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.

Mark has been Off for 2 years

… but broken for much longer.

This blog, Off the Mark, is 2 years old today. I shall refrain from calling it an anniversary, as such, since last year we sort of decided that my blogging anniversary ought to be from the start of my 1st public blog, …the thoughts are broken…, which debuted in January 2005. It was “decided” that this is really a continuation of the first and I cannot really disagree, even if I could employ serials cataloging and FRBR terminology to show otherwise. 😉

Here’s what I wrote on my 3rd blogging anniversary back in January of this year.

There appear to have been 157 published posts here in the last year. Forty-seven of those were “Some things read this week …” posts, while there were another 8-10 that commented on that “column.” I posted 2 of the 3 poems that I wrote; “fallen” and “Stargazing.” Wow, what vastly different views of the world!

In the larger scheme of both blogs and my blogging overall, I have 961 posts, 5 in draft, and I’m remembering 3 specific ones that were published and then pulled at some point [not a light decision]. Will I reach a thousand posts by the end of the calendar year, or perhaps my 4th blogging anniversary in January? Who can say? Based on historical statistics I will easily. Based on current output and current thinking I would say no. We’ll see.

Things have been somewhat quiet around here lately and I expect them to stay that way for several reasons for a while, at least. I am doing some serious thinking about and work on my communication styles. I want to change a fair bit about how I say some things. Topics will probably stay much the same, although much of the personal productiveness and questioning of personal narrative will (has) generated some “new” topics for me; i.e., new for the blog.

So, while I really do not want to mark this as an official anniversary I do want to take this moment to note some of this and to say “Thank you” to any who read, comment, and critique. I take feedback here quite seriously. I simply cannot grow without the voice and help of others.

Quick shout-out to LISHost for hosting and support for the past 2 years.

Omega and Alpha

The end approaches and Tuesday I spent preparing for it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some things read this week, 3 – 9 June 2007

Monday, 4 Jun

Young, Naomi Kietzke. “Formal Serials Education: A Problem We Can’t Solve or a Solution We Can Live With?” Serials Review 31(2), 2005: 82-89. doi:10.1016/j.serrev.2005.02.011

Johnson, Kay G. “Serials—The Constant Midlife Crisis.” Serial Review 32, 2006: 35-39. doi:10.1016/j.serrev.2005.11.002

Goldberg, Tyler and Neal Nixon. “Serials Control: Past, Present and Future Imperfect.” Serials Review 31(3), 2005: 206-209. doi:10.1016/j.serrev.2005.06.004

Tumlin, Michael and 8 contributors. “Everything I Need to Know About Serials I Didn’t Learn in Library School.” The Balance Point (column). Serials Review 29 (1), 2003: 26-35.

Cited by Young and by Goldberg & Nixon, see above.

Rothstein, Samuel. “Why People Really Hate Library Schools.” Library Journal April 1, 1985: 41-48.

Cited by Young, see above (except she mangled the citation).

Tuesday, 5 Jun

Bush, Vannevar. “As We May Think.” The Atlantic Monthly July 1945.

I know, I know. But if I’m going to critique someone for making Bush references I need to make sure exactly what I’m critiquing.

Wolf, George and Nigel Love, eds. Linguistics Inside Out: Roy Harris and His Critics. Amsterdam Studies in the Theory and History of Linguistic Science. Series IV, Current Issues in Linguistic Theory, v. 148. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing, 1997.

Read the preface and prologue; looks quite interesting.

As I mentioned previously, Roy Harris has been put on temporary hold as I read some of the papers and extended abstracts for the 1st NASKO Conference just posted to dLIST today.

Green, R. and Fallgren, N. (2007). Anticipating new media: A faceted classification of material types. Proceedings of the North American Symposium on Knowledge Organization. Vol. 1. Available: http://dlist.sir.arizona.edu/1911

Abbas, J. (2007). In the margins: Reflections on scribbles, knowledge organization, and access. (extended abstract) Proceedings of the North American Symposium on Knowledge Organization. Vol. 1. Available: http://dlist.sir.arizona.edu/1914

Wednesday, 6 Jun

Pimentel, D. M. (2007). Exploring classification as conversation. Proceedings of the North American Symposium on Knowledge Organization. Vol. 1. Available: http://dlist.sir.arizona.edu/1893

I have some issues with this one. Not necessarily the idea of classification as conversation, but more so with some of the things that are said to be conversational. Many of us have expressed reservations about just how much conversation takes place, say, in blogs. Some happens, of course. But just how much and of what quality and depth?

At one point the author writes, “A great deal of conversational exchange occurs on the blogosphere, and other Web 2.0 phenomena are similarly conversationally oriented” (3-4) Support for the claim in the 1st clause comes from this note, “As of May 2007, Technorati claims to track 80.3 million blogs – http://technorati.com/about/” (7).

OK, that’s a fair few blogs. But what exactly does a large number do to support the claim of a “great deal of conversational exchange”? Not a darn thing! It simply assumes what it is being used to support.

There is some possibility here with some of the things mentioned and I agree we need some (lots) of research along these lines. I just worry that what “conversation” is supposed to mean here is extremely diluted. In other words, it makes of “conversation” as it relates to true conversation what social networks make of “friends” in relation to true friendship. I’ll track some of its sources and see what I can discover. Depending on what it’s up against I may try and attend this one.

Feinberg, M. (2007). Beyond retrieval: A proposal to expand the design space of classification. Proceedings of the North American Symposium on Knowledge Organization. Vol. 1. Available: http://dlist.sir.arizona.edu/1892

Thursday, 7 Jun

Talja, Sanna, Kimmo Tuominen and Reijo Savolainen. “”Isms” in Information Science: Constructivism, Collectivism and Constructionism.” Journal of Documentation 61 (1), 2005: 79-101.

Cited by Pimentel above.

Friday, 8 Jun

Dervin, Brenda and Michael Nilan. “Information Needs and Uses.” Annual Review of Information Science and Technology 21, 1986. 3-33.

Cited by Pimentel above. Also read based on recommendations from Christina Pikas.

Chudnov, Daniel, Richard Cameron, Jeremy Frumkin, Ross Singer and Raymond Yee. “Opening up OpenURLs with Autodiscovery.” Ariadne Issue 43.

Ooh, ooh. This is just the sort of thing I spoke with Dan about after his presentation at NASIG. I’ll be writing more about my desires in this area later, but for now I’m trying to do some reading so I can write half-assed intelligently.

Seriously though, these weekly entries are literally crying out for some solution other than simple text in a blog entry. I tried adding a COinS for an entry earlier in the week using the COinS generator but WordPress just kept screwing it up completely. Even if it did work, it simply is not scalable. I want to enter my readings into Zotero and then do a right-click on the entry that will dump a COinS into my blog post. I also want them formatted so users local OpenURL servers will pick them up for use in their local context.

A boy can dream, can’t he? And honestly, if we can’t make these sorts of things work then we may well become as irrelevant to users as some claim we already are.

Saturday, 9 Jun

Lankes, R. David, Joanne Silverstein and Scott Nicholson. “Participatory Networks: The Library as Conversation.” Produced for the American Library Association’s Office for Information Technology Policy. [pdf]

Cited by Pimentel above. Also read due to my trying to understand other views of communication.

Based on G. Pask’s Conversation Theory. Based on the limited interpretations of this that I’ve read so far it seems like a decent enough theory, but I have my concerns, too. According to the pieces I’ve read so far, knowledge (and learning) is created through conversational exchanges between cognizing agents. “So, a conversation can be between two people, two countries, or even within an individual” (Lankes, et al., 6).

OK, since when can a nation or an organization be a cognizing agent? What silly view of cognition is this? Colloquial speech is a dangerous thing when brought wholesale into a theory.

Also, is conversation the only way to learning and knowledge? Also, just what is meant by knowledge here? None of these authors say. Clearly, it is a social form of knowledge. Does this theory hold that social knowledge is the only kind of knowledge?

Never enough time to trace out the things of interest to me.

Also discussed by Lauren Pressley at lauren’s library blog.

Svenonius, Elaine. “Classification: Prospects, Problems and Possibilities.” In Williamson, N.J. and M. Hudon, eds. Classification Research for Knowledge Representation and Organization, Proceedings of the 5th International Study Conference on Classification Research, Toronto, Canada, June 24-28, 1991. FID 698. Amsterdam: Elsevier, 1992

This is the Keynote for this conference. Also cited by Pimentel (above).

I love it when I already have a library book here at home with a cited article in it.

Looks at the influence of logical positivism, linguistic analysis (Wittgenstein of The Investigations), and systems analysis on classification research.

North American Serials Interest Group, Louisville, KY

This past weekend I attended my first North American Serials Interest Group (NASIG) conference (their 22nd) in Louisville, KY.

It was fun, interesting, and casual. I rode down and stayed with Steve Oberg, who I found out (from someone else) once we got there is a Past President of NASIG. Actually, over the course of 3 days I found it out from many people. It was nice to be able to spend some quality time with Steve and get to know each other better.

I finally got to meet Anna Creech, although we never found more than a few minutes to hang out. I never did manage to catch up with Greg Schwartz. He actually lives a goodly ways outside of town so my only chance was during the day on Friday and it didn’t work out. 🙁

I did get to talk with Karen for a minutes on late Friday afternoon for 10 minutes or so. Twas nice.


The first event I attended was the reception on Thursday evening at the Frazier International History Museum. It was nice. I wandered up to the Late Night Social later in the evening but I didn’t remember anyone’s names although I recognized some faces. I sat around for a few minutes, but not wanting to drink (??) I didn’t “impose” myself on anyone and wandered up to the room.


Vision Session I: Bob Stein, Director of the Institute for the Future of the Book. “The Evolution of Reading and Writing in the Networked Era.”

Strategy Session: “From Tech Services to Leadership.” Panel relating skills learned in TS to demonstrating library leadership.

  • Joyce Ogburn, Director of Marriott Library at the University of Utah
    Karen Calhoun, Vice President, OCLC WorldCat and Metadata Services (formerly Asst. University Librarian for Technical Services at Cornell University)
    Carol Pitts Diedrichs, Dean of Libraries at the University of Kentucky

Tactics Session: “Successive Entry, Latest Entry or None of the Above? How the MARC21 Format, FRBR and the concept of a Work Could Revitalize Serials Management.” Katherine C. Adams, Britta Santamauro, both of Yale University.

Strategy Session: “Tumbling Dice: Publishers, Aggregators, and ERM.” Sandy Hurd, Innovative Interfaces, Inc.; Kathy Klemperer, Library and Information Systems Consulting; and Linda Miller, Library of Congress.

Dine Around at Jarfi’s. Good food and conversation.


Vision Session II: Karen Schneider. “State of Emergency.” Alternate title: “The Paranoia Presentation.”

Strategy Session: “Hitting the Trifecta: Alternative Career Paths for Those with an M.L.S.” Ann McKee (consortia), Bob Schatz (book vendors), Christine Stamison (subscription agents), Steve Oberg (corporate), Beverley Geer (publisher), and Michael Markwith (subscription agent)

Tactics Session: “A Needle in the Haystack — Finding that First Academic Serials Job and Advancing to the Next Level.” Kay G. Johnson, Radford University and Gayle Baker, University of Tennessee.

Lunch & Informal Discussion Groups — I was interested in 3 of these and not sure exactly why I went to the one I did, but it was interesting. Perhaps it was my interest in continuing education, and that I hadn’t been to the 3rd floor in that wing of the hotel yet.

I attended SCCTP (Serials Cooperative Training Program) instead of Web 2.0 Tools for Libraries or RDA and Serials. Web 2.0 was easy enough to skip, but RDA ….

Tactics Session: “Straight from the Horse’s Mouth: New and Not-So-New Serialists Share Experiences.” Susan Davis, University of Buffalo, SUNY and Sarah Morris, Illinois College of Optometry.

I skipped the Endeavor User Group Meeting. I kind of wanted to go but I had been fighting a headache all day and it was at its worst. If my institution had been paying I would have made myself go but it was my dime ($375) and I took a break.

Brainstorming Session: This was on why and how to remedy the situation of very few wanting to run for leadership offices in the organization.

Dine Around at Saffron’s I wish I knew the name of the restaurant (thanks Steve & Greg), but I just kind of lucked into the group as they were heading over and they had room for an additional person. It was a lovely Persian place. Cost me a bundle, but it was worth every penny. Of course, going with this group caused me to miss hanging out with Anna Creech and her posse for barbecue. But seeing as I was already seated at the restaurant when I got her call…. Great food and conversation.

Open Mic Late Night Social: Some talented and funny people in NASIG. If I go next year (and I’d love to) I’ll have to practice some of my stories.


Vision Session III: Daniel Chudnov, Library of Congress. “A New Approach to Service Discovery and Resource Delivery.”

Strategy Session: “It Takes a Community; The CLOCKSS Initiative.” Victoria Reich, CLOCKSS Initiative, Stanford University Libraries

I got to this one late as I stuck around to ask Dan Chudnov a question and then spoke with Britta Santamauro of Yale about her presentation on Friday re FRBR. I was much more impressed after speaking with her. I only stuck around a while. It was standing room only, and despite the lively presentation I could learn all of this from a decent article so I took a break.

Tactics Session: “Education Trifecta: Win attention, Palce knowledge, Show understanding.” Virginia Taffurelli, New York Public Library; Betsy J. Redman, Arizona State University; and Steve Black, College of Saint Rose.

This was about how to do serials continuing education, particularly online, and on Steve’s on campus MLS course in serials at SUNY-Albany.

Conference Closing.


[Side note: I was reminded once again that quite a few married librarians do not wear wedding rings. (1) Life is hard enough people. (2) I thought we were the “info people.” Hmmm. Thought I wrote about this phenomenon before but I can’t find it; perhaps they were only f2f conversation which I know I had.]

I will write up some of these presentations although probably not much about any of them. Several reasons for this: (1) My notes are generally pretty skimpy, (2) some of them were less informative than they could have been, (3) I have other things to do, (4) and there aren’t all that many serialists out there.

If you would like some more info on something I have not yet written about or do not write about feel free to contact me and I will shoot you what I can or try to put you in touch with the presenters. I will probably say something about the Vision Sessions. Otherwise it may just be a comment or two here and there.

I haven’t had a chance to check this out yet but it sounds wonderfully intriguing. Steve Black (The College of Saint Rose) has a program where he interviews all sorts of journal editors about all sorts of topics.

Periodical Radio’s mission is to record dialogues with the interesting, creative, dedicated people who edit and produce journals and magazines.

Listen online or download programs.

And a very big “Thanks for everything!” to Steve Oberg. You were more than wonderful!

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.”

No IM and other things


To my few IM buddies I will not be available the next … days. I took my laptop to the shop this afternoon. The trackpad had been locking up a lot lately, and last night the whole machine just got stoopid! I’m really worried and praying that it is still under warranty. I believe it is; but my beliefs are not exactly relevant.

I’m also pissed because I was going to do a full backup before taking it in. I have a fairly current almost complete backup, but I really would have liked to be able to just dump the whole thing to the external drive first.

They won’t even be looking at it until tomorrow. <sigh>

Life ….

You know, we’re just going to leave that one alone for now.

I have “arrived”

I guess by one scale I have finally “arrived.” I made it into American Libraries Direct for my reporting on the LC Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control meeting. I really don’t even have a problem with their claim that “Blogger Mark R. Lindner offers extensive notes on the session, which featured a controversial presentation by University of Chicago cataloger David Bade….” Some do consider it thus, although I do not.

I just really wish they had linked to the first post. It seems to me to be more like yellow journalism to link to the one post that reports on the presentation that might be considered controversial, or that they have labeled as such. It also does not help that it is the only presentation that I questioned in any true way. As it has already become abundantly clear to me, many people fail to see the labor of love and actual respect that I have for David Bade’s views in my questioning.

I wrote what I did there, and in my follow-up, because I care deeply about his message being heard and, more importantly, being understood by those who need to hear it. I fear even more will now only see my questioning. For that I am especially sorry to David Bade.

The “system” is once again poised to shut down dialogue.


I am now officially registered for both NASIG and NASKO. Here we come June, Louisville and Toronto. Woohoo!

Some things read this week, 6 – 12 May 2007

Sunday, 6 May 2007

Ingwersen, Peter and Peter Willett. “An Introduction to Algorithmic and Cognitive Approaches for Information Retrieval.” Libri 45 (3/4), Sep/Dec 1995:160-177.

Cited by Radford, Gary P. and Marie L. Radford. “Structuralism, Post-Structuralism, and the Library: de Saussure and Foucault.” Journal of Documentation 61 (1) 2005: 60-78. DOI 10.1108/00220410510578014 Read back in late Jan.

Post-structuralist tendencies in LIS can also be seen in the newer paradigm of “best match” that focuses on relevance and attends to issues of context and complexity (see Ingerwersen and Willett, 1995). (76)

Although now a bit dated, provides a decent intro into both algorithmic approaches and cognitive approaches (more user-oriented) to information retrieval, and how they are complementary. Not directly applicable to relationships but had its moments, and it did provide two interesting citations to sources on relevance and retrieval outcomes.

information retrieval, algorithmic approach, cognitive approach, Boolean searching, best-match retrieval, statistical approaches, term conflation, stemming, similarity measures, weighting, information need, intermediaries, cognitive IR theory

Monday, 7 May 2007

Charnigo, Laurie and Paula Barnett-Ellis. “Checking Out Facebook.com: The Impact of a Digital Trend on Academic Libraries.” Information Technology and Libraries 26 (1), March 2007: 23-34.

Reports on a survey conducted in early 2006 to determine academic librarians’ “awareness of Facebook, practical impact of the site on library services, and perspectives of librarians toward online social networks” (27).

Hmmm…? Well, if you use Facebook already there’s not a lot you will learn here, although it provides some early data on academic librarians’ perceptions of Facebook use in their libraries. The limitations of the survey—mentioned in one paragraph—are fairly significant, though, and I must wonder how useful of a baseline it will provide for the future. Speaking of which, the article will appear extremely “quaint” in five years or less.

If you are not familiar with Facebook already you will learn something, but it won’t be much about Facebook, which, of course, is not the purpose of the article.

The only other critique I care to make involves the use of Stephen Downes’ definition of social networks as “a collection of individuals linked together by a set of relations” (24). First off, that really ought to be relationships, not relations, but many people use relation this way.

My main concern is that this definition is not in the slightest bit useful as a way to discriminate any particular group of individuals from any other, completely random, group. Thus, it simply cannot mark off any social network from another, nor from any collection of individuals that do not form a social network. It is something about those relationships between the individuals that actually constitute the social network. The definition, at least as cited by the authors, completely fails to define just what it is about the relationships that does so.

Here is the Downes citation in case anyone else besides me would like to see if there is any further discrimination in Downes’ article: Stephen Downes. “Semantic Networks and Social Networks.” The Learning Organization 12, (5), 2005: 411.

Facebook.com, academic libraries, academic librarian’s perceptions, surveys

Downes, Stephen. “Semantic Networks and Social Networks.” The Learning Organization 12, (5), 2005: 411.

C’mon, be honest. You thought I was joking about tracking this down. But I had it read less than 2 hours after writing the previous. The definition comes from the very first sentence of the article and is never elaborated.

Entities in a network are called “nodes” and the connections between them are called “ties” (Cook, 2001). Ties between nodes may be represented as matrices, and the properties of these networks therefore studied as a subset of graph theory (Garton et. al. 1997). (411)

Why, yes, this is true. But these are still not mathematical relations, nor necessarily kin. Describing something using mathematics does not make the thing described mathematical; and while it is possible that people in your social network are your kin it is more likely that they are not.

People are certainly free to use relation in this manner, but I choose to follow Bean & Green’s usage:

(Because “relation” has a technical meaning, we will reserve its use for mathematical and data modeling contexts and for such phrases as “public relations” and “phase relations.” Note that all relations are relationships, but not vice versa. We will instead use the term “relationships” exclusively for the notion of semantic association, although the terms “relation” and “relationship” are often used interchangeably outside formal settings.) (B&G, 2001, vii-viii).

Now I am fully aware that data modeling is exactly what these people are doing when they study social networks and that, as such, relation is fully appropriate. But the statement, “A social network is a collection of individuals linked together by a set of relations,” (Downes, 411) is not about the abstract mathematical model or, at least, should not be. In the second paragraph Downes discusses “six degrees” and how a farmer in India and the President of the US may be closely connected, that is, nodes can be widely dispersed. So, we are talking about extant human beings and the relationships between them.

I guess I’ll consider this nit picked.


Bean, Carol A. and Rebecca Green, eds. (2001). Relationships in the Organization of Knowledge. Information Science and Knowledge Management, Vol. 2. Dordrecht : Kluwer Academic Press.

semantic networks, social networks

Jouis, Christophe. “Logic of Relationships.” In Green, Bean and Myaeng, eds. The Semantics of Relationships: An Interdisciplinary Perspective. Information Science and Knowledge Management series, v. 3. Dordrecht: Kluwer, 2002: 127-140.

“Proposes associating logical properties with relationships by introducing the relationships into a typed and functional system of specifications. … [A] specific relation may be characterized as to its: (1) functional type (the semantic type of arguments of the relation); (2) algebraic properties (reflexivity, symmetry, transitivity, etc.); and (3) combinatorial relations with other entities in the same context (for instance, the part of the text where a concept is defined)” (abstract, 127).

relationships, logic, functional type, algebraic properties, combinatorial relations, concepts

Wednesday, 9 May

Bade, David. “Structures, standards, and the people who make them meaningful.” Presented to the 2nd meeting of the Library of Congress’ Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control on “Structures and Standards for Bibliographic Control.”

See “LC Working Group – Structures and Standards, part 2 – David Bade” for comments.

bibliographic structures, bibliographic standards, cataloging, Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control, LC

Thursday, 10 May

Turkle, Sherry. “Can You Hear Me Now?” Forbes 7 May 2007. Found via Library Juice.

Discusses the impact of technology on the self.

self, psychology, technology, virtuality, fragmentation

Hall, Stephen S. “The Older-and-Wiser Hypothesis.” The New York Times. 6 May 2007. Found via 3 Quarks Daily.

Article on the history and state of wisdom research.

research, wisdom, aging, cognitive, reflective, affective

Thursday – Friday, 10 – 11 May

Machery, Edouard. “Concepts Are Not a Natural Kind.” Philosophy of Science 72 (3), July 2005: 444-467.

Originally read 23 March 2006, but was cited in a review of Lenny Moss’ What Genes Can’t Do by Machery in the newest Philosophy of Science so decided to re-read it.

If you are interested in concepts/categories ala Lakoff and others and would like an entry into the philosophical literature then this would be a good piece for you. It’s actually quite easy to follow compared to much of philosophy.

concepts, natural kinds, philosophy, argument from explanatory necessity, categories, prototypes, theories, examplars

Friday, 11 May

Blessinger, Kelly and Michele Frasier. “Analysis of a Decade in Library Literature: 1994-2004.” College & Research Libraries 68 (2), March 2007: 155-169.

Interesting article, as citation studies go, that looks at the top subjects, resources and authors for the decade from 1994-2004. It is, of course, based on a sample so one question is how representative is it really?

The study looked at 2,220 articles in ten journals. I find it interesting that the highest number of articles were on cataloging, 548 (24.7%), and the 2nd highest on user studies, 449 (20.2%). That’s approximately 20% more articles on cataloging than the next highest subject. Intriguing. Maybe that’s why I don’t find it so hard to find good articles; not that everything I read is on cataloging. I read from all of the categories (5) in the article, if not all subjects.

citation studies, LIS literature, Walt Crawford

Svenonius, Elaine. “Reference vs. Added Entries.” [link] Paper presented at Authority Control in the 21st Century: An Invitational Conference, Dublin, OH, March 31-April 1, 1996.

Found via a 8 May 2007 posting to AUTOCAT by Bryan Campbell, “246 and variant title access.”

Oooh, lots of interesting looking things to warm a boy’s heart on that conference page.

The article pulls apart the difference between added entries and references and how their functions are confused and often collapsed due to our cataloging rules. Presents a proposal to fix the issue.

authority control, added entries, references, collocating function, finding function

I’m going to go ahead and post this a day early as tomorrow will not likely include any new reading due to the amount of transcription I have to do. If I do read something, I can easily enough tack it on next week’s list.