It’s like talking to the wall

He’s incommunicado
No comment to make
He’s saying nothing at all

Yeah but in the communique
You know he’s gonna come clean

[Communique – Dire Straits]

Seems I don’t have much to say anymore. We’ve all read of the death of blogging. The move to Friendfeed and Twitter. XYZ.

None of those are entirely true. I have plenty to say and a fair bit to talk about. [I have a whole series of posts about the Ethics of Info Org conference I went to at the end of May planned out and started]. But there are other things that I have chosen to give my time to.

Work

Recently I was engaged in a project at work which involved us processing about 41,000 volumes of serials and monographic series out to our Oak Street remote storage facility in a projected 10-week period this summer. We managed to finish the project in 6 weeks.

I was the primary cataloger, 95%+ of the time. As in I was 95% of total cataloger time spent on it. This means that conservatively I had “critical eyes” on 1000 bib records a week.

I lasted just over 5 weeks before my mind shut down on me. Pretty much literally. Luckily El Diablo was there to step in and finish the project. By the time a couple days passed and I was ready to return they had wrapped it all up.

In other work-related news, I have accepted an offer for another year as a Visiting Serials Cataloger and Visiting Assistant Professor of Library Administration. Yay for knowing I’ll have a job in the near future. The current contract was over 15 August so this is none too soon. [Hopefully the Trustee’s approval will be routine.]

Moving

I have met the woman I was destined to spend my life with. She is my heart and soul and shortly I will no longer live alone.

At the end of the work day, I go home to do every thing that our project team was doing. I am pulling, inventorying, checking, boxing and slinging the boxes for our move across town. “Life is grand.”

Well, life was grand. A wrinkle has been added which complicates things, to say the least. I am kind of stressing right now but will recover. I’d put my moving skills up against anyone’s. Sad as that may be.

In this department life can throw whatever it wants at me. I care little, even if it stresses me in the short-term. I am shortly moving in with the woman who I have chosen to give my time (and life) to. I shall give her as much of it as is required.

Another wrinkle has arisen in the time it has taken me to finish this post. If it appears somewhat disjointed I apologize as the several weeks it has taken has required several rewrites and as many removals and additions.

New Employee Recognition Day

A couple weeks back the library held its annual New Employee Recognition Day. Seeing as I was hired within the last year I was—like all others hired in the last year—introduced by the Dean. Based on the state of this humble blog in the past year I was horrified that the vast majority of my intro came from my About page here. My being named one of “The LISNews 10 Blogs to Read on 2008” was trotted out as I shrank in embarrassment. At least it made me realize I need to update that page.

The blog

Speaking of the blog, there are going to be a few changes around here soon. Does that mean I may finally start posting again? I can’t really say.

One of my first thoughts upon hearing the Dean tell everyone assembled at NERD (Oops, I doubt they mean for that acronym to be used) was to simply kill it entirely. Oh, yes. I did seriously consider that.

But as several other libloggers have written recently, I like having this space in case I do want to share and get around to doing so. It’s nice to know it is here waiting on me.

Was having trouble getting in to my own domain recently for assorted reasons but finally got it figured out. Thus, I just upgraded from WordPress 2.7 to 2.8.1 with one click (after backing up). Plugin upgrades also only required one click each. Wow! Can I just say “Wow!”

Anyway. Enough of this blather for now. It is time to kill this thing and just post it. With any luck anyone still out there will be hearing from me again soon.

The Ethics of Information Organization

I am at The Ethics of Information Organization conference in Milwaukee for the next two days and I am really looking forward to the presentations.

Hopefully I will find time to blog about this soon; unlike so many other things. With any luck the conference site will have wireless available. It is in the public library. If so, and I can find power, then I may be tweeting it with the hash tag #EIO09. Update: Seems they want #IOETHICS

More importantly, though, I hope to learn a lot and be given lots to think about.

Some things about the new year

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ASIS&T 2008

[Update 3 Nov 2008: Just uploaded a revised PPT with updated Notes which are much closer to what I spoke from. Although, they clearly are not what I said verbatim.]

ASIS&T is going well.  I arrived late Saturday afternoon in Columbus (OH) and am getting along fine with my roommate whom I met over the Internet by posting to my blog.

Our panel* went well yesterday and I am far happier with my portion than I thought I’d be. I have received some nice comments since, including one from a “luminary.”  I was asked if I’d be posting my slides and I said I would. I still need to make an explicit entry on my “Writings” page but here are the links for now.

http://marklindner.info/presentations/ASIST2008/mrlASIST2008.pdf [This is large! 6.2 MB PDF]

http://marklindner.info/presentations/ASIST2008/mrlASIST2008.ppt [3.1 MB Powerpoint]

My friend, Christina, blogged the panel I was on here. She is also blogging many other sessions at her blog, Christina’s LIS Rant.  She also told me that what I said was more important than my slides. While there are notes in the PPT they aren’t the final ones I used.  Perhaps I’ll post those at some point. Of course, they aren’t exactly or entirely what I said either.

Socializing is going well. I’ve seen several interesting posters and a few good sessions. And tomorrow night I’ll get to see my “baby girl.” That is, the one who turns 25 on Election Day.

* “Tagging as a Communication Device: does every tag cloud have a silver lining.” My portion was a suggestion that tagging researchers make an explicit commitment to a theory of language and communication. If you were to guess that I even had one to suggest—Integrationism—you’d be right.

Thus, I tried to give a very, very basic intro to Integrationism, show how community fits into/is described by the macrosocial (within the theory), and how tagging (as a user behavior) can be explained by Integrationism.  As I said above, I have gotten some nice feedback and interested a couple people in Harris and Integrationism. That, my friends, was the entirety of my scheme. Mission accomplished. 🙂

I have been (temporarily) employed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Where is the guy who runs this blog?

That is a complicated question for which I have very little that I can or will say directly.

WordPress upgraded

I did just upgrade WordPress to the newest version so if anyone is still reading this feel free to click through to the blog proper and see if you see anything amiss. Thanks.

Some reasons for being quiet

Recently someone gave me and this humble little blog some very high praise in a different venue. While I appreciate/d it greatly I do not feel that I have in any way merited such praise in a very long time.

I have so many things to write about but find that I cannot. I have tried to do so for a couple of these topics, and loving friends have provided suggestions on how to tackle some of them. Good advice even, which I attempted to take. But I am currently not up to the task.

I am on the market for a job and have said far too much in this space already about too much of my life. There are issues about our profession that are quickly destroying me and it seems that our profession finds discussion of such issues to be unprofessional.

Issues in cataloging and an analogy

I have a draft post on this topic in relation to issues in cataloging but am simply unable to say anything that many would find acceptable. In it I made an analogy to current issues in cataloging and the running of the Vietnam War by the Americans.

The juxtaposition of current discussions, mostly higher-level, about things like RDA and other major issues in the arena of cataloging and the complete lack of discussions of what I see as the important issues “on the ground” in cataloging departments and facing individual catalogers across the field are much like the discussions within the military services and government agencies running the war in Vietnam.

All frank, honest, and real discussion of the issues facing those on the ground were deemed “unprofessional.” Commanders and senior NCOs quickly discovered how to play the game of “reality-based” reporting and discussion.

Now my analogy quickly breaks down because it’s not like many of us are losing our lives due to this forced “professionalism” in our field. But I know for a fact that it is causing far more angst, fear, and burnout than should be happening.  Highly capable and dedicated people are being affected in extremely damaging ways.

I recently read and wrote a review of:

Budd, John. 2008. Self-Examination: The Present and Future of Librarianship. Westport, Conn: Libraries Unlimited.

Budd presents dialectical methodology as a means to overcome the different epistemological positions within librarianship. He also clearly demonstrates that “service to clientele, [professional] judgment, and education [for the profession] are moral undertakings” (p. 251). We must consider what our moral principles will be, and what moral responsibilities they imply for us as reflective professionals. Discourse—open, honest, and frank—is the only means by which to do this.

But this is exactly what we do not have. It is what has been deemed unprofessional because someone’s feeling might be hurt, someone or some place might be made to look bad, because we only discuss success whether it is real, imagined or projected.

As to what I think about this situation … it is (long past) time for me to shut the heck up.

How I became a librarian

Christina tagged me for this a while ago and I did start working on a draft post to answer it. But I am unhappy with it and it has gotten too long anyway without actually answering the question. Perhaps that is because there really isn’t an answer. At best it explains how I got into the cataloging and metadata arena but not how I got into librarianship itself.

The other answer which I strove not to give in my more official response is that I am not a librarian; at least not as many (most?) who hold the professional credentials would accept. Although I have worked in academic libraries for 10 years now, and I earned my MS in May 2006, I have never held a professional position. Thus, in the minds of many I am not a librarian.

Of course, in the minds of even more (as in the general population) I have been a librarian for 10 years now. There is even a well-known dictionary definition to suport that statement. I shall not cite it as that would make me a scoundrel, though. Let’s just say that I have had several people get mad at me for my denying to be a librarian when they are full well aware of the more formal definition we apply to ourselves, and this was before I even came to library school.

I have had professional-level responsibilities of varying kinds in all of my jobs in academic libraries, whether it was as a student worker, student supervisor, staff member, or my assorted graduate assistantships and hourly positions while in library school.

There may be some news on the horizon soon but until then I do not want to offend any professionals in the field and thus can only claim that I cannot answer the question as I have never yet been a librarian.

Maybe I’ll get a chance to apply this label to myself before I decide I have no desire to do so. Not because I do not want to be a librarian—I do, but then I also apply a different definition than any I apparently espoused here—but because so much about the actual lived, non-reflective, practice of so many in the mainstream of our profession—those with the power to tell others of us what passes for “professionalism”—are, in my opinion, failing us badly.

Hopefully no one is still wondering why I am being so quiet here

I had several other things to comment on but I am losing focus and they, too, are things that are probably just better to let be.

I have been home all day [Friday] because I have been feeling crappy all week and have not been getting any better. Until things get really bad there is no sense in trying to go to the doctor. I am currently working as an academic hourly and thus have no benefits. I am not totally in the dark for health care as I am able to use the VA over in Danville. But I see no reason to try and figure out that system and make a 45-minute drive each way for a low-grade bug of some kind that probably cannot even be identified.

I wrote this yesterday during the day and have sat on it since. I re-read it several times trying to decide if I was going to post it. Perhaps I should just trash it and move on. But I feel as if I no longer have anywhere to move on to. I am prevented from discussing the things that are most professionally relevant to me and, as far as I am concerned, should be to many others.

Bottom line: I am immensely dedicated and care deeply about many of the issues facing our field. I want to contribute to moving us intelligently forward into the 21st century. But the truth is I am floundering badly and do not know what to do about it.

So I guess folks should not expect to hear much from me here for a while. I have no idea what to write since I am unable to write about that which I care most deeply about.

Need roommate for ASIS&T 2008 in Columbus

Is anyone looking for a roommate for ASIS&T 2008 in Columbus, OH this October?

I am a reasonably quiet, non-smoking, male, old enough not to be partying late into the night.

Sharing a room is pretty much a necessity since I’m still a student, work for hourly pay and the entire cost of the conference is on me. Seeing as I’m on a panel I kind of have to go. 😉

Early bird registration ends this coming Friday, Sep. 12th., although room reservations at the conference hotel have a little longer for the conference rate.

Haven’t decided if I am coming for any preconferences or not yet but I will be arriving Saturday at some point so will need a room Saturday night through and including (probably) Wednesday night.

If you need or desire a roommate please contact me at mark [dot] r {dot} lindner (@) gmail [dot] com.  Much appreciated.

Books read in 1st half of 2008 (and some)

Taking a cue from someone else’s post which I saw a month or so back here is a list of the books which I have read in the 1st half (plus) of 2008. I imagine I missed recording one or two and I know I failed to record one or two which were re-reads. I also have a few books in progress which were started sometime earlier but aren’t finished yet.

Doing this now will make it simpler come the end of the year.

As anyone who knows me only (or primarily) through this blog can see, my reading took somewhat of a turn this year so far. As it stands I am about to return to something more like the back half of last year and first month or two of this as of today. Summer is fast winding down and it is time to concentrate on finishing my CAS paper and prepping for the panel I am on at ASIS&T (Oct.).

Before we get to the list, though, I’d like to mention a conversation I had with my friend the other day. We were discussing my love of [much of] our literature and she expressed some concern over my ability to find something to read for edification and enjoyment when I am done with my degree and school.

I assured her that that is not in any way an issue. Just because I am done with school won’t mean I am done reading the literature of my profession. There are too many gems from the last 100+ years waiting to be read (and critiqued). I also have hundreds of non-fiction and a score or two fiction books to be read already in my possession. There are 1000s more I do not own. There are books to re-read. And there are genres which I have barely even begun to consider, such as poetry; of which she has a decent collection to get me started.

My reading habits—especially whether I can find something to read once I back off some on the LIS stuff—should not concern anyone. There is too much too know to not be able to find something to read, and after almost a lifetime of actively avoiding literature there is much to make my own.

Some of these were talked about, or at least mentioned, here earlier in the year but I am far too lazy to try and link them now.

So far there’s 29 books read, 3 of which were re-reads. There is poetry, fiction, literature, philosophy, and assorted non-fiction, most of which is language and communication, and LIS.

8 January

Harris, Roy. 1978. Communication and Language. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

January [re-read]

Harris, Roy. 1998. Introduction to Integrational Linguistics. 1st ed. Language & communication library series. Kidlington, Oxford, UK: Pergamon.

14 January – 11 February [re-read]

Harris, Roy. 2005. The Semantics of Science. London: Continuum.

25 – 30 January

Harris, Roy, and International Association for the Integrational Study of Language and Communication. 2006. Integrationist Notes and Papers : 2003-2005. Crediton, Devon, England: Tree Tongue. http://www.librarything.com/work/details/26156294.

10 – ? February

Maxwell, Robert L. 2008. FRBR: A Guide for the Perplexed. Chicago: American Library Association.

18 – 21 February

Harris, Roy, and Indian Institute of Advanced Study. 2003. History, Science, and the Limits of Language : an Integrationist Approach. Shimla: Indian Institute of Advanced Study.

23 February

Richards, Jennifer. 2008. Rhetoric. New critical idiom. London: Routledge.

2 – 10 March

Aitchison, Jean. 2003. Linguistics. 6th ed. Teach yourself. Chicago, Ill: McGraw-Hill.

15 – 23 March [re-read]

DeLillo, Don. 1986. White Noise. Contemporary American fiction. New York: Penguin Books.

18 March

Shiga, Jason. 2007. Bookhunter. Portland, Or.: Sparkplug Comic Books.

16 – 28 March

Swift, Jonathan. 1996. Gulliver’s travels. Unabridged [ed.]. Mineola N.Y.: Dover Publications.

31 March – 4 April

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

9 – 28 April

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

20 – 24 April

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

28 – 30 April

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

8 January / 1 – 10 May

Wilson, Patrick. 1968. Two Kinds of Power : an Essay on Bibliographical Control. Librarianship 5. Berkeley: University of California Press.

4 April – 12 May

Budd, John. 1992. The Library and Its Users: The Communication Process. Vol. 71. Contributions in librarianship and information science. New York: Greenwood Press.

approx. 6 – 13 May

Barnes, Bill. 2007. Read Responsibly: An Unshelved Collection. Seattle, Wash: Overdue Media LLC.

19 – 30 May

Chia, Mantak. 1997. The Multi-Orgasmic Man: Sexual Secrets Every Man Should Know. 1st ed. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco.

27 – 30 May

Kressley, Carson. 2004. Off the Cuff: The Essential Style Guide for Men and the Women Who Love Them. New York: Dutton.

16 June

Dubberley, Emily. 2006. Sex for busy people : the art of the quickie for lovers on the go. New York: Simon & Schuster.

?? June

Stone, Ruth. 2002. In the Next Galaxy. Port Townsend, Wash: Copper Canyon Press.

26 June

International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions. Task Force on Guidelines for OPAC Displays. 2005. Guidelines for Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC) Displays: Final Report May 2005. Recommended by the Task Force on Guidelines for OPAC Displays. Approved by the Standing Committee of the IFLA Cataloguing Section . Vol. 27. IFLA series on bibliographic control. München: Saur.

29 March – 3 April / 4 June – 14 July

Budd, John. 2008. Self-Examination: The Present and Future of Librarianship. Westport, Conn: Libraries Unlimited.

14 – 25 July

Bright, Susie, ed. 2008. The Best of Best American Erotica 2008. Ed. Susie Bright. London: Simon & Schuster.

25 July

Gardner, John. 1976. Gudgekin, the Thistle Girl, and Other Tales. New York: Knopf.

?? – 5 August

Carlson, Ron. 2002. At the Jim Bridger: Stories. 1st ed. New York: Picador USA.

5 – 8 August

Foskett, D. J. 1984. Pathways for Communication: Books and Libraries in the Information Age. London: C. Bingley.

10 August

Solzhenitsyn, Aleksandr Isaevich, and H. T. Willetts. 2005. One day in the life of Ivan Denisovich. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Pathways for communication : a mini-review

Foskett, D. J. 1984. Pathways for Communication: Books and Libraries in the Information Age. London: C. Bingley.

 

I read this lovely little book [128 pages] last week. In many ways it has a lot in common with John Budd’s Self-examination and with Patrick Wilson’s Two Kinds of Power. All in all, it falls in a sort of middle ground. Budd’s book is both broader and narrower, and certainly far longer, while Wilson’s is much narrower and about the same length. Oddly, this book, though 16 years more recent than Wilson’s essay, feels far more dated. More on that in a bit.

Its chapters are entitled: Information and understanding, Communication and chronicles, Communication and society, Information and the psychology of users, Keepers and finders, Technology and culture, Theory and practice, Memory and anticipation, Looking for answers, and A reading society.

As I said above, this book feels a bit dated. Strange things is, though, I did not read that book. Early on when I noticed its datedness I asked myself what would Foskett say about that in the context of today? And somehow I managed to do that throughout the book. In fact, I got so good at it that I often just seemingly read what I think that answer would be. Thus, I may not even be qualified to comment on the book as such since that is seemingly not the book that I read.

In that regard, I think this is an important and an excellent book. Or, at least it is for one who can also manage a similar trick. For the unimaginative who can only read what is printed on the page then perhaps the book would be less valuable. I will say that if I ever teach an LIS course where some or all of this book would fit it will be assigned reading with the explicit goal of having the students update Foskett’s views; that is, apply Foskett’s criticisms and analysis to the contexts in which we find ourselves today. That, I venture to bet, would be a valuable exercise for all but the most dull among us.

Much of this book spoke to me regarding debates, discussions and contexts in which the profession finds itself today. One of Foskett’s primary critiques is that of confusing means for ends. One particular piece which I happened to note [and wish I had marked others] was the following:

The opposite of progress will occur if our effort are stultified by nonsensical theories leading to stupid practice. If ‘information’ becomes reified into a commodity subject to the laws and forces involved in commodity production and distribution, there is a real danger that quality will be sacrificed to quantity, and the information industry will produce and process large quantities of rubbish in order to prove what vast quantities it can process. We do not belong to the dismal and defeatist school of ‘more means worse’ if we wish to oppose the apparently attractive but actually meretricious school of ‘we must do it because we can’. Once more, means are in danger of becoming ends (111-112).

Communication, that is, human communication, looms large as the title would suggest.

There is also a lot of reference to the ‘paperless society,’ as that was a leading concept of the time. But it also one which still has pundits and while the term is rarely explicitly referenced anymore nonetheless it has significant impact on the thinking of many.

Another theme is the danger of contrasting the ‘librarian’ and the ‘information officer.’ In essence, they both deal with knowledge of source materials, whether or not their favored sources are physical objects.

As dated as this book may seem to some, I maintain that it is of immense relevance atill as the opening of the chapter, ‘Theory and practice,’ demonstrates:

The headlong progress of computer technology over recent decades has carried along all those of us engaged in communication at an exhilarating pace. Learned societies, publishers, librarians, have all become convinced of the necessity of making publicly available every last thought, no matter how commonplace or trivial, so that it may be indexed, abstracted, put into machine-readable form, and displayed on a visual display unit.

The benefits of the new technology are indeed not to be denied, and it would be foolish to try to keep it out of libraries. But if technology is not to become the master, then library and information science requires an advance in its theoretical foundations, and this must play an important part in the preparation of future members of the profession (75).

As I said, perhaps I did not even read the book in front of me; I read a different book. I am not sure how or why I managed to read this book far more forgivingly than many others I have read. But read it I did. I also recommend it as a valuable exercise for those who can generously apply Foskett’s critique to a more up-to-date context.

I highly recommend this book but with the caveat that you attempt to read it as if it were written today. And with that, I want to leave you with one more quote, this time from the final chapter.

What is much more dangerous is that the whole concept of Information Technology in this narrow sense means the development of a society which is thoroughy superficial in its attitude to knowledge, and which has no stability because its existence depends, not on the security of the shared points of view which add up to a cultural heritage, but on a continuous flow of separate bits of information. The individual will have no time or opportunity to digest and assimilate all these separate bits, or to build them into a coherent and integrated structure. Society will become a behaviourist paradise, and human beings will behave as if they were machines only able to act in response to external stimuli. Power will reside in those who provide the stimuli, and unless they have the time and the will to form considered judgements, progress in the global village will consist in a succession of crisis responses to the latest bits of information, no matter what their source or validity (123).

Tidbits and tidbytes

Book review submitted

Wednesday I finally submitted my first book review for publication.  Thanks, Walt, for recommending me to the editor. The book I reviewed is:

Budd, John. 2008. Self-Examination: The Present and Future of Librarianship. Westport, Conn: Libraries Unlimited. [WorldCat]

 

The short version of the review I would have liked to write is this:

Read. Discuss. Rinse. Repeat.

With serious emphasis on the discuss and repeat. I just hope the review is acceptable. I am reasonably satisfied with it but it was harder than I thought and certainly took longer than I expected.

New toys

To reward myself I went and bought a new computer, which I have been thinking about for a while now. But the first stop was to get a new phone since my 2-year contract was expiring with Verizon.

So …

My new phone is a LG enV2. A fairly basic phone has served me well for the last 4 years (actually 2 different basic phones) but now I have someone to text with and normal phone keypads really suck for even the simple messages I send and I generally refuse to “speak” in text-ese.

New computer and iPod Touch. Got a MacBook with 4GB of RAM to replace my desktop PC. My thinking is that if/when the PowerBook dies I will already have a laptop to replace it.

Seeing as the Apple Education Store is giving rebates on either iPod Touches or Nanos ($199 = base 8GB Touch) I got myself a 16GB Touch.

Today I went back to the Apple Store and picked up an external keyboard and mouse, an AirPort base station, and a 1TB LaCie d2 quadra external drive for backing up both Macs.

I, unfortunately, needed a new wireless router since mine got fried along with most everything else in the signal path a couple months back in lightning storm. Perhaps I need to get an uninterruptable power supply/surge suppressor with coax connectors for the signal. My current, otherwise excellent, UPS only has CAT5 connectors.

Pictures to follow at some point once I get my workflows restructured.

10th anniversary of my Army retirement

Today, 1 August 2008, is also the 10th anniversary of my “retirement” from the Army. I think “retirement” is a crazy word to use—wrong sense, at a minimum—as it doesn’t even come close. 

Nonethless, whatever it’s called some truly amazing things have happened in the last 10 years.