I’m beginning to get a bit caught up on blog and other social software-related things, but there’s still more to go. Trying to tackle the smaller, easier, shorter ones first. Luckily, those are the ones that mostly correspond to getting back to people, commenting on comments, and so on.
I’ve added a 3rd conference to this year’s schedule and I am super excited! I’ll be attending the North American Symposium on Knowledge Organization (NASKO) in Toronto in mid-June.
It is the first symposium and chapter organizing conference for the International Society for Knowledge Organization – North America chapter. I have been wanting to go to this since I first heard about it many months ago, but it was discouraged for various (valid) reasons. But the stars, planets, concept senses, or something have aligned and it makes sense now. It is also going to be quite affordable.
I’m really excited to get in on the ground floor of this chapter. I can imagine this and ASIST being my organizational homes for the rest of my career.
I’ll also get to meet my intellectual crush! I’m not sure how many of these folks from the Program Committee will actually attend, but…:
- Richard Smiraglia, Long Island University, Chair
- Clément Arsenault, Université de Montréal
- Pauline Atherton Cochrane, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Professor Emerita)
- Clare Beghtol, University of Toronto
- Allyson Carlyle, University of Washington
- Anita Coleman, University of Arizona
- Jonathan Furner, University of California, Los Angeles
- Rebecca Green, OCLC, Dewey Decimal Classification
- Kathryn La Barre, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
- Joseph T. Tennis, University of British Columbia
- Hope Olson, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
- Nancy Williamson, University of Toronto
These are some of the biggest names in my areas of interest! I have read things by all of them, many things by some of them. I have met Joe Tennis and Jonathan Furner (ASIST) and, of course, know Pauline and Kathryn.
For my bibliography I read a lot of Clare Beghtol and I have to say I’m impressed. I’d have to say she’s right up there with Elaine Svenonius and Rebecca Green right now. And whether or not I fully agree with the views or methods of the others, they are still top folks in our field, are to be respected, and one could learn an awful lot from them (even me).
My only complaint is this session line-up from which I’ll have to choose one:
In the Margins : Reflections on Scribbles, Knowledge Organization, and Access, June Abbas SUNY Buffalo
Performance Works: Continuing to Comprehend Instantiation, Richard P. Smiraglia, Long Island University.
Anticipating New Media: A Faceted Classification of Material Types Rebecca Green, OCLC Dewey Decimal Classification and Nancy J. Fallgren, University of Maryland
Smiraglia, although I respect him, is the easiest for me to eliminate. Musical works are not my biggest concerns within the concept of works, and performance is even less of my concern. Please don’t misunderstand me, I think this is important work. I love music and especially musical performance, but I know little about any aspect of it intellectually. Which, of course, would be a reason to go but….
I met June at ASIST last year and she is important to someone important to me, and her talk sounds fascinating. But she’s up against Dr. Dr. Green. 🙁
What’s a boy to do? I’m pretty sure I’ll see Dr. Abbas at ASIST in Oct., but when will I get a chance to see Dr. Green again?
Anyway, I’m as excited as a five-year-old in a candy store. I hope it shows.
So, I have learned something
Wednesday evening I was at the ex’s having a conversation with her man about the mass of DVDs they have. He said something to the effect that “There is no rhyme or reason to their organization that anyone could discern.” To which I promptly disagreed. I told him that although there is no explicit organization, there is certainly organization. There are pockets of organization in that there are large groups of sets and series, most of the horror is together, as is most of the Westerns, and a few others groups. While I can’t state the explicit organizational principle—as there really aren’t any as he stated himself—there are some. They are fluid and not fully discernible, but relatively stable nonetheless. I generally know where to look for something, if only because I know where not to look. He hadn’t even realized the groupings that do exist until I pointed them out.
Of far more importance to the heading above, he then went on to ask me what he needed to do to “catalog” his DVDs. In under two and a half minutes I gave perhaps the best answer of my life to anything. I reduced the answer to a series of (mostly) questions, said from 3 slightly orthogonal views, that covered everything of importance in the most distilled form possible, and in the proper order the questions should be asked in, while acknowledging that many of them were recursive.
I was about 3/4s of the way into my answer when I realized the beauty of what I was saying, and knew that I would promptly forget it! Sure, I remember the gist of it. But now the same answer would take several more minutes, would not be anywhere as concise or coherent, nor in the right order. I want my answer back! Verbatim.
It is the kind of thing I want to say in my job interviews. Hell, it’s what I want to tell the Library of Congress group on Wednesday!
From there we went on to the follow-up sorts of questions, such as, how complete is the data you have available, in which formats is it available, how easy is it to get it into your “catalog,” and at what cost(s)? On the drive home, I realized how easy it was to extrapolate any additional questions from my succinct answer, say for an enterprise the size and nature of shared cataloging, OCLC, LoC, etc.
I must say I was a tad proud of myself for a couple of reasons. One was the sheer beauty and concise nature of my answer but also, more importantly, because it fully demonstrated that I have learned something of value in all my time here at GSLIS. But I’d happily give up those feelings of pride if I can only have my answer back! Damn you, mind!
Levinson, musical works, and being chided
After Ontologies last week Allen pointed out that I had been a bit harsh on Levinson. As he pointed out philosophers, textual criticism, music folks, aesthetics, art criticism and the humanities in general have been wrestling with the concept of the work for far longer than LIS. And while their purposes may be different than ours in doing so, they deserved a little respect. He is, of course, exceedingly correct in this.
I was a bit dismissive and in a rather harsh way. My lack of time to devote to proper criticism is no excuse. I will try and do better in that regard. I had stated that I think Levinson is doing important work in his article, just that it doesn’t seem to accord with our (LIS) concept of work.
I do think Levinson is explicating some important concepts about music here. I just don’t think that he is discussing works as the same concept as, say, FRBR, or Svenonius, Tillett, Smiraglia, or Vellucci does. And if, in fact, it is work that he is discussing then it is an extremely narrow and elitist notion of work. It is in no way a commonsense notion of work at all, even if he has saved some commonsense notions of artistic creation.
After agreeing with Allen, I did ask whether he thought my statement about Levinson’s idea of work being a different concept than the ones mentioned above—even if much younger notions of work—was correct.
Correct is good; but I think I’d prefer to learn how to state my views in a more congenial way first. One can always be “correct,” but if people won’t engage with you or your ideas then being correct is useless.
I love the way people like Allen Renear (and a very few others I know, e.g., Miss Mo) can chide you so gently that you don’t even realize it immediately, and that when a few seconds or a minute later you do realize it you can only be grateful that they did. 🙂 People like that are an exceedingly rare breed. Unfortunately.
Let me state right up front—ignoring everything I just said—that I despise marketing. Taking the above and what I’m about to say into account, I need to find another way to package that statement.
Recent “incidents” like the wonderful chiding by Allen, the temporary miscommunication between Ryan and me, the (thankfully) few previous examples on my blog, and many other life experiences, have led me to the notion that I must learn to market myself. Yep. Makes me even more nauseous than when I decided I needed to network. But I found a way to repackage that one to make it more palatable and it has been working for me. So, I’m going to try and repackage this one, too.
What I mean by marketing myself is not in a full-on way, but primarily my method of critique and questioning. One of my biggest “failings” back at my old academic library was that I could not communicate with the administration. And I was one of the few even bothering to try anymore. Many people from all levels of responsibility (except the top) agreed that I had important things to convey to them, and were willing to let it be my head in the attempt. But it was just not possible to do so for many reasons, with the primary one being my “tone.” There was simply way too much “attitude” and “tone” in my attempts no matter how many times I might rewrite and tone it down. I eventually just had to give up and leave somewhere I cared about deeply.
Due these assorted factors, I have become convinced that I need to market myself better, in that I want people to not only accept but to welcome my critiques and questions. Alright, some of you can pick your laughing selves up off the floor. I realize how stupid that really is. Some people will simply never welcome, much less accept, critique or questions. We even have a few in the biblioblogosphere but it’s pretty easy to ignore them.
But I have no doubt that I could be much better in almost every situation at making the questions/critique far more palatable and at least accepted, even if not outright welcome.
I’m not exactly sure how I’ll proceed into a subject that I despise so much, but I must try. I also know that I’ll fail, repeatedly. Sometimes it’ll be due to lack of time. Sometimes to failure to overcome my general annoyance at a situation. Sometimes to the simple fact that I’m human.
Many people whom I love and respect dearly seem to think that I have important contributions to make to this field, and on rare occasions I even believe them. Seeing as much of that contribution will come in the form of questioning and critique I must find a way to package it far better than I have often and lately.
See, Miss Mo? I truly am still growing. Thank you ever so much for helping me to do so. And, thank you, too, to all my friends and acquaintances “out here” who help me to do so.