or at least used. Of course, if like me, you have an overpowering urge to write “BS!” in the margin of the first few pages then maybe you should buy a used copy. This has got to be the 1st book that I have ever written a negative comment in the preface! Seriously, who writes something that can be argued with in the preface?

Despite Morville, I am really looking forward to this class. And I do know what my focus will be. Relationships. Hopefully I will be able to mostly focus on thesaural relationships, but I intend to dive head first down this particular rabbit hole.

One of our assignments is a book review and a presentation of it in class. The book I am “reviewing” or, in my case, living with, is Bean and Green’s Relationships in the Organization of Knowledge. I found this book while working on my thesaurus paper a few weeks ago. I was unable to use it at the time and am glad that I get to now. I ordered myself a copy through abebooks on Friday evening.

Side note: I understand supply and demand (somewhat), and I understand that most of these sorts of books go to libraries, but seriously folks, why does a remaindered copy of such a book go for almost $90? I know I would buy a lot more of these seriously nerdy books if they were affordable! Richard and I were discussing this after 590ON last week regarding Smiraglia [see above]. The cheapest copy is over $100 used. Seriously, WTF?

Back to 590RO. I’m not sure what form my final project will take, but it will almost certainly involve relationships.

LIS592: Independent Study with Kathryn LaBarre

With Kathryn away until Wednesday, I am still in the process of getting this set up, although we have been narrowing it down via email. Here is the current draft of my proposal:

This independent study will allow me to further my research into thesauri. To this point, I have taken Thesaurus Construction (590TC), and have written a selective literature review on the mapping of thesauri as an aid to assist interdisciplinary scientists for Information Transfer & Collaboration in Science (590TR). I also have a graduate assistantship at the Illinois Fire Service Institute Library where I am responsible for maintaining the FireTalk thesaurus. My previous coursework has really piqued my interests in thesauri–construction, maintenance, evaluation, use, and current and future trends. My work experience has only reinforced how vastly difficult it is to implement theory.

My coursework for this independent study will involve reading (or re-reading) the ANSI/NISO Z39.19-2005 monolingual thesaurus, the ISO monolingual and multilingual thesaurus standards, Lancaster (1983), Aitchison, et. al. (2000), among other readings. It will also involve an in-depth look into both OCLC‘s and JISC‘s Terminology Services programs and research. I intend to visit OCLC Research over Spring Break for a first-hand look at their Terminology Services research.

I am particularly interested in current trends and future directions for embedding thesauri into various, diverse services (Terminology Services) and the extension of relationships in thesauri (see e.g., Green (1995), Tudhope, et. al. (2001).

I will meet with my instructor every other week to keep her abreast of my progress and for discussion of issues as needed.

The final product will take two forms: (1) A literature review of current projects and research into Terminology Services; and (2) a presentation on the reality and potential of Terminology Services. The presentation would be open to the school and any other interested parties.

Besides the extracurricular learning in linguistics and grammar that I need to do to provide myself a ladder back out of the rabbit hole of relationships, I think that is it. 🙂 For now.

Best of luck and learning this semester to all the LIS students out there. May you find what you’re looking for. And don’t forget to dive head first down a rabbit hole once in a while.

The word is ‘interlocutor,’ Miss Levine

…and if you are going to call me names, please don’t leave out “Enabler of Vices” or “Corrupter of Youth.”

[Background reading: Keeping it real Charitable reading Who your writing represents. (All at Information Wants to be Free) This post is primarily in response to the last post and a comment made on it, partly in reply to a comment I made there.]

While I think ‘interloper’ is a perfectly fine word, it is not what I am in this case. My intent was to ask questions—possibly difficult questions, true—but with the intent of having a dialogue or conversation. That makes me an interlocutor, not an interloper.

And I heartily disagree about which or how many holes are in my argument. First off, the ‘argument’ was structured to ask questions and not to make some definitive claim. Secondly, your ‘counter-argument,’ while a reasonable first response, is really just grasping at straws. They may be real enough ‘straws,’ but they are those silly little ones you might get in a coffee shop that really serve no purpose but to stir things up. It is also very interesting in how you never even attempt to address this, or any of the previous questions.

I will not even begin to address Steven Cohen and his relationship with ITI. They do not concern me, nor do they truly concern this discussion. As for Meredith’s book blog linking her to American Libraries, yes, she states in her author bio:

Meredith is the author of the monthly column “Technology in Practice” for American Libraries. She also is the author of the blog of the blog Information Wants to Be Free and contributes to the collaborative blog TechEssence.

Is there some factual error in that statement? Because if we want to talk about holes in arguments, Miss Levine, yours is so big I can hardly even notice it is there.

Yes, Meredith does have a column in American Libraries. I even assume she gets paid for it. But that does not make her a paid employee of ALA in the same way as you are. By the way, I never claimed that every word you wrote anywhere did—or even should—reflect on your employer. I do not believe that. Many others have—or have had—columns in AL without being true employees of ALA.

As for Meredith’s article in AL noting her blog, yes, it does. In a paragraph about blogging she mentions that she writes about the issues she is discussing in the article on her blog. To then not mention the location of that resource would be silly. There is also a small text box on the bottom of p. 44 that says “To read Meredith’s blog go to”. I doubt Meredith had anything to do with that. At all. She also asked for suggestions for topics for her column in the post you cite. OK. As I said in my comment, “All I can say is isn’t as simple as you [Meredith] have graciously tried to make it.”

Maybe Meredith is uncomfortable with much of this also. I know I would be. And, I think it is pretty clear that I am not trying to defend Meredith. If I am in some small part without really intending to, it is because she is attempting to have a conversation. She is asking hard questions and allowing them to be asked in her “home.” That is something worth defending. In fact, it is worth defending to the death, Miss Levine. Having spent over 20 years in the Army and, in fact, still being at their beck and call for the next 17 plus years if they so choose, I know wherefore of what I speak on that one.

So while I do agree that the things you bring up are certainly a part of the “muddying of the waters,” Miss Levine, I believe that—while they ought to be part of the conversation—they are somewhat closer to the norm than the item I quoted. Maybe I am splitting hairs a bit too finely for you, and perhaps for others, too. That is exactly why I even posted what I did in the first place. I wanted to give others a chance to weigh in and help us all figure out if there is a line, and, if so, where we can place it for the moment. Of course, one must keep in mind that there can be no “one line to delineate them all,” but that we will all have our own lines to draw, and that they will move.

The really sad part of this, Miss Levine, is that you seem to have a real issue with honest critique of anything you do or are involved in. I think it was pretty clear that I was questioning. I did, in fact, state that some line had been crossed. That I believe. Exactly what line that is, I do not know. And despite your view of me as an interloper, I was attempting to ask a relevant question. I was asking for help from others in figuring out what line it was, and if it is an important line, and, in fact, if—in this seemingly new age we are in—it is even able to be avoided. I am not convinced that it is. And that is what I wanted to discuss.

So while it was very subtle, and perhaps only implicit, I was also critiquing Meredith’s post as being a bit too easy an out. I wish it was as easy as she graciously tried to make it, but it’s not. I am still trying to grow and one of the things I am actively working on is to not make the people who are willing to discuss difficult issues with me uncomfortable. There is enough of a level of uncomfortableness in some of the discussions already without me (or you) or anyone else actively working to make others uncomfortable as a rhetorical strategy. That does not begin to facilitate conversation.

I assume that by calling me an interlocutor you are implying that I made that comment just to stir up crap or even to give others a bad impression of you. If I am wrong in that assumption, please correct me. And, yes, I am well aware that you were referring to others since you used the plural. They can certainly stand up for themselves—I have no doubt of that—but your comments about the holes in an argument were directed at me.

You are certainly entitled to your opinion of me, but if that was your implication then you might want to take some of your own “advice” that you’ve been tossing around the last week or two and ask first. I thought long and hard before I posted that comment; especially since Meredith seemed to be trying to graciously draw the whole sordid affair to a close. I doubt you will believe it, but I truly felt bad posting that comment on Meredith’s conciliatory post. My point, questioning as it was, is that things are not so simple. Your response could have gone a long way to helping define that for—and with—us all. Instead you chose to (only) point at others and never truly addressed the issue.

For all of this 2.0 world which you seem to want, Miss Levine, until you learn to take and address critique you will not reach it, nor truly be a part of it. For that—accepting and dealing with honest critique [to me anyway]—is the true essence of whatever it is that Web/Library/World 2.0 is.

Touch the Sound: a review

I just finished watching a movie that I have been looking for for over a year now. Touch the Sound is a documentary about Evelyn Glennie, a deaf percussionist. It is also so much more.

The cinematography is very good overall, and at times extraordinary. The audio is simply amazing! And I say that having one main speaker that has a trashed midrange driver. Luckily, the soundtrack choices included Dolby 5.1 and DTS. I always choose DTS if given the option. Once I get my speaker fixed I may have to listen (and watch) this film again.

Ms. Glennie lost her most of her hearing by the age of 11. She switched from piano to percussion so that she could better feel the music. Ms. Glennie’s views on sound, along with the amazing audio work and cinematography, will force one to reconsider the way they think of “the hearing,” much less hearing, in general.

It is also very international as it is filmed in Germany, Japan, Scotland, New York, and California.

Highly recommended! If you are in CU, it can be found at That’s Rentertainment in the New section (for now); not in documentaries.

One semester bleeds into the next


I just emailed my seminar paper on mapping thesauri for use by interdisciplinary scientists to my professor. Fall 2006 is finally over, at least for me. I have a few friends still struggling with papers due soon. I wish them well.

The “beauty” of it all is that the new semester starts tomorrow. Where, oh where, did break go?

Now I need to get on designing and getting approval for my independent study on thesauri. I am particularly interested in interoperability and embedded services. In that regard, I will be definitely looking into both OCLC‘s and JISC‘s Terminology Services research and projects.

Once I get far enough along in my research, I would love to visit OCLC to get a first hand glimpse at some of the work they are doing. Maybe over Spring Break I can go visit my daughter in Cleveland and stop by Dublin on the way. I did make one OCLC contact while at ASIS&T 2006, so maybe…. I would absolutely love to visit UKOLN at the University of Bath, but I don’t even have a passport, much less that kind of money. 🙁

I know I promised a copy of my paper to JennyB, jennimi, and my boss at IFSI. I will get off my lazy butt after I eat lunch and watch a movie and email it to you. If I promised anyone else, please just remind me. The last few weeks have been mostly a blur. I bet what you really want is the next paper, though. I am not ashamed of this one, not in any sense, but it is also not what I really became interested in. I guess it provides a decent selective overview of interdisciplinarity and the mapping of thesauri, along with some related methods. I tried to write it in the style of an ARIST chapter, which is a new genre for me, so I’m a little hesitant to say how useful it might be for someone else. It can serve as a decent source for citations, though. And then there are the scores of others I wasn’t able to incorporate…. Ah well. Onward, if not exactly upward.

Me. I’m off to enjoy the last few hours of “break.”

“Approaching normality, in …”

As part of my continuing education in the organization of information—focusing on classificatory structures—I have made a major transition over the break.

My hourly work on the FireTalk Thesaurus at the IFSI Library becomes a 25% graduate assistantship on Tuesday. Along with my 25% assistantship in serials cataloging at the main library, this is all the work I can handle while also focusing on classroom work. This means that I have formally left my job with “Team Awesome” (Instructional Technology Division, GSLIS).

While this is an important—and desired—transition for me, it is also very bittersweet. I have greatly enjoyed my 2 and a 1/2 years with “Team Awesome,” and I will miss them greatly. More importantly, I will miss the very special patron group comprised of our distance education (LEEP) students and instructors. It has been a distinct pleasure and honor to serve this group. I have met, learned from, and been befriended by such an amazing and diverse group of intelligent and caring proto-librarians, librarians, and library educators during my time working for and with these folks.

So why did I leave? Because a good portion of the reason to stay and do another 40 hours of classwork was to also get some experience(s) in the organization of information as I focus in on what I believe is the kind of work I want to do in my new career. Seeing as I have found those opportunities it was time to leave the job that, although enjoyable and rewarding, does not.

Yesterday I turned in all of my keys to various offices in GSLIS, Miss E removed my admin privileges from Moodle, I cleaned out my storage drawer in the LEEP office, and I even removed my spare water bottle from the fridge in User Services. I have also requested that all of my privileges be removed from the system we are transitioning from, and that I be removed from several internal listservs and mailing lists.

It will be very odd to finally be a “normal” student. [Stop laughing, danggit! I know you are because everyone else has so far when I have said this. I just replied, “Well, as normal as the rest of you!” No snappy comebacks yet from the other not-so-normal students.] I am looking forward to it, though.

Basically my whole time at GSLIS I have had a vastly different experience of our educational tools and environment due to having “privileges” that 98% of our students don’t have. These privileges meant that my view of, and access to, course web pages, bulletin boards, etc. was very different than most others. Of course, the power this gave me was to be—and was—only used for good. I will miss having access to a few bits and pieces as they were prime sources of important information that I did not get elsewhere. All in all, though, I am looking forward to being a “normal” student or, at least, as “normal” as any of us in the program here.

To all the wonderful students, staff and faculty with whom I have had the privilege to interact in the course of my duties as a member of “Team Awesome” (and User Services) over the last couple of years, I’d like to pass on some of the thoughts I relayed to Miss E, Jill, Matt and Martin this morning.

Thank you all for giving me the room I needed to grow as I put a very difficult part of my life behind me. I wish you all the best.

With all my love and respect,


It may not be as easy as Arthur makes it out to be, but nonetheless I shall try.

A cup of tea would restore my normality.

So now for that cup of tea. And then back to the paper on mapping thesauri.