Monday, September 29, 2008
The only think that I can attribute to myself is the animated advertisement I put on our Web site in addition to the e-mail I sent out with the subject "Sex, profanity, and immorality at the Snowden Library!" But can that make all the difference?
Friday, September 26, 2008
But today there are a few things that are a positive. First is how much I love my office-mate who took over reference for the entire day as I covered for one late-scheduled class and helped cover for another librarian who is at the hospital taking care of her daughter. I had asked her to take over just while I was in class, and without asking she took over the whole day.
Second is I had some good classes today that were enjoyable with lots of participation.
Third is that I just got one more person to sit on my panel and two people asking if they could bring posters to our SLC workshop next month. Oh can you ever! I am so excited, their topics sound great.
Fourth is I got a call saying my pre-ordered copy of Inkdeath arrived at our local indie bookstore. I didn't think it was coming out for another two weeks.
And the fifth thing to be happy about comes from a conversation I had with my mentor yesterday about what women students lives were like even when she went to college. I can't imagine my father not being able to help me move into my dorm room, or having to be back in my dorm by 9, or not being served dinner because I was wearing pants rather than a skirt, or not being able to go to Harvard just because of my gender. I know it's not really equal yet, but I was reminded how much progress has been made even in my parents' lifetime. I'm grateful for my parents and teachers who said I could do whatever I wanted and wasn't limited by my gender.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
While no one should be forced to perform an abortion, you should be forced to treat a lesbian fairly, or give referal to services that will give comprehensive information on AIDS or prescribe birth control. In short, every patient should get full, accurate information regardless of what health issue is involved, which is a separate issue from whether that particular doctor or nurse is willing to perform it.
Should I feel guilty that this annoys me? Does it make me less than a good reference librarian?
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
I'm tired now, I hope to have something more intelligent to say tomorrow.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
I can't easily see if Pidgin has a widget, or if it's just an aggregator and you need a Meebo account to use it, like what Hab.la seems to be. I don't like Hab.la's widget anyway, it's almost invisible.
Help, if you have any advice!
Library 2.0 & Beyond: Innovative Technologies & Tomorrow’s User
Edited by Nancy Courtney
Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited (2007)
The term “Library 2.0” first appeared in 2005 and, to put it simply, is a concept where the trends and tools of Web 2.0 are applied to libraries. Web 2.0 is broader than just the tools we associate with it. A comprehensive definition is hard to achieve, but it includes:
- wisdom of crowds
- age of the amateur
- many people contributing just a little to get impressive results
- participation; constant change; collaboration
- two-way flow of information between the people and the organizations
- **democratizing of communication
These virtual communities support physical ones. For libraries, this means we should make the library available at all points of need, and integrate the library with services outside of the library’s walls.
Here are the highlights of the book:
Chapter 4 on podcasting by Chris Kretz
It explains the difference between a mere audio file and a “podcast,” which must include RSS. Things you can do with podcasts include
- book reviews
- highlighting collections
- reading books (one library read the entire Frankenstein in 27 podcasts over a month, featuring different faculty members’ voices)
- leading a treasure-hunt exercise
- “Library Audio to Go” (focuses on specific information resources and topics related to research in a conversational manner)
- “Computer Tips” at Providence PL (hands-on tutorials for stuff like Google Earth, Flickr, Craigslist, and go with screen shots)
- live programs hosted at library
- local history, story time, teen show
Of course there are legal issues involved. You must get signed permission from speakers, permission from authors/artists, podsafe music, copyright of books, etc. To promote podcasts, you should submit the RSS feed to a podcast directory (Ed. Podcast Network, iTunes, Podcast Alley), include information in the ID3 tags, add graphic or logo to the ID3 tag. Also be sure to make it clear at the start of each podcast who/what will be presented.
Chapter 8 on user-based tagging by Ellyssa Kroski
This was also a good chapter, discussing the advantages and disadvantages of letting the masses “tag” items on the Web in order to organize it. She argues there’s just too much information on the Web to be cataloged by professionals, so why fight the amateur organization?
Advantages- inclusiveness (no bias), currency, discovery potential, nonbinary nature (no one preferred term for all synonyms), self-moderation/democratic, shows what users want and insight into their behavior, community, low cost, usability, and resistance is futile.
Disadvantages- non synonym control, lack of precision, lack of hierarchy, lack of recall, susceptibility to “gaming” (like spamming).
Advanced features are making tagging more useful.
Chapter 9 on learning from video games by David Ward
This had some great stuff in the section on “Games as an Education Tool.” I think most library educators agree that straight-out lectures don’t work anymore, you have to get them active. Video games involve learning; the players have to learn to solve problems and will spend hours doing so. We should use off-the-shelf games or make our own that get students simulating the research process to give them practical albeit virtual experience.
The definition of a “video game” is:
- visual digital information to 1+ players
- takes input from players
- processes the input according to programmed game rules
- alters digital information based on input
He writes that you don’t need to use actual video games, just characteristics of the games, where players learn by doing and discovering… a.k.a. “active learning.” You must keep telling to a minimum, to allow for discoveries. Allow them to get feedback from environment to inform them for their next action.
Furthermore, 2.0 involves collaborative relationships. Try to provide opportunities for “peer-to-peer creation and transfer of knowledge.” This provides newbies a stronger support system. Let students build their own research guides.
Less memorable chapters for me included: Virtual Worlds (Second Life), Social Networking, Mashups, Handheld Computers in Library (including cell phones), Wikis. The chapter on future catalogs was good, but not of personal interest as we can’t build our own catalog. But much of what it suggests will be available in Indigo, which I hope we will switch to over winter break. The chapter on digital storytelling was very good, and written by academic librarians, but I found it difficult to see how it would be applied to our library. I would like to see examples of this.
Monday, September 22, 2008
Of course there are advantages to the online one, like links to Web sites and maps and full mailing addresses. Plus it doesn't kill as many trees. But I still love quaint, old-fashioned phone books.
Friday, September 19, 2008
I think every public services librarian should make time for blogs. I don't understand how you can run programs and improve on instruction without reading what other people are doing. I find blogs to be so much more helpful than formally published articles. You miss so much of the practical stuff that doesn't get put into the scholarly literature. It makes me sad for people who don't create the time to browse other librarians' blogs from time to time.
I cracked up. It wasn't the response I had been expecting.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
I'm sure I have many ideas that are offensive to other people on the issue of race and ethnicity... maybe even just the fact that I'm white. But why can't we push forward with open, un-censored talks so that we can all learn what's offensive, why, and take the fear out of the issue? How can we move on from where we are now to something better without these talks? How is this desire controversial? It's a sincere question that begs for comments from any readers who have more experience than I do.
A little while later...
With some tweaking of the search terms in Google, I found the number thirty discussed in a book called After Hitchcock. It's either a reference to Hitchcock's 39 Steps, which has similar themes in its plot, or that Antonioni was living in Europe in 1939. Long live Google Books. Now if they'd only let me print a page or two...
I need to pick a topic for a panel on Web 2.0 technologies. I'm thinking of talking about widgets, and how they do really cool stuff without needing to know any programming languages or even much about Web sites other than where to place your code.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
So ACRL, here I come... though it would be nice if you would let me register to keep our business office happy...
On a side note, I'm a little disappointed on something. One of the other librarians runs the local chapter of the honor society Phi Kappa Phi. It seems to be a big headache for her, so I contacted the Miami U. chapter to see if I was eligible. Each chapter has its own rules, and Miami doesn't allow alumni to join. That's fine. But I hate that the national standard is the top 10% of graduating class, but Miami's chapter says only the top 5%. I wasn't in the top 5%, but I was probably right around the top 10%. IU's cutoff for Phi Beta Mu was higher than the national cutoff. Though satisfying that was not a problem.
Thinking about this, I just realized I don't have any of these on my staff page...
Monday, September 15, 2008
We have two big outreach events at our library, but both are in the fall. Harry Potter Night will take place on October 24, that's as close as we can get to Halloween this year because the 31st is Long Weekend and we won't have any students that day! The other big event is Snowden 'til 2. This takes place the last day of class, and runs from 9 p.m. until 2 a.m. (hence the name). Professors come give review sessions while we order enormous sheet pizzas, serve cookies and coffee, hire professional massuses, coordinate video games on projectors, Play-Doah smashing, and pictures with Santa. This draws 400+ students on a campus of 1,400.
Perhaps there is enough in the spring to draw their attention... spring is so busy, and I get the impression that students don't take anything as seriously that semester as they do in the fall. But this event seems labor-intensive, but inexpensive, and if it was successful there, then it should be successful here.
My birthday is coming up and I told my husband I can't handle not having a digital camera anymore. We're going to look for one this week, so soon I will be able to put pictures up of the new and improved costumes.
The next project will be sponge-painting bricks onto a huge piece of muslin to turn into the wall leading towards Platform 9 3/4. We plan to hang this over the front door to the library... though we'll have to remember to lock the sliding doors open so people don't slam into the glass... though it would be appropriate for book 2, wouldn't it?
Friday, September 12, 2008
Anyway, as I was playing with what I wanted to be a superhero librarian, I started to wonder... what would a superhero librarian look like? I was really stuck on the eyes and eyebrows. Comic book heros are always scowling, angry at all of the evil in the world. A quizical or inviting look is just wrong, but we don't want librarians who scowl!
And what would she wear? I do think my superhero librarian is a woman... and I do think she needs purple hair that blows in the wind. Beyond that... I'm just clueless. What conveys smart, helpful, and yet still powerful as a guide to the universe of human knowledge?!? How about angel wings? A cat companion is a must, and if the superhero can fly, then what use is a companion who cant?
Thursday, September 11, 2008
The first class had six theatre students in it. They were very engaged and happy to participate. At the end, I had some review questions and told them I would divide the small prizes in accordance with how much they participated. I didn't tell them what the prizes were, but it was enough of a motivation that almost every one of them raised their hand for every question. Not every answer was what I was looking for, some were better than I was looking for, some answered to their interpretation of what must have been a vague question. But they all participated, and they all did a great job. I passed out $1 coupons to the campus coffee shop, and they said, "this isn't a small prize, this is great!"
One student asked about why I wrote AND instead of using the ones EBSCO already had. I had been waiting to add an OR statement and was explaining why you want to keep OR words all in one line. I told them funny things would happen, and they'd probably not even know those funny things were happening. I asked them if they had seen the original Ghostbuters, they all nodded enthusiastically (which is good, considering that movie is older than they are). I said "Mixing AND and OR can be dangerous, kind of like how they kept saying in that movie 'don't cross the streams.'" Okay, so it's a bit of a stretch of an analogy, but they all got it. When I tried to clarify by saying it was like Math where addition and multiplication are mixed... they interrupted and said they were theatre majors and didn't get math analogies. So I asked if Ghostbuster analogies worked, and they all agreed that it had.
As they were leaving, one girl said, "This was my favorite library session ever." I had to be honest with her and said it was one of mine, too.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
I have been wondering since Monday's faculty meeting if we shouldn't explore how the library could get involved with prospective student days. Don't ask me how, but would it make any difference? The administration wants us to think about what makes us stand out, and we have an exceptional library. My husband, a biology prof., doesn't think that's really a big draw to students. It wouldn't have been with me 10 years ago, I just liked the pretty brick buildings and lots of trees (and being the furthest state school from my parents helped, too... I love them, really I do!).
In the article, Bell says the most commonly stated reason for leaving (or probably for staying) is the people. Some studies have been done that link library spending per student to successful retention rates. But it's difficult to argue. One of the big names in retention research is George Kuh, who writes that librarians can help by being involved in freshmen orientation, teaching 1st year seminars, collaborating with faculty, and getting involved with students in other ways.
One suggestion he makes is to work with the parents in various ways. To at least get them to contact us when the student is calling them for research help (and studies show they do!!!).
Librarians should do what they can, along with other campus employees, to help new students establish roots. Libraries should host social activities and programs to allow librarians to reach out to students.
There is a call for greater study, particularly a survey to graduating seniors on how much contact they had with librarians, how helpful the librarians were, and if that led to their academic success.
The suggestion that libraries should give preferential treatment to upperclassmen is ridiculous, though. I really doubt such unfair treatment will entice freshmen to stay at the college longer, and it breaks every code of librarianship. If anything, we should be more indulging to freshmen as we try to help them "establish roots" and encourage them to come back to the library. However, this article is of great interest and I recommend it... and it's short!
This is an interesting opener to a discussion I hope will bloom on our campus and in the library community.
I'm happy to have this list of library-related blogs, but I feel so left out :(
The decision does not prevent another lexicon or any other reference book. It clearly states (according to Meadows, I don't have time right now to read the original) that Rowling cannot ban reference books on the topic of Harry Potter to protect sales of her own future encyclopedia. She can only protect her original works from being overly copied.
The NPR story can be found here, but I haven't had a chance to listen to it yet.
Finally, a satisfying explaination.
BTW, this is my 200th post!
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Furthermore, I looked up what undergraduate programs they have, and they are business and information services degree completion programs. These aren't my most comfortable fields.
I'm a little sad this morning because I miss the work. I love my job here and would not give it up just to go back to distance librarianship. I love working with the students face to face and interacting with them casually. I love the students here and have an enormous amount of school pride (for the first time ever!). The new head librarian there has done some amazing things that I would love to be a part of, and I have been meaning to pick up her book on library Web site design. But I'm still basking in how lucky I am to be in the job I am in. So each job has its benefits and drawbacks. Overall, where I'm at wins hands down. So while the description suits me perfectly and I really miss the work, I will not be applying.
Here is the article from the New York Times, which is more descriptive. Perhaps more interesting than the article itself is the 82 comments (as of 8:25 a.m.). The exerpt of the judge's decision gives a different reason for the final decision. Whereas the above article says the publisher's lawyers didn't make a sufficient case for "fair use," the NYT article states the judge decided he copied too much of the content. Perhaps the difference is when something is outright copied and when something is paraphrased. I'm not sure if a lexicon has to be entirely copied. But I am familiar with the online version and don't feel it's unreasonable. Just as he piggy-backed on J. K. Rowling, she piggy-backed on his online work to complete her later novels... But this opinion is based on the assumption that the print was identical to the online version, and I am not sure this is true. Here is another NYT article on the same topic.
I hope now the author will go back to mending the online version, which has fallen into disrepair in the past year. Many updates from book 7 haven't been entered, and half of the links are dead. This is an incredibly useful resource... and maybe I'll just send him $25 to show my appreciation.
On a side note, a very loud thunderstorm rolled through Williamsport at 6 a.m. When it was clear I couldn't sleep through it, I got up early. I was sure our library's basement would have water spouting through the walls, yet when I got here at 7:15, it was bone dry. Absolutely amazing. If it rains anywhere in the surrounding states, the carpet at least gets damp.
Monday, September 8, 2008
Okay, so this word doesn't have to involve sex. Dictionary.com also has definitions that include without discrimination, haphazard.
Even as a professional researcher, I also do a lot of searching that is haphazard, and I bounce in and out of sites. I'm wondering if this is avoidable on the Internet or within a scholarly database. Even when I am searching for articles, I may get into the abstract page or the article itself, and quickly realize it isn't relevant.
But is this really so different than print? If I am looking in books, I may pull ten books off the shelf, and realize only three are at all relevant.
Does any of this really matter... I guess that's the final question.
Unfortunately, the ad doesn't say how many hours per week "part-time" is. I believe I am perfectly suited for this job and would love to do it in the evenings/weekends. I have been thinking of getting second job, but I need some flexibility and I need to make it worth my time to be tired a lot. We could use the extra money to pay off student loans and utilities... maybe even a trip to Europe next summer... This job makes $20 per hour, and that's definitely worth it!
They surprisingly do require the person to attend residencies. They mention this very casually, mixed in with a bunch of other things I would love to do. I don't think I could travel to many residencies. My current job takes top priority, of course. But it would still be nice to work this in.
Friday, September 5, 2008
The two librarians who plan to travel in the fall got approved for $700 each. I will be very happy with $700, esp. if it is approved soon and I can get a plane ticket for under $300. I have now turned in the form and we will see what happens. I'm already getting myself worked up for the chance that the money is not distributed evenly among the librarians. I tend to be like that and wish I wasn't.
Thursday, September 4, 2008
I created my avatar on Faceyourmanga.com this morning. I've been trying to get to that site for days and it has been down. I played with Yahoo Avatars yesterday afternoon during my break. It is a full-body avatar and has lots more choices, including a library background. Still, this one has more charm and it's not a bad likeness other than I part my hair on the side. That wasn't an option if I wanted curly hair.
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Furthermore, when I attended the first half of training session at ALA annual in 2006. We were told this was required, which will be interesting as I'm not planning to go to any ALA meeting this year for the other half. Someone asked what a good sample size would be. The responded 1,000 students and something like 300 faculty. Someone else asked about a small institution, because hers only had 2,500 students. They responded that 1,000 was still a good number to shoot for. Asking for nearly half of the student body to respond is not reasonable. What about for us, we only have 1,400 students, and how can we get 300 faculty when we only have 85 including the librarians?!?
Based on this interaction and others, they are clueless about what it is to be a small college library. To these big, money-grubbing companies, small means 5,000 students. 1,400 doesn't exist, or is a bug they take sadistic pleasure in squashing... okay, I'm getting a bit dramatic. But you get the picture.
Furthermore, it breaks every rule of a good survey. I find the survey sheet confusing as all heck... what's the minimum, what's the maximum, and where does your library actually fall... Each of those for each of the 20-something questions... that's a lot of questions. And what on earth would I put for maximum level of service I could expect?!? Apparently not everyone picks the highest level for that one, and it makes me think they're all idiots.
Additionally, I have had issues with their Web site several times. Currently I have their confirmation window that has frozen one instance of my browser window and I cannot get it to close.
Yes, we do have accreditation coming up soon. Yes, LibQUAL is the big name in library assessment... the ONLY name in library assessment, and it needs to be stamped with the LibQUAL name. And my director keeps reminding me there are just certain things you have to do "because we're a library." I just think we could probably come up with a more meaningful survey on our own, and $3,200 is a lot of money to spend to just get access to other people's results. Can't we just call some of those libraries up and ask them to send us their results? That would just cost the price of a long-distance call.
I have never been so frustrated to spend someone else's money. Every interaction I have had with LibQUAL has left me unimpressed... or maybe depressed is a better word.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
To qualify my last post... I loved almost all my "bosses" in Bloomington. You are all the reason I defend the MLS and say to anyone who thinks that it is a joke, "It's exactly what you make of it." Okay, and a little luck. How many people get to work with three geniuses in such a short period of time? I just have a hard time thinking of the three of them as bosses because I also consider them friends.
It's a relief. My goal is to tell her what I'm spending my time on as I do it rather than just at the end of the year, or when a particular project is done. I want transparency, so that she can re-direct me, give me feedback, etc. as I'm doing it and to be able to tell her why I'm doing it. I feel like I got some transparency back, which is what I've been missing and has been leading to my frustration.
I got a compliment from her that I'm very proud of. She said as she's starting to teach, she has been impressed with the layout of the Web site and how everything she wants to show students is very easy to find and only one or two clicks.
Maybe it doesn't sound like much of a compliment, but I did a lot of restructuring of the Web site last year and I feel this is a deep compliment. If you have ever struggled to provide logic to a relatively large Web site, you would understand someone admiring the functionality you have created.
Monday, September 1, 2008
More importantly, last spring I did an interview with them for their case study. We were to be their first baccalaureate library. I never heard from them when or where they were going to publish this, but the link to Baccalaureate Library case studies leads directly to the interview with me! I'm very excited about this. I had thought I had botched the interview, but the writer took everything I said and made it sound really smart.