Some things about the new year

Not sure where this blog is going this year. I said some things last year about where I wanted to take it / thought it might go and it got nowhere near any of those places.

I read through all of my posts for 2008 on the 1st and 2nd. Wow! What a year! Talk about ups and downs. The reading went much quicker for the back half of the year seeing as I had but a handful of posts over the last quarter of the year.

I did and still do have some things to say. But for many reasons I chose/choose not to and/or am unable to do so—both good things and not so good things.

Things are really good in my life in some ways as I enter a new year and rapidly reach the half century mark. But I don’t get to say much about those.

I am in love and have the love of an amazingly wonderful woman. ‘Nuff said.

Some things are not so good; but really no worse than for many.

I have a job. For several more months anyway. But better than some, I knew from the start that it would end [on 15 August 2009]. At the time I got it there was a very good chance that it could be extended. With the economy tanked that is highly unlikely, though. So now I truly am on the job market—with many others—in an extremely poor economy.

It was a year of growth—some painful, some pleasant—and recognition of some areas which need improvement. In some cases I have a good idea and plan for how to work on those areas. Some are still too amorphously vague to have a plan; but awareness—or working towards awareness, at least—is the first step.

I have been working on a long post on the books I read this past year and WordPress is giving me fits. Apoplectic fits. Not sure if/when it will get posted anymore. The formatting keeps changing as WP sees fit from moment-to-moment. As soon as I figure out how to work around what it is doing it does something else. And now it is pulling out assorted COinS data. It is all becoming too much. [Hopefully it will be following on the heels of this one. ::fingers crossed::]

Also, one of the things I came across in re-reading my blog posts was my comments on censoring myself in my post “Some things read this week feature is over.” Now, none of those reasons have gone away although I was managing to ignore them as I constructed my Books Read in 2008 post. This morning [Saturday], in a different context, I was reminded that perhaps I am putting too much out there. So now I have to decide what to do with that post on top of trying to fight with WP.

I have no idea what this year will bring. I do have some hopes and desires but it is also a time of great change for S and for me.

I sincerely hope that I can continue to be the man I want to be in this relationship and that I can continue growing as that man.

I hope that I can be better at some things than I was in the past year. There were several issues that I wanted to comment on and had told others that I would that I never got to. Finding a way to discuss these issues in a more positive way is a big desire of mine. Finding a way to discuss them in a way I feel “safe” doing so is a hope.

I hope that I will be better at working on my breathing and perhaps find a way into yoga and other forms of exercise. I also hope I take up running again as soon as spring allows.

I hope to have a job after 15 August. And that it be interesting, challenging and with good people in a nice setting (work and non-work) is a desire.

Staying in better touch with assorted, but specific, people is a hope. Toward that end I am now in FriendFeed as it allows for a different kind of conversation than blogs or facebook. That, of course, is not enough and I must truly work harder at this.

I have many other hopes and desires for the new year. Some are concrete and some are still pretty abstract.

Besides hoping that everyone can be the person they desire to be in this year, my biggest hope and desire is that I actively and continuously work at being/becoming the person I want to be.

I have been (temporarily) employed

I’m still a little unsure since I do not have confirmation from the Board of Trustees—which is the official notice of employment—but based on my acceptance of the draft offer letter last Friday and receipt of the formal offer letter Tuesday I have a professional position. For a while anyway.

As of Monday, 6 October, I am a Visiting Serials Cataloger and Visiting Assistant Professor of Library Administration at UIUC.  This is a grant-funded position which runs through 15 August 2009 for now. Being a Visiting position it could be extended to a total of 3 years, if further funding was approved. Certainly the work will be here for that long, at least.

I am doing the same thing that I have been doing for the last several months, but now have a professional position, real pay and benefits, non-tenure faculty status, which includes professional development funds and research time.

I am encouraged and expected to continue looking for permanent employment but in the meantime this is a real load off of my mind, especially as the student loans are now going into repayment. I have also worked the last couple of months with no real health benefits, except for the VA Hospital about 45 minutes away.

The grant is to get Local Holdings Records (LHRs) into WorldCat for 140,000 serials titles with bibliographic and holdings records (some in our Voyager catalog) which are in various states of … well, various states. This is primarily to assist with Interlibrary Loan within the state (as funded) but will help outside of the state also.

These serials are also being moved to our remote storage facility to free up some space in the stacks for assorted New Service Model realignments, library consolidations, etc.

So the work involves a combination of original, copy and maintenance cataloging of (primarily) serials, sharing my work with OCLC when allowed, updating our holdings, and, in particular, ensuring that we have accurate Local Holdings Records in WorldCat. At the moment I am doing these by hand but we will shortly be batch loading many of these.

None of this is really cutting edge but it is important work. Many 1000s of linear feet of shelf space have been taken up over the years by things inadequately cataloged, things that never made the transition from the card catalog to the electronic age, and things simply not cataloged.

Well, that is the gist of it. No doubt, more will follow at some point. But for now, I am embarking on the adventure of my first professional position.

Thanks to my boss(es) and coworkers of the last 2 years who believe in me enough to give me this opportunity.

Shh!

I got a quick IM from a friend the other night wondering how I was doing as I have been quiet lately.

Yes. Yes I have.

There are a lot of reasons for this. Some of it is lack of time to do all the things I’d like to. There are probably other reasons, too, in certain domains. But the two bigs one are lack of time and the fact that I haven’t exactly been very positive about much of anything lately. This has kept me very quiet.

As much as I may like to complain I do not enjoy burdening my friends with my gripes. And some of the things I have complaints about are very few people’s business anyway.

Another part of it is that being on the job market I must really watch what I say and do. It breaks my heart to even think such thoughts but I can be realistic. [Actually, I think I am far more realistic than most people realize, but that is another issue.]

This is a time when I probably need my friends more than normal. Yet, I have slipped back into my shell anyway. And then that cycle gets exacerbated.

For instance, Anna Creech noticed that I had linked to one of her older posts and the link was broken in some blog maintenance that she had done so she sent me an email with the new link. I greatly appreciated that and fully meant to write her back and thank her. But I haven’t yet.

I installed a plugin to find broken links a while back and eventually it found 680-some odd broken links. [68x broken links out of 93x posts is quite disheartening.] I had fixed a couple of links already but when I fixed Anna’s the count immediately started going down. Rapidly. I tracked the downward progress over the next 18 or so hours and it got down to 196.

And then it started going back up again. After another 2 days or so it was back up to 680. Gah! I watched all this and took notes as it went down and then up again. All of this took longer than I had meant to take to write Anna a thank you note, though. When it all finally stabilized I was feeling bad for not responding to Anna yet. And so I haven’t.

I know it makes no sense. But there it is. [I do hope to write Anna before posting this.]

I have watched another friend come out of their shell and seem to flourish lately which does my heart no end of good. So I have left them alone due to my negativity lack of positivity. Not something they need right now.

I am also applying to jobs. I hate applying to jobs. I spent 20+ years in the Army to avoid just this. I have been in school for the past 10 years, some of which was possibly to continue avoiding this. I have no issues with working, only with applying for work.

I have lots of disappointments in my life and the whole process is full of disappointments. So not so much fun (as most might well agree). It seems funny but whenever I have spent a while somewhere many of the folks come to really appreciate having me around. My current workmates seem to want me to stay (as usual) but they have no job to offer me. I in no way look forward to having to go on interviews and “peddle my flesh.” My flesh is not worth peddling. It is my heart and soul (and mind) that you want. And I am incapable of showing you that in an interview. Well, perhaps not incapable but certainly recommended that I not try.

Alright. Mark, stop!

I promised myself this would not get out of hand but it has already. [And, yes, I cut lots out; multiple times.]

Let me just say:

  • I am tired.
  • I am sore, always.
  • I am stuck in my own head with no one to help sort out the messes.
  • I am really scared that my intermittent illness is coming back.
  • I am looking for a job.
  • I am about to be a non-student student. That is, I am not done but will lose most every “privilege” that comes with being a student. Like the ability to use the health clinic.
  • I’m not happy with much of anything on this blog in a long time. E.g., if WP is to be trusted then no one has linked to me since that idiocy about e-book week back in February and I can’t say I blame ’em. That wasn’t even a conversation I wanted to have and it probably got more links than any other post except a Carnival post.
  • My son is heading back to this fucked up war of ours. Yes, it is ours. Yours and mine. And it is still going on lest you have failed to notice recently.
  • And I am terrified that I will deal with this no better than the first time.

Everything is not bad, to say the least, which is why I changed negativity to lack of positivity above.

  • I have been seriously enjoying the flowers and trees as they bloom.
  • I have been enjoying taking photos of them and actually learning to use my camera a bit (which has greatly helped).
  • I have been enjoying laughing at all the people complaining about the weather. Yes, even my friends.
  • I have a book reviewing gig for a prominent publication.
  • I was complaining to Allen Renear about an example in an article and he fully agreed with me that the authors blew it on that one.
  • I saw many of my far flung friends Sunday at Commencement.
  • I got a nice compliment from a ravishing woman Sunday.

Heavenly wine and roses
seem to whisper to me when you smile

Lou Reed – Sweet Jane

There’s just too much thinking going on in my head and I basically have no one to talk about it with. And this blog is not the place to do so for most of it.

So. There you have it. I’m being quiet and that is probably best. In fact, best would be to strip out 90% of this post.

I do want my friends to know, though, that I do love them deeply. I am not trying to avoid anyone and would not resent anyone checking in with me if they desire to. No promises on speed or length of reply though. I already owe a couple people a response.

All in all, I’m actually pretty good. I am not depressed right now. Just not exuding a lot of positive vibes lately. And I need to reserve those for the job search and, more importantly, for my friends.

But I won’t let it change me, not if I can
I’d rather believe in love
and give it away as much as I can
To those that I am fondest of

Allen Reynolds – Dreaming My Dreams with You

As for the good, I need to say a very special “Thank you!” to an amazing person I am honored to call friend. We spent a good 5 1/2 hours talking last night. She let me bitch and moan. We talked about the good(s), too. We talked about things I just do not talk about with anybody. And then she let me into a special piece of her world. Thank you!

i search your profile for a translation
i study the conversation like a map
’cause i know there is strength
in the differences between us
and i know there is comfort
where we overlap

Ani DiFranco ¤ overlap ¤ out of range

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.

Incomplete

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.

Overall

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

Lazy web requests: Online job applications; and WordPress comments and LISHost

I have two lazy web requests.

Online job applications

I am in the process of filling out my first fully online job application and it is not pleasant for so many reasons. Complaining is not my point here, though.

The main issues are that in several places there is not enough room to add the information I need to. For instance, in the section for references there is nowhere near enough characters in the lines for the reference’s organization and title. And let’s be honest, academics and their institutions have lengthy titles.

For instance, I run out of room at Graduate School of Library. So, should I just type as far as I can and stop? Or should I try and do some abbreviating? For instance: GSLIS, UIUC; or, Graduate School of LIS; or, ….

After filling in a million form fields, I will be able to upload either pdf or Word copies of my résumé and letter of application. Thus, there may be some mitigation of the above issue but I have no idea how those copies will or will not be employed or if they will even be viewed since I have to put much of that info into those million form fields in the first place.

Any suggestions?

Also, what is the best salutation for a woman? I do know her rank from the library’s web site. Somehow “Dear Associate Professor X” sounds a bit stilted to me, though. I could address my letter to the Search Committee Chair, I guess, but I do have a specific name.

Any suggestions for this?

WordPress comments and LISHost

This one is for anyone using WordPress that has email notification of comments turned on and is on LISHost.

After the wonkiness this past weekend I am no longer getting email notifications for comments or comments in moderation. I have checked my WP install and those options are still checked and I even forced a refresh of them to no avail.

I have spoken with Blake and he thinks that perhaps what he had to do might have had an effect but he also undid those changes last night. He wants me to get back to him if the situation does not go back to normal and I certainly will. But I was wondering if anyone else is having this issue all of a sudden. If so, perhaps it might help Blake pinpoint the issue(s) causing it.

If you have lost your email notifications from WordPress all of a sudden feel free to comment here but, more importantly, please let Blake know.

Thankfully this is not a crippling issue but it does cause a definite inconvenience. Getting those email notifications is a much faster way to know whether someone has commented than checking the blog or blog admin panel.

And, yes. I have received several comments this weekend, to include a couple after I spoke to him last night. Nor is my email spam filter grabbing them all of a sudden.

Omega and Alpha

The end approaches and Tuesday I spent preparing for it.

A few weeks ago I sent in a petition to the Grad College to move my “additional” 2 hours from my MS (42 vs. 40-required) to my CAS. That was approved last Friday (Feb 1st).

Seeing as I had 72 completed hours that put me at 32 for the CAS and as I’m doing (fingers and toes crossed!) my 8-hour paper this semester I applied for (another) May graduation (also 40-required hours).

I did finish my Bibliography class last month but it remains ungraded so I will have an additional 4-hours at the end after all.

I also have what I continue to think of as an Incomplete (4-hrs.) but it is actually an F now. That could be changed if I could turn something in but that is looking unlikely. It is the independent study I was working on last spring on Terminology Services.

I’m still immensely interested in many aspects of the topic but even though my advisor and I went into the semester thinking I could probably do something she could grade we agreed Tuesday that I best just focus on my CAS paper. So I also filed a petition to have the grade changed to a W for Withdrawn. It’ll remain on the transcript—Independent Study will be so illuminating—but have no effect on my GPA. Current impact? OMG!!

[Of course, it’s all relative. As UIUC grads know, here an A- will reduce your GPA. I got one and it was deservedly so (last MS semester). So I had a 3.96 last graduation and now I have 3.76. Ouch!]

Don’t confront me with my failures.
I had not forgotten them.

Jackson Browne. These Days. For Everyman. [WorldCat]

I do actually have a terminologies idea but it is way too deep for a semester paper, especially if I’m actually trying to graduate ….

… and find a job. [I once ended up in the Army for quite awhile trying to avoid finding a job.]

As to the topic, I’m not even ready to talk about it here. I’ve put a couple of feelers out and I’m noticing bits here and there and trying my best to record them for now. My 1st coherent comments on the matter came in an IM conversation with my good buddy, Iris, who was so kind to “listen” as I tried to “say” something coherent. Thanks, Iris. All in all, all I have at the moment is one half of a hypothesis that seems pretty uncontroversial (but how it is fleshed out might well matter to some) and another half that is the vaguest hand waving in the direction of something that is hard to state even in skeletal form. To me it sounds like it couldn’t be the slightest bit controversial in skeletal form (but I know better). As to how it’d play if actually coherently fleshed out I cannot begin to say. But I sure as hell would like to.

I am pretty certain that what I am claiming is so. The question is whether or not the differences make a difference. Finding those differences will involve falling down a couple of rabbit holes once the descent of the current one begins to slow down.

Seems I now have a “research agenda” as a future academic librarian. I just need to find the job interview way of saying it. 🙁 Luckily I am pretty much there now with the current one, which I foresee going on for a long time, at least the Integrationism bit.

Which brings us back to the Alpha. It seems that I am officially on the job market and looking for a job. There is no way that I can rely on staying here no matter how many people might tell me they want me to stay. All I can say is “Show me the job(s)” then. Cause I’d be happy to stay for the right job.

One of the problems with UIUC is the fact that we have an LIS school and a large academic library (40 some odd truthfully). Lots of folks stick around here for assorted reasons—townies all along, spouse still in grad school, …. Despite the size of our library there are not that many full-time openings available, nor do they tend to hire our own grads.

But one of the benefits of being large is we get lots of grants and there are all sorts of grant-funded Visiting Professorships in the library. There might also be hourly work available, but that means no benefits, which might be OK if you have an employed spouse. I really have little doubt that I could stay, at least for a while.

I have told my bosses (and others) that as much as I’d like to stay I certainly do not have to. I also have no need to take any job just to stay. Nor will I.

Personally, I think I could do the institution a lot of good if they kept me around. Not just for UIUC or the Library but for GSLIS, too. Just an opinion, mind you.

I can go anywhere, technically. I have no restraints. I’m pretty certain I don’t want to be in a major city, though. Nor do I want to be at a school with 400 students in the middle of nowhere.

Most of the above was written a couple days ago but I am having a hard time finishing this as I need to be careful. I don’t want to seemingly rule something out so that someone on a search committee can say, “That describes us so he doesn’t even want to be here!”

I am a long way from applying for any jobs that I don’t want (as best as I can tell from all sources short of visiting). In fact, I doubt I’ll get to that point. That behavior has never made sense to me.

Of course, telling what kind of job it really is based on a job ad/description is a crap shoot of the highest order.

So. I want an academic position; tenure is not important. I could take it or leave it. I will pursue continuing opportunities to learn about interesting things and to share that with others via formal and informal publishing whether or not I am required to do so.

I want to do cataloging/metadata work, preferably descriptive and classificatory work of resources more towards the individual end than in the aggregate. Vocabulary work and other forms of classificatory structures are also on the table.

Serials do not scare me. In fact, that is where most of my current experience lies, although I also do monographs now. I do not think I am ready to be an electronic resources librarian but I do hope to learn more of what I need to feel qualified, along with many other things that I am interested in but have little or no experience with yet.

Working with people who are interesting, hopefully fun, and who are actively engaged in helping each other learn their craft so as to provide better service to their patrons and to move the profession forward are all important. I am not out to save the world (20 years in the Army demonstrated the futility of that endeavor) but I do want to make it a better one.

Anyone knowing of anything they think I might be interested in is welcome to point me towards them. 🙂

Wistful and confused

I know I’ve been pretty quiet lately. Lots going on and not so well physically. I just seem to stay sick anymore.

Lots of things happening, though.

Bibliography class

I have a topic for my Bibliography class and I’m making great progress collecting things and entering them into Zotero. I’ve read a few previously and I read the earliest one Monday eve. I’m not yet ready to discuss my topic here for a couple reasons, but I will. As for the fancy web-based ideas I’m not counting on them happening for this project.

I am excited about being able to read this body of literature chronologically, though. It will be a vastly different experience from my normal habits.

I am focusing on one author and will attempt to situate his work (0verall themes, where drawing from, where pointing to) within the overall context of our discipline. I am starting to get a grasp on some of the overall themes, “paradigms,” and so on in the field thanks to all my reading. I hope to write an introductory essay that will sketch some of this out while firmly situating my author’s perspective(s) within it.

Zotero and Web of Knowledge/Science

Anybody out there using Zotero also using ISI’s Web of Knowledge/Science and able to get usable citations out and into Zotero? Zotero’s site claims they work with ISI but I have been unable to get anything out that Zotero will recognize.

Programming class

Just getting started with Python was really kicking my butt until yesterday evening, but I finally made a breakthrough and then made some real progress. I’m pretty sure I met all the requirements for my 1st program and it’s 9 days early. 🙂

I doubt it will stay this way but here’s hoping there’ll be similar breakthroughs.

Job applications

Due to budget issues, the position I was asked to apply for was put on hold until February at the earliest (along with a few other positions). I’m not sure how I feel about this exactly, but it does complicate life some. For one thing, as much as I would love the other position I applied for, I only did so because I was applying for the other. I figured that if I was applying for a job before I was really ready to then I might as well apply for a second. And since the second seemed perfect, well….

That job is at a much smaller school, though, so I imagine they are having a hard time getting the search committee together to meet at the start of the fall semester. As much as they wanted someone to start right away they may not be able to pull that off.

And if anyone from this school is reading, I am perfect for your job and would love to work with you. My above comment is only in relation to the actual decision to begin applying and not about choosing what to apply to.

The P-word

The P-word has been cropping up a lot again lately. I have also discovered an interest that is easily P-level work—if I am capable of it—and which is really calling my name. I feel like I need to strap myself to the mast and plug my ears.

[Had a nice talk with my advisor today (most of this post was written last night) and the P-word has again been banished. Whew! In fact, despite my earlier concerns over doing this topic as my CAS “project” we have decided that it is a wonderful fit.]

Confusion reigns.

Ex moving away

Friday evening I’m heading to Normal to help my ex and her boyfriend load up a moving van for their move to Georgia (his home). They’ve been talking about this for a while now and it’s finally truly happening.

I’m not sure how I feel about all this. I know I’m supposed to hate my ex but I don’t. In fact, I love her very much (and her boyfriend). We are all good friends. No; I am not in love with her and have not been for well before we were divorced. But she is important to me.

Since Sara went off to college over 5 years ago, the ex has been my only family member living anywhere near me. Heck, I have been using her as my emergency contact since she was by far the closest to me physically. Now I’m truly going to be all alone in the (local) world.

I don’t like it.

ACRL@UIUC

Karla and I did our best to get the ACRL student chapter reinvigorated this year, and while we seemed to have lots of people interested in academic and research libraries at orientation and Orgapalooza we played hell getting people to volunteer to be officers. Elections finally opened yesterday. Yay!

Karla and I both have a lot of things going on in our lives and we have given and given over the years. We did what we could this year out of a feeling of duty. [And I despise duty ethics!] We are the only two long-term members still around and we want to see this chapter flourish again and, perhaps, spawn a few others. While neither of us is interested in being officers, we can (and will) provide lots of guidance and even spearhead a few things. We started seeding the ACRL@UIUC Moodle space with suggestions and started collecting meeting times that would work for folks once we had officers to get things moving.

  • Interested in the 1st year academic librarian experience? Who do you think knows most of the 1st year academic librarians at UIUC? They were (mostly) Karla and my classmates.
  • Want to visit the Circus Collection at ISU, or ISU as a possibly more typical academic library setting than UIUC? Who worked there for 6 years and still has lots of friends there?
  • Interested in the idea of the Information/Learning Commons or gaming in academic libraries or any of the other innovative things happening in the UIUC Undergraduate Library?

We can do much of this legwork and/or putting people in contact with the right people. So I’m very glad to see us moving forward.

Good and bad

As usual, there is much not being said although, in this case, most is on different but related topics.

Clearly there is much good in amongst the bad. And this is not to claim that there is no middle. Me; I’m no 2.0topian nor a Luddite. There is a middle, or should I say there are middles?

I am grateful for friends, near and far. I am grateful to have an advisor who doesn’t push me to do things I’m not ready to do, but who believes in me nonetheless.

ASIS&T Annual 2007 is soon and I’ll get to see some of those dear far friends. I’ll also get to rub elbows with some of the “names” in our profession. Hopefully this year I’ll be a little less shy about approaching some of them. [Reminder to self and others: They have always been gracious.]

I just wish I could be well for a while.

And I sure as hell wish I hadn’t “woke up” to find myself all alone (in a direct sense) this close to the mid-century mark.

Confused and wistful; wistful and confused. Pick one.

Aaaaargh!

Sorry. Just needed to get that off my chest.

I have 2 jobs to apply to and I am losing my mind over résumés and cover letters.

I. Hate. This. Stuff. Just in case I haven’t mentioned it.

And, no. I’m not particularly looking for any sympathy. I full well know it is the price we pay for …. Well, we pay it for something.