Upcoming fall semester

Thought I’d post a little update regarding my plans for fall. First, a quick update on where I am currently.


My hours at the BCU library were bumped up to 6 (from 5) hours/week so I could take on a weeding project of my own. I had already cataloged the backlog and current acquisitions and I was removing bibs and holdings from our Sirsi catalog and from WorldCat.

About a month ago I started weeding the PZs. I began with the PZ7s and up, skipped the small amount of PZ5s for now (less than one shelf), did the PZ4s, and am now a bit over halfway through the PZ3s. This leaves the PZ1s, which are mostly sets, to do when I finish the PZ3s. So far I have weeded approximately 1000 titles from the collection. Many of these books have not circulated in 30-40 years (or more). Some, of course, had never circulated. A few were in lovely editions over 100 years old. But if they haven’t been checked out in 50-60 years and no one teaches them anymore (if ever) then our small library does not need them. Of course, I have also been removing the bibs and holdings for these.

The wife

The wife is keeping especially busy and is reasonably stressed; reasonably as in she has good reason to be, and also as in not breaking down stressed. All of this year’s incoming freshman at BCU are getting iPads, as are many of the graduate and some of the returning undergrad students, along with many of the faculty and staff. There will be another opt-in period for returning students who have not done so shortly after school starts. As the Director of Educational Technology, this project is kind of her baby. Other folks certainly have their own crosses to bear in this als0; like the head of IT and the hoops she’s jumped/ing through to get the campus wireless upgraded to handle ~500-600 wireless devices where before there were only a handful.

Added on top of that stress for the wife is that we are leaving the country for close to a week right before/as school starts. So she has spent most of this weekend on campus trying to do all that she can to make this all go as smoothly as possible without her direct input when it happens.

Wedding in Germany

We are heading to Heidelberg, Germany for my sons wedding! Both the bride and groom were born there so it is a particularly apt setting. We only wish we had a lot more time to spend in Deutschland; we both miss it dearly.

My fall semester

I am taking one class, which I was asked to take by the professor. Advanced Briar Cliff Review is a one-hour credit class in which interested students, primarily English and Writing majors, do much of the selection work for the short fiction that makes it into the Briar Cliff Review.

I will also be sitting in on 2 classes; Modern Grammar, and Classical Literature and Mythology. I was, as of a couple months ago, planning on sitting in on Shakespeare also but have decided I would actually like some sort of life. Shakespeare is taught regularly and frequently, so I hope to catch it the next time around. There are, of course, several other classes I am interested.  Most were winnowed out earlier due to scheduling conflicts but, despite freeing up some time, I see little point in rebooking that time.

I am looking forward to the upcoming semester. I’ve had a mythology class but this one will focus on myth through the classical lit itself, instead of being condensed versions of folktales, and I can use more exposure to classical lit. As a critic of orthodox grammar and linguistics I can definitely use a formal class. More importantly, I hope it will help me describe and discuss that which I have known at a deep and intuitive level for most of my life. I’m also looking forward to reading the BCR short fiction submissions. I don’t read much short fiction, at least not for a long time, and I look forward to discussing and engaging with it critically. Also, how often does one get asked to take a class by the professor?


I thought I’d bring folks up-to-date on what I’m doing work-wise. Since mid-September 2010 I have been working 5 hours/week as a feral cataloger at Briar Cliff University’s Bishop Mueller Library. Technically, I am an independent contractor, not an employee.

The majority of what I do is copy cataloging,  although I have derived a couple of records for different editions and have done a very few original records. I do miss original cataloging but I do not miss the inordinate  increase in problems to be solved.

BCU is undertaking a large-scale weeding project so for the last month or two I have also been removing records from our Sirsi catalog and holdings. Although I almost broke the annual record for addition of records to the catalog (and would have smashed it if I had worked a whole year), I have removed even more in a much shorter time frame. Yes, this collection needs weeding but the cataloger in me would much rather add records than remove them. Yes, my job is (to help with) maintenance and creation of the entirety of the catalog and I respect that. But. I prefer creating and adding bibs than removing them. Nonetheless, good work is being done and that is what matters.

As of a week ago, I was asked to undertake the actual weeding of the PZs. To support this extra responsibility my hours have been increased to 6/wk. I haven’t physically begun but I have been doing some research by browsing the collection, noticing some of the easy decisions on reclassing into (primarily) PR and PS (Dickens, Twain, Austen, Bronte, …) and some juvenile fiction to send downstairs to the Children’s Collection. I’ve also been reviewing assorted lists of “important” fiction (the little I’m not familiar with), and looking up authors/titles in our new ebrary collection.

I am looking forward to this as an opportunity to help BCU but also as a learning experience for myself. Once I finish the PZs I am hoping to slide right into the general science Qs. Science faculty have been helping with specific disciplinary materials but no one has looked at the Qs themselves. I am at least as qualified to make decisions on Qs as I am on the PZs.

So. The title of this post? The amazing Franciscan Sister that I work with/for is at a gathering of Iowa’s Franciscan sisters for a couple of days. So I am on “vacation” until next Wednesday. Back I go to the largish Summer to-do list. Not much of a vacation really.

At home I am also weeding; trying to remove some of the clutter of stuff accumulated over 50 or so years. I am also weeding my computer and migrating my photos from iPhoto to Aperture. There are loads of books to be read, book reviews to write/finish, articles to be entered into Zotero, things to be packaged and mailed to dear people, ….

I recently got caught up putting photos in Flickr. Last year I got stuck in the midst of putting up those from our vacation in the 2nd half of July and never got started again. I am now up to those I took for my summer digital photography course and I probably won’t bother putting many of those up although I would like to put up those from the portfolio I submitted.

And then I still need to do something about our wedding photos from May 2010. ::sigh::

Not much of a vacation, is it?

How not to train someone is Slavic or Cyrillic cataloging

Please consider this a sort of thought experiment. And, please, I beg you, do not do this to any one!

Need to either train or assist someone in training themselves to do Slavic/Cyrillic cataloging?


  • dump, without warning, a cataloger of Western European languages into Slavic/Cyrillic cataloging.
  • give them, willy-nilly, a complete mixture, randomly assorted, of Slavic languages to catalog.
  • give them absolutely no training.
  • provide absolutely no feedback.
  • give them pre-revolutionary materials so they have additional characters to consider.
  • give them materials that need original cataloging.
  • give them materials by authors with no authority records.
  • expect the work to be done quickly.
  • give them translations; especially those from one Slavic language to another.
  • forget that the issue is “simply” language and script but that a host of other rules and other knowledge is required.

Now all of these things are not of the same importance, nor do they all need sequenced at the same time. If you are going to provide some honest and quality training and feedback then many of them recede to be of much less importance.

But if you are just going to dump this sort of cataloging on someone and you expect quality results then you had best pay attention to the above list and give them plenty of time to learn on their own. And, if you do dump this kind of work on someone then, except in the rarest of circumstance, you are not qualified to be a supervisor of catalogers.

And here my little thought experiment ends.

Some things read this week, 27 April – 3 May 2008

Saturday – Sunday, 26 – 27 April 2008

Abbott, Andrew. (2008). “Library Research and Its Infrastructure in the Twentieth Century.” Spring 2008 Windsor Lecture, 12 March 2008

Read the pdf, below. [Note: Audio in Real format.]

Windsor Lecture Series
“Library Research and Its Infrastructure in the Twentieth Century”

Dr. Andrew Abbott, University of Chicago
PDF format | audio recorded 3/12/2008

Sorry. Taking a rain check on this one once again. I went to the lecture and took some notes. Wanted to check them against the audio. Then I got the text of the lecture. Now it’s been a week since I read it.

I’d really like to write about it; I think Abbott makes some fine points. And [parts of] his research methodology really resonates with me for much of what I do. I understand that there are vastly different ways to “do research” but his is one I comprehend and feel.

Who knows if I’ll ever get around to writing about it. Thus, I suggest you check out the audio or text of the lecture, whichever works best for you.

Sunday, 27 April 2008

FRBR for Serials

Found at The Serials Cataloger blog in a post called “FRBR for Serials.”

Interesting. All I’m saying for now. Want to see/hear more.

Monday, 28 April 2008

Austin, Michael W, ed. 2007. Running & Philosophy: A Marathon for the Mind. Malden: Blackwell Pub.

  • Ch. 19 : The Soul of the Runner by Charles Taliaferro and Rachel Traughber.

Finished this. Quite good overall even if spotty in a few parts.

Tuominen, Kimmo, Sanna Talja, and Reijo Savolainen. 2002. Discourse, Cognition, and Reality: Toward a Social Constructionist Metatheory for Library and Information Science. In Emerging Frameworks and Methods: CoLIS 4: Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference on Conceptions of Library and Information Science, Seattle, WA, USA, July 21-25, 2002, Ed. Harry Bruce, 271-283, Greenwood Village, Colo: Libraries Unlimited. [WorldCat]

Looks at metatheories in LIS:

Three different metatheories—the information transfer model, constructivism, and social constructionism—are identified and their assumptions about the relationships between discourse, cognition, and reality are described (271).

The authors are arguing for a constructionist view.

Constructionism’s emphasis on language is heartening.

The primary emphasis of constructionism is not on mental but on linguistic processes. In constructionism, language is seen as constitutive for the construction of selves, and formation of meanings, not merely something that influences thinking (273).

To the following, I can only say, “Hear! Hear!”

Therefore, LIS would benefit from including an explicit theory of language into its metatheoretical repertoire (273).

Also contains a great, short critique of the information transfer model. And a nice view of the evolution of theory and metatheory.

Springer III, Edward V., and Rong Tang. 2002. A Communication Perspective on Meta-Search Engine Query Structure: A Pilot Study. In Emerging Frameworks and Methods: CoLIS 4: Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference on Conceptions of Library and Information Science, Seattle, WA, USA, July 21-25, 2002, Ed. Harry Bruce, 323-327, Greenwood Village, Colo: Libraries Unlimited. [WorldCat]

This one didn’t stick out so much for me.

Monday – Wednesday, 28 – 30 2008

Forster, Michael N. 2008. Kant and Skepticism. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

This is was interesting [finished it], particularly if one is into Kant and/or skepticism. But probably not the best use of my time currently. Le sigh.

At points I was understanding this a paragraph at a time, basically. The author has a very didactic way of explanation and writing but I can see how it is pretty much required when talking about issues such as these.

The last chapter is a charm, though. In it, “The Pyrrhonist’s Revenge,” Forster shows that Kant’s underestimation of “radical” [if you will] Pyrrhonism undercut his whole frame of transcendental arguments.

I was particularly taken by this paragraph and, even more so, by its footnote:

Hegel and Bardili also imply that classical logic has not been provided by Kant or his predecessors with any epistemological defense capable of protecting it against such skeptical attacks. This appears very plausible[35] (85).

[35] The question of the epistemological security of logical principles has in general received rather scandalously little attention from philosophers, who have tended, instead, to show indecent haste in attempting to reduce other sorts of principles to logical ones, on the assumption that the latter were certain and that their certainty would thereby transfer to the former as well—as, for example, in Kant’s explanation of analyticity in terms of the law of contradiction, and Frege’s attempt to reduce arithmetic to logic (143).

Always one of my pet peeves with logic and logicians who want to use it as the ultimate basis for, well, much of anything, much less of everything, instead of as the wonderful tool (among many) available.

Referring to “Kant’s explanation of analyticity in terms of the law of contradiction” there’s also the matter of inferring belief in the law of contradiction from people’s inability to believe contradictions. At best, one might infer tacit agreement if the principle was articulated. But seeing as I hold that people are able to believe contradictory things, [perfectly healthy, normal people] this bad argument has even less force for me [See for example, “Why Kripke was Puzzled About “A Puzzle About Belief.”] Actually, I don’t so much hold as people can hold contradictory beliefs, although they can, but that most cases of description of people holding beliefs that contradict are by 3rd parties. As most people are fully unaware of their contradictory beliefs 1st person accounts fail to even notice them.

Having re-read that piece on Kripke I am quite proud of myself that my main argument over those years was already one of language in use. When I 1st noticed (remembered) that it was like a slap upside the head. But it also made sense. Another little piece of the puzzle just fell into place.

There are other good reasons why one might want to question the epistemological basis of the law of contradiction (or any other fundamental law of logic), and thus how one gets logic started on a solid epistemological basis.

Cronin, Blaise, and Lokman I Meho. 2008. The shifting balance of intellectual trade in information studies. http://dlist.sir.arizona.edu/2254/ (Accessed April 4, 2008). Or: JASIST 59(4):551-564.

An interesting article with which I do and do not want to argue with their conclusions. Basically, they claim that Information Studies has become a much better exporter to, and somewhat better importer of, other disciplines.

This article also goes a long way towards why I have so many issues with bibliometric studies. To make this an actually doable project meant cutting lots of corners, as any large-scale, interesting study would require. But by cutting those corners then the best one can really get to is to point at what looks like a trend and to make tentative judgements. Have I ever seen an author make that claim in their analysis, though? Rarely.

They claim that the reasons for the “striking increase in foreign citation to the literature of IS can be explained in large measure by two developments” [i.e., exports] (11). One is the “growth of research domains influenced materially by advances in information technology and Internet applications …” (11). “Second, the expansion of ISI’s coverage of domains cognate to information studies” (12). At this point they discuss the case of Lecture Notes in Computer Science, the number one importer from IS. LNCS is not only number one but is so by a factor of 4.35 times the 2nd highest importer, Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence. The 3rd highest is only 3/4 of #2 and it goes rapidly down from there.

Now, admittedly, there is a fairly long tail in the remaining top 200 importers. But. The claim is that the “number of non-IS papers citing the IS literature has risen from 3,982 for the period 1977-1986 to 18,079 for the period 1997-2006, an increase of 354%” (10). That is all well and good, and on one hand I can’t dispute it (accepting all caveats of their methodology).

Knowing that LNCS numbers in the multiple 1000s (at least 3500) I wondered how many of those were published before ISI started indexing them and might in fact contain citations left unaccounted for. So I took me a quick trip to Springer’s LNCS site and had a look around. Here’s what I found:

  • 1975-79: 48 titles
  • 1980-84: 91
  • 1985-89: 208
  • 1990-94: 450
  • 1995-99: 766
  • 2000: 200
  • 2001: 269
  • 2002: 274
  • 2003: 325
  • 2004: 360
  • 2005: 473
  • 2006: 519
  • 2007: 521
  • 2008: 98*

So my hypothesis may be out the window, but …. Do you see anything else interesting?

I’m not going to attempt to do the math, but that is a significant increase in titles published each year. In 2007 there was well over 5x the numbers published between 1980-84, for example.

So the authors’ claim that (part of) the increase is due to an increase in coverage by ISI is, perhaps, not untrue. But neither is it the truth really. If we assume a similar increase in output in LNAI then these two series alone have had a dramatic impact on what looks like increased outside citation of IS. And I can’t really deny that it is an increase in outside citation. But. Is it increased outside citation or primarily an increase in the number of things published? Both appear true. But the one alone could make it look like the other is the case.

The authors also state that, “[by] way of contrast, the level of intra-field citations (IS citing IS) increased by a mere 33% during the same time period” (10). There could be several reasons for this. Perhaps our field hasn’t seen such a dramatic increase in number of publications, perhaps the growth in number of citations per article in our field is far less than in others, and so on and so on.

So I can’t really say that Cronin and Meho are wrong. Neither do I believe that they are. But I do believe, even accepting all of the caveats that they (or anyone) had to to do a study of this size, that their analysis is at best only a part of the truth. First off, though, I find it quizzical to claim that there are more citations because the tools you use to count have increased their coverage of the “inbound” disciplines. That does not begin to show increased citations. At all. I find it even more odd to attribute the massive increase to the increased coverage in ISI. It is not an increased coverage at all. Rather it is a massively increased publication output that continues to be covered by ISI.

And that is far more than I ever wanted to say about this article.

Gnoli, Claudio, Gabriele Merli, Gianni Pavan, Elisabetta Bernuzzi, and Marco Priano. 2008. Freely faceted classification for a Web-based bibliographic archive : the BioAcoustic Reference Database. http://dlist.sir.arizona.edu/2274/ (Accessed April 4, 2008). Presented at: Repositories of knowledge in digital spaces: accessibility, sustainability, semantic interoperability. 11th German ISKO Conference. Konstanz, 20-22 February 2008.

This is a project to watch. It does have a freely available public interface at http://www.iskoi.org/ilc/bard/ but I suggest reading the article so you have some idea what it is doing before playing with it. The article isn’t long.

Thursday – Friday, 1 – 2 May 2008

Wilson, Patrick. 1968. Two Kinds of Power : an Essay on Bibliographical Control. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Loving it so far. [I think that’s all I want to say for now.]

Friday, 2 May 2008

Smiraglia, Richard. 2007. Two Kinds of Power: Insight Into the Legacy of Patrick Wilson. In Proceedings of the Canadian Association for Information Science, Mcgill University, Montreal, Quebec: Canadian Association for Information Science http://www.cais-acsi.ca/proceedings/2007/smiraglia_2007.pdf (Accessed May 1, 2007).

I may well have to write about this later. Seeing as it is bibliometric I need to comment on why I am more accepting of this piece than, say, Cronin and Meho above. There is much more to this piece though, for me, than its bibliometric issues. That is, it is far more meaningful for me as a whole.

Short, 13-pages with citations. Well worth reading as an example of domain analysis around “a classic work” [in our own field even].

The short answer as to why this sits better with me is because in one sense it validates much of my reading of the last 4+ years. The literature described by Smiraglia is a good description of what I have spent my time on for a while now. It is one [good] description of my view of the literature. It validates me.

It ain’t exactly rational, but its true.

Coutu, Walter. 1962. An operational definition of meaning. Quarterly Journal of Speech XLVIII, no. 1:59-64.

Sent here by Budd (1992) The Library and Its Users: The Communication Process, p. 97.

Seems kind of behaviorist, to say the least, but also has some interesting points. Wonder if Harris has commented on it anywhere. Will have to scrub some reference lists maybe.

Some things read this week, 20 – 26 April 2008

Sunday – Thursday, 20 – 24 Apr 2008

Lodge, David. 1992. Changing Places: A Tale of Two Campuses. New York: Penguin Books.

Wasn’t sure if I was going to continue this but I read it on and off on Sunday and made a big dent at dinner in the Alley on Monday. I’m 66% of the way through so I imagine I’ll finish it and then shift back to more serious things.

Finished this Thursday afternoon. I guess it was OK as it had some moments but I can’t recommend it overall.

Wednesday, 23 Apr 2008

2007. Running & Philosophy: A Marathon for the Mind. Malden: Blackwell Pub.

  • Ch. 17 : “Where the Dark Feelings Hold Sway”: Running as Aesthetic Experience by Martha Nussbaum
  • Ch. 18 : The Power of Passion on Heartbreak Hill by Michelle Maiese.

Only one chapter left to go. Good book.

Friday – Saturday, 25 – 26 Apr 2008

Guarino, Nicola and Christopher A. Welty. “An Overview of OntoClean.” In Staab, Steffen, and Rudi Studer, ed. 2004. Handbook on Ontologies. Berlin: Springer-Verlag.

Actually a fairly good article, but I have major concerns over their explanation of rigidity. It has certainly been a bit since I last read Kripke or any other relevant literature on rigidity … but they blow it in their explanation, IMHO.

I think they have it right in the end. But. Their presentation is confused. They use a highly questionable example and then make several implicit assumptions in its use and description. It might actually work if they spelled out all of their assumptions but there must be better examples.

I ran it by one or two people and would read a sentence and they’d say, “See, they’re assuming such and such and they are right.” Then I’d read the next sentence where the assumption seems to be reversed and they went, “Oh!”

Lest you think this is nit-picking—it may be but I do not think so—I also have the same complaints about many of the examples used in the cataloging and classification literature. These examples are critical. Many of these concepts are extremely difficult and nuanced. Crystal clear and meaningful examples are a must. Also, in today’s world, quit with the culturally-specific examples. I fully realize that The Wizard of Oz is fairly international by this point. I also realize that there may be few to no fully international examples available, but with a little care I do think excellent examples could be found for anyone who might be reading this kind of literature in the first place.

Recommend. But read carefully.

Saturday, 26 Apr 2008

Frohmann, Bernd. 2008. Subjectivity and information ethics. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology 59, no. 2:267-277. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/asi.20742 (Accessed March 2, 2008).

Recommended if you are into information ethics at all.

Some things read this week, 13 – 19 April 2008

Sunday – Friday, 13 – 18 Apr 2008

2007. Running & Philosophy: A Marathon for the Mind. Malden: Blackwell Pub.

  • Ch. 6 : Running Religiously by Jeffrey P. Fry (Sun)
  • Ch. 7 : Hash Runners and Hellenistic Philosophers by Richard DeWitt (Mon)
  • Ch. 8 : A Runner’s Pain (Mon)
  • Ch. 9 : What Motivates an Early Morning Runner? by Kevin Kinghorn (Mon)
  • Ch 10 : Performance-Enhancement and the Pursuit of Excellence by William P. Kabasenche (Tue)
  • Ch. 11 : The Freedom of the Long-Distance Runner by Heather L. Reid (Tue)
  • Ch. 12 : Existential Running by Ross C. Reed (Wed)
  • Ch. 13 : Can We Experience Significance on a Treadmill? by Douglas R. Hochstetler (Wed)
  • Ch. 14 : Running in Place or Running in Its Proper Place by J. P. Moreland (Thu)
  • Ch. 15 : The Running Life: Getting in Touch with Your Inner Hunter-Gatherer by Sharon Kaye (Fri)
  • Ch. 16 : John Dewey and the Beautiful Stride: Running as Aesthetic Experience by Christopher Martin (Fri)

This has been an excellent read so far. Very motivating. The authors all take a different starting point and make use of (generally individually) a great breadth of philosophies/ers. I can personally make a point of contact with all of them even if I don’t agree with how each of them flesh out their arguments. Some good arguments. Some presented well. And the rare few are both.

Recommended if you are a runner that has never “gotten” philosophy, or if you are a fan of Dr. George Sheehan’s writings, or you are a philosophical runner. I don’t actually understand how one could be a (distance) runner and not be somewhat philosophical. Seems downright absurd to me but one must leave open the space of logical possibility. [Or so I am repeatedly led indoctrinated to believe.] Oooh. One more category of recommended readers: philosophers who value a disembodied philosophy; one that has removed the experiencing subject in anything but the most clinical and sterile [and non-productive] way.

Monday, 14 Apr 2008

Banush, David, and Jim LeBlanc. 2007. Utility, library priorities, and cataloging policies. Library Collections, Acquisitions, and Technical Services 31, no. 2:96-109. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6VSH-4R718K6-1/1/b1967e800400df0464b6b26bfa785a1c.

A clearly ex post facto attempt at ethical justification for cataloging policy at an ARL library. The fundamental good was “no backlogs.” I read this because David had sent me a response, which I hope is being published somewhere.

Bade’s response to the above.

Going to be vague on this as I think David has it out for publication but yesterday when we were hanging out I failed to clarify what I can say about any of the recent things he sent me. So, vagueness ensues.

Excellent! Even more eviscerating than I was and far more eloquently put than I would do.

Friday, 18 Apr 2008

Lodge, David. 1992. Changing Places: A Tale of Two Campuses. New York: Penguin Books.

Began book at diner. Perhaps read some Saturday. Finished 2 out of 6 chapters.

This is a book that was recommended to me by the man who sold it to me. Now I only paid about $3 for it and he has a limited knowledge of what fiction I may have read, except he has as good of knowledge as is possible for any other human being to have of my literary reading. Brian of Babbitt’s Books (of Normal, and, also formerly, Champaign) and I have been in several book discussion groups during my 6 years in Normal at ISU [Oh, and the 1st year I was here I would drive over pretty much once a month].

Somehow I managed to fall into this small group almost immediately. Most importantly, we were in the Auerbach Mimesis group for over 3 years. That is where the vast majority of my literary reading comes from. He also knows of my love for White noise.

I think he recommended it because is set in two campus environments, one in some fictional state between Northern and Southern California and somewhere in England.

I was beginning to question how much time I was going to give it but I’m 150 pages in now after reading it some Sunday and tonight [Mon.] at dinner in the Alley. It’s had its moments of humor

What have I been up to?

What a question. I feel like I need a recap of some of it myself sometimes.

I hope to have some semi-substantial blog posts and/or Flickr sets for some of these but I’d like to get them mentioned before they all become old news.

[some kind of division]

Been watching a fair few movies, started running (4x 5x 6x now), and have been taking and uploading lots of photos.

“Article” project

This is an ongoing project that I got a recent jump on due to my school hiatus, if it is possible to say that [hiatus, that is].

Flickr set. Main pic.

This is one of the things I’ve been considering blogging. But it mostly seems like a waste of time; for any system to work for someone it must meet their individual—current and future—modes of working. Any idiot can say: enter them into a citation manager (that meets your needs), put them into some sort of order (which also meets your needs), and stick them in something (that works for you).

Besides, who else has so many printed and photocopied things?

Much of what I might say is already in the Flickr set via notes and comments; especially on the “main pic.” By the way, I could very simply publish assorted bibliographies of all this, to include good discovery metadata (COinS).

Reading some David Bade things

UIUC Progressive Librarians Guild is hosting a lunch time (11:30-1 PM) discussion with David Bade on Monday, 21 April 2008.

Technology Waits For No One: Thinking About Technology, Progress and Responsibility in Academic Librarianship

I’ve been getting something on e-reserve (Harris’ Epilogue) and making another short Word doc available.

David’s been sharing a few other things with me, too. 🙂

Job Search

Nothing going on here. Have nothing out at the moment.

The End of the Semester

We have 3 weeks left in the semester and then finals week. After Subject Access/Analysis seminar Tuesday, one of my fellow classmates asked me how I was dealing with the end of the semester. I had to tell her, not so bad, but then it isn’t the end for me.

She knows I’m only sitting in on Subject Access/Analysis and that I was sitting in on Allen’s Ontologies, but she rightly assumed I should be taking something. Anyway, I kind of felt a little bad cause I knew she was just looking for a little commiseration and reassurance that we’ll both get through. And in a sense, I took that from her. So. Bad.

But about 20 minutes later when I realized that this was the first semester in 10 years in which I wasn’t facing her exact situation, I decided that I will not feel bad about not being in that space right now when I “fail” more of my friends.

But I am prepared now. I can most certainly empathize, sympathize, feel you, and so on to an extraordinary level. I will not lord my situation over any one [cause I’d like to have been finishing, too]. But I will not feel bad when any of my friends put us in the same same situation as Tuesday afternoon.

I am taking a Deferral on my paper; hope to write it in the Fall.

Since I won’t be walking the stage and I’ll be going to the GSLIS Commencement any way [lots of friends’ big day] I volunteered to help. Looks like I’ll be the “candid photographer.” Will have to have lots of little short conversations but I’ll be “forced” to move around and see folks at Commencement and at the reception. 🙂

[Volunteering. It’s an addiction.] [Also got 2 other students to volunteer. Surely that counts towards being an Enabler of Vices.]

[the other part of the union of topics]

ASIS&T panel

Mentioned this a bit back. Been trying to work out what we are actually doing based on reviewers’ feedback.

Fifth Annual GSLIS Storytelling Festival, Saturday, 18 April

[Audio] [My Flickr set] [Program]

I know that I’ve made 3 of these, but I might have actually made the last four. It is always excellent. Excellent storytelling and excellent art on the whiteboard behind the tellers. I have taken photos the last 3 years but since I sit in the back row and feel that the flash would be intrusive to, well, everyone, I haven’t gotten too many good ones. This year’s camera is radically different than the ones in the past. It worked better and I got some good shots. And then ….

I was out of memory. WTF? I’d already replaced the batteries, but that’s routine. Out of memory? I only remember running out of memory once. That was shortly after getting my first digital camera and was at the Missouri Botanical Gardens in St. Louis in April 2006. It was Spring and there were 100,000s of flowers and trees in bloom and I took a couple hundred photos. But never since.

Well. I had bought a larger capacity memory card than came standard when I got my first camera, and it subsequently moved into 2 more cameras. 256MB.

I keep forgetting that at some point recently I managed to accidentally put the new camera in highest-quality mode. Yeah. I got 74 pictures. It filled up right before Rachel Shulman and thus I missed almost the whole back half of the program. I really feel bad about that.

So I remedied that a couple days ago. For probably less than I paid for the 256MB card initially, I bought a 4GB card. And if I somehow fill that one up before exhausting all the batteries I can carry then I have a “small” backup card. Sweet!

The Festival was awesome! And the art this year was superb. It was done this year, and I think the year before last, by Tiffany Carter. [I had to ask. And I suggested that whoever the artist is each year ought to have their name in the program; it may have been once before.] [Left-side] [Right-side]

Afterwards, a few of us went to a friend’s house and had a drink, conversation, and cat-watching and NSFW [you get my water bottle there].

Opportunity sent my way

A person of quality recently sent me a nice opportunity; thank you. Still to hear from the other party, though.


Found out Monday that my petition to withdraw from my independent study was denied. So that means I will either be keeping that F and my A- GPA. Or I do something about it for my own pride.

This was not good news but I was kind of expecting it. Have not decided what I am doing yet. Considering possibilities; talking to some folks. Lots of things going on around here that could use some terminologies services thinking.

Scheming and pondering at the same time.

Crane Alley Guinness Mondays

A little birdie whispered in my ear that the Alley would soon be doing away with the Monday $2 Guinness / Harp special. I have feared this one coming for a while now, too. Seems they want to run some other specials. Fair enough, I guess, but it will affect my lifestyle. And they’ll get a lot less of my money.

Sara is going to library school

My daughter called me on my birthday (back in Feb.) to tell me “Happy Birthday and, oh, by the way, I’m applying to library school.” I hadn’t even known it was on the table. I was hoping that Sara might wander on to grad school some day but I wasn’t going to harass her. We’d talk about it when she wanted to let me know what she was thinking. She worked very hard her whole life in school, but especially throughout high school, because she knew if she wanted an opportunity for a good education she was responsible for it, in many ways. Four more years of school at Oberlin took its toll.

I do not prod my kids for much in the way of information. I know another parent who does that and it drives the kids crazy. I’d rather have what they want me, or think I need, to know than a bit more grudgingly dragged from them.

Monday evening, Sara called to tell me she got accepted. Yippee! She’s currently an indexer & abstracter at Chemical Abstracts where she intends to remain full-time with a flexible schedule. Her education is in chemistry and she has a year of nanotech research under her belt prior to about 8 months at Chem Abs so far.

Other than probably academic, I have no idea what area of librarianship she intends to focus on. And I’m happy with that. I’m twice her age and I changed my mind after getting here so she ought to have that opportunity. I have, of course, put her in touch with Christina because if Sara is thinking sci/tech librarianship then this is my friend best suited to introduce her to that world.

Also trying to talk her into coming to ASIS&T this year since it’s in her city.

[Yes. I purposely left out where she’s attending. It is not here, which is perfectly fine.]

Sandy Berman and panel

Wednesday evening, Sandy Berman and 3 others, along with a moderator, joined in a panel discussion on the question of, “What is a progressive librarian?” [Flickr set]

  • Carolyn Anthony, Director, Skokie Public Library
  • Sandy Berman
  • Allison Sutton, Social Science Librarian, UIUC
  • Anke Voss, Archivist, Champaign County, IL
  • Moderator : Abdul Alkalimat, Professor, GSLIS

I had volunteered to meet Sandy at the Illini Union and walk him over to GSLIS at 5:15. I went to the Quad side of the Union, visited the ATM, tried to call my son back, and took some photos to kill a few minutes before meeting Sandy out front.

Seeing as I knew I only had a few minutes alone with Sandy I took a peek at his site and checked out his biography [probably have a copy somewhere, but this was easier]. I noticed he had spent a few years in Germany in the 60s so I took that as my angle. Upon meeting him he immediately asked me what my story was. Knowing I had about 7 minute tops I gave a 2-minute or so answer [stop snickering, you!], to which he politely asked a couple further questions. So somewhere a bit past halfway to GSLIS as soon as I had given my latest reply to Sandy I spit out something along the lines of, “Iknewwe’donlyhaveafewminutestogether / soIscannedyourbioforsomethingofinterest /andIwanttoaskyouaboutyourtimeinGermany.” To which we immediately had a short but spirited conversation with many points in common. We have shared several locations in space (Germany) together, just about 15 years apart.

Sandy was quite easy to talk to and before you knew it we were at GSLIS. I handed him off to Abdul Alkalimat, our moderator. Turns out they had met when Sandy was in Uganda in 1971-72.

I got a few photos of the pot luck that aren’t necessarily good photos but they capture the feel. Most of the photos are of the panel discussion, which was quite good.

Afterwards, Abdul, Kate Williams (GSLIS faculty), Sandy, I and a few other students went to Murphy’s for a beer. Nice time, to say the least, except for the table of very loud undergrad boys next to us. I walked Sandy back to the Union from Murphy’s. The weather was excellent for an evening stroll and I got a few more minutes with Sandy.

Jer at Fort Hood

Ten minutes after walking Sandy back to the Union, getting a hug and saying goodbye, I finally got hold of my son. He had just signed into Fort Hood and ended up in the new (2nd) battalion in the Division’s Aviation Regiment.

They are packing their bags this Monday and they head back to Iraq in July. He hasn’t even been issued his gear and he’s supposed to sealing it up to be shipped off on Monday. He had just signed a lease a couple days before. Volunteering can get you in some seriously jacked up ….

I had a rough day or so after hearing this, but I’m putting it off to the side for now. July is not April.

I’m thinking I might head down there for a couple/several days in late May or June; whatever works best for him.

Update [Sat. eve]: They now leave the 2nd week of June. I will probably be heading down there.

Update [Sun. morning]: Narrower leave period than he originally thought; will be probably heading down there sometime between 22 May – 1 June once he knows how much leave he’ll have. He just got off a month’s so he may not have much left.

It’s times like this that make me smile that we even use the same words [serve/service] to describe what librarians do for their patrons/customers and what service members do for their nation.

I guess the main difference is in the kind and amount of sacrifices made.


Some unexpected positives; some not unexpected negatives (and positives). A massive [expected] negative. It’s my life.

Some things read this week, 6 – 12 April 2008

Sunday, 6 Apr 2008

Chan, Lois Mai. 1977. Alphabetical arrangement and subject collocation in Library of Congress Subject Headings. Library Resources & Technical Services 21, no. 2:156-169.

Read this for Tom’s presentation/discussion of his project this coming Tuesday (see Tom’s bibliography mentioned last week).

Marshall, Linnea. 2003. Specific and generic subject headings: increasing subject access to library materials. Cataloging & Classification Quarterly 36, no. 2:59-87.

Read this for Tom’s presentation/discussion of his project this coming Tuesday (see Tom’s bibliography mentioned last week).

The section on The Syndetic Structure is an excellent read that points to many failures of our current systems. Don’t misunderstand, I am not particularly commenting on what Marshall writes, as I am pretty much completely reading her in light of being highly informed by several previous articles on specificity and closely related topics (although a fair bit older), along with the daily struggles—experiential and conceptual—within these systems as a cataloger and catalog user. If one construes what she writes as a call for tools that would make entering, maintaining, and making the syndetic structure usable and useful then run with it. Please.

But. I am also loathe to say “go out, read this, and go forth.” I have many reservations about much of what Marshall (and the folks she cites [much of which I had just read]) advocate. The point, though, is that this is easily a century old discussion. And lest any foolish youngster or modernist thinks we have really made any serious “progress” towards solving—much less defining—specificity then I want them to steer clear.

There are, at least, two major (and somewhat related) issues here. What has been and is the state of the theoretical view(s) on specificity? And, what has been, what are the reasons why, and what is the state of specificity in action? That is, how has it been implemented in our systems, and how does it, or does it, work?

Issues of theory are complex enough, and highly disparate and even contentious. As for “progress”, we have had some if beginning to pull apart past and other possibly productive uses of the concept can be defended as good conceptual analysis. Svenonius’ 1976 article [see last week] gave us 7 concepts of specificity. Certainly useful, and clarifying, in a sense. The number has not gone down in the last 30 years, either.

I do think that there is much of value to be learned from, tested, and applied (or re-applied more smartly) from much of our literature. But it is also extremely rare that much of the conversation can be had by reading one or two articles or books. And I think that it is the conversation that is often of far more value than simply an answer or two to run with. But I do wish more folks would run with more of them.

And, yes, I know that includes me.

Monday – Wednesday, 7 – 10 Apr 2008

Budd, John. 1992. The Library and Its Users: The Communication Process. New York: Greenwood Press.

  • Ch. 2: Libraries, Information, and Meaning. (Mon)
  • Ch. 3: What Does a Communication Process Look Like? (Mon-Tue)
  • Ch. 4: The Library in the Communication Process (Wed- )

Ah, yes. I did actually leave ch. 4 hanging. I temporarily abandoned it as my bus/lunch reading for the running and philosophy essays below.

This is one of the few books on libraries and communication, and especially on libraries in communication. I ordered myself a used copy on Saturday when I also ordered the Carely below, despite its faults.

Main fault: Although discusses assorted models of communication, they are all transportation/transmission-based. The language from the beginning allows no other option; those metaphors are just assumed. There is no real space to even ask broadening questions.

So why did I buy it? Because it bears study; on several fronts. And whether I borrow much of the good and/or use it as a foil—as an exemplar of a (group of) paradigm(s) or viewpoints—it will be valuable.

This is much like the Raber book in that it discusses a critical concept, [more on Raber] [finale] but much clearer on whose views are whom’s, and better argued. I have a lot of respect for Budd as a writer and a thinker, but this is far more rooted in a single meta-view than one might (I do) hope for, despite its seeming diversity within that view.

Monday, 7 Apr 2008

Carey, James W. 1992. Communication as Culture: Essays on Media and Society. New York: Routledge.  

  • Read Introduction and ch. 1: A Cultural Approach to Communication.

Wow! Can I just say, “Wow!” Recommended by Tom Dousa.

Carey pulls apart the concept of communication into two of its dominant metaphors, one of transmission/transportation and one as of ritual. That is, cultural.

From such sources one can draw a definition of communication of disarming simplicity yet, I think, of some intellectual power and scope: communication is a symbolic process whereby reality is produced, maintained, repaired, and transformed (23).

To study communication is to examine the actual social process wherein significant symbolic forms are created, apprehended, and used (30).

The widespread social interest in communication derives from a derangement in our models of communication and community. This derangement derives, in turn, from an obsessive commitment to a transmission view of communication and the derivative representation of communication in complementary models of power and anxiety. As a result, when we think about society, we are almost always coerced by our traditions into seeing it as a network of power, administration, decision, and control—as a political order. Alternatively, we have seen society essentially as relations of property, production, and trade—an economic order. But social life is more than power and trade (and it is more than therapy as well). As Williams has argued, it also includes the sharing of aesthetic experience, religious ideas, personal values and sentiments, and intellectual notions—a ritual order (34).

Carey may not have the answer, but he provides a useful counterforce to much; for instance, Budd above. Although Tom only really recommended the first chapter, I ordered myself a copy as it has lots of overlap with previous and current studies. And I’d love to see the ritual and magic of human communication taken a bit more seriously in our field. We have such primitive notions of communication in our field.

Wednesday – Friday, 9 – 11 Apr 2008

2007. Running & Philosophy: A Marathon for the Mind. Malden: Blackwell Pub. &nbnsp;

  • Foreword by Amber Burfoot
  • Preface: Warming Up Before the Race by Michael W. Austin, ed.
  • Ch. 1: Long-distance Running and the Will to Power by Raymond Angelo Belliotti
  • Ch. 2: Chasing Happiness Together: Running and Aristotle’s Philosophy of Friendship by Michael W. Austin (Thu)
  • Ch. 3: Running with the Seven Cs of Success by Gregory Bassham (Thu)
  • Ch. 4: The Phenomenology of Becoming a Runner by J. Jerry Wisnewski (Thu)
  • Ch. 5: In Praise of the Jogger by Raymond J. VanArragon (Fri)

Cataloged this a few weeks ago. Gave it time to get to Applied Health Sciences and then went and got it.

Started running again last week. I made it out last Saturday and again Monday. Then the weather got crappy (for running anyway) again. Definitely a fair weather runner but I need to get back into some kind of shape. I took a coupe years off due to my hip acting up, but it hasn’t bothered me for quite a while.

I tried to start up again last year but things just got in the way repeatedly and then it was hot. I will run when it’s hot but I have to acclimated to the heat first. Hopefully I will do better this year.

These essays are really helping me to be in the proper mindset to start running again. All of these things, and more, are, or at least can be, part of the experience of being a runner. I am looking forward to reading the rest of this. This is what replaced Budd as my current bus/lunch book.

Saturday, 12 Apr 2008

Dickinson, Liz. 1976. Of catalogs, computers, and communication: visions of the whole service catalog. Wilson Library Bulletin 463-470.

Given to me by Tom Dousa a couple days ago due to commentary on the catalog as communication tool. Highly dated but useful mini-critique of some of the issues with our catalogs and LCSH. Still. And of interest to me due to its explicit mention of library praxis as communication.

NOTE: WordPress’ formatting issues, even using the HTML editor, are biting me hard in this post. Notice how the variously formatted entries are snugged up against the citations. I have tried assorted fixes; some of which hold for short periods; none which work. There are other issues of format but that is the most virulent and most easily spotted. What sort of idiot would crowd those elements like that? Intentionally? Not me. I find this positively distressing.

Hmmm. They are printing just fine; I did a print test of this draft post for other reasons. Verified the display stupidity in Safari.

Going to have to edit my template’s stylesheet to place some “padding” around some of these elements in display. Although it wasn’t the template that changed. Grrr. More things broken by so-called technological “progress.”

Some things read this week, 30 March – 5 April 2008

Note: Not that it matters to anyone but me but my chronology may be a bit off due to Comcast pretty much taking over my life for most of this week and the end of the last one.

Sunday – Thursday, 30 Mar – 3 Apr 2008

Budd, J. (2008). Self-Examination: The Present and Future of Librarianship. , 281. Westport, Conn: Libraries Unlimited.

Read ch. 2 Place and Identity (Sun.?) and began ch. 3 Being Informed about Informing (Thu).

For anyone interested in the current debates about the profession/”just who is a librarian?” there is a decent discussion in ch. 2 of this topic, along with one on LIS education. Not saying I fully agree with Budd on either, but he makes some good points on both heads.

Monday – Friday, 31 Mar – 4 Apr 2008

Critchley, S. (2001). Continental philosophy : a very short introduction, Very short introductions, 43. Oxford ; New York: Oxford University Press.

This is an excellent introduction to the split between Continental and Anglo-American (or analytic) philosophy, along with why it needs to be eradicated and some ways to work towards a reconciliation.

The primary reason for the split is the professionalization of the discipline and self-identification by said professionals. Hmmm. Sounds kind of familiar. Sadly.

Highly recommended.

Wednesday – Thursday, 2 – 3 Apr 2008Dousa, Thomas. (2008) Subject Heading Specificity with Especial Reference to LCSH: A Basic Bibliography.

Tom has produced an excellent annotated bibliography for his 3rd assignment in 590SA (Subject access & subject analysis).

Friday, 4 Apr 2008

Budd, J. (1992). The Library and Its Users: The Communication Process. , Contributions in librarianship and information science., 71, 193. New York: Greenwood Press.

Grabbed this because Budd cited it in ch. 3 of Self-Examination. “As one would suspect, the literature on communication is voluminous. That literature will not be covered in great depth here; elsewhere I (Budd, 1992) have examined it in some detail” (79).

Now that was interesting to know, so I grabbed it the next day as quickly as I could. And I might, in fact, read this one first and then go back to Self-Examination.

I need to know about these texts. There is another one Pauline told me about that used to be a textbook, at least 4 editions. I picked up all 4, which we had. It seems our profession goes through cycles in the (mostly) lip service paid to our being in the business of communicating.

Read the Introduction and ch. 1 Libraries, Information, and Meaning at lunch.

As I suspected, and complained about last week, Budd does not make the same mistake here re the need for language for the possibility of communication.

Saturday, 5 Apr 2008

Library of Congress. (1951). Subject Headings: A Practical Guide. , 140. Washington: U.S. Govt. Printing Office.

Read parts of this for Tom’s presentation/discussion of his project this coming Tuesday (see the bibliography above).

Svenonius, E. (1976). Metcalf and the principles of specific entry. In W. B. Rayward (Ed.), The Variety of Librarianship: Essays in Honour of John Wallace Metcalfe (pp. 171-189). Sandy Bay, Tas: Library Association of Australia.

Same as above. Recommended.

Web Ontology Language: OWL (ch. 4 of a soon-to-be published book on the Semantic Web from MIT Press, I believe. Handed out in class last week.)

For 590OD. Good stuff to know, to say the least. But it just feeds my beliefs that the Semantic Web will not save the world despite what Sir Tim and others might think. There is actually so little of importance that can be modeled using First Order Logic, or, should I say, there is so much more of importance than what can be modeled by FOL.

In fact, I believe they even blow one of their examples. I may have to go to class on Tuesday just to find out. Or else I’ll simply talk to Allen or Karen about it