Re-Classifying (I Don't Mean LC)

I heard about this on NPR on my way in this morning, then read about it again on freegovinfo...

It's darn good thing that classifying information today will retroactively keep terrorists from viewing information on our 1970's nuclear holdings that have been publicly available for years.

Oh, wait...



I found it interesting that several political candidates are using MySpace to reach younger voters. Particularly in light of this morning's OPAL session, "Top-Notch Technology Training for Patrons," in which Brenda Hough and Michael Porter discussed how libraries are using and can use MySpace.

My favorite part of the CNN story is that Phil Angelides didn't even start the MySpace page about him, but he's using it anyway.


...Your Nerdy News Source Since 2006

  • NARA's trying to save operating costs by negating its after-5pm and Saturday hours. Add your comments to keep them open when you're off work--how else can we use this valuable resource?
  • So--why didn't the Dept. of Homeland Security just mark it classified in the first place?
  • Get energy conservation alerts (TX). Criticized for always cooking with the microwave? Tell them the energy conversation site made you do it: "Use microwaves for cooking instead of an electric range or oven."
  • Download old comics! What pulpy joy!
  • THANK YOU, Google--Blogger is, indeed, creaky, and right now I haven't the time or will to switch to Wordpress. Now, if I can only get to be one of those limited invitation-only beta people...

Little Pleasures

One of the pleasures of my job is that everytime I walk to the stairwell or the bathroom, I pass the reshelving area, which primarily contains books on art and literature. It's a delight to peruse titles as I stroll by, and I'm always tempted to take about five back to my desk.

And here's another pleasure to enjoy-- the Visual Dictionary. Words in images, from signs to tatoos to graffiti.


More Great Titles

And I really want to find the Sprocket Man comic--supposedly we have two hiding in our stacks.

Got some PowerPoint pet peeves? Read this great tongue-in-cheek advice for public speakers mentioned in the ACRL blog.

My own personal PPT pet peeves?
  • It's a visual presentation. Less text, more (relevant) graphics!
  • If you've got your entire presentation up there on the slide... why am I sitting here listening to you? I could be reading this at my desk while listening to mp3s and drinking green tea.

Secret Identities... Revealed!

Just a quick note to let you all know that, due to about seven annoying, spammy comments I received on this blog this morning, I've disabled anonymous comments. You've got to be a registered Blogger member to comment.


Lunchbreak Diversions

Need something fun to do over your lunchbreak? Check out some of these fun librarian flickr groups:


Batgirl was a Librarian

I recently wrote to a colleague about the wonders of the wiki and my personal experience with it. If I had time, I'd post it here.

(Now, aren't you curious?)

I would like to point out that I interviewed for (and got) my second library job (graduate library assistant in reference) while wearing a Batgirl shirt.

Coincidence? I think not.


Digital Issues

I don't think it's unprofessional of me to tell you that this post scares the heck out of me. On a daily basis, in my job, I identify, capture, backup, upload, and create metadata for at-risk digital government documents. But rather than spend my every day in abject panic about all the information that's going to go missing and/or degrade over time and/or be inaccessible one day for software/hardware reasons, I try not to think about these issues so much.

Then I read a post like this, and I'm reminded of why my position exists in the first place, and my little librarian soul starts to quake with the fear of all that potentially lost information.

And what's the "best"--or at least, easiest--solution at the moment? Making an analog copy--aka, printing it out.

Wait a minute, isn't part of the glory of the digital medium that it saves trees and frees up valuable library storage space?

It's a larger version of my own personal quandry--do I use Lulu.com to print an archive of my blog posts for the past year, or do I back them up on CD-R, or are they best left as an ephermal pleasure, not left to haunt future generations?


Does Your OPAC Suck?

So, we want to make our OPAC more intuitive? So why are we still using searches with labels like "subject" that aren't structured in a way that most of our users understand? How do your users ask for information?

"Hi, I need a book about birds."

Maybe they'd be able to search it themselves if, say, the OPAC page looked like this:
I'm looking for a/an ______ about _______ , by ______ .*

(For all us librarians out there, of course that translates as, "I'm looking for a/an [insert material type here] about [subject], by [author/creator].)

Or am I just plumb crazy?

I'm not saying to nix the google-like keyword option, but give the natural-language folks an option, too. It just seems good sense to provide online searches in the same language and structure as our users ask for information. After all, shouldn't an intuitive interface operate like our users think?

* Surely, somewhere, an interface like this has already been discussed/developed/tried/discarded. If you've got a reference, please let me know; I'd love to read it.


I'm On Fire

Need some laughs? Check out the flickr page for "Best. Titles. Ever!" taken directly from some very amusing, very odd, government documents.

For some reason, for the past three weeks, I keep reading references to the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire. It started by reading a review of Triangle: A Novel, by Katharine Weber (on my wishlist), and then finding that we own David Von Drehle's Triangle: The Fire That Changed America at UNT (made a note to borrow this). Today, I read on the GovDoc-L listserv that there's an article in this month's Smithsonian about Drehle's search for documents on the fire while researching his novel--and how a search for lost documents led to a digitization project. And that article referred to Cornell's website, which contains digitized documents and other materials relating to the fire.