Doing A Doctoral Double-Take

Oh, how I hate to eat my words.

For any of you who read my previous post on "Debating the Doctorate," well... I still am. The longer I work in this position, the more I become interested in an administrative career. Particularly since my responsibilities have become a bit broader after my previous boss's departure.

So I'll add a few more points to that discussion: yes, I still believe that if you're not looking for an administrative position, there's little reason to while away your money and time on a doctorate. But if you're looking toward the admin office, it's pretty much a requirement. I'm tempted by UNT's IS-Doc program, both for its library birthplace and its intense interdisciplinary nature. But I have a friend in the Educational Administration / Higher Education PhD program, and it sounds extremely practical, as well as interesting.

So... consider my mind re-opened on this point.

Unrelated Banter:
I've been listening to stories on SMU's tiff about the Bush Presidential Library via NPR, and now it looks like the story's hit FGI. It seems a little silly to me--I'd think that most people would be intelligent enough to disassociate W's politics from SMU as an institution--but then again, I don't know that I'd want those associations resting in my backyard, either.

Today, my new student assistant started work and jumped right into creating metadata for CRS reports. Between that and dealing with enough email to weed it down to 18 messages in my inbox, it's been a nicely productive day (this despite the fact that a flat tire cost me three hours this morning).

We're about to start two new digital projects this (or possibly next) week... I can't wait!


Just a News Dump

Are you watching President Bush's State of the Union address? The glory of modern technology: I have the live webcast in a small window on my desktop while I work.

CPI Sues FCC Over U.S. Broadband Competition (via Slashdot).

Heard about NARA's deal with footnote.com? File that under "public information reformatted for private profit." Ah, but at least it's going online in some fashion, eh?

Yes, here it is: DOPA: The Sequel. Just what we've all been waiting for.

On 01.30.07, EDUCAUSE Live! is webcasting "Architectures for Collaboration—Roles and Expectations for Digital Libraries" for free. Register now!


I Love My Job: Comics and Graphic Design

I'll be giving a presentation this summer for an AP high-school workshop on preserving history. I've just been asked to present on the topic of preserving comic books, and have already enlisted a knowledgable friend to help me in my research. It's nice to be the go-to person for comics in the library.

We're in the process of approving a logo for the Denton Reads project. This is an offshoot of the very popular Seattle Reads program (formerly known as "If All Seattle Read the Same Book"). For Denton Reads, we plan to hold an entire month of book-related activities, instead of just one week, and I'm on the graphics committee. Last week, I refined the logo I'd designed and added a black and white version, and so far the feedback on the list-serv is good. And here I thought I wouldn't be using a fine arts degree in a library position--I'm happy to be wrong!

I also applied for the Code4lib Scholarship for Women, in hopes that it might enable me to attend the conference this year in Athens, Georgia. It's even more on my mind, as I am missing Midwinter this week--my travel budget was too drained and my schedule too full to allow it. I'm sad to miss Seattle, but it gears me up even more for Annual in DC... I am just dying to get back to that city.

Unrelated Banter:
There's an interesting beta of new features for THOMAS.

This podcast has great buzz, particularly considering that it's all about grammar: Grammar Girl's Quick & Dirty Tips for Better Writing. Go ahead: release your inner nerd.


DFW Young Librarians Group

Calling all DFW NextGen librarians!

I want to call attention to a new group for young librarians in the DFW Metroplex. All librarians and library support staff under the age of 35 are encouraged to join for discussion, socialization, etc. You can join on MySpace at http://groups.myspace.com/dfwyounglibrarians/ or you can email the moderator, Katy, at dfwyounglibrarians@hotmail.com

I look forward to seeing you there!

GovDocs Quote of the Day

1882 Texas Almanac, from a list of quotes detailing the value of that publication:

“It is a marvel of cheapness.”Henrietta Journal


Just Like a Librarian

There’s nothing like four hours or so of office re-organization. I feel like the cobwebs of my mind have been cleared, as well—just wish that I could reorganize my whole home in the same amount of time it takes to do one office. (And that’s also considering only six months or so of office artifacts, versus six years of objects settling into the strata-like layers of my house.)

Luckily, I chose to do it all today. The past two days were a madhouse of catching up, and next week the chaos begins as students return, courses begin, and our service desk opens again. Today was intensely quiet and miraculously interruption-free, perfect for labeling file folders and overflowing my paper recycle bin.

Going through my papers, I found my “$100 folder.” I started it when I read this blog post by Steven Cohen last June. This is going to be a great resource when PAC (Personnel Affairs Committee review) time comes around at the UNT-L. I print out particularly pleased patron responses to email reference answers, photos of any library displays I’ve worked on, and examples of applied ideas and accomplishments (with specific number comparing before/after, if possible). For instance, before vacation my former boss changed our online comment form to direct all email to me. Two days before Christmas vacation, I got 35 messages in a row, all of which were spam. I requested that one of our LAN guys add a CAPTCHA feature to the form to verify human vs. computer entries. Since he implemented it, I’ve received just 6 emails, none of which were spam. Success!


Return to Reference

I was reminded today by an email from Meredith Farkas herself that the Five Weeks to a Social Library course is coming up quickly!! Soon I'll be trained in how to use OPAL for a live webcast. I'm wanting to use both PowerPoint and some co-browsing in my presentation, so that I can actually show how to create a wiki in real-time. For more information on Five Weeks..., see the course wiki.

It also seems that some interesting developments may be in the works at the UNT-L regarding podcasting... stay posted for more details.

This afternoon started out with a number of email reference questions that had to be dealt with immediately--and our go-to person in the department for these questions is currently out. At first, I was appalled by the usual brain atrophy that results when I leave work for more than a weekend, but in the end, I was proud of my ability to answer the questions quickly and thoroughly. (It's nice to use the Texas Codes Annotated and the Congressional Serial Set!!) With a little help from my Awesome Former Boss on one of them... my thanks for her help!


Back to Work!

This morning was a blur of email, and this afternoon was a blur of... everything else.

Our collection of documents from the Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations is now online. Many, many thanks to our diligent student worker who endured many hours of frustrating and confusing metadata entry.

This morning in my inbox, I received a plethura of GovDocs comics: a color copy of Sprocket Man to replace our missing one, and "Wishes and Rainbows" from the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, and ten others from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Ah, what fun!

I also set up an independent study project (this semester I'm taking Rare Books to further augment my education). I'll be creating an online finding aid for the UNT Rare Books William Blake Collection. No, it's not technically comics, but the combination of literature and art makes it close enough to pique the interest of this artist/art historian/english major/librarian. That, and I might get to do some traditional cataloging to augment all this metadata experience. MARC, here I come...

On a lighter note... ALA's electronic newsletter last week referred to a Monty Python’s Flying Circus skit on (Series 1, Episode 10, December 21, 1969) that features gorilla applying for a librarian position.
“You see, I don’t believe that libraries should be drab places where people sit in silence, and that’s been the main reason for our policy of employing wild animals as librarians.”