Fall schedule

Classes

I am taking 2+ classes this semester:

Foundations of Information Processing in LIS with Dave Dubin (one of the most brilliant and generous men I have ever met)

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.

Python programming.

Bibliography with Don Krummel, Professor Emeritus (one of the very few currently teaching emeritus faculty whom I have not taken a course with and a grand and erudite gentleman)

Covers enumerative bibliography, the practices of compiling lists; analytical bibliography, the design, production, and handling of books as physical objects; and historical bibliography, the history of books and other library materials, from the invention of printing to the present.

I would be a complete fool not to take this course with Dr. Krummel. I’ve been wanting to for a long time and now is my best, or only, chance.

By the way, this description has nothing to do with my distributed conversation across the biblioblogosphere the last 2 days. Seriously. But, yes, this will be based on the physical book. The historian in me will enjoy it.

But, more importantly to me, the product of the bibliography is applicable in a far greater context; it can cover many more containers than bound & printed books, and it itself can be contained in a variety of containers. E.g., see this bibliography.

The + is my independent study….

Work

As of yesterday, I am now a monographic cataloging graduate assistant along with being the serials cataloging graduate assistant. I’ll be working 60% on top of my classes.

I began monographs this summer but it was as an hourly. Now I get a steady wage and have to work a prescribed number of hours, but I get vacation and sick days. Yay for vacation! [If I could only learn what this concept is supposed to mean. 🙂 ]

This is the schedule for now. I need to fit Metadata Roundtable in there. ASIS&T 2007 in October. LEEP Weekend since Dave’s class is a distance class. Applying for jobs; perhaps interviewing….

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.

NASIG

This evening I finally joined NASIG. There is also a distinct possibility that I will be attending the NASIG 22nd Annual Conference in Louisville, KY in early June. So if anyone out there is going please let me know.

I wish I had known I’d be going to this late last year when there was a possibility of getting some money to go like my friend Jenny once did. But I would have had to join at the same time I was renewing ALA and ASIST. And while NASIG is cheap for students, that was not happening. Oh well.

On another note. While my thesaural work sometimes drives me nuts, primarily due to the less-than-capable tools I have to use, any thesaurus that includes the term phrase and concept, “ferris wheel rescue,” is a pretty damn cool thesaurus, in my book!

I hereby declare Birthday Month has begun

Just as I was about to head out the door and try and catch another bus, which I just noticed went by only 5 minutes late, I got an IM from Karla saying all classes at UIUC had been cancelled!

I verified it on the University website and I IM’d another friend who had made it in to work. She said they were about to be sent home, probably. Unsure whether we will get paid for any or all of the day, but at this point, “Whatever!”

Wishes do sometimes come true! I got my wish for a February storm (preferably not ice) and it is even big enough to close campus; well after most anything else was closed.

I see I just got a comment from Liz on my previous post about winter weather ruining her March birthdays so maybe I should explain.

I am not actually a fan of winter either. I grew up in the north suburbs of St. Louis County (MO) until the summer of my 15th year and then lived in the far, far, far west ‘burbs of Chicago until the day after I turned 19 and went into the Army.

As a kid, winter was OK sometimes but I could take it or leave it. The Army was the real problem. It spent 20 years out in the winter weather, standing around for 20-40 minutes at a time for no sane reason (formations), practice “camping”, shoveling so a walkway could become icy death when it was more sensible to slog through the 2-3 inches of snow, etc. In other words, lots of time in the winter weather on anything but my own terms. I came to despise winter.

I also do not snow ski in any form, I do not snowmobile, ice fish, or anything else outdoorsy that needs winter conditions.

But after “retiring” from the Army in 1998, returning to the Midwest and trying to piece my life together as I slowly and painfully began to come out an immensely deep depression and somewhere along the time I started the concept of Birthday Month to help me focus on more positive things, I also realized that I am a child of the American Midwest who happened to have a birthday in February. The middle of winter! So I learned to convince myself that winter—at least February winter—really isn’t so bad. I decided to actually like whatever the winter weather gods of February threw at me; sometimes it manifests itself only in bare toleration, but at least I don’t stress about it. I even decided that it was patently unfair if we did not get a major February storm.

Thus began my wish each February for a major winter storm in celebration of Birthday Month. While not exactly good at it usually, I guess this is an example of “making lemonade.”

Day off

I have rarely been as excited to be locked out of where I work than at 8:58 AM this morning. So sweet! While I have no doubt that I could use 3 hours pay, excitement was the emotion of choice.

I stopped at Merry Ann’s diner and had a 3rd breakfast–an actual hearty one this time–and read all the parts on interoperability in the ANSI/NISO Z39.19-2005 Monolingual Controlled Vocabulary standard [pdf].

Now I’m going to look up some articles that looked promising when I took a quick glance through some of my thesaurus construction materials from the summer. Then I’m heading to the library to retrieve whatever I can/need.

I have retrieved some things and have call nos. for others in the hopes that I can retrieve something or something in more useful form. Being digital doesn’t inherently make something more useful. I should probably look through some more articles that I already have printed (and read, most likely). Maybe I will.

I also need to return two movies and maybe deposit a check in the credit union. Some leisurely errands on a nice day off.

Job seeking

Tuesday, I was sought out and offered another job. It would be academic hourly doing “stacks maintenance.”

I would so love to be able to help with this important work; but I have made commitments to others. The beautiful thing is—I was the 1st choice and I have a couple weeks to decide. Yes, as of now I have declined. 🙁

I do not want to get into a lot of detail (yet) but I feel very honored to have been asked to help with this work. While mostly not cataloging, it would involve fixing those stacks nightmares that need sorted out before going to remote storage. I would love to spend more time in, amongst, and working with the materials in our stacks, and in providing better access to them.

I have a very broad and deep experience of working in an academic library for six years, but UIUC is vastly different on so many levels. While possible (for a very few) to get to know every square inch of Milner Library, that may simply be impossible for anyone at UIUC, even just the “stacks.”

Whatever the differences, I’d like to get to know our stacks better. There’s something special (and different) about all book stacks.

And while this is not a “professional” position, it is valuable work. Work that goes on everyday, despite whether or not the doer has a bunch of letters after their name. It takes commitment, caring, attention to detail, and professional decision-making. So, if you think I’m silly for being honored to have been the first considered for this position, please go read other blogs.

I don’t think the most important trait in a library worker is whether or not, and how many, letters are after their name, but which ones actually give a crap and are competent. But, those, are not PC questions to ask or discuss.

As to my looking for jobs

I’m not actively looking for jobs right now. I am monitoring one fairly active list, primarily watching for positions here that might open. I could probably be a bit more explicit about looking for local positions, and maybe ought to step that up a notch.

I figure I’ll be finished with my degree at the end of next fall at the earliest. Of course, I could do my 8 hour project from most anywhere. Mid-year is not a good time to be looking for academic jobs, though. So, I need a job next academic year, or I might need to slow down and finish spring 2008.

Of course, folks are welcome to dump interesting “professional” positions in my lap in the meantime. Especially if they are local. I just need to stay in touch with folks extended across bits of campus.