What is it with UIUC and this guy

Tomorrow, Wednesday, 18 June 2008, 2 – 3:30 PM

Library Colloquium: Michael Gorman : Are Libraries Still Vital to Research?

Why do we keep bringing him here?

And, yes, I am well aware of his connection to UIUC. But, honestly, you’d think people might have outgrown him by now. Perhaps if more of our students could learn to think for themselves and to read a bit more widely ….

This quote from the news announcement I find particularly ironic:

If you need a refresher on Michael Gorman’s fascinating career, check his entry in Wikipedia which also provides links to some of his publications and other biographical sources.

There’s something just a tad bit too delicious to think about when someone links to Wikipedia to reference Gorman’s career. Don’t you think?

Part of the lecture is supposed to be on core competencies for LIS education, a major platform of Gorman’s ALA Presidency. I am assuming this post at Doc Martens’ theorywatch is in reference to them.

What a nice laundry list that. I will be interested in hearing how and to what depth they will be measured/evaluated. Or will it be enough for ALA as accrediting agency—as it is now—for programs just to claim that they address them. Actually, now, programs only have to claim that they address what they think is valuable [Yes, it isn’t quite so simplistic I know. But honestly that’s about what it reduces to.]. Not sure if this is much of an improvement but I need more details first.

I could just as easily pick on any set of these competencies, but I’ll choose those particularly close to my heart:

3. Organization of Recorded Knowledge and Information

3A. The principles involved in the organization and representation of recorded knowledge and information.

3B. The developmental, descriptive, and evaluative skills needed to organize recorded knowledge and information resources.

3C. The systems of cataloging, metadata, indexing, and classification standards and methods used to organize recorded knowledge and information.

Is it going to be enough that prospective graduates of accredited programs can list some principles, some skills and some “systems” used, or will they actually have to understand these principles, apply the skills, and demonstrate knowledge and ability to apply these systems?

Here’s a cite from an email about Gorman’s visit:

Michael will address the continuing importance of libraries to researchers and will cover the nature of research, the nature of the human record today, the skills of modern librarians (this will touch on the proposed “core competences” for ALA accredited LIS programs), and the importance of the bibliographic architecture of research libraries.

I have no doubt that Gorman will address these topics. My concern is with what qualifications anyone thinks he has to address these topics, or some of them anyway. The nature of the human record today. The skills of modern librarians. This is just funny. In a sad way.

Yes. I will be there. Who could resist such a show? And, honestly, as someone highly interested in the education of “modern librarians”—whatever the heck those might be—I’m dying to hear more about the ALA version of No Librarian Left Behind.


Update: Before any comments came in I realized I ought to say a bit more but instead went for a run. While I was out 3 comments came in [for reference sake].

I want to add that I do have some respect for Michael Gorman, or more accurately for some of the things he has done, said, and written. I have read several of his books and many of his articles. I hold many of the same values as he does, particularly values in relationship to the profession of librarianship. I just think they can and should be espoused and embodied differently than he does. In fact, if you search this blog you will find several cases where I defended or, at least, supported him.

But I also lost most of my respect for him over the last couple of years based on many of the things he has said and written. I do think he has much to offer our profession still. I just have no faith that he will stick to those things, nor that he will realize that he is failing at many of the things on the proposed list of core competencies; things which are critical to the future of the profession.

And while I agree with all 3 of the commenters so far, I do not agree with jenny’s 1st point. Having been president of ALA in no way whatsoever qualifies any one to speak on the issues he is supposed to be addressing. It may “certify”, allow, or more accurately, entitle one to speak on them. But then I didn’t realize this is an entitlement profession. In fact, are not entitlement and profession, at least in the senses I mean them, exclusive of each other?

So, lest any one get confused, I am not a Michael Gorman hater. I just do not think he is qualified to address, or even willing to properly engage with, many of the issues at hand. I am also fairly certain that I can back those statements up to anyone but the most die-hard MG fans or the ostriches of the profession.

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.

LITA membership update

Perhaps there are “better” ways to affect change than those I sometimes use. The truth is, I did not really expect any change on my behalf; I did want it for others, though. But, it seems my griping was noticed and change is happening.

I got a nice phone call today from Mary Taylor, Executive Director of LITA, regarding some comments I had made about having not heard a word in any manner from LITA for 6 months after I joined.

Proactive steps are being taken to keep this from happening again. Thanks to Mary’s efforts I will be sticking around LITA for a while longer and hopefully even looking to get involved once I sort out this little life of mine.

Some odd current in the ether or something caused a fairly major problem with my LITA membership. None of us are quite sure what it was but, as I said, steps are being taken to prevent it from happening to anyone else and I have been personally welcomed into the LITA family.

It seems like the right thing to do to say this publicly. I am grateful that this might not happen to anyone in the future. Thank you, Mary (and those who will implement the new procedures), for reaching out and for reminding me that there are people who do care.


P.S. I have added a new comment to the few places I commented/posted on this so that others know that I consider this situation happily resolved. If anyone is aware of one I missed please do let me know so that I can set the record straight.

AACR2r is an ALA Bestseller!

Perhaps I missed this in earlier editions, but according to my ALA Editions Spring/Summer 2007 catalog that arrived a few days ago I see that AACR2r is an ALA Bestseller! [That ! is their’s, not mine.]

While I have no doubt that this is factually true—my guess is that it is even their biggest bestseller of all time—just what information is that knowledge supposed to convey to me, or anyone else?

Telling me that Carrie Russell’s Complete Copyright: An Everyday Guide for Librarians, or even that Robert Maxwell’s Maxwell’s Handbook for AACR2: Explaining and Illustrating the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules, through the 2003 Update are bestsellers actually tells me something.

I’ll leave it up to you to determine whether and what the knowledge that AACR2r is a bestseller imparts to you and whether it is useful, or positive.

Opportunities come … and go; just as fast

A couple hours ago I wrote and sent off an email that I found very difficult to write.

This weekend I received an email asking me to sit on a panel at ALA to help discuss a topic of current concern to some. But, unfortunately and for various reasons, I decided early in the year not to go to ALA. I chose to go to NASIG instead (June), along with ASIST (Oct.). I have since added ISKO-NA/NASKO in June.

Despite having lodging in the DC area, there is simply no way I can decide to go at this late date. I most certainly cannot afford it, nor can I afford to miss even more days of work.

But how is one to turn down such an offer? This is certainly the highest level invitation of any kind I have received in my so far short library career; probably even of my whole life.

I know some of you turn down these sorts of things frequently. But did you turn down the 1st one? “They” say “timing is everything” and so much about the timing(s) of this is perfect. But bounce that timing off the reality of life and it skews real poorly on one or more axes. OK, one axis. Money.

Several people of importance to me are encouraging me to accept and I am grateful to them for that wisdom. But it simply is not to be. <sigh>

But. Tomorrow I start a(nother) new job and will become a Rapid Monographic Cataloging GA (well, hourly for the summer; GA in the fall). Yay, me!

I am seriously looking forward to actually making some forward progress each day (as in number of titles cataloged). My serials gig is anything but rapid. It’ll be hard to remember that I can only do copy cataloging with the monographs, though. 😉

Life is full of trade-offs it seems. And some of them are even good ones.

P.S. I was reasonably OK with my decision a few hours ago, but now I am finding it hard to fathom that I said “No, thank you.” I can certainly believe the reality of it, though. Oh well. “Buck up, kid! You get to learn something new tomorrow.”

LC Working Group – Structures and Standards, part 1 – Welcome

Note: Some commentary will be provided (by me) via notes from another attendee, Kathryn La Barre. I will do my best to give proper attribution when necessary, but if she is really just corroborating something I remember easily enough then probably not. I will give attribution to all folks as best I can from between Kathryn’s and my notes but I know I often did not catch who was asking a question. If someone notices any improper attributions please feel free to ask me to fix it. I will also attempt to [bracket] off any editorial comments, or make them explicit in other ways.

Not sure how many posts this will take—I have 13 pages of single-spaced typed notes from Kathryn and 21 pages of hand-written notes (mostly slide “reproductions”) in my notebook—but, I begin….

Structures and Standards for Bibliographic Control

The 2nd meeting of the Library of Congress’ Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control was held Wednesday, May 9 2007, at ALA Headquarters in Chicago. The topic was Structures and Standards for Bibliographic Control.

The meeting opened with Keith Michael Fiels, Executive Director of ALA, welcoming us all. Both this meeting and the previous were videotaped for possible cybercast at the Library of Congress. No indication was made if they might be made publicly available.

[It also seems to be the case that the papers and public testimony from the 1st meeting, nor this one, are not publicly available. This would be an immense public service, and while perhaps not required by law it should be the case. As much information as possible from this process should be publicly available. One use of this material would be to guide those not able to attend as they submit written testimony to the Working Group.]

Deanna Marcum, Associate Librarian for Library Services at the Library of Congress, provided another welcome and an overview of the public meeting process. The working group first met last November and had expected to meet a few times and issue a report. They quickly realized they needed input from outside the group and added 3 meetings around the country. The 1st was in Mountain View, CA (at Google) in March (Users and Uses of Bibliographic Data [brief summary]), the 2nd May 9th at ALA in Chicago (Structures and Standards for Bibliographic Data), and the 3rd will be July 9th in the DC area (Economics and Organization of Bibliographic Data).

The Library of Congress is working on their own strategic plan for the future. There are 38 groups, one of which is looking at bibliographic control. A report (treatise) from another group on the history of bibliographic control going back to 2000 BC will be released to the public. [When?]

José-Marie Griffiths, Dean of the UNC School of Information and Library Science, and Chair of this working group gave us a 3rd welcome and reminded us that the working group is at the “information gathering” stage, with a report due to Deanna Marcum in November.

She commented that this process is part of a larger question for those of us in the academic community (LIS education), i.e. what do we need to do to ensure graduates are equipped for the workforce? Traditional indexing and cataloging courses are declining in number. What are the implications for education? [from Kathryn’s notes]

She then read through the working group’s charge:

  • Present findings on how bibliographic control and other descriptive practices can effectively support management of and access to library materials in the evolving information and technology environment
  • Recommend ways in which the library community can collectively move toward achieving this vision
  • Advise the Library of Congress on its role and priorities [source]

She commented on the 2 user groups that were identified during the March meeting—consumers and managers—but noted that it is really a spectrum of users. Editorial aside: If so, then say so explicitly! That user “dichotomy” bothered me from the moment I saw it. What am I as a serials cataloger? Surely I am a consumer while I try to determine if a record exists, proper form of entries, etc. While at the same time, I am “managing” some information (functionally), although I do not think of myself as a manager by any stretch. This point was made by others during the day.

She then introduced the Working Group members who were present. [I find it rather telling that there is a small picture on the main Working Group page of the members [all of them?], but no easily available listing. Doing a web search turns up this page, but my point is that we should not have to search. That list should be prominently available from the main Working Group page. I am frequently sadly reminded that information/knowledge organizers are as bad at that as Signal Corps folks in the Army are at communicating. We can get the tech right, but not necessarily the communicative act.]

Brian Schottlaender, Working Group member and today’s moderator. Introduced the issues with the pull quote from Joe Janes’ column in the April 2007 American Libraries entitled “W(h)ither Print?”

If you’re being honest with yourself, you know something nontrivial is afoot.

Submitting written testimony

Several people reminded us throughout the day that the Working Group is taking written testimony. Marcum, perhaps, suggested that they would do so through at least the 3rd meeting on July 9th. The website states July 15th.

I highly encourage anyone and everyone to do so! All written testimony must be sent to Dr. José-Marie Griffiths. Contact info on this page.

There is also a Contact Page for the Working Group, but I am unsure of its purpose.

Remember, though, all testimony (such a fancy word, eh? Input, comments, concerns,…) needs to go to Dr. Griffiths. Please do so! Particularly those of you in the public, special and school libraries. As you will see (eventually), it was noted that there was little representation from, of, or by, these communities. Do not let your voices and concerns go unheard.

Next up, David Bade…

5+ liblogger influences and friends, and more

Blogging, or not so much

I’m sorry—although mostly to myself—for my non-blogging lately. There are things I’d like to write (e.g., Green on following Humanities sources) and some I even started on (e.g., Hope Olson) amongst others. But I’ve been working hard at keeping on a reasonably even keel emotionally and mentally, while trying to get in as much learning as I can before this school gig is up.

I’ve been fairly disappointed in myself for the state of this thing for a while now, but I’m also aware that it has gone through various cycles and states since the start. So for those of you who are still out there and read some of this, I truly appreciate it. And I really appreciate those who comment, whether it is to take me to task or just to say, “Me too!”

Last night as I was getting caught up on my blog reading I came across two posts by two wonderful ladies who made me feel very special: Jennifer and Iris.

I’ve been avoiding this meme because I’m not a fan of the loose use of the word “hero.” I’m well aware that it means little in today’s overly celebritized society and that the language change genie cannot be put back in the bottle, but I can try to reserve it for serious use.

But rest assured that those two ladies with so many interesting things to say said well are on my list. Besides their wonderful writing, they have both offered me a place to question and to discuss.

And because I’m not a fan of numbered favorites or favorites period, and because I am actively trying to learn to color outside the lines, my (current) list will be seven in number, in no particular order:

Iris Jastram (Pegasus Librarian): As I said, she writes well about many important things, things which I don’t have a direct connection to seeing as I am pursuing a different area of librarianship. But they are things of which I need to be aware to do my job. And as she mentioned, we have become good friends. A few months back, Dorothea (see below) had a mini-rant about “Friends” where she started with the following:

Online friends versus real friends. Online life versus real life. All these briar-fences and hedges we construct when we speak so that we don’t admit the possibility that people we meet online are, you know, people, meaning as much to us as people we meet elsewhere.

I don’t want to hear that nonsense any more, and in fact I intend to laugh loudly and point a derisive finger whenever I do hear it.

While I understood her point philosophically, I still distrusted it a tad experientially. While I had made good friends with several people whom I’ve spent at best a couple to several hours with at a conference and then stayed in touch with, I had yet to make an actual friend with someone I had only met online. In case you are new to this blog, “friend” is a concept and term even more dear to my heart than “hero!”

I am proud to say that Iris is my first friend who I met online. I joyously look forward to the day I actually meet her in person.

Jennifer Macaulay (Life as I Know It): Jennifer writes eloquently about other issues within librarianship that often impinge on my own work, about LIS and distance education, and simply has a lovely site. Hers and Walt’s are two blogs that I am guaranteed to click through to to read. I’m not sure why, but her blog header puts me in a better frame of mind, and the simplicity is simply elegant. She makes me think and allows me to question. I sincerely thank her for that.

Jenica Rogers [Sorry, kid, can’t remember if you hyphenated your name or not.] (Mermaid – Thinking Out Loud): All I ought to say is go read her about page and see why I love her. But. I met Jenica at ACRL in Minneapolis in April 2005, which is also where I met Dorothea, Joy Weese Moll, ranger, Jane/Michelle Boule and a few others.

Jenica is absolutely relentless, in the best possible way. 🙂 I am completely amazed at what she can accomplish, in any amount of time. Her blog is a direct reflection of the human being that she is with none of those stupid walls of fragmentation. I feel completely safe to question in her space and that, my friends, is a difficult thing to achieve.

Dorothea Salo (Caveat Lector): I don’t know what to say that hasn’t been said elsewhere, but I think Iris may have said it best:

But Dorothea’s authorial voice keeps me coming back for more, no matter the content. I’m equally happy listening to her talk about the weather or about mysterious tech-ish script-ish things that I don’t understand at all.

I may have a slightly better grasp of some of the techy stuff than Iris, but I agree with her point. There are so many things for me to learn from Dorothea, not the least of which are how to vehemently disagree in a civil way, humility, and how to apologize. One classy librarian.

Meredith Farkas (Information Wants To Be Free): “Not another person pointing to Meredith,” you ask? Well, yes.

She’s prolific, thoughtful, expressive, questioning, and allows others a space to question vehemently (as long as they’re civil). While we certainly do not agree about everything—none of the people on this list do, thankfully— I’d have her back in a heartbeat on most anything. Oh. I already did that, didn’t I? And I’d do it again. 🙂

Another very classy lady I am proud to know. And welcome to the wonderful world of Macs, Meredith. 😉

Jennifer Graham (jennimi): I met Jennifer at ASIST last November and was immediately “smitten” with this caring, thoughtful new librarian with one of the biggest hearts I have ever met. She is the epitome of someone dearly enamored of technology in the service of people. She’s also a lot of fun and gave me, perhaps, the best birthday present ever!

Walt Crawford (Walt at Random): Many would call Walt a curmudgeon or, perhaps, worse. While those folks certainly have a right to that opinion, I don’t think it is one that counts for anything. Walt is the best reason I can think of for generally using the concept and term “librarian” loosely. Once in a while, a context might require us to draw the specific lines a little tighter, but I would not be comfortable in too many (any?) conversations about “librarians” that excluded this true professional.

Walt provides an amazing service to a broad swath of folks through Cites & Insights. I’ve read it for a couple of years now and almost always read it “cover to cover” as soon as I download it. When he started blogging (on April Fool’s day no less) I was ecstatic. Always thoughtful, often insightful, and never irascible, he puts a much needed voice of reason into many discussions. This gentleman has a lot to teach me and I’m doing my best to pay attention.

While compiling this list I came across this post at W.a.R. I guess I should get over feeling bad about my blogging and just get on with what I’m doing.

And, yes, it is true that Walt helped name this blog. See the comments here.

[I also just determined that Bloglines is broken again!! There are several posts at jennimi I haven’t seen and the above one from Walt. Grrrr!]

As Iris said at her post, this list is about far more than libraries and professional contacts. These are all people I have corresponded with in more than one format. I have met all but 2 of them and look forward to seeing them all again, or especially for the first time. Dorothea and Jenn will be at ASIST in October. Yay!

Everyone of these folks are special to me for one or more reasons, and while they may not be my heroes, I know that a few are my friends, and I’d be honored to call the rest by that very important word, too.

A crazy mishmash of life

Sickness and death

Been having odd sick-like things going on for a couple months now. Went to the doc last week. Sinus x-rays showed an infection and I’m a third of the way through 20 days of antibiotics. My electrolytes were also off and I had to have them retested. Go back Monday for a follow-up.

I need to call the pest control dude back. Maybe it’s the cold snap, but I have had a couple ants the last couple days. I have about 3 more weeks to get a free touch-up spray. It’s stressful enough right now with the semester’s end rapidly approaching without needing to kill more ants. “Stay outside, you little bastards!”

End of the semester

Speaking of the end of the semester … I’m OK, but really need to get productive quickly! I’ve been reading a lot as you can see, but now it’s time to do something with what I’ve read and to actually research some (i.e., visit and play with) some terminology services-type projects. I’ve been entering many of my readings in Zotero, too, so I can do my bibliography.

My project for Representation and Organization is probably going to be an annotated bibliography. Kathryn’s left it up to me to produce something useful for the class on my topic, relationships, although she suggested a few things including the bibliography. I am going to structure it around Bean & Green’s 4-way grouping from the introduction to Relationships in the organization of knowledge:

  1. Bibliographic relationships between units of recorded knowledge
  2. Intratextual and intertextual relationships, including those based on text structure, citation relationships, and hypertext links
  3. Subject relationships in thesauri and other classificatory structures
  4. Relevance relationships (vii)

I will, of course, expand on these (non-mutually exclusive) categories and try to include at least one good article on each topic. Many topics will have several good or even great ones. And, if you’ve been paying attention, you may have noticed that I’ve even gone back and read some of the early classic articles.

Allen really liked my first paper for Ontologies and now I just need to do a bit of expansion and try to add a couple sentences here and there on some points he said I’d get nailed for if it were a conference paper. Our initial limit was 3 single-spaced pages and now I have 1-3 more to “play” with. Of course, I’m supposed to explain the notion of hierarchies, my choice of methodology (chose the right one, but need to say why), and also what I mean by “fundamental category.” I love how he said that “I need to do something (about “fundamental category”), that it’ll be hopeless, and that I won’t be satisfied.” Truer words of advice from a philosopher were never spoken. In 1-3 sentences I need to stave off criticism from those who think they know what they are and that I don’t, and criticism from those who think no one knows what they are. Certainly a simple task, eh? 😉

I really had no idea what to expect from Allen when I went in to talk to him last Sunday since I had never written an actual paper for him before, but it was delightful. We chatted for a good while about a fair few things and it did my heart good. Those memories are mine, though.

I need to get on this paper, though, as I present it to class on Tuesday the 17th. I’ll post it here at some point. I’m even considering posting both versions, but I want to have the expanded version written before I post the original.

Assistantships

I just realized that my thesaurus assistantship is over May 15th, and I verified that they have no money to pay me (hourly) after that. At least I didn’t get let go like several other folks a month or two back. That means I will not completely finish my first pass through FireTalk, although possibly all Top Terms except TT00 General. The problem is, I’m still waiting for node labels (maybe next week) and it will really need a 2nd pass. ::sigh:: “‘ferris wheel rescue’, ‘ferris wheel rescue’, ‘ferris wheel rescue’…”

I think I’m set for Fall, though. I scored another assistantship in Rapid (monographic) Cataloging and kept my Serials gig. Sweet! I’ll get to sit at my own desk all week, and get some great monographic copy cataloging experience. I’ll certainly see a vastly wider range of subjects, class nos, and some other MARC fields than I do now. My only concern is that if some adjustments aren’t made it’ll be 60% total, and those extra few hours/week make a big difference.

My serials gig is through the summer, but I need to find some way to make up the $$ from the Fire Service gig. Cause it only adds up to rent and utilities for 3 months. Else it’ll be a very boring summer as I basically sit in my house and it ramen.

Blogging, or not so much

See the next post…

Future classes

This summer I’ll be taking a class on Topic Maps with Patrick Durusau via LEEP. This Fall, who knows? Registration opens Monday and we don’t have all the classes listed yet! Now this is certainly abnormal for us, but it sucks nonetheless.

I am taking Bibliography with one of our amazing emeritus professors, Don Krummel. After that, hmmm? There really aren’t many decent courses being offered in my opinion. But one should keep in mind that I’ll have 74 semester hours of LIS credit by the time Fall semester starts. Maybe it is about time to move on. 😉

There are a couple that might be interesting in light of my previous socio-technological work, but they are with someone I don’t think I’d take any class from based on what I’ve heard from many of the PhD students.

Julia Flanders (who is amazing!) will be teaching Electronic Publishing via LEEP again. While interesting, I had a look at last year’s syllabus and I don’t know. Kind of peripheral to my main interests.

An analysis of contemporary electronic publishing from the perspective of the production process, emphasizing the role of information processing standards and the concept of documents as knowledge representation systems. Specific topics will include the organization of digital document production, tools and techniques, technical strategies, business strategies, and policy issues. Particular attention will be given to the use of key XML-related standards in the production process, and to the general role of data standards in supporting the development of a high-performance electronic publishing industry. As a vehicle for presenting a coordinated selection of fundamental issues, we will focus on the development and use of the Open eBook Publication Structure, a new industry specification for the content, structure, and presentation of “electronic books”. Students may approach the material from a variety of perspectives. Final projects will be individualized to student’s interests and backgrounds and may be either analytical research papers or technical projects designing and implementing portions of publishing systems (From GSLIS Course Catalog).

Dave Dubin will be teaching Foundations of Information Processing in Lib & Info Science, which will include Python programming. Allen Renear highly suggested I take this after hearing of the other classes I have taken and my professional plans. He’s right; I need to do this. But it’s LEEP and I broadcast this class for Dave once and had a hard time keeping up when in the same room with him even. That boy can pack an English sentence like none I’ve ever known!

Covers the common data and document processing constructs and programming concepts used in library and information science. The history, strengths and weaknesses of the techniques are evaluated in the context of our discipline. These constructs and techniques form the basis of applications in areas such as bibliographic records management, full text management and multimedia. No prior programming background is assumed (From GSLIS Course Catalog).

More important to my current goals are the independent studies/practica that I’m trying to put together. I want to do some work with “authority control,” both traditional (AACR, MARC, LC) and newer, non-traditional forms like embedded gazetteers, term lists, etc. They will probably have to be separate, but who knows? I’m drafting a letter to ask for a meeting to discuss possibilities with our head of cataloging but am waiting on a couple feedback responses first. Quite possibly something could come of this that would shape my CAS project. It’d be nice to do some real work and learning, and benefit the library and our patrons at the same time.

I thought I had the authority control thing sewn up when I got a CETRC Mentor, but seeing as I never heard from them I seem to need to find a different route. And speaking of never hearing from….

ALA and its offshoots

Almost 2 months ago, I wrote about ALA membership processing being broken. I called them a couple of days after that and was assured that everything was right with the world. The lady I spoke with really was very pleasant. She assured me that, “No, I did not owe any more $$ for ACRL and that I really was no longer a member of ACRL, and that surely LITA knew I was a member because they have exactly the same info as she does.” She suggested that maybe I hadn’t heard from them yet as their journal is quarterly and, well, Nov. to Feb. When I asked whether I should have at least received a welcome email or such she was a bit perplexed but, nonetheless, “All is right with the world.”

Well, damn it ALA! All is not right with the world. I still get ACRL publications. I have yet to receive any thing—journal, email, “Fuck off but thanks for the $$”—except for a kindly welcome from a member in my post comments. As I said in my previous post:

I voted for the dues increase ALA. I expect you to actually fix some of the broken parts with it. Starting with membership services might be a good place. That seems like such a basic concept for a membership organization, especially one whose purpose really isn’t to serve their members but where their members work. It seems to me that asking people to pony up large sums of money to be a member of something that actually supports their employers—truly one heck of a concept—would particularly make the organization pay attention to the “small” matter of membership.

I said a lot more, too, and I stand by every word of it. There are other games in town and as I figure out exactly where I want to put my limited time and energy professionally ALA is at the bottom of the list. I also doubt that they could do much to improve the situation for me at this point. I’ll probably stay a member of ALCTS next year, but after that when I am no longer a student and depending on where my 1st job takes me … who knows?

ALA, you are improving in a few small ways and I am truly glad for that. But you still truly suck in some very overarching ways that are far more important. So keep putting money into Second Life because that is far more important than even recognizing that someone is a member of part of your organization. Yeah, seems like the right priority to me. In the meantime you can find me at ASIST and NASIG.

That is all I’m willing to say because I don’t want to find myself in a situation like someone else I know who swore “Never again ALA…” and ended up taking a job there a few months later. See, my ethical sensibilities would have a real hard time with that.

That’s all for now as I have another post to finish so I can concentrate on school work.