habitually probing generalist

Change of blog name

I have changed the name of my blog. Again. This time it should not break any of the Internet nor should you need to change feeds; I hope.

3 years ago tomorrow I moved my blog to WordPress and renamed it Off the Mark. This was after a few years of blogging at Typepad under the name …the thought are broken…. I had put out a call for suggestions and for slightly different reasons both Walt Crawford and Richard Urban recommended Off the Mark. For those and other reasons I liked it. But over time various (possible) connotations have been bugging me. I was certainly aware of them then but I dismissed them, at least in my own mind.

A few months after renaming my blog I read an article for a class and my tagline was born. That tagline is now being promoted to the name of my blog. Henceforth, this space is to be known as habitually probing generalist.

I feel that that far better represents me and how I’d like to be known. For now, Off the Mark will be my tagline.

In the interest of disclosure, I feel that the primary reason for this change is that which I stated above—Off the Mark carries certain negative connotations which I no longer am willing to ignore and habitually probing generalist better represents the external face I want to present. Secondarily, though, I cannot deny that the phrase “off the mark” is heavily represented and used on the Internet. There is a greeting card company with that name (I have enjoyed giving a card or 3 to others from that company; check them out) and at least another blog or two, besides being a common phrase in its own right. “Habitually probing generalist” appears to be only used by me and a few others who have referenced my tagline. Thus, I am laying claim to it. Carole Palmer deserves a boatload of credit for it but I alone am responsible for this specific formulation.

Working toward this change I made myself a new favicon about 2 weeks ago. No longer is my favicon barely distinguishable pink flowers but is a blue background with a whitish “hpg” in it. I still need to do a little code editing so the fonts are switched for the name and tagline on the blog but that can wait. A looming physical move takes precedence.

With my blogging output over the last year a few of you might well ask “What is the point of a name change for a moribund blog?” Sadly, that is a valid question. I cannot make any promises but ….

CAS project

Friday I met with my academic advisor, Dean John Unsworth, about my CAS paper, for the first time in about 11 months. The gist of what we discussed is that things are settling down in my life (as much as possible for someone with a temporary job) and that I am ready, and looking forward, to beginning on the job of writing and defending this paper.

First, I must get physically moved across town and somewhat unpacked but then I should be able to devote far more time to it than I was willing to over the last year. The love of my life and I will live together and there will be no more of that whose apartment are we going to?, are you/am I spending the night?, blah blah. Perhaps more importantly, I will have research time once my 2nd year Visiting Professor appointment starts 16 August. This should make a major difference in my mental ability to focus on the task at hand. Also, S will be majorly busy and working many hours in September and October so I hope to use some of that time to get back in the flow of reading and writing towards a directed end.

My time over the last year has by no stretch been a waste! I have read far more broadly in a vast array of disciplines, topics and genres, which has better prepared me to think about and critique the actual use of language and communication. I was on a panel at ASIS&T last year where I spoke about Integrationism in regards to tagging. I also attended the 1st Ethics of Information Organization conference this May.

I now have an idea for a draft proposal for a presentation at the 2nd Ethics conference next year. This also forms a small but core portion of my critique of the uses of the concepts of language and communication in LIS. Thus, working towards fleshing this out will be a big help in a key premise of my argument. I might also be able to then expand on it or shift it a bit to present at ASIS&T or the SIG-CR preconference next year in 2010.

I also have an idea for a way to have interested parties work with me to compile a “listing” of theories of language and communication used in LIS and citations of works that explicitly use them, well or not. On this head, though, I am first doing a bit of research to seed the list and to determine what might be the best tool to use for a (small, I assume) group to manage it while making it publicly available. Stay tuned.

… and this means what for the blog?

Well, I hope that I will blogging much of what I get up to. I will need to reread many things and refresh my memory of what they say. Summarizing these for the blog is a possibility, as is comparing and contrasting ideas. Bouncing ideas and/or draft paragraphs/sections of my paper or my conference presentation ideas off of my readers are distinct possibilities, too.

No promises. But. I hope that I can claim that—for the near future, at least—I am back.

Sing a song with a friend
Change the shape that I’m in,
And get back in the game,
And start playin’ again

John Prine. Clay Pigeons.

It’s like talking to the wall

He’s incommunicado
No comment to make
He’s saying nothing at all

Yeah but in the communique
You know he’s gonna come clean

[Communique – Dire Straits]

Seems I don’t have much to say anymore. We’ve all read of the death of blogging. The move to Friendfeed and Twitter. XYZ.

None of those are entirely true. I have plenty to say and a fair bit to talk about. [I have a whole series of posts about the Ethics of Info Org conference I went to at the end of May planned out and started]. But there are other things that I have chosen to give my time to.

Work

Recently I was engaged in a project at work which involved us processing about 41,000 volumes of serials and monographic series out to our Oak Street remote storage facility in a projected 10-week period this summer. We managed to finish the project in 6 weeks.

I was the primary cataloger, 95%+ of the time. As in I was 95% of total cataloger time spent on it. This means that conservatively I had “critical eyes” on 1000 bib records a week.

I lasted just over 5 weeks before my mind shut down on me. Pretty much literally. Luckily El Diablo was there to step in and finish the project. By the time a couple days passed and I was ready to return they had wrapped it all up.

In other work-related news, I have accepted an offer for another year as a Visiting Serials Cataloger and Visiting Assistant Professor of Library Administration. Yay for knowing I’ll have a job in the near future. The current contract was over 15 August so this is none too soon. [Hopefully the Trustee’s approval will be routine.]

Moving

I have met the woman I was destined to spend my life with. She is my heart and soul and shortly I will no longer live alone.

At the end of the work day, I go home to do every thing that our project team was doing. I am pulling, inventorying, checking, boxing and slinging the boxes for our move across town. “Life is grand.”

Well, life was grand. A wrinkle has been added which complicates things, to say the least. I am kind of stressing right now but will recover. I’d put my moving skills up against anyone’s. Sad as that may be.

In this department life can throw whatever it wants at me. I care little, even if it stresses me in the short-term. I am shortly moving in with the woman who I have chosen to give my time (and life) to. I shall give her as much of it as is required.

Another wrinkle has arisen in the time it has taken me to finish this post. If it appears somewhat disjointed I apologize as the several weeks it has taken has required several rewrites and as many removals and additions.

New Employee Recognition Day

A couple weeks back the library held its annual New Employee Recognition Day. Seeing as I was hired within the last year I was—like all others hired in the last year—introduced by the Dean. Based on the state of this humble blog in the past year I was horrified that the vast majority of my intro came from my About page here. My being named one of “The LISNews 10 Blogs to Read on 2008” was trotted out as I shrank in embarrassment. At least it made me realize I need to update that page.

The blog

Speaking of the blog, there are going to be a few changes around here soon. Does that mean I may finally start posting again? I can’t really say.

One of my first thoughts upon hearing the Dean tell everyone assembled at NERD (Oops, I doubt they mean for that acronym to be used) was to simply kill it entirely. Oh, yes. I did seriously consider that.

But as several other libloggers have written recently, I like having this space in case I do want to share and get around to doing so. It’s nice to know it is here waiting on me.

Was having trouble getting in to my own domain recently for assorted reasons but finally got it figured out. Thus, I just upgraded from WordPress 2.7 to 2.8.1 with one click (after backing up). Plugin upgrades also only required one click each. Wow! Can I just say “Wow!”

Anyway. Enough of this blather for now. It is time to kill this thing and just post it. With any luck anyone still out there will be hearing from me again soon.