Upgraded to WordPress 2.5

I have just upgraded to WordPress 2.5 so please let me know if you notice anything wonky going on.

I need to upgrade my template probably but I do not like all the changes that were recently made to it. Thus, I’ll stick with the older version until I find time to modify all I don’t like about the new version or else find a new one.

I also left the Live Comment Preview turned off as it hasn’t worked since I upgraded to WP 2.3 anyway.

The biggest change is that I have removed my contact form. I was getting way too much spam from it. I hope to find another solution that meets my requirements for ease of use and security, but I’m not counting on it.

In the meantime, I have put my (new) email address on that page. If you desire to contact me please feel free to email me at mark {dot} r {dot} lindner {at} gmail.com. Just make sure to type that last name correctly. 😉 That is probably the prime reason I want a contact form; most people have issues with getting it right.

As for the new interface I’m reserving judgement for now. I have already seen a few things I am not so happy with but most will probably just involve getting used to.

As for some of the changes I’ve read about, such as paragraph (and other) formatting not being hosed I’ll see soon enough. As of the moment and in this simple post I see no difference in the Visual vs. HTML interface. I really have a hard time with something calling itself an HTML editor and not showing me paragraph tags, though.

Andrea Mercado and her Conversants article

This is going to be kind of weird but I don’t know what else to do. 🙁

Andrea Mercado of LibraryTechtonics has a new post, Article in Conversants. Recommended, by the way.

I read her post and then her article, Making library schools smarter. Conversants is using CommentPress which I am happy to see, but until I know whether I will read and comment regularly I really have no desire to set up yet another account. So I went back to Andrea’s post and attempted to make a comment there. Eventually I got a captcha but with no image. Seems to be a fairly frequent issue with some of those captcha plugins, unfortunately.

So I refreshed the page hoping to maybe luck out. No luck and it also told me I was submitting a duplicate comment. Huh? Did I or did I not succeed the 1st time? OK. She has an email contact form. Paste my comment in there, explain the situation and how I hope I’m not unknowingly overloading her and hit send.

Nope. That failed too.

Now, honestly, this comment is not that important. But I would like to talk with Andrea about her undergrad alma mater and I was hoping that email contact form would be my means of doing so.

I imagine there are lots of reasons these things could be failing me. OCLC and Voyager were certainly screwing with me enough today so maybe it is me. But some days I really despise the internet. You try and have a conversation and it does everything in its power to thwart you. Far too frequently.

Captchas that don’t load an image. Completely unreadable images in captchas. Requiring accounts at a million places. People with Blogger (or other) blogs that only allow those with Blogger/Google accounts to comment. And on and on ad infinitum.

All I can say is this internet thing is at about the level of an 18-month old in conversational skills right now.

Anyway, my comment is reproduced below with the hopes Andrea will see it and perhaps comment so I can get her email addy so I can have the real conversation I want to have. 🙂


Interesting article, Andrea. I wanted to comment over there but until I am sure I will read (and comment) there often I am NOT setting up another account.

In paragraph 7 you talk about tech skills which I can only assume you mean should be had before entering school. How do you intend for schools to pragmatically assess such skills?

Here is a link to our admission requirements and also to those intended to be acquired before leaving:
http://www.lis.uiuc.edu/admissions/requirements/tech.html

By the way, these are being upgraded from the pathetic state they are in right now (floppy disk, anyone?). But they are in no way checked as neither are the ones “expected to be acquired during your time at GSLIS” so I am unsure what purpose they really serve.

I do agree that these are important and that something needs to be done. But how is that to be accomplished? Are we going to require potential students to show up on campus prior to final submission of the application process for an interview? Or are we going to do like some of the preppier schools my boy applied to and have an alum out in the “local” community (perhaps 100s of miles away in reality) do the interviewing? That could be a long, slow process until we get enough qualified alums to do the interviewing.

While both of these might, in fact, be feasible I do not really seeing the schools implementing either.

Any thoughts? Thanks for the link to the article and the journal.

… and number one is fleshing out these dreams of mine.

Atlanta’s a distant memory
Montgomery a recent blur
and Tulsa burns on the desert floor
like a signal fire

I got Willie on the radio
a dozen things on my mind
and number one is fleshing out
these dreams of mine

Cowboy Junkies — 200 More Miles

A little over a week ago I wrote to a handful of those I consider myself close to to tell them of a recent decision of mine. It was quite gratifying and reaffirming to hear back from many of them over the next couple of days, and by a half dozen of them within an hour of sending them my message! My friends are amazing!

Those locally I have been trying to catch up with personally, although I have missed a couple due to Spring Break happening this past week. [Sara, I’ve been looking for you.]

Perhaps, though, I should start at something like the beginning.

I have been at this university education thing for a very long time. For the last ten and a half years I have been at it mostly full-time. All the while I have been employed at least half-time and often more. There was a 3-year period, sort of in the middle, where I worked full-time and went to school half-time for the fun of it … and because the university paid for it, I was able to take classes with people I really cared to learn from, and it kept my loans in deferment.

I have actually been in and out of the higher ed classroom for far longer seeing as I entered Illinois State in 1998 with 118 hours of accepted transfer credit (90 of which I could apply) accumulated during my time in the Army.

Over those 10+ years of mostly full-time schooling I have “progressed” in the ways in which I deal with the joys and stresses of the classroom and, even more so, with the kinds of work students are expected to generate so that their learning can be codified and graded. It started out being fairly difficult and while it (the product) always remained difficult to produce the ways in which it is difficult changed such that at some point the process actually became quite easy such that producing products which demonstrated my learning was easy. Difficult work, but easy nonetheless [I hope that makes some sense].

I seem to be long past that point anymore. I have loved my time at GSLIS for many reasons, but for a long time now I have been increasingly unhappy with the process of higher education. I have often complained of the semester system—here on this blog and elsewhere—and especially lately have complained of the need come the end of the semester to produce something which an instructor can grade. Have not my efforts to learn, to challenge myself, my classmates and the instructor already been amply demonstrated throughout the semester?

Simply put. I am burnt out.

This was to be my final semester and I was going to end it with a 3rd Mother’s Day graduation. My only real task was to write my CAS paper and defend. After consultation with my advisor, GSLIS admin, and my employer I have decided to put myself on a non-academic “sabbatical.” That is, I am taking an incomplete and doing other things for a while.

I shall not go into all of the details of the thought process or situation but the only negative thing that can honestly be said is that I won’t be “done” in May. Theoretically, I need to finish before the start of next Spring semester.

I am still working my 2 assistantships at 60% time. Thus, I haven’t really freed up much time. I will still attend the seminar on subject access/analysis, although I have unfortunately not been attending Allen’s ontologies class for several weeks now [Remember, I am just sitting in on these classes].

I m still applying for jobs although I am seeing very few that are appealing or which I feel qualified for. There are many other sorts of jobs I would consider but the ones in those lines of work (terminologies) which show up in the places I am looking seem to mostly be massively corporate or government, mostly defense.

Yes, I am applying for jobs. I have had an MLS for almost 2 years now. While I would have preferred to be finished with my CAS before taking a job there is really no reason to do so. As far along as I am now will only require me to come back—if I leave—for one day to defend; everything else can be done electronically.

My goal is to focus my energies elsewhere for a while—large portions of my life have been on hold for most of these past 10 years. What little time I gain by not actively working every free moment on my paper will be easily filled. I already have a list of projects, some major, and I haven’t even had to put any effort into identifying them.

I have finally figured out a system for organizing all those photocopied or printed out articles, book chapters, etc. that will work for me for now and which is flexible enough to grow and change with me and my interests. Many of you probably can’t even begin to imagine the amount of paper I have in folders, folders in boxes, and so on. Let’s just say that it is a lot. So I am entering them into Zotero, frequently backing up Zotero, and physically organizing them. Will I ever get finished? Not likely, no. But if I can get most of the important and more recent ones organized I will be happy.

I’d also like to try and fix many of the broken links in this blog that exist due to the migration from Typepad to my own domain. I haven’t started on that yet and I have concerns about how it might affect people’s feeds but we’ll just have to see. I doubt I can or even want to fix every link but there are quite a few I do want fixed.

Most all of my books now reside in my apartment and not in storage anymore so I would like to get more of them into my LibraryThing catalog.

I also still need to find an email and a feed reader solution to my current woes.

There are, of course, a million other things I could add; some more pressing than others. Asking someone out on a date is near the top of the list. Unfortunately, I know of no prospects at the moment. But perhaps a little more engagement with the wider world will present one. 🙂

Lest you think my CAS paper has evaporated, I can assure you that it has not. My plan is to primarily focus on other things for a while, perhaps even through summer. I am in the process of reading two books directly related to my topic but I have put them to the side for a bit. I hope to pick those up soon and work through them a bit more slowly than I have been. Basically, I have been cramming things into my mind non-stop since last May when I more or less came to my topic. No time to think, no time to muse, and certainly nothing approaching slow reading.

A short five years ago I was able to read DeLillo’s White Noise once and then produce a 14-page analysis of the lived morality as presented in the novel which actually impressed one of the professor’s I most admire in the world. Part of that may be due to lots of exposure to thinking about morality—both academically and as experienced in daily life—over the years. But part of it is where I was in my progress of academic productivity [pretty much in top form at that point].

My CAS paper has taken me into a realm where I have little formal education and where much lay thinking is mistaken due to two millennia of Western culture and education. Thus, I have had to work extra hard trying to come to grips with what I want to “produce.” Now that it is time to do so my mind has rebelled.

At first, when I floated the idea of perhaps delaying this a bit it was lovingly suggested that I “just do it” and then I could relax and follow this more where I want to take it as I further develop my research agenda [something I can actually say I have now]. I had to concur that that would be lovely. But I left that meeting feeling quite apprehensive. A week later when I went back to re-discuss my options it was readily agreed that my current plan is what is needed and it was immediately supported.

There are many reasons why the wise woman who is my advisor agreed a week later after trying to nudge me forward a week earlier. The reasons are no doubt complex, but when I asked her why she knew now that this was the right decision I was told that, “You turn gray. Today you aren’t gray and thus I know this is the right decision.” And here I always thought it was simply metaphor.

the sky is grey
the sand is grey
and the ocean is grey

and i feel right at home
in this stunning monochrome
alone in my way

ani difranco — grey — reckoning

This past Thursday when I told this story to one of my best friends ever—and my boss during what was probably the worst couple years of my life—she just looked at me funny for a few seconds. And then she said, “Of course you do!”

I guess all I can say is, “Here’s to learning to radiate all the colors of the spectrum!”

My intention regarding my paper is to distract my mind for a bit, dabble some directly on topic (soon), dabble on the periphery, let the mind do its own thing on its own time in the background, have conversations with others which will force me to be able to say what I want, and to finally get on it “full-time” come the start of the fall semester with the goal of defending at the end of fall.

I have received an enormous amount of support and validation from my advisor, other profs, GSLIS admin, the folks I work with at the Library, and especially from my friends and family. This, more than anything else, means the world to me. Thank you.

Sometimes I see myself fine, sometimes I need a witness.
And I like the whole truth,
but there are nights I only need forgiveness.
Sometimes they say, “I don’t know who you are
but let me walk with you some.”
And I say, “I am alone, that’s all,
you can’t save me from all the wrong I’ve done,”
But they’re waiting just the same,
With their flashlights and their semaphores,
And I act like I have faith and like that faith never ends
But I really just have friends.

Dar Williams — My Friends — End of the Summer

Off the Mark in 2008

There will be changes in this blog this coming year. Not necessarily, and, in fact, not particularly, intended. Those intended may well not happen.

“Some things read this week, …” posts will likely continue. They will be reconfigured somehow—not yet discerned—by the change in my reading habits, at least through mid-May.

As the year begins, I am working on a bibliographical essay tying Hjørland and Roy Harris (and Integrationsism) together. From there I will be embarking on producing my CAS paper as previously described here. This is a major undertaking for me as for achievements go; even academic.

I shall also be pursuing a job; preferably to begin shortly after defending my paper in early May. I could, in theory, start a job at any time. Although I still have 3 years from this coming May to finish my degree, I much prefer to finish this May and then start a new job. But I remain open-minded.

So, “Some things read …” posts will most likely be much simplified as I will mainly be re-reading things from (primarily) this past year, along with re-reading parts of things. I will want to keep some record for myself, but it need not be fully publicly expressed. I will comment when I have anything particular to say about a specific piece or idea, though.

I will be reading some other things, though, as I hope to sit in on 2 seminars: subject analysis and ontology development.

Seeing as how my “Some things read …” posts were a goodly portion of this year’s output I imagine output will shrink, for several months anyway.

I doubt I will be much engaged with any (other) big ideas or the biblioblogosphere either. Not due to lack of desire; there was so much I wanted to engage with this past year and/or more deeply engage. No doubt the future will remain the same on this one.

No idea as to how the job search will affect my blogging. My goal is certainly to get one and a good one that fits me, too. Perhaps less public display of my angst and pain is forthcoming.

I have some evidence that there is already wild speculation regarding what kind of decision I am currently putting off and hoping to forestall. If one were to go back a couple months in this blog and read forward (with some exemplars linked above) they would find much of relevance to decisions that must possibly be made. All three posts are long and cover several areas.

Perhaps they’re better left unsung” discusses the seminars I hope to sit in on this Spring (why linked above), issues with school (anymore) and especially Python class mid-semester, and depression (See especially the comments).

Certificate of Advanced Study Project” discusses my CAS (why), generally, originally (early plans), and the route to my current topic. Links to “Tunneling …“.

Tunneling for rabbits” is the first explicit description of where I am headed.

No doubt there are other commentaries sprinkled among my blog, but the situation is that I am right back to this “place.” Sure. Some, if not much, of the immediately felt/lived experience of mid-late Fall semester is only a memory, but the place I was and the decision(s) I felt I had to make soon, at the time, are back as full-strength, lived experience.

I’m kind of at the same place as Jennifer was, school decision-wise, mid-year. But for vastly different reasons. I adore my program. Sure, it has issues; every program does. But, all in all, it’s been great. Perhaps I just need a break. There’s much more that feeds into my “situation” but it all ends with staying in or leaving school.

On top of feeling this way, I must make serious forward progress with my work on Harris and Hjørland. As I wrote before,

Yeah.” Anyone got a match?

I really do not want to discuss this right now. That’s why it didn’t come up any time over Christmas. Emotional energy? I have none for this. I am thankful that it is delayed for the moment, and hopeful that it can be forestalled. For that to happen I must—besides going back to work—do a lot of (quality) serious work until the 11th. Spring semester starts the next Monday, the 14th.

Back to the (post) topic at hand, and the intended changes that may not happen. I would like to get upgraded to current WordPress version, and I’d like to get an install of CommentPress running. [Still says CommentPress isn’t playing well with the newest WP. So upgrading is secondary.]

If I could get a CommentPress install (as a 2nd blog) up and running I might put up some of my paper as it gets written. Or not. Would’ve been nice to have for the LC Working Group’s Draft final Report but that is water under the bridge.

So. Changes, possible changes, and not so much change but reversion to a postponed state.

Christmas visit with family and friends

I went to Falls Church, Virginia to visit family and friends 20 – 29 December. I got home yesterday evening. Drove to Bloomington (1 hour) and flew through Detroit to Dulles and back again.

Going out of Bloomington vs. Champaign is about $150 cheaper round trip and parking is free, which is a substantial savings. BMI now has free public wireless! Yay! Champaign did already for UIUC folks since it’s owned and run by the University, but I read recently that they opened it up to all of the public. Bravo! Now if only the larger airports could get on board.

I was overjoyed to have wireless in BMI on the way out since my flight hadn’t arrived and I got an update from Orbitz before the airline (Northwest) even mentioned it. It seems our airplane couldn’t see well enough to land and got diverted to Champaign to refuel before coming back to Bloomington. Other planes were landing and taking off, though. We left Bloomington after my flight to DC from Detroit had left; many others on our flight missed their flights.

I used the wireless to get several more updates from Oribtz and found a phone # for NWA. They had me re-booked already on a later flight out of Detroit so
I got to DC a couple hours later.

Coming home, our plane in Detroit had maintenance issues and we finally got another plane scheduled for about 3 hours later. Not too bad, but it’d sure be nice if the airline had paid for wireless. I think free public wireless should be at all airports, for many reasons. But until wiser minds see reason and understand service it’d at least be nice of your airline would provide it once you have a delay. Oh well. Travel; it could’ve been much worse.

I had a wonderful visit with my mom, sister, brother-in-law, niece, son, daughter; and friends, Miss E, and Christina Pikas and her husband, Mark. Thanks all.

Saw several movies. Ate assorted cuisine, including Vietnamese with Christina and Mark. Also had great Chinese with E. Played games. Talked. Went to the Natural History Museum and Botanic Gardens. Helped figure out the audio wiring in a new house. Helped with the cooking, sometimes. Ate lots of tasty food.

I fear Christina’s Mark had to suffer through a goodly amount of librariana/grad school talk. Sorry, dude.

No idea what the mail state is since it’s been held since the 20th. Perhaps it’ll get delivered tomorrow; I believe that’s what I asked for. Online holding of your mail is easy, btw.

I have to say that I’m already feeling overwhelmed. So much to do. Bottom line, I put off a major decision until after this visit. Now, I’m back and facing a massive deadline on the 11th of Jan. I was ordered to leave it be until after my visit, so I did. If this does not go well then it’ll be decision time. I have only discussed this with an extremely small number of people; can only think of 2 at the moment and I did not bring it up on my trip. While I love and trust everyone I saw on my trip, I wasn’t ready to discuss this. Don’t really have the words to explain it anyway.

I did 4 loads of laundry this morning, which is a large number for me. Went to the grocery store. Trying to do final updates to several posts; publishing one. Need to reply to a couple serious comments. Changed the header images on a single post and the main Archives page with some slices of a couple photos I took at the United States Botanic Garden. Published another post [Sorry if I’m overloading you, Christina.]

Photos of Christmas presents (known, to date; see mail comment above). Red penciled the current state of my bibliography. Read some. Watched 3 episodes of the Simpsons Season 2.

I know this is fragmented and brief. So much more could be said about many things.

I relaxed while on vacation, while I did not end on a relaxed and rested note, since I was tired most of the time on my visit. I might ought to broach a serious topic with some other folks, but I have to focus on moving forward towards the 11th first. If I reach that OK then other issues may melt away.

I really did enjoy spending time with everyone I saw. I sure wish my niece had been less sick, though.

Perhaps I’ll write more about this year ending and the new one beginning tomorrow. Perhaps not.

def:lld

Life. What the fuck is that anyway? How do we know if we’re living it?

Mama I’m strange
The thoughts and the wants are the locks on the back of my brain

Melissa Etheridge. “Mama I’m Strange.” breakdown.

Last week ended … weirdly. In a flattering way mind you, but nonetheless weirdly. One could do with more of (parts of) that.

Friday was a very slow day with a few hours to make up due to weirdness.

Last night I really slept like crap. I had multiple bad headaches. I could and did manage to find another “place” in my mind/head every so often but in every place I found another, different, bad headache. I should have went to bed way sooner than I did.

Stayed up too late, and watched a movie.

Now I’ve been sitting at this computer almost all day and I’m very tense. And if not at the computer(s), then I’ve still probably been sitting. Been freezing rain and stuff outside. Thankful I am for online public library renewal.

And, as one will notice based on further reading, I’ll be sitting at the computer(s) for a while now.

Aunt Wanda

Thursday my mom called to tell me that my Aunt Wanda had had an operation and that at some point she started fighting for her life. Mom called this morning to let me know that Aunt Wanda had passed earlier this morning.

… and i really don’t know how it happened so fast
how we all grew so old
how we fell out of touch …

Eva Hunter. “Cold Shivers.” Fancy Prairie.

I will most likely be attending a funeral in St. Louis in the next several days. Eva’s son, thankfully, does not tell the entire story.

I got to (re)know my Aunt just a few years ago. Unlike when I was a kid, I found her very comforting to be around and my view of our relationship and her importance in my life [mostly] from a very early age was dramatically shifted to the better. I am so glad for that. I haven’t seen her in a few years either now since last spending some quality time with her. I am so very sad about that.

I accidentally left a very important (personal meaning) knee pillow at her house the last time I was there. I knew it was safe.

Do I wear a uniform? How in the hell do I begin to answer that question now?

What I should be doing

Should be seriously focusing on bibliography. Need annotations (lots of re-reading), lots of synthesis (lots of re-readings), well-crafted essay on the connections between Harris and Hjørland and due fairly soon. Need drafty thing real soon. Finished in two weeks, perhaps.

Also have class in the rare book room Wed. AM to see 2oth century fine press books.

Only thing left in Dave’s class (Python) is a lecture next Thur. and then a take-home final which I’ll have a week for. Unfortunately during prime bibliographical essay writing time.

I have a draft of my CAS paper proposal (for Spring) out for comment. Awaiting feedback. Won’t make registration during Fall but want to be ready to register as soon as it re-opens at start of Spring.

As I hope any library-type reading this knows, the LC Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control Draft Final Report came out. Comments are only open until 15 Dec. Comment link on the previous link.

I began reading this Friday morning but haven’t gotten very far. This is very important in my opinion but the timing really sucks for academics (and many others) whose semesters will be wrapping during and until the deadline.

I hope I have time to comment on this. If I am tight on time (“if” haha.) then I may concentrate on the educational part 5. But maybe something else will really capture my thoughts as I read it, so who knows?

Little time to be as engaged in this as I would like. See my various comments re CommentPress version of this.

What I am doing

thinking I should clean my apartment. dead give-away.

books read in 2007 data collection. primarily this, but am also generating data for related things so I’m annotating in various ways as note-taking and data verification. But not on anything imminently critical. [did a lot of this earlier in the day.]

calling my brother-in-law for his birthday, Christmas-time arrangments discussion.

looking/listening for linguistically-related song snippets for use as epigraphs. no time to explain.

dreaming about going beyond what I need to be doing in the present re my CAS project. Doing what needs to be done soon is important, and it is a part of what needs to be doing overall, and a time to reflect, consider, synthesize, and present some of that coherently. All critical. Yet, still, I want to go on questing.

thinking about my aunt, and a funeral.

not thinking about the topic of my bibliography.

reading a bit more of the Working Group report. dreaming about what I’d love to do with it but simply cannot. We need a CommentPress version. Quickly.

writing blog posts. [across all of day.]

Recent life before now

I went to Columbus, OH to be with Sara, Max, and others for Thanksgiving.

Monday afternoon I went to Bloomington-Normal for a dental appointment. Saw my friends Mo & Chris and a few others. Ended the evening not feeling very well.

Slept like crap (not as bad as last night). Was sick on Tuesday. Unfortunately, where it was all overcast when I didn’t want to climb out of bed at 6 AM on Monday, on Tuesday when I didn’t climb out bed for a couple hours it was all bright out.

Need to make that missed time up during break.

Wednesday through the present, thinking & scribbling about (scholarly) annotation tools [began in the context of MDRT discussion pt. 2 on OAI-ORE.

A non-wrap up

So work towards my bibliography is most crucial and not getting done. Not capable of much sustained, coherent thought at the moment it seems. And the only serious reading I am trying at the moment is the LC Working Group report.

Life cares not a whit for good timing.

This is still confused and/or confusing, in an odd order, evasive, etc. Little of that is actually intended. Sorry.

“Perhaps they’re better left unsung”

If my words did glow with the gold of sunshine
And my tunes were played on the harp unstrung
Would you hear my voice come through the music?
Would you hold it near, as it were your own?

It’s a hand-me-down, the thoughts are broken
Perhaps they’re better left unsung

Grateful Dead ¤ Ripple ¤ American Beauty

As some of you know I am not doing so hot again.

Before I go any further, let me say “Thank you!” to those of you who check in with me, make me laugh and remind me that those I care about also must face their own demons. I think (hope) you know who you are.

There are so many reasons for my current situation; many are old and highly persistent. Many will never be mentioned here.

I am sick, again. Now many people in the world are facing far more serious health issues than I am. But, nonetheless, this almost constant low-grade ill feeling for the last year and a half or so has become tiresome, in multiple ways. It is also actively interfering with any attempt to actually get back in better shape so that I could generally feel better. Viciously circular, ’tis.

It is also that time in “the cycle.” Spring is, or at least used to be, much worse. A few of you are aware of why that is and I’ll leave it at that. But this past Spring went quite well; even dreadful expectation didn’t make it too bad. Oh, there were small issues, no doubt, but my hard learned coping skills were enough.

This time I’m not so sure. I still noticed the onset of “symptoms” and I have begun implementing those skills. Check. But something is different.

I’ve had a few realizations recently that have affected me deeply. One will never be talked about here but it is something which I absolutely cannot stand about myself. Perhaps it can change as it is a fairly recent phenomena.

The other has been building over time but has only recently found full expression. It, too, was fairly devastating for a while. I have since realized that, although true, it was only one side of the story. The other side, which I had been telling myself and many others, is also true.

Despite my continuing education being a way to avoid facing much about the state of my life, it still serves all of the more positive reasons that I have espoused. And those reasons will serve my patrons, my employer, and myself quite well.

In the meantime, I am about through with “school.” Although my education does not match most of those who have been (somewhat rightfully) complaining about the state of LIS education in the blogosphere, and elsewhere, it is starting to grate on me. In my case, it is not the content of LIS or any other discipline. It is school. Although I have an amazing department and set of professors and instructors who almost never give busy work or meaningless assignments or other kinds of assignments to be derided, I nonetheless could care less about doing most of my assignments.

I simply want to read and to discuss what I’ve read with folks who have also read and care about the issues involved. I don’t care if they agree with me either. Just make me think. Of course, I also want to spend time with people who think somewhat along the same lines as I do so that we may jointly attack issues and problems of merit.

Friday I turned in a midterm that almost had something along the lines of “I simply do not care” as answers for a few of the questions. I managed to do a little better than that because I am a big boy and do, on some level, care. This is not to say that I think any of the questions are meaningless, unimportant, or even busy work. I know that they are important and meaningful questions, and I greatly appreciate and respect that fact. But, personally, I could care less if tic-tac-toe can be modeled as a DFA or not. Nor do I particularly care why, and how many states it might require. Important? Yes. Meaningful? Yes. But those questions are for theorists of computer science to answer. And that person is not me.

Now I know (or at least feel) that that attitude is wrong. I especially feel bad since the person who almost received such an answer is the one who wrote and presented me with an award at my MLS graduation. I feel as if I am letting him down. I do not like that at all. But the mind leads one into painful territory when it goes into self-preservation mode.

So it is definitely time to get out of full-time school. Thankfully (God, I can’t believe I just said that), I am almost there. I have hopefully (awaiting confirmation) moved my Python class back from 4 to 2 hours meaning I won’t have to do a final project. So I have a few more small programs to write and a small final, I think. This leaves me a tad freer to keep reading what I am interested in, particularly towards my CAS project topic.

Of course, I will need to do my bibliography for Dr. Krummel. Now I’m pretty certain that I won’t want to do that either. But I’m fairly certain that I can motivate myself since it is pretty important towards making progress on my CAS project.

After that it is just my CAS project in the Spring. I am going to try and sit in a class or two, though. Allen Renear is teaching a class on Ontology development and Kathryn and Pauline Cochrane are having a seminar on Subject access.

590OD’s description is not in the catalog yet, but here’s the one for 590SA:

An advanced topics seminar in subject access that covers a range of topics including aspects of the traditional bibliographic canon, Hjorland’s philosophical challenges to universal subject access, ongoing discussions at the Library of Congress about Library of Congress Subject Headings, experimentations with hybrid folksonomic and taxonomic approaches, as well as case studies of how enhanced subject access can increase ROI in business and industry.

Hey! This is the first time I actually read the course description (as it matters not to my desire to sit in) and see? See? Hjørland. I need to be there. Of course, all the other clauses are good enough justification, too.

Some of you may be wondering why in the hell I’d want to sit in on more classes if I am fed up with school. Fair enough. But I said sit in, as in unofficially audit. I know Allen is fine with it. I am hoping Pauline and Kathryn will be. I can go and listen. I can prepare if I want to. And I can participate once in a great while when I can no longer sit on my hands and/or keep my mouth shut.

Besides, I’ve had several Ph.D. students, past and current, tell me that it is best to keep oneself somewhat engaged in something that interests you once you get to the full-time writing.

There is still the unspoken question about actually writing my CAS paper. I’m pretty sure that I’m OK here. Sure. I’d prefer to just read and discuss. But another of my problems is that I have almost no one to discuss with (in a manner conducive to my style of discussion. Not to dismiss those who gratefully continue to attempt discussing with me in this venue and by email). Despite the fact of writing very little for my classes while pursuing an education in LIS, I do well remember writing lengthy papers on complex topics. Grappling with one (or a few) main text and a few supporting or peripheral texts and working through some serious analysis and synthesis to produce something that one could be proud of is something I remember fondly from not too far back in the past [See the stuff under Sociology].

The thing to be proudest of was often the immense amount of learning that took place and not necessarily the actual product that was written. The actual writing of the paper only serves to focus the work of analysis and synthesis and, thus, the learning. And that can be a very valuable means to do so. It also serves as something for the professor to use as a judge of the learning that has taken place, but that is primarily a requirement of our educational system and not of learning proper.

So, assuming I can keep such experiential knowledge in mind, I think I can write my paper just fine. I may have few hopes, but this is an important one, and I am looking forward to it.

My plan at the moment is to keep reading and hopefully thinking about the issues. I was taking some notes but need to get better about it. I also need to enter more of my readings into Zotero and not just here.

From what I’ve read so far I need to pick out what I consider to be key texts and do the above with them if I haven’t already, along with writing some draft annotations. I need to identify what others seem to be potentially key and prioritize them. Some of what I have been reading has been driven by the 2- or 3-week loan periods with no renewals that a few lenders are imposing. Grrr!

As for my Python class, well, I just don’t know. I tried lots of things earlier today to get my 3rd program working. While I was able to get lots of assorted error messages, I was unable to get anywhere. Having tried so many different things I am now more confused than I was when I started. If I was ever on the right road I have no idea now. This one isn’t due until Monday afternoon so we’ll see.

There are avenues of help available to me but none of those really work for me. The effort to implement them is simply too great for me in my present state. They’d be a royal pain in a normal state. Now….

I do know I dropped a class as late as 11 Nov. once.

I haven’t had much time since getting back from ASIS&T to do what I should in this venue. I have lots of comments to get to, lots of emails—personal, school-related and professional—to attend to, and other ways in which I haven’t really treated others as well as I’d like, discourse-wise, over the last few weeks.

Lots of things to say/do but far too broken to say/do them. I hate being here and I do not like that person who incessantly whispers in every corner of my mind when I am. And, no, I am perfectly sane. I am well aware that that person is me.

I can no longer hear my own voice
nor am I holding it near

Perhaps they are better left unsung

I told you something was different this time. I do not know exactly what that is … but the fact that I’m using this song to illustrate something negative is breaking my heart. It is not the only positive touchstone that I have lost touch with.

Perhaps this whole post was best left “unsung.” Maybe so. But recently Kirsten reminded me that I, too, had been doing more self-censoring than I intended. Depression is rampant in our society and yet we do not talk about it. In the meantime, we get drug ads that convince people that “If you just took this pill you’d be fine.” Well, that is pure bullshit! “What is it about our society that is causing this level of depression?” is a far more important question in my mind than is designing some pill. But I’ll leave that battle alone for now in the interest of actually accomplishing something.

ASIS&T 2007 Annual Meeting Sessions, part 2

Monday, 22 Oct

Oops, I forgot the Alumni Reception in the evening. They had awesome food this year. Kudos!

Tuesday, 23 Oct

Poster Session III

Those of most interest to me:

Searching for Books and Images in OPAC: Effects of LCSH, TOC and Subject Domains. Youngok Choi, Ingrid Hsieh-Yee and Bill Kules (Catholic U of America)

Tagging and Findability: Do Tags Help Users Find Things? Margaret Kipp (U of Western Ontario)

Browsing with a Metadata Infrastructure for Events, Periods and Time. Ray R. Larson and Michael Buckland (UC-Berkeley)

I had a very nice conversation with Ingrid Hsieh-Yee and was able to thank her for her LC report generated as an action item from the previous “future of bib control” conference. See here for my initial comments on this report and a link to it. [If there had been wifi at the conference I could have looked this up and discussed some of these questions with the author.]

Larson and Buckland have presented on their project a couple times and it is a wonderful example of what can be done if we were to have vocabularies and authorities widely available.

Took a trip to Downtown Books for a fairly priced, used copy of the 2 v. set of John Lyons’ Semantics. I also picked up a copy of Borgmann’s Crossing the Postmodern Divide for a really good price. I’m pretty surprised that carrying those books around in the same bag for several hours didn’t result in a rift in the fabric of space-time. Hat tip to Tom for alerting me to Lyons availability in Downtown Books.

Social Computing, Folksonomies and Image Tagging: Reports from the Research Front. Samantha Hastings (moderator), Hemalata Iyer (SUNY-Albany), Diane Neal (NCCU), Abebe Rorissa (SUNY-Albany), and JungWon Yoon (USF).

Iyer:

  • User supplied image category labels. Thinks prototype theory is applicable to tagging.
  • In social tagging group labels tend to be superordinate. Individual labels = more Related Terms/non-hierarchical associative terms.
  • Not much structure; is structure desirable?
  • Influence of the 1st tagger is great – thus initial tags by author or professional. [Excuse me? Why the desire for control?]
  • Further exploration of prototypes and basic level needed in tag research.

Neal – PhotojournalsmAndUADs geotagged:ASSSIST2007MilwaueWI topresent [title; misspellings on purpose]

Rorissa:

  • There is no single model, nor any single method.
  • Change Ranganathan’s 2nd law to “Every user his or her overview of the document collection.”

Yoon – Semantics of User-Supplied Tags

Awards Lunch – sat with Christina

Tagging and Social Networks: The Impact of Communities on User-Centered Tagging. Heather D. Pfeiffer (NMSU), Edward M. Corrado (College of NJ), Margaret Kipp (Long Island U/UWO), Qiping Zhang (Long Island U), Heather Moulaisen (??) and Emma Tonkin (U of Bath).

Corrado – Social Tagging: Community Tagging or Personal Tagging in Communities? Tried to answer the question, “Are people really tagging socially?” by looking at the code4lib community.

Kipp – Patterns in Tagging: Collaborative Classification Practices in Social Bookmarking Tools. Looked at del.icio.us, Connotea and CiteULike.

Zhang – Social Tagging in China (co-researcher is Zhenzhong Sheng). Is looking at cross-cultural patterns in tagging in the long-run. This work reported on their attempt to answer what tagging is and how it is viewed in China.

Moulaisen – Social Tagging in France: The Evolution of a Phenomenon. Looked at the Tecktonic killer (dance) phenomenon among some French youth on YouTube and how tagging is used in that context.

Tonkin – Community in User-Centred Tagging.

  • Characteristics of tags depend on: interface, use case, user population, user intent/motivation for tagging.
  • Assertion: tags = ‘language-in-use.’ Informal, transient, intended for a limited audience, implicit
  • What’s in a tag? Marshall’s dimensions of annotation. [The Future of Annotation in a Digital (Paper) World, Catherine C. Marshall]
  • Participatory mechanisms in language development
  • Speech/discourse community
  • The ‘C’ words: Context, Community, Confusion … ?
  • Caution: seeing named social entities in a dataset may reflect preconceptions…

This was a very coherent panel. More folks who should be well funded if we want any answers.

Dinner with a large group of students from assorted places at the Water Street Brewery.

SIGCON. Quite a different attitude than last year regarding tagging. This year it was sanctioned and even the tools were provided and yet I saw very little of it happening. Last year a small handful of us illicitly made it happen. And call me bitter, if you will, but a little bit of props for SIGTAG would have been in line, not to mention intellectually honest.

I know I’m about the only one who doesn’t find LOLCats humorous. But that was not funny at all.

And what is it about IS/librarian-types that they have to pick on others in their humor? Is it because we feel so powerless ourselves? Sorry but I do not find it funny for librarians to diss paraprofessionals. In fact, it is unprofessional. Last year it was picking on the disabled.

Can I just say that I enjoyed myself far, far more last year. No disrespect meant to my friends that I sat with this year, but last year my posse was all new to me and we were actively involved.

Wednesday, 24 Oct

SIG HFIS (History and Foundations of IS) breakfast meeting. Breakfast and conversation with Marcia Bates, Michael Buckland, Toni Carbo, Trudi Hahn, Thomas Haigh, Barbara Kwasnik, Kathryn La Barre, Julian Warner, Cheryl Knott Malone, Howard White and Margie Avery. Business meeting after breakfast.

Plenary, Clifford Lynch. For a recap suggested by Dorothea see this one at RSS4Lib.

Lunch at The King and I with Christina Pikas, Jack Vinson and Jordan Frank.

Headed home after lunch. Without driving through Chicago during rush hour on a Friday night it was a 4.5 hour trip.


For me, ASIS&T is all about the people. Seeing and talking with the luminaries, seeing “old” friends and making new ones. And finding oneself surprised by what one finds interesting that could not have been predicted; such as, Megan Winget’s score annotations work. “That so rawked!” as my buddy jennimi might say.

You were missed deeply and by many, my dear friend. I hope you caught some of the healing love sent your way.

And, Ben, we talked about you too, boy. Missed, indeed, you were.