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.

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.

ALA membership processing is broken

Update 19 July 2007: I wanted to add an update that I have been contacted by LITA and that official steps are being taken to preclude whatever disconnect happened in my membership from happening to anyone else.

I have been personally welcomed into the fold and look forward to my future time with LITA.


For a bit of context, and to help folks realize that it’s not just me bitching again: see rikhei’s recent trials and tribulations with ALA membership:

I am already regetting renewing my ALA membership

Clarification on the ACRL registration problem

In the middle of November 2006 I renewed my membership in ALA and made a few changes in said membership. One of the things I did was to drop ACRL and join LITA. These were certainly the changes which cost the most.

Here is an excerpt from the renewal confirmation email:

The following Membership(s) were purchased:

1. Student pricing - Student Membership Basic Dues
2. ALCTS - Association for Library Collections and Technical Svcs
3. LITA - Library and Information Technology Association
4. IFRT - Intellectual Freedom
5. LHRT - Library History
6. NMRT - New Member
7. SRRT - Social Responsibilities Round Table

That said, I am still (mid-February 2007) getting ACRL publications and I have yet to receive a word from LITA. Any word. A freaking “Welcome” would be a good start!

I went in and looked at my membership status at the ALA site last night. [That trick is, well, a trick. I know ALA is working on another website redesign so I’ll cut them some slack on the idiocy that is checking your current member status for the moment.] It seems that all of the above is true, along with still having a membership in ACRL and the fact that I owe them $35 more dollars.

Of course, I have received absolutely no communication from ALA on this matter, but at least it explains the ACRL publications I am still receiving. But guess what ALA? You are not getting another penny from me for this year! And the future is seriously under reconsideration, again.

I did not renew my membership in ACRL. In fact, I cancelled it. I did join LITA though. And while your confirmation email and the website confirms that, they do not seem to know it.

I know some of you out there will (again) try and defend ALA on this. But you know what? There is absolutely no justification! It is simply broke. Plain and simply broken.

If Amazon and all the other sorts of entities that are currently being tossed around as things libraries should be emulating were broken like this “we” wouldn’t be saying these things, would we? [And, yes Jenica, I feel your pain. Amazon is currently broken for me too.]

I have taken a look at the ALA Membership Committee page and I see some names I recognize—names of people I like and respect. First, let me say thank you for serving. Second, let me say you have a big task ahead of you. Third, I doubt you really have much input into actually fixing the problem. But I sure hope you are beating on the door of those who do, and I wish you luck. Because wherever the problem lies, it is causing you membership issues and member loss.

I don’t actually expect a lot of “glitter” from ALA because I am somewhat happy to give them money to do some of their more important background work. But I do expect for the confirmed membership info from mid-Nov to match what it is in mid-Feb. I also expect that if you think I owe you money that you would contact me. I also expect to get what I pay for; even if that is simply a welcome.

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.

ALA membership services is simply broken. Considering I have had an issue every time I have renewed my membership the last couple years I do not see myself retaining my membership when I am no longer a student. To give that kind of money for such service is completely unthinkable. Actually, to give up the kind I did as a student is also unthinkable. Taking 3-6 months to get straight any changes in my membership and then turning around and asking me for money in another 6 months is inexcusable.

ALA, you are not the only game in town. There are plenty of other professional organizations which I would happily join if I wasn’t giving you the money I am each year. I have only heard good things about these organizations, also.

I am tired of this crap ALA! Fix it! Now!

I welcome any contact—public or private—from members of the ALA Membership Committee or anyone in LITA who has any insight into the issue. But for anyone planning on just giving the same tired excuses, please save yourself the trouble. I have absolutely no desire to hear them. Again.

MyALA for 2007

In case anyone is interested, here is what I did about ALA for this year:

Stayed as a student member.

Kept ALCTS and the Cataloging and Classification Section (CCS).

Added Serials Section (SS). Hey, it was free and I do serials.

Dropped ACRL and the two sections I was in. Hasn’t been of much value to me and I’m no longer so involved in the student chapter. [Yes, the site needs updating. We’re having a “small” issue getting control handed over to the new webmaster.]
Kept Intellectual Freedom Round Table (IFRT).

Finally added New Members Round Table (NMRT).

Added Library History Round Table (LHRT).

Joined LITA. I decided to give it a try and see how it fits my interests.

In the end, my dues went up by $5/year. I guess I was feeling generous when I renewed two days ago. All this certainly won’t be sustainable when I’m no longer a student, though.