Friday, July 30, 2004

What's going on here? According to a Statement from ALA President-Elect Michael Gorman on the destruction of Department of Justice documents, the Department of Justice wants the Government Printing Office to reclaim a number of items sent to government document repositiry libraries. "The topics addressed in the named documents include information on how citizens can retrieve items that may have been confiscated by the government during an investigation. The documents to be removed and destroyed include: Civil and Criminal Forfeiture Procedure; Select Criminal Forfeiture Forms; Select Federal Asset Forfeiture Statutes; Asset forfeiture and money laundering resource directory; and Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act of 2000 (CAFRA)."

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

This Walter Benjamin article is the first thing in a long time that I am going to need to read twice. Is it his prose or his politics that keep tripping me up?

I didn't even get a chance to post, over there on the right, that I sent a resume to the local ITT-Tech -- and I just set up an interview. Wheee!

Saturday, July 24, 2004


This morning, I had my last cup of coffee at the Robinson Street WorldCup, my preferred coffee shop for ten years. As of August 1, they will be on North Morris St., about a mile from here. I bought this house because I needed to be in easy walking distance (5 or 6 blocks) of WorldCup, the art museum, and the Byrd. What's the point of living in a city if you have to get in the car all the damn time? There is still walking-distance coffee in Carytown, but I like WorldCup best. I don't like change; I don't wanna figure out which brews, which sizes to order all over again. When a classmate recently gushed -- seriously, gushed -- about thriving on change I was dumbstruck. I know that all of us are different, blah, blah, blah: but, wow. I just didn't know what to say.

After 15 years' service, Friday was Teresa's last day running the reading room (and other Herculean tasks) at the Valentine Museum. As she may well be reported as saying in Style, she left for a part-time data entry job. Shall we have a creative writing contest to fill in between the lines?

The other, minor, change coming on August 1 is that the downtown Y wants us to provide our own locks for the lockers. I have a combination lock somewhere, I think. I wonder if I have the combination though?

Alas, I have yet to have so much as a call for an interview, so I won't be starting a new job August 1 -- something that seemed very possible just a month ago.

Deserted by my coffee shop and self-locking lockers; bereft of work. I'm working on a mild case of the blues.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

The Spanish are working on robotic library pages. This we need? I can see using them for inventory, but it's hard to picture a machine taking enough care to ensure that the book will not be damaged -- that it will remain accessible for years to come.

Today's class trip was to the DC City Museum.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

All Done
Comps are now part of my past. Thanks again to all who offered words of encouragement, notes, and links to articles. I got to CUA on Friday a touch later than I wanted, but still early enough to bounce around the halls of Marist checking on friends and wonder who the 20-some people I had never seen before were. That day, I wrote about the impact of technology on two areas of library service, filling most of a blue book and running one pen out of ink. Next I wrote what, looking back, may be my weakest essay, on outreach. About 1/3 of the way into that one, my hand cramped so badly I said "ouch" out loud, drawing at least C's attention and/or sympathy.
I seem to have lost Saturday's list of questions, and as of this writing, no one had posted them on the SLIS website. I know I wrote about points to consider when choosing electronic journals; we had a final exam question for collection development on that topic. The other one was a topic I liked . . . I remember that much. I used about 2/3 of a blue book on each of those. In comparing notes with the others, afterwards, I fretted most about quantity: it seemed like they had used  many more examples and made many points that slipped my mind. Alas, it will be September before we learn if we passed or not.
In other weekend diversions: dinner at Vera's. A trip downtown to see Fala and FDR, a bit of a cricket match, and an odd sculpture by the Potomac. Cheers to BL for fab meals on Saturday. I left Brookland a little after ten on Saturday night. It started raining the moment I crossed into Virginia and didn't let up the whole 100 more miles.

The whole expedition wore me out. I am just beginning to feel myself again.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

R. Cockerham on spam research. Check out how easily he deployed readers to check the addresses of spam senders across the country. A little address research on their end, a trip with a digital camera in hand, and a then attach it to an e-mail.
In 42 hours, I will be done taking my comprehensive exam. C - How will we keep the bubbly cold?

Reviewing Rubin
Overall, my 557 classmates did not favor Rubin’s Foundations of Library and Information Science (2000). Despite this, I picked it up yesterday in the spirit of thorough review and found that while his bits on technology are dated in content and outlook, it did serve as a great reinforcement tool. Things to remember:

  • The library is part of a growing, worldwide information infrastructure
  • “A library’s fundamental purpose is to acquire, store, organize, disseminate or otherwise provide access to the vast bodies of knowledge already produced.” (p. 171)
  • He also calls for librarians to intermediaries between information and users (Lankes is another)
  • Rubin names 5 features of library science
    understanding info needs, seeking behavior, info users
    information storage and retrieval
    defining the nature of information and its value
    bibliometrics and citation analysis
    management and administrative issues
  • Information is a valued commodity
  • NISO standard Z39.50 developed for searching across OPACs
  • Know your stakeholders
  • There are a lot of arguments in favor of fee-charging in any library
  • Preservation decisions impact access
  • Controlled vocabularies make access possible, through index or catalog
  • Professional values, ethics, etc.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Library Stuff has a call for favorite tools. I'm mulling it over. I feel too 101-level to contribute, though. "Um, Pop-Up Blocking? My Blog This icon?"

Many Thanks to P, SS, and others for words of pre-comps encouragement! It's such a pleasant surprise to open those e-mails.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Courtesy of Greg: Fund Race brings together public information on political contributions. You can search by your zip code, or, I guess the name of someone whose leanings you'd like to know.

Monday, July 12, 2004

Kittamaqund weather (Saturday): sunny, 90, but not all that humid. No wind on the Great Wicomico, but many thanks to those who invited me to go looking. Camp is good for the soul. I feel in touch with the trees and the water. I am in touch with who I am, who I have been (boy, could she be a drama queen), and who I could be.

Byrd Theatre weather (Sunday): breathtaking. Giant opened The Dominion Film Festival. I could gush about it for ages, but I need to study for a few hours before the D.C. carpool arrives. In short: an amazing saga of the early-mid-20th century America with a good eye for detail.

Today’s weather: 80s, hazy; I think rain is forecast for the drive to D.C. We're going to tour the library at the Natural History Museusm.

Friday, July 09, 2004

Comps (What Else?)
Though just a week or so ago I firmly told CNB I would only write practice outlines, not practice essays, I did sit down today and write for an hour, on Ranganathan's Five Laws (1952) in the 21st Century. You remember Ranganathan:

  • Books are for use
  • Every book its reader
  • Every reader his book
  • Save the time of the reader
  • The library is a growing organism.

Child Care
This morning, I tried to keep baby W occupied while J put up some new blinds. W sat on my lap while I read the sales pamphlet from a car dealer over and over, with W saying "ehh" and pointing at the pictures. Alas, it didn't hold him for long. Next came crayon throwing, ball throwing, and toy fire truck pushing. That kept him busy long enough for J to find he needed to have the blinds cut just a little shorter. Ah well.

Wednesday's Storm
Imagine my surprise when I took the trash out late Thursday afternoon and found that my locust tree had been struck by lightening the day before. After wasting time calling all the wrong people, then sitting on hold with Dominion Power, I spoke to a helpful woman there who said that if it's fallen on the power lines, they'd take care of it. As luck would have it, a truck must have been nearby, and a team of men extracted the limb from the street light pole, lines, and neighbor's crepe myrtle within the hour. My insurance company still might pay to remove the remaining tree which is good news.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Because blogging is faster: Thanks, Barrie, for the mediation so I am less uncertain about Kuhlthau's Information Search Process!

Amazing, insightful, useful reading on information service to NextGens (born 1982-2002)in Library Journal, here. Annoyingly, authors Abram and Luther lost Gen X somewhere; all of their comparisons have the "as opposed to the way we Boomers think" tone. To paraphrase Apu, there are 80 million of us, you know (source).

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Capital City weather: Terrible green-black skies opened into a thunderstorm just as Y slid into the car; the downpour was with us for about 40 miles. Homeward bound, though, G spotted a fabulous double rainbow, at about Springfield.

Copying Off Alane

From Tonight's Class
The Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center is "the world's largest and most comprehensive Native American museum and research center." As ever, my mind was stuck in the southeast: I know the Pequot aren't a southern tribe, so they must live in the west, right? Imagine my surprise to find we're talking about Connecticut.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

I bet (I hope) there are similar sign language applications elsewhere; this museum in Basingstoke, Hampshire UK came to my attention from a listserv announcement. The announcement says the signer interprets the text. It's British Sign Language, not American, so don't be confused by the "u" in "color" and stuff.

Monday, July 05, 2004

Remember the story I told about reuniting two long-separated photos of a little boy? A fellow Mount Holyoke alumna had a similar experience with her own collection.

A cause I wish I had time for: getting people to vote. Only 36% of people 18-24 years old who were eligible to vote in 2000 did so (The Washington Post). I doubt this fun kit at Fred Flare would help, but it appeared in other section of the Sunday paper and I thought it was cool.

Capital City weather: A sudden thunderstorm after a hot, clear day.

Saturday, July 03, 2004

How Many Thousand Words per Essay?

There. I’ve added “blog” and “blogging” to my MSWord dictionary, so now they must be real, right?

The University of Minnesota Library, for one, encourages and supports blogging (with instruction, by providing templates), suggesting even that one’s blog is a good place to work out paper drafts. This, is where they collect critical essays on blogging.

Ian Winship writes in Update (May 2004) about ways libraries can and do use blogs: to announce new resources, to comment on publishing and technology current events, as a bulletin board for library news, and to solicit the ever-popular user comments. (I hereby predict that “user needs” will appear in every comps essay I write.) Especially if I had a job in a university setting, I would make certain the library had a blog – or an RSS feed might be even better. To the extent that the latter is one-stop reading and can digest things, letting the reader choose when to get more details, it might be the best way to keep reminding library users how the library can help them. (For more on uses of RSS, see this courtesy of AK .)

Leslie Barban (Public Libraries, March/April 2003) wrote that public librarians should boast of their ability to sell free books – to help every reader find his/her book, every book its reader (okay, that’s Ranganathan, 1953, I think). Just broaden the thought to “information.” A library’s RSS or blog would be a good way to remind people that librarians are experts in finding, evaluating, organizing, and preserving information.

To do this effectively, a blog would have to follow good website design criteria. In their library information systems text, Kochtanek and Matthews pull together many such checklists. In general, they find these to be important: be concise, keep links live, use few graphics (don’t widen the digital divide by putting up lots of stuff only a few can access), use a readable text size, leave lots of white space, 2 or 3 colors is probably plenty, and keep it up to date.


Speaking of blogs, if you keep one and want to find again something you linked to “a while back” you know about the need for a good organizational system. Date written is a pretty weak way to organize. I remember the subject – a website that creates a Places Visited map – not the date. Well, I did find it, and I used it to draft a map of Cuisines We Sampled. Folks, let me know what I forgot or got wrong.

create your own visited countries map

Homeward Bound

Southbound on 14th Street last night, a red light left me nearly centered on the Regan building. The mourning bunting did give me pause, though I am no fan.

I95 had a high percentage of non-regulars, many the slow-and-steady type, but two black SUVs from New Jersey, with onboard TVs, passed me on the right at 80 mph, easily.

Pretty full moon, though.