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.

Some things read this week, 19 – 25 August 2007

Saturday evening, 18 Aug

Nhat Hanh, Thich. Peace is every step : the path of mindfulness in everyday life. New York N.Y.: Bantam Books, 1991.

Finally got back to some of this.

Sunday, 19 Aug

Three NISO standards are up for reaffirmation so I read these this morning to provide my input:

ANSI/NISO Z39.77-2001 Guidelines for Information About Preservation Products

Abstract: Specifies the information that should be included in advertisements, catalogs, and promotional material for products used for the storage, binding, or repair of library materials, including books, pamphlets, sound recordings, videotapes, films, compact disks, manuscripts, maps, and photographs.

ANSI/NISO Z39.79-2001 Environmental Conditions for Exhibiting Library and Archival Materials

Abstract: Establishes criteria to minimize the effects of environmental factors on the deterioration of library and archival materials on exhibit. Specific parameters are recommended for exposure to light, relative humidity, temperature, gaseous and particulate contaminants, display techniques, and case and support materials composition.

ANSI/NISO Z39.82-2001 Title Pages for Conference Publications

Abstract: Explains how to structure title page information for conference publications so metadata and bibliographic citations can readily access the publications. The standard applies to all disciplines, to all conferences (e.g., meetings, symposia, institutes, colloquia, workshops), and to all formats (e.g., printed documents, videos, Web sites). It applies to published conference proceedings in various manifestations (e.g., papers, abstracts, summaries) and in all languages, subjects, and formats.

Z39-77 and Z39.82 are quite interesting in that we are attempting to tell others what to do. Now, yes, if they do what we ask then it should be mutually beneficial.

Libraries are more likely to buy a company’s products if they can easily identify that it meets their needs. There are a few more benefits I could guess at but they would all be highly related to the first. Seems to be a fairly direct benefit to those wanting to sell preservation products to libraries.

The benefits to publishers/distributors of conference proceedings provided by accurate cataloging of their products by libraries seems a fair bit less direct, though. Sure. There’s the random, odd freak like me who likes to buy his own copies of these things after discovering them in the library, but I truly have to wonder what carrot we have to offer publishers to follow these guidelines. And what is the compliance rate? And then there’s the citation formats, and they do some vastly different things even when a proceedings follows this standard to the letter.

Interesting stuff, nonetheless.

Litwin, Rory (mostly). Library Juice Concentrate. Duluth, Minn: Library Juice Press, 2006.

Read the introductory matter and “Section One: Foundation Building,” which includes (all by Litwin except as noted):

  • “The Library Juice Manifesto.”
  • “Neutrality, Objectivity, and the Political Center.”
  • “Classic and Neo-Information.”
  • “Why Our Relevance Lies in Not Being Information Professionals.”
  • “Questioning the Techie Mission.”
  • “Print Virtue and the Ontology of Bo-ring.”
  • Rosenzweig, Mark. “Aspects of a Humanist Approach to Librarianship… A Contribution to a Philosophical Foundation.”

I believe that I read them all in their original manifestations (not sure about the Rosenzweig), but there is value in re-reading them. Which is to say, that there is value in them.

If I had time I would love to engage with Rory at a deeper level, particularly on “Classic and Neo-Information” and “Why Our Relevance Lies in Not Being Information Professionals,” but I doubt either of us have time for that. I do look forward to meeting and talking with this clearly deeply thinking librarian someday.

If you have not read this material before then you ought to have a look. In the case that you do not prefer to read lengthy arguments, do not worry, as all of the above fits into less than 38 pages.

I do not expect you to agree entirely; if at all. I do not agree entirely. But I guarantee that it will make you think.

In the spirit of the old Library Juice serial, I leave you with one of Rory’s “Selected Quotes of the Week”:

The more we try to get a grip on information, the more it slips through our fingers like a ghost. Information, in fact, is the ghost of meaning, and our society’s worship of the ghost signals a continuing loss of meaning. – Stephen Talbot (quoted in Library Juice Concentrate, p. 197)

Tuesday, 21 Aug

Crawford, Walt. Cites & Insights 7 (10), September 2007

Wednesday, 22 Aug

Litwin, Rory. Library Juice Concentrate. See above.

Began Section Two: Librarianship: Professional Issues. Read:

  • Litwin, R., Luis Acosta, Mark Hudson, and Margaret Myers. “Critical Discussion of the Better Salaries Initiative of Mitch Freedman’s ALA Presidency.”
  • Litwin, R. “Undone by Flattery.”

There are some interesting points made by all in the Better Salaries discussion, but I have to wonder about something Luis Acosta wrote. At least at the time (mid-2003), Alcosta seemed to firmly believe in the looming, or even then extant, shortage of librarians and crisis in recruitment. He also made a direct connection between better pay and having an adequate number of MLS students. Perhaps perceived low pay is an issue in recruitment to the profession.

My main issue is with his contention that by having a large crop of entry-level workers to go into better paid positions when the huge crop of pending retirements happens library administrators will be less willing to replace these retiring librarians with non-MLS positions or not at all.

Besides all the other factors that go into whether or not a position is filled and with whom, and the problem of replacing (mostly) upper-level positions with entry-level ones, I really am having a hard time understanding just how having to pay more is going to positively effect whether management hires someone with an MLS. Seems the opposite is more likely.

Thursday, 23 Aug

Harris, Roy, and Christopher Hutton. Definition in theory and practice: Language, lexicography and the law. London: Continuum, 2007.

Read Preface & ch. 1 “On Stipulative Definition.”

Friday, 24 Aug

Harris and Hutton. See above.

Read ch. 2 “On Definition and Common Usage” and ch. 3 “On Real Definition.”

Litwin. See above.

Finished Section Two: Librarianship: Professional Issues. Read:

  • Litwin, R. “On Google’s Monetization of Libraries.”
  • Litwin, R. “The Central Problem of Library 2.0: Privacy.”
  • “Rory Litwin interviews Barbara Tillett.”

Read all of these in their original manifestations, also.

Saturday, 25 Aug

Zelle, John M. Python Programming: An Introduction to Computer Science. Wilsonville, OR: Franklin, Beedle, 2004.

Finished ch. 1 (began Thurs. eve) and read ch. 2.

Litwin. See above.

Read Section Three: Intellectual Freedom and Media Independence and began Section four: Librarians: Culture and Identity:

Litwin, R. “Four Popular Errors About Free Speech …An Attack on Complacency and Dissociation.”

Oliphant, Tami. “The Invisibility of the Alternative Media.”

D’Adamo, Chuck. “Some Alternative Press History.”

Horne, Doug. “Information-Seeking During Wartime: Reconsidering the Role of the Library in Increasing User Sell-Sufficiency.”

Litwin, R. “A Librarian’s Confession.”

Downey, Allen, Jeff Elkner and Chris Meyers. How to Think Like a Computer Scientist: Learning with Python. Green Tea Press. [Ha ha, I was drinking green tea when I read this.] Available here in assorted forms.

Raber, Douglas. The Problem of Information: An Introduction to Information Science. Lanham, Md: Scarecrow Press, 2003.

Read the final chapter, “Semiotics for Information Science.”

What can I say about this book that I haven’t already over the last few weeks? I don’t really know. Perhaps a little recap will suffice.

This is, by far, the most poorly edited book I have read in an extremely long time! This is a shame.

I feel that this is an important book and yet I cannot recommend it. Perhaps in a discussion with a specific individual and for a specific purpose I might, but otherwise no.

I am glad I read it and I would like to own a copy for future referral, but I will wait until I can find a good used copy for cheap.

Style is certainly an individual thing, but I feel this could have been written much more clearly.

In its defense, it did provide me with a long list of references to many good sources.

According to the Preface, this “book was written with beginning LIS students in mind; it should be accompanied by the reading of contemporary journal articles from the literature of information science” (vii).

I wholeheartedly disagree! Please do not inflict this book on beginning LIS students. And while I do agree that it must be read along with accompanying articles I question the use of contemporary. If this means the last 40 years (at least), then OK. If that means more like 5-8 years then No. Many of the important articles to this discussion are not exactly what I’d call contemporary, although there certainly are some.

ASIS&T 2007 Annual Meeting program posted

Thanks to Christina, I was alerted to the posting of the program for this years ASIS&T Annual Meeting in Milwaukee in Oct.

It looks really exciting! Some time slots have a lot of competition for my attention, some not so much. I also know my interests will change some between now and mid-Oct. Nonetheless, it looks like my poor brain will be overloaded with amazing amounts of information.

The full-day, Friday pre-conference, Taxonomies in Search, looks like it could be amazing but this kid doesn’t have $245 on top of conference registration!

Saturday, is the SIG/CR Classification Research Workshop pre-conference.

This half-day pre-conference on Sunday, Information Architecture 3.0 with Peter Morville looks good. But $300 for a half-day? Hahahaha. Dude, I already bought that piece of crap “find me” book of yours! People tell me Morville is a librarian; I say he is a huckster. I guess when I can charge people $600/day to hang out with me then I’ll be a professional librarian and not a minute sooner. Update: This is far too much money for me to pay, but my overly snide comments were perhaps inappropriate. My current state precludes me from deciding if they truly constitute a “nasty personal attack” or not. Either way, they were found offensive by the subject and for that I truly apologize.

On to the real conference and people more on my level:

Sunday, Oct. 21

Dang it! June Abbas is up against Michael Buckland, et. al. Tagging vs. History and foundations applied to the current situation (you know, that little bugaboo of mine).

The late afternoon session looks a little weaker as regards my interests, but crossword puzzles could be interesting.

Monday, Oct. 22

Everyday classification in the AM. Or, perhaps, live usability testing with Dorothea and others.

Early afternoon has several interesting presentations, like these folks who claim some LIS schools are teaching us about social computing, but I’m not missing danah boyd.

Late afternoon has another presentation with danah boyd, which I’m guessing jennimi will be at. An interesting presentation on personal info management by my friend, Christina Pikas. And a 3rd one on KOS Standards. Seeing as I’m on the Standards Committee ….

Tues, Oct. 23

Early AM: Kind of open at the moment, but probably this on the applications of traditional & non-traditional KM.

Mid-morning: Oh, boy! Improving Online Dating with Virtual Dates! I am so not there. Pretty much open at the moment. Break time is always good.

Mid-afternoon: Social epistemology in LIS.

Late afternoon also seems kind of open for now.

Evening: SIG CON. Woohoo! And notice, my friends, it is labeled “Tag Me!” Seems a certain rogue group had some influence last year.

Wed, Oct. 24

AM looks like tough choices: Next generation catalogs, Christina and others on blogs & wikis, or another look at Randall Kemp’s humanitarian relief organizations work and the traveling road show of Renear and Dubin on FRBR Group 1 entities in a slot entitled “Standards/Restrictions/Reinterpretations.”

I’ve heard sketches and pieces of this argument and I agree:

We examine the conceptual model of the “bibliographic universe” presented in IFLA’s Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR) and argue, applying the ontology design recommendations developed by N. Guarino and C. Welty, that three of the four Group 1 entity types should be considered roles (relationships) rather than types. We then show how this analysis generalizes the solution to a previously identified puzzle in entity type assignment and is supported by John Searle’s notion of a cascade of social facts established through collective intentionality — which we take to be confirmation that this re-factoring results in a more accurate picture of the bibliographic domain. Finally we make some suggestions as to why it seemed that these entities were types rather than roles and note that in specific applications there may in fact be good practical reasons for models that treat types as roles.

Mid-morning: Plenary with Clifford Lynch.

Early afternoon: Digital natives research or social capital. Probably the 2nd since I have serious issues with most claims made about the 1st.

Late afternoon: More social capital stuff, or perhaps time to head home?

There is so much more going on and as I said my interests will shift. Dorothea will be there. I sure hope she’s staying for more than her presentation. Other friends who I’ve seen more recently than Dorothea will also be there.

I’m so excited and it’s only a little over 3 months away. Alright, GSLIS students. Time to do some serious planning!

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.”

Dr. Pauline Cochrane speaking to GSLIS ASIS&T Chapter

I do not know how many GSLIS/UIUC folks read this, especially in a timely manner, but here we go anyway.

Dr. Pauline Atherton Cochrane will speak to our ASIS&T chapter tomorrow evening, Mon. 16 Apr at 6:15 PM. Her talk is entitled, “From B.C. to A.D. (Bibliographies and Catalogs to After Digitization).”

I am going to be blunt here. If you can possibly make this talk and do not, you are not half as intelligent as you (or anyone else) think you are! No matter what your specialty in LIS may be, if you do not spend every minute you can learning from this treasure of a LIS pioneer you are simply clueless.

As Allen Renear likes to say, “Once someone finds out which time frame you attended GSLIS, they will ask you if you had any classes with Pauline.” The (correct) implication being that anyone who asks this question will not think very highly of a no answer.

Now, I do not think everyone needs to take Pauline’s classes, but at least you could say that you attended her lectures. And that is clearly what I think you ought to do.

If room 109 in GSLIS is not overflowing (forcing us to move somewhere larger) tomorrow evening then we have a serious problem with our student body. I certainly hope any interested faculty show up, too. Of course, I imagine it will be LEEP broadcast so I expect all my LEEP buddies and many I haven’t yet met to show up, too. I’m not sure how well this has been advertised and that may have an impact on attendance but, nonetheless, if that room isn’t overflowing we have a serious problem.

Dr. Pauline Atherton Cochrane, “From B.C. to A.D. (Bibliographies and Catalogs to After Digitization).”

Monday, April 16 6:15 PM
Room 109, GSLIS Builiding

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.

Dystopia, Libraries, and a small apology

For the possibly two of you awaiting the rewrite of my critique of the Coyle and Hillmann article in D-Lib, and particularly for the wonderful folks who provided feedback so that I could do a better job, I am sorry. I do not know when (or perhaps even if) it is coming.

For many reasons—most of which I am not prepared to go into right now—I am currently experiencing another “crisis of faith,” if you will, regarding my chosen field of endeavour. I am fully despairing for the future of libraries, not for any of the reasons generally thrown around like not changing fast enough, changing too much, no cultural relevance, lack of ability to compete with the likes of Google or Amazon, or …. No, my despair is for, and because of, librarians.

This perception does not come from the biblioblogosphere alone and, with any luck, not even mostly. [Warning: upcoming generalization and reification] I say that because the biblioblogosphere is an entity unto itself; a self-important entity that has far less impact than it seems to believe it should. It is also a highly divided, fractious entity.

No, my despair is based on journal reading, to include a historical perspective, multiple mailing list “discussions,” face-to-face discussions formally, semi-formally and informally, and other assorted places/venues.

I do not have the energy right now to even attempt to be the chronicler of what I see. As much as I enjoy being a philosophical and cultural gadfly, I first need to find some inspiration again. Maybe when I actually have a little hope again I can spare the energy to be the critic. Notice, I did not say that I have lost all hope. Yet.

I fully expect the academic/practitioner divide. I even expect some of the other divides as they are historical. But I am seeing far more division than I used to. The state and future of libraries, and hence librarians, is a very murky thing right now. Thus, some fractiousness is to be expected, I guess. And maybe that is all it is. But I fear it is worse. And even if it isn’t all that I perceive, I still want to know how we are to make any forward progress with so much division amongst us.

One thing I am doing for myself is to seriously cut back on many of my sources of information and “keeping up.” I have slowly started to prune my Bloglines account, and after I give a presentation for our ASIST student chapter in eight days on blogs that students might want to follow I am going to seriously reduce the clutter and chatter.

I am also seriously questioning the current value of AUTOCAT to me. After it recently changed hands (ownership), it has become a kinder and gentler list, but the chatter has also gone up significantly, and daily message counts have doubled.

I am going to try and weed a lot of sources out of my current reading/browsing routines and when I have found a little breathing room I will add in a few things of value that I am not currently engaged with. This is the plan anyway.

I want to be excited. I want to be engaged. I want to contribute to my field. I need to have hope.