Some things read this week, 19 – 25 August 2007

Saturday evening, 18 Aug

Nhat Hanh, Thich. Peace is every step : the path of mindfulness in everyday life. New York N.Y.: Bantam Books, 1991.

Finally got back to some of this.

Sunday, 19 Aug

Three NISO standards are up for reaffirmation so I read these this morning to provide my input:

ANSI/NISO Z39.77-2001 Guidelines for Information About Preservation Products

Abstract: Specifies the information that should be included in advertisements, catalogs, and promotional material for products used for the storage, binding, or repair of library materials, including books, pamphlets, sound recordings, videotapes, films, compact disks, manuscripts, maps, and photographs.

ANSI/NISO Z39.79-2001 Environmental Conditions for Exhibiting Library and Archival Materials

Abstract: Establishes criteria to minimize the effects of environmental factors on the deterioration of library and archival materials on exhibit. Specific parameters are recommended for exposure to light, relative humidity, temperature, gaseous and particulate contaminants, display techniques, and case and support materials composition.

ANSI/NISO Z39.82-2001 Title Pages for Conference Publications

Abstract: Explains how to structure title page information for conference publications so metadata and bibliographic citations can readily access the publications. The standard applies to all disciplines, to all conferences (e.g., meetings, symposia, institutes, colloquia, workshops), and to all formats (e.g., printed documents, videos, Web sites). It applies to published conference proceedings in various manifestations (e.g., papers, abstracts, summaries) and in all languages, subjects, and formats.

Z39-77 and Z39.82 are quite interesting in that we are attempting to tell others what to do. Now, yes, if they do what we ask then it should be mutually beneficial.

Libraries are more likely to buy a company’s products if they can easily identify that it meets their needs. There are a few more benefits I could guess at but they would all be highly related to the first. Seems to be a fairly direct benefit to those wanting to sell preservation products to libraries.

The benefits to publishers/distributors of conference proceedings provided by accurate cataloging of their products by libraries seems a fair bit less direct, though. Sure. There’s the random, odd freak like me who likes to buy his own copies of these things after discovering them in the library, but I truly have to wonder what carrot we have to offer publishers to follow these guidelines. And what is the compliance rate? And then there’s the citation formats, and they do some vastly different things even when a proceedings follows this standard to the letter.

Interesting stuff, nonetheless.

Litwin, Rory (mostly). Library Juice Concentrate. Duluth, Minn: Library Juice Press, 2006.

Read the introductory matter and “Section One: Foundation Building,” which includes (all by Litwin except as noted):

  • “The Library Juice Manifesto.”
  • “Neutrality, Objectivity, and the Political Center.”
  • “Classic and Neo-Information.”
  • “Why Our Relevance Lies in Not Being Information Professionals.”
  • “Questioning the Techie Mission.”
  • “Print Virtue and the Ontology of Bo-ring.”
  • Rosenzweig, Mark. “Aspects of a Humanist Approach to Librarianship… A Contribution to a Philosophical Foundation.”

I believe that I read them all in their original manifestations (not sure about the Rosenzweig), but there is value in re-reading them. Which is to say, that there is value in them.

If I had time I would love to engage with Rory at a deeper level, particularly on “Classic and Neo-Information” and “Why Our Relevance Lies in Not Being Information Professionals,” but I doubt either of us have time for that. I do look forward to meeting and talking with this clearly deeply thinking librarian someday.

If you have not read this material before then you ought to have a look. In the case that you do not prefer to read lengthy arguments, do not worry, as all of the above fits into less than 38 pages.

I do not expect you to agree entirely; if at all. I do not agree entirely. But I guarantee that it will make you think.

In the spirit of the old Library Juice serial, I leave you with one of Rory’s “Selected Quotes of the Week”:

The more we try to get a grip on information, the more it slips through our fingers like a ghost. Information, in fact, is the ghost of meaning, and our society’s worship of the ghost signals a continuing loss of meaning. – Stephen Talbot (quoted in Library Juice Concentrate, p. 197)

Tuesday, 21 Aug

Crawford, Walt. Cites & Insights 7 (10), September 2007

Wednesday, 22 Aug

Litwin, Rory. Library Juice Concentrate. See above.

Began Section Two: Librarianship: Professional Issues. Read:

  • Litwin, R., Luis Acosta, Mark Hudson, and Margaret Myers. “Critical Discussion of the Better Salaries Initiative of Mitch Freedman’s ALA Presidency.”
  • Litwin, R. “Undone by Flattery.”

There are some interesting points made by all in the Better Salaries discussion, but I have to wonder about something Luis Acosta wrote. At least at the time (mid-2003), Alcosta seemed to firmly believe in the looming, or even then extant, shortage of librarians and crisis in recruitment. He also made a direct connection between better pay and having an adequate number of MLS students. Perhaps perceived low pay is an issue in recruitment to the profession.

My main issue is with his contention that by having a large crop of entry-level workers to go into better paid positions when the huge crop of pending retirements happens library administrators will be less willing to replace these retiring librarians with non-MLS positions or not at all.

Besides all the other factors that go into whether or not a position is filled and with whom, and the problem of replacing (mostly) upper-level positions with entry-level ones, I really am having a hard time understanding just how having to pay more is going to positively effect whether management hires someone with an MLS. Seems the opposite is more likely.

Thursday, 23 Aug

Harris, Roy, and Christopher Hutton. Definition in theory and practice: Language, lexicography and the law. London: Continuum, 2007.

Read Preface & ch. 1 “On Stipulative Definition.”

Friday, 24 Aug

Harris and Hutton. See above.

Read ch. 2 “On Definition and Common Usage” and ch. 3 “On Real Definition.”

Litwin. See above.

Finished Section Two: Librarianship: Professional Issues. Read:

  • Litwin, R. “On Google’s Monetization of Libraries.”
  • Litwin, R. “The Central Problem of Library 2.0: Privacy.”
  • “Rory Litwin interviews Barbara Tillett.”

Read all of these in their original manifestations, also.

Saturday, 25 Aug

Zelle, John M. Python Programming: An Introduction to Computer Science. Wilsonville, OR: Franklin, Beedle, 2004.

Finished ch. 1 (began Thurs. eve) and read ch. 2.

Litwin. See above.

Read Section Three: Intellectual Freedom and Media Independence and began Section four: Librarians: Culture and Identity:

Litwin, R. “Four Popular Errors About Free Speech …An Attack on Complacency and Dissociation.”

Oliphant, Tami. “The Invisibility of the Alternative Media.”

D’Adamo, Chuck. “Some Alternative Press History.”

Horne, Doug. “Information-Seeking During Wartime: Reconsidering the Role of the Library in Increasing User Sell-Sufficiency.”

Litwin, R. “A Librarian’s Confession.”

Downey, Allen, Jeff Elkner and Chris Meyers. How to Think Like a Computer Scientist: Learning with Python. Green Tea Press. [Ha ha, I was drinking green tea when I read this.] Available here in assorted forms.

Raber, Douglas. The Problem of Information: An Introduction to Information Science. Lanham, Md: Scarecrow Press, 2003.

Read the final chapter, “Semiotics for Information Science.”

What can I say about this book that I haven’t already over the last few weeks? I don’t really know. Perhaps a little recap will suffice.

This is, by far, the most poorly edited book I have read in an extremely long time! This is a shame.

I feel that this is an important book and yet I cannot recommend it. Perhaps in a discussion with a specific individual and for a specific purpose I might, but otherwise no.

I am glad I read it and I would like to own a copy for future referral, but I will wait until I can find a good used copy for cheap.

Style is certainly an individual thing, but I feel this could have been written much more clearly.

In its defense, it did provide me with a long list of references to many good sources.

According to the Preface, this “book was written with beginning LIS students in mind; it should be accompanied by the reading of contemporary journal articles from the literature of information science” (vii).

I wholeheartedly disagree! Please do not inflict this book on beginning LIS students. And while I do agree that it must be read along with accompanying articles I question the use of contemporary. If this means the last 40 years (at least), then OK. If that means more like 5-8 years then No. Many of the important articles to this discussion are not exactly what I’d call contemporary, although there certainly are some.

Bodily imposed time out

I want to apologize to everyone who has commented on my last two posts, and to several other people who I owe responses in various venues. I did not mean to start a wonderful conversation and then leave it, but I must for the moment.

While waiting on the bus to come home this afternoon I started feeling extremely poorly. I tried taking a nap when I got home but despite being immediately and immensely tired I pretty much failed at napping.

I have been hydrating myself and have now eaten dinner. Nothing is helping at the moment. I need to give myself a break it seems. So I am stepping away from these computers for the evening.

I am sorry! As the comments started pouring in this morning I was itching to get the day over (work and 1st class of the semester) so that I could address them.

I promise I will get to them as soon as I can.

For the record, I was aware of the potential hypocrisy of complaining about del.icio.us feeds in blogs compared to my weekly “Some things read” posts. In fact, probably hyper-aware as it kept me from writing that post for almost 2 weeks. I will attempt to address this issue when I return, but it goes back to my comments about the blog author’s purpose. There certainly will be others who will not see any difference between these actions. This is true.

Web-based bibliographies, Zotero, and a possible opportunity

Request your thoughts on web-based bibliographies

As I wrote previously, I am taking Bibliography this semester.

Today (Wednesday) was the 1st day of classes, and since it was “actually” a Monday (don’t ask), and this is an on-campus class, the 1st day of Bibliography will meet next Wednesday, when Wednesday is truly Wednesday.

[Seriously! I’m not babbling; this makes perfect sense to those of us at UIUC. Or, at least we deal with it.]

I am taking it for full credit and, thus, 80% of my grade will be based on one of the following:

  • “An annotated bibliography or a paper on a bibliographical topic” of “20-50 pages (or 10,000 words)” (Course Protocols).
  • “Several [8] short papers or examinations on assigned topics or in assigned areas” (Course Protocols).

Personally, I lean to the 1st option. But I’d like some input as I may try and slightly co-opt the medium of expression.

When I wrote to Dr. Krummel for permission to take the course, I said my interests were in working on a bibliography of Dr. Richard Stivers’ writings or in compiling my working bibliography for my CAS project, which I hope to complete in the spring (the project, that is).

Seeing as I still have no real idea what I am doing for my project that presents a bit of a conundrum. I’d love to spend more time on Dr. Stivers’ stuff, but…. For one, I’m not so sure that is the best use of my time at the moment.

As most of you know, I read a lot of our literature and I do list it here with the occasional commentary. I, also, have recently migrated a fair amount out of EndNote into Zotero. [And I sure wish I hadn’t lost the vast majority of what I had had in Zotero, but there’s no use crying now. I do backup my Zotero database/export in a couple of ways now.]

Based on some conversation with my advisor, some of the previous bibliographies that I have done, some posts and comments that I’ve seen around the interwebs, etc. I think I’d like to try and do something with Zotero and my LIS readings. The question becomes, What?

Zotero has some big plans, some of which may be arriving this fall: Accessing your library from anywhere on the web, shared collections, and some other exciting things. But that is the future.

Note: I am not going to use the term webliography for a couple of reasons: I do not really care for it; my parsing of it means it’s about web resources only (or primarily); uh, oops, forgot the others. I will use the term bibliography to mean a collection of, and listing of those, resources in some meaningful order. In my case, the resources will primarily be items that would normally fall under the biblio- part of bibliography, that is, print books and articles, but will not be restricted to those.

What I’d like to hear from you all is some comments on the following [please feel free to consider the best of all possible worlds or/and keep our current state in mind]:

What purposes (if any) do bibliographies serve on the web? Is there one?

What form should web-based bibliographies take to support those purposes?

Should embedded COinS or some other OpenURL or similar technology be employed?

What would be the best way to present our literature in a web-based bibliography that might entice you to read some of it?

Would it work best for you divided by larger topic areas (Thesaurus construction, classification, cataloging, vocabularies, etc. [or something similar]), or by individual tags?

Feel to ask, and answer if you like, any other questions that you think may be important to the future of bibliographies on the web.

Theoretically, I ought to be able to output bibliographies by individual tags and I know I can by folder (topic areas). Some of the issues include inconsistent tagging, creating navigation for a large number of pages if I use tags, and multiple instances of many repeated items to be indexed by search engines, which will affect their rankings.

Also, which citation format do you prefer? [But only if you think you might use one of more of the bibliographies.] Zotero only outputs to a few right now, but more of those are coming, too.

I would really like to pursue this and see what can be done; unless I figure out my CAS project topic, but the chances of that happening quickly are slimmer than me. Besides creating some amount of bibliographies that I would be able to annotate in a better form that I generally do each week, I am figuring that I could write up the process of using Zotero to publish web-based bibliographies, what I learned in the process of pursuing this, create a stylesheet that would provide a good presentation of the bibliographies whether viewed on screen or printed, etc.

I will need to sell this to Dr. Krummel, I imagine. I would greatly appreciate any input that you can give me—either way—so that I can decide whether it is worth pursuing, and, if so, so that I may better sell the idea.

So, please, what do you think web-based bibliographies ought to be and become?

Thanks, in advance for all input.

A plea to those who output their del.icio.us stuff to their blog

Please don’t!

Maybe I should take a different tack first. Instead I will try to combine them.

If anyone reading this blog uses any means to output the items they add to del.icio.us as blog posts I would be interested in hearing your reasons for doing so. Now, if you have a blog that serves this purpose primarily then feel free to answer, although I already have a sense of some answers why one would do this.

My question is more to people who send this info to their “regular” blogs. I don’t know if this practice is taking off, or if I am just reading more people lately who do it. I do know that several people that I have read for a while have begun doing this.

Let me also admit that I have on a very rare occasion marked one of these posts as “Keep New” in Bloglines.

I am not claiming that one shouldn’t make their del.icio.us postings public. But there are ways to do so and are, I believe, so by default. If you think that you are providing a service to others—and you may well be—then you could always find another way to remind people that they can use the tools available within del.icio.us to watch your every move.

Now honestly, this has been bugging me for a while. I certainly do not mean to pick on Karen, and I had been intending to write this post days ago, but … do I a link to the Weather Channel blog or an Onion article?

OK, I know I’m about to lose half my readers, but I really do not find the Onion even slightly entertaining. I know it’s something all the “cool kids” are supposed to read and be able to discuss, sort of the hipster equivalent of knowing what happened last night on whatever the current hot reality TV show is. I don’t know why or how but, clearly, their vision of humor is somehow skewed from mine. Psst. And I honestly do not think many folks really get it either, but one must keep up appearances.

Anyway, my point—if anyone is still reading—is that regardless of what you are adding there is a 99.999% chance I could care less.

“So what is the problem,” you ask? “You’re using an aggregator, just ignore my post.”

Well, ignore may well become the operative word. The issue is that, despite what some think, dealing with all of this stuff does take real physical and cognitive labor. The physical labor is not generally the kind that makes you sweat, but it is the kind that may very well lead to overuse injuries.

I am a cataloger. I work at the computer all day. And if any of you are the slightest bit familiar with our systems you know what a nightmare of usability that they are. And then there are the design choices committees of librarians make about how to set up the search options in an OPAC and the various entries to it that compound the problem for someone who needs to do anything besides a keyword search.

On the cognitive front, just like you, I have more than enough to slog through and I try to subscribe to information sources from people whom I truly want to read. This is not to say that I am guaranteed to want to read every word that you write. Certainly not. But if I have kept your feed around then a conscious decision has been made that I find what you post of value, at least generally.

Adding your del.icio.us stuff to your general blog is a guarantee that—for me—you have just significantly impacted that decision in a negative manner.

If you rarely add stuff to del.icio.us then I probably will barely notice. But if you add stuff almost as frequently as you post….

Maybe this is just me. I don’t know. And you probably shouldn’t care if I read your blog or not. But I ask that you give a few minutes consideration to what your blog serves as for you, and then consider whether adding your del.icio.us content to it serves that purpose. If it is congruent, fine.

But I’m wondering whether it truly is. And while I advocate doing what you want with your own blog, always, I also realize that generally part of the point is to have folks read it. So, be sure to consider whether this additional content also serves as a useful and appreciated bit of content for them.

In my case, the answer is almost 100% No.

Fall schedule

Classes

I am taking 2+ classes this semester:

Foundations of Information Processing in LIS with Dave Dubin (one of the most brilliant and generous men I have ever met)

Covers the common data and document processing constructs and programming concepts used in library and information science. The history, strengths and weaknesses of the techniques are evaluated in the context of our discipline. These constructs and techniques form the basis of applications in areas such as bibliographic records management, full text management and multimedia. No prior programming background is assumed.

Python programming.

Bibliography with Don Krummel, Professor Emeritus (one of the very few currently teaching emeritus faculty whom I have not taken a course with and a grand and erudite gentleman)

Covers enumerative bibliography, the practices of compiling lists; analytical bibliography, the design, production, and handling of books as physical objects; and historical bibliography, the history of books and other library materials, from the invention of printing to the present.

I would be a complete fool not to take this course with Dr. Krummel. I’ve been wanting to for a long time and now is my best, or only, chance.

By the way, this description has nothing to do with my distributed conversation across the biblioblogosphere the last 2 days. Seriously. But, yes, this will be based on the physical book. The historian in me will enjoy it.

But, more importantly to me, the product of the bibliography is applicable in a far greater context; it can cover many more containers than bound & printed books, and it itself can be contained in a variety of containers. E.g., see this bibliography.

The + is my independent study….

Work

As of yesterday, I am now a monographic cataloging graduate assistant along with being the serials cataloging graduate assistant. I’ll be working 60% on top of my classes.

I began monographs this summer but it was as an hourly. Now I get a steady wage and have to work a prescribed number of hours, but I get vacation and sick days. Yay for vacation! [If I could only learn what this concept is supposed to mean. :) ]

This is the schedule for now. I need to fit Metadata Roundtable in there. ASIS&T 2007 in October. LEEP Weekend since Dave’s class is a distance class. Applying for jobs; perhaps interviewing….

Book, music, communication, content, social

This post is technically only for me, but feel free…. It is, in effect, a manually constructed “del.icio.us post” to collect the comments that I have made in the last day or so on issues of language. Oh, and some added-on self-analysis and rumination.

Books

See Also…, A study of scanning habit : a couple of comments

Pegasus Librarian, The Book-ish-ness of Books : a couple of comments

Life as I Know It, A Book Is A Book Is A Book – Or Is It? : a couple of comments and an email exchange. Thanks, Jennifer! And I apologize for making your “head heart.” ;)

Music

Pegasus Librarian, The Book-ish-ness of Books : a couple of comments (but the same as above under Books)

Communication, Content, Social

Stephen’s Lighthouse, Internet Activity Index – From communication to content

Other word issues from last couple days

On Assumptions about language use in tagging : my own post and especially my multiple comments on it.


Before I get to my self-analysis prompted by much of this discussion, I would like to say that:

All I can say is that I hope I have been reasonably coherent across this discussion, that I am thankful to everyone for making me think, and for participating in this conversation. I also hope that whether folks agree with me or not that they see that I think there is an important difference in these two (allowed) uses of book and that I am not just being pedantic.

Sorry, ripped myself off from my own comment at Jennifer’s place.

[All the below is really just me talking to me. Read it if you must. Perhaps it’d be better not being here. I don’t know. Perhaps it’ll do someone some good to see that others have serious questions in their own lives, too.]

I am not trying to be a pedant. I am not trying to be an ass. I am not trying to tell others how to use language.

I am trying to show that it might matter how they do, and why it does.

I am at an odd place in my life and in my career. For many reasons, I do not know “my place” in either. I have some vision(s) of how I might fit into the profession, but it is a difficult position. In fact, it is a position that I seem to be adopting along many axes. Bridge; boundary object.

I am not a good researcher, and quite likely never will be. I am (at the moment) not a good practitioner. That, I full well know, can be remedied. I have been an extremely good practitioner; in this field and others. But at the moment I am a neophyte struggling with a complex form of practice; one which some people would argue that I, and people like me, can never really succeed at. I even accept that argument; at least, in the best of all possible worlds. But we do not have that world; so I struggle to become a good descriptive and subject cataloger, be that traditional cataloging or metadata. [I was telling Tracy just today that things would be better if I could just be Candide….]

But I do, in many ways, by bent and education, sit in the middle of practice and research. I am reasonably good at seeing how each matters for the other. Kind of hard to make a living at that, though. And one always runs the risk of becoming a thorn in the side of both camps. C’est la vie!

This is one of the biggest splits in our field I feel. Perhaps I’ll have to learn to accept a measure of success as something along the line of 1-2 helped in their thinking and/or navigating the theory-practice divide to 10-12 regretting that they even heard of this particular thorn.

Praxis (in the Donald Schon sense) is what I want to affect and effect.

Kathryn and I had a discussion of something I might do in the realm of knowledge organization research today. It seems to fall into the middle ground as above. Pauline said she expects me to do important work. Bridging this divide, or more importantly, helping others do so, is important work. She didn’t say it’d be easy work. And I’m sure she didn’t mean so either.

But as your girl says:

and the woman who lives there can tell
the truth from the stuff that they say
and she looks me in the eye
and says would you prefer the easy way
no, well o.k. then
don’t cry

i do it for the joy it brings
because i’m a joyful girl
because the world owes me nothing
and we owe each other the world
i do it because it’s the least i can do
i do it because i learned it from you
and i do it just because i want to
because i want to

Ani DiFranco ¤ Joyful Girl ¤ Dilate

Or, for the other view:

come on kids, let’s all hold hands
and pretend we’re having a good time

so just suck up and be nice

cuz i’m a pixie
i’m a paper doll
i’m a cartoon
i’m a chipper cheerful free for all
and i light up a room
i’m the color me happy girl
miss live and let live
and when they’re out for blood
i always give

Ani DiFranco ¤ Pixie ¤ Little Plastic Castle

Jesus, my friend, how did we get here again?

I’m a small honeybee
I drown in the water
you are my hand in the well.
HOLD ON

Bif Naked ¤ Hold On ¤ Purge

Musical construction and judgement

[Yes, I realize that is a British (or alternative) spelling of judgment. I prefer it. It looks stupid to me otherwise.]

I know that many of you could care less, but I have added a section on many of my musical compilations to my web site. Perhaps I should stipulate that I mean since the era of CD recording, and, more importantly, the era of CD recording in my life.

I have made assorted compilations since at least 1979. All of these were meaningful to me in some sense. But beginning in 1999 and the experience of my divorce I began recording these more as musical diaries. As I say on the main music page:

The following is a list of the CDs that I have recorded mostly for myself, often for others. I got my audio CD recorder in mid-1999 about the time of my divorce because there were too many CDs to split. Seeing as that is also about the time I came back to life in a very real sense I naturally started recording compilation CDs – but from now on they’d serve in a more symbolic way. They became about the construction, deconstruction, reconstruction, delineation, and judgment of the world in which I find myself, and the one I would like to see realized… In other words, they are, in a sense, my diary. I’d like to issue a hearty caveat lector though. Do not read too deeply into any particular lyric, concept, etc. In some cases I have captured the mood better than in others, in some I can no longer recall the original meaning, sometimes I can but it has a different one now… These are all consequences of, or are they data, or maybe premises for, my theory of music.

You may notice that they start losing titles near the end. Lack of finished liner notes happened even sooner. This is a real shame as there is really no way to go back and do them. Meanings shift or are forgotten. The last several were recorded under some of the worst conditions of my life. I was recovering from severe clinical depression and the realities of the world in which I found myself—and in particular, my job—had me completely unbalanced and highly suicidal. Those last few rarely are listened to anymore; they are too painful.

The page ends kind of abruptly about this time in 2003. That is the last CD compilation—as diary—that I made. I did record a 2-disc compilation for jennimi in the very early days of this year based somewhat on another binary set that are “deeply” meaningfully named Cataloging Music and Cataloging Music 2. Thankfully I did a better job naming the compilations I sent her. Those are the only compilations I have recorded since August 2003. Grad school, even as ridiculously easy as an LIS education is, got in the way.

I would love to get back to the recording of music that is deeply meaningful to me. I am—again—trying to be better about journaling. Blogging has had a serious negative impact on keeping a journal of things not said out loud and publicly. Hopefully there is some meaning in those things I do say “out loud and publicly,” but there is far more in what is not said.