December 21, 2007

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays!
Originally uploaded by desertlibrarian
I hope everyone has a very joyous holiday season, and enters the new year with cheer in their hearts! See you next year...

December 19, 2007

The Year in First Lines

This not-a-meme is popping up everywhere; I'm running from Hedgehog Librarian's posting. You take the first sentence from the first post of each month for the year and post 'em... here goes!

January: Happy New Year, everyone!

February: Damn.

March: The Call for Speakers has been sent out for Internet Librarian.

April: Or, not...

May: OK, late off the block but I just have to share this: Librarian, by HauntedLove. (Still one of my faves!)

June: So, I'm in Denver now...

July: So, American Libraries also wrote me up in the June 20th issue of AL Direct, in the "Actions & Answers" section.

August: ...buried, inundated, overwhelmed...

September: Found via the ever-reliable LISNews, this article over on "Mere Comments" (a blog for Touchstone magazine) titled "The Librarian as 'Professional'" had me alternating between annoyance and agreement.

October: Hat tip to the 3BT blog...

November: (Catching up on my last few posts!)

: So.

It seems that I have a habit of starting off my posts rather... shortly. Hmm. Also, so, so, so, ok, and SO. Ha!

Are you geeky enough to be a librarian?

Found quite a while after posting on the Librarian Avengers site, I just took this quiz, and scored a 13. 10-15 = "I’ve got some library school applications under my desk you big dork". Are you geeky enough? (I think I've got to work on it a bit!)

A small bit o'info: The centerpiece of my door art is "Why you should fall to your knees and worship a librarian". I get comments on it all the time... and if they're snarky, I kick the crap out of them.

60° and sunny... I'm such a wimp I'm wearing wool slippers, a long-sleeved T, a long-sleeved woolen shirt, and have a blanket on my lap. It's almost embarrassing.

December 11, 2007

Drupal pause, EDMS head-bashing

So. After such a flurry of happiness with my Drupal problems, I was cheerfully buzzing along getting all my missing documentation uploaded and linked in, and somewhat avoiding the issue of our EDMS. I finally got the go-ahead for reimplementation from our Big Boss but I knew it was gonna be a huge pain, so I postponed, and postponed... until I can't anymore, not really.

So (sigh) I'm putting Drupal on the back burner until the new year. It's fascinating and I'm getting a total kick out of it, but it's not mission-critical the way getting the staff back into the EDMS is. So a few days ago I started spending all my time working on the EDMS, with some good and some bad moments.

The biggest bad moment - and I guess all things considered it's not "bad", just "really really annoying" - is that there's a bug in the export system. So when I exported the workflow, user and group lists, cards, etc etc, it turns out that none of the passwords, permissions, notifications, etc were captured and brought over. Which means - yes, boys and girls, what fun! - that I have to do it ALL OVER AGAIN. So far I'm a day and a half into it and only a third through the workflow. (A bit of history: this is a setup that took over a year to get worked out and in place, so having to recreate all the "who gets notified when what happens" and "who has to approve what for the next step" all at once is not a fun task.)

After I get all this sorted out, then it's client install time, and then the next fun part that's gonna take a lot of time: migrating all the files out of our shared file server and back into the EDMS. On the up side, almost all the staff starts their holiday vacations next week, so if I can get through most of this this week, next week there'll be hardly anyone to inconvenience with file moves - fingers crossed.

All this is a rather long-winded explanation (whine?) about why you won't be seeing any Drupal entries here for a little while. I'll post any librarian image things I come across, but everyone seems to be being rather quiet these days - I haven't seen anything come across in a while now! (If you've seen something, please forward it on to me... thanks)!

It's been raining for five days now, on and off, and it's been make-me-whine cold. ('Course, that doesn't take much, as I pull out sweaters if it drops below 70°...) But the rain is good, and needed, and it's a soft rain that hasn't caused too much flooding, which is a nice change from the summer monsoons. And hey, it's not an ice storm, so yay for that.

December 4, 2007


Thanks to the Drupal Dude, who came through again with flying colors, I got the upload directory schema sorted out, have tarred-and-transferred all my documents, and have just spent the last hour cheerfully linking documents into the existing nodes on the new site. Cross that puppy off the list! w00t!

What I did wrong in the IMCE settings is this: I missed that it's all relative to the main directory "files". By setting "files" again as a shared directory for authenticated users, with subdirectories of blah blah blah, the system was going "Oh, you want that for each authenticated user". Turns out if you put "/" into the shared directory setting and leave all the rest blank, voila, now the proper directories are visible, navigable, and the files in them are linkable, to all authenticated users. Hurrah!

Sadly, I must restrict myself now - half a day on Drupal, half a day on reimplementing our EDMS. I wanna keep cranking on the Drupal pages - linking in documents is a good half of what's left to do, and I'd love to be able to mark those pages as finished! But, all in good time...

It's a lovely sunny 70°. Wish I could send some of this to either coast - have family on both sides that're getting smashed by Mother Nature right now.

December 3, 2007

Please excuse me whilst I bang my head on the wall.

So. I've been wrestling with Drupal again for a few days (this is a spillover post from last week) and I think, like time-zones, I may have some kind of weird internal block about this. Arrgh! I have been trying to tweak the IMCE module to manage non-image files, so that I can get my hundreds of various PDF and PPT files (for the project documentation and meeting materials, respectively) linked into my ever-increasing list of completely ingested pages. Every time I tweak it, it does something new and unexpected, and I can't figure out why. For example, I want sub-folders called "docs", "images", and "logos" in the main shared folder called "files". I now have those three sub-folders in a new shared sub-folder called "files" (as in, it's now files/files/docs ) - which is not what I wanted. If I take out the "files" identified in the IMCE settings page for the shared folder, I then got the three sub-folders under a new folder 2 (my userid). Also not what I wanted. So now I have random folders everywhere except where I want them, and for some reason I can't comprehend, when I'm logged in as admin I can only see the files/u1 folder and not any other folder. (When logged in as myself, I can browse around all these empty folders, so that's a small positive.) Sigh.

I did successfully install the nodeaccess module, and think it'll be very handy for managing access to various bits and pieces of the site - but it still requires some work in the roles arena (such as, properly defining roles and then access permissions for those roles) that, again like the time-zones, I just can't get my head around. Then again, a new staff userID I created successfully blocked access to the selected page, so again, a small positive. (It didn't ask for a login, though.) Sigh.

The poor Drupal Dude is set up for a webcon with me tomorrow morning, to try and work me through these problems I keep having. I hope I don't blow all my remaining contract time with him just on these - I have so many more things to wrestle with. SIGH.

When I finally get a grip on all this stuff (because DAMMIT I will argh grrr) it'll totally be worth it. But, dang, some days I wish we'd just hired someone to do this all for me...! (The PM would never have gone for it but I can dream.)

The sun is setting (yes, really!) and it's 64°. Glad I kept my coat at lunch!

November 30, 2007

LSW, here I come!

After much too long reading about the Library Society of the World, I've finally "formally" joined up. (Am also using Meebo for the first time today in the LSW chat!) I met a lot of LSWers for the first time at Internet Librarian and this is a group of folks I want to know! (And go to pubs with.)

Currently 65°, grey and gloomy, with a 100% chance of precipitation in the forecast. w00t!

November 29, 2007

3BT: Thursday

1. Waking up to rain. (It's still raining!)
2. Perfect bananas for breakfast.
3. A morning without a single toddler power struggle.

And now the coffee's brewing! w00t!

November 27, 2007

Random Musings: Catching Up

Interesting concept: "Sexy Librarian: Critical Edition of the Original Novel" by Julia Weist will be coming out this fall. Think I might have to keep an eye out for it.

Give "Addy Will Know" a listen! "Serving as a musical tribute to the modern librarian, it is about a real librarian who leads a lost patron to the four books he is looking for." (Long overdue thanks to Kris!)

More on the Australian TV show "The Librarians": read an article from The Daily Telegraph about the comedy, and you can watch the episodes in full on the ABC website! (I need to do this.)

Check out this very cool commercial from the University of Buffalo library! "Save Time... Ask a Librarian!" Love it! (Thanks to Liz for sending this to me, and congrats to Jill on doing it!)

Cold, grey, gloomy, and only 64°! Brr! (Yes, I'm a weather wimp.)

November 20, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm off to give thanks for my family and friends - I hope you all have a lovely, fun-filled and joyful holiday weekend!

November 13, 2007

Secret handshakes are never boring!

A few short articles that came through my newsstream today:

"Secret librarian handshake revealed!" - Brad Barker at the Modesto Bee shares our secret handshake with the world, along with breakfast preferences and pickup lines. Gave me a grin!

"Upon reflection, being a librarian is never boring" - Julie Winkelstein at the Contra Costa Times reminisces about her library columns over the years.

76° and sunny; maybe fall has come to stay this time!

November 12, 2007

I am the Annoyed Librarian.

Drat...the secret is out. The AL is not Meredith, or Karen, or any of those other impostors out there. It's me!

November 6, 2007

3 Beautiful Things: Monterey

Lazy Morning
Originally uploaded by desertlibrarian
(A slightly delayed post...)

1. Watching a little boy and his grandmother dancing to Gemini Soul's music at the arts & crafts festival on Sunday.

2. Spending some time just watching the ocean, listening to the sea lions.

3. Meeting up with new friends and catching up with old ones.

November 5, 2007

LISNews for teh win!

Congratulations to Blake on his successful (still ongoing but lookin' good) migration of LISNews to Drupal! (w00t!)

Aah, fall in the desert... currently 88° and sunny. I hear there was snow in the Northeast.

Slides on SlideShare

So, I created a SlideShare account and uploaded my (admittedly not very descriptive) slides from my Internet Librarian presentation. I was very impressed with how easy it was to use; now if only I could get a microphone so I could turn it into a slidecast and do the descriptive part!

November 2, 2007

A Librarian Without Books

LISA V PosterI'm happy to say that the Astronomical Society of the Pacific Conference Series #377 is now published, aka Library and Information Services in Astronomy V: Common Challenges, Uncommon Solutions. I had the privilege of attending and presenting a poster at this conference in June 2006.

You can see a copy of the poster that was presented, and read the abstract for the summary paper in the proceedings, if you so desire.

IL2007: Content Management Systems

I kicked off this section with a brief overview of our year-long investigation into content management systems (CMSs), then passed it off to Amy Radermacher (Concordia University) and May Chang (University of Maryland) to discuss their own experiences with the CMSs chosen for them by their universities. I have to say I felt pretty lucky after hearing what they've had to go through...

Anyway, I'm going to learn how to use SlideShare and post my slides later today; in the meantime, thanks to ellbeecee for the action photos!

Speaker in Action Thanks for Listening

IL2007: Folksonomies and Tagging

(Catching up on my last few posts!)

Tom Reamy, KAPS Group (Knowledge Architecture Professional Services)

Libraries & the Hive Mind

Essentials of, Improving the quality of, and In libraries

advantages: simple, lower cost of categorization, open ended, higher relevance (to the user), support serendipitous browsing, can tag anything, and it's always better than nothing at all! (what if it's bad or incorrect tags?)

disadvantages: quality. Hard to find with unstructured tags; no structure, no conceptual relationships. Issues of scale, limited applicability. Errors keep cropping up, makes it even less useful.

Dangers of Folksonomies: The Unwisdom of Crowds

Popularity can drown out quality

KAPS did a multi-year study to see if social networking has improved folksonomies; result is, not so far.

faceted navigation: combines strength of having structure with the ability to support personal perspectives - big advantages of a folksonomy

flickr: over 90% of the tags cover 6 basic facets; less than 1% cover subject matter. topics, not facets. findability a big problem here.

improving the quality: cluster tags, add broad general taxonomy (natural categorization), evolve the quality of tags.

librarything: turns out book people aren't any better at tagging! (Ha!)

Doesn't think traditional library strategies are going to work, nor will social networking efforts (good for socializing, not tagging).

What might work: semantic infrastructure and evolution, integrated evolving solution, new relationships

October 31, 2007

IL2007: What's Hot with RSS

Steven Cohen - Always an entertaining speaker!

slides online at

Hot on Google Reader... also Tumblr.

page2rss - very handy tool to create feeds for any web page

ScreenGrab again - must definitely check this tool out -

IL2007: Mashups & Data Visualizations

Darlene Fichter - in costume no less! (As a green M&M.)

The eyes only see what the mind comprehends

Mashups are no longer in the realm of the techno-elite

most mashups are map-related

lots of tools out there now that make visualization of data easy. Web site structures, population densities, etc. Newsmap is pretty cool!

Elastic Lists - demo - kind of nifty!!

In Costume at Internet Librarian

Yep, I'm in costume for the day - along with a few others - and yes, I'll be wearing this to give my presentation this afternoon. (I also have trick-or-treat bags full of candy for the audience!)

October 30, 2007

IL2007: Gadgets, Gadgets, and Gaming

As previously mentioned, I was 30 minutes late to this session so missed out on all the gadget talk, dang it! But - I gotta say - the gaming and future of libraries section by the Delft Public Library guys was awesome. I haven't been so engaged by a presentation in a long time - I stood for the whole thing and didn't notice it at all! They're blogging and posting interviews, etc online at Shanachie Tour - and there's a documentary coming soon, too.

I've seen postings from Jenny at Shifted Librarian and Michael at Tame the Web about these guys before but didn't really have an idea about what they were doing - but dang, it's great! Keep an eye on their tour and documentary - we saw some great things being said and done in libraries today.

Very cool! (Plus, they sounded like home to me...)

IL2007: SLA dinearound

A group of 9 of us collected to check out Cafe Fina and talk story - we ended up scooping up another librarian from another table and sucked her right into our group as well! Unfortunately I forgot to take pictures because there was a sudden eddy in the space-time continuum when it came time to get and pay the bill... plus, be it noted, Cafe Fina charges for the water the waiter offers you at the start of the meal. They didn't tell us that - just asked us as we sat down if we wanted water, and we of course all said yes - it ended up being $5 per person by the end of the evening! We asked for it to be taken off the bill as we were not informed there was a charge for it, but management declined to do so. It was a rather down ending to what had been an enjoyable and lively meal...

And it made us 30 minutes late to the Tuesday night session! Arrgh!

IL2007: Librarians as Knowledge Managers

Susan Braun, The Aerospace Corporation

Review of AeroCorp... turns 47 this year. Concerns about the greying of the staff and loss of historical perspective. They're still working to specs from decades ago, but new hires work in new ways and need new ways to access information.

Corp motto: "From Anywhere to Anywhere"

Comparison of historical role and role today. Now they are key players in document management, LiveLink, communities of practice etc; large part of funding comes from KM office, not library office.

Librarians are integral players in the Communities of Practice - facilitators, organizers, coordinators, etc. Reference staff are embedded into the communities as in-place technical experts.

KM training processes.

IL2007: I'm at Web 2.0, are you?

(Both speakers were very lively and entertaining!)

Sarah Palmer, American Bar Association

Finding that trying to get to 2.0 apps problematic, users still don't see a computer as a multi-tool, but as a typewriter or fax machine. They also think that if it's something their kids use, it can't be a business application.

Another issue is terminology - users think the names are weird - don't understand RSS but do understand newspaper, don't understand wiki but do understand web site. Did many training sessions, including one on just a technology glossary...learned to keep it discrete (don't teach too many topics at once).

Don't forget: it may not be new to you, but it's new to them.

David Alsmeyer, British Telecom

Had no idea BT was so widespread!

What's the best thing you've done to reach your customers? And what have you always wanted to try but been afraid to? (F2F explanation, and letting them take action/responsibility for their own sections of the web site)

Tour of the BT library personalized web options and info spaces - very cool!

Had a hypothesis that academics would be more aware of 2.0 apps than working group; replicated a SPIRE survey at BT and discovered the opposite was true!

October 29, 2007

IL2007: Web Design on a Dime

Sarah Houghton-Jan gave a nicely entertaining talk about different ways to engage your patrons that don't cost a lot. Her slides will be on her web site soon; my computer kept crashing for some odd reason (maybe it doesn't like being under 35% battery power?) during her session so most of my notes are gone (don't laugh; I had a pen but nothing to write on!), but she touched on quite a few tasks that make a lot of sense (talk with your users, not to them; give classes; provide what the users are looking for, where they're looking for it).

Tomorrow, hopefully the computer will behave better; at least today I was able to scout out where some of the power connections are!

LU/NextGen and LSW

LU/NextGen and LSW
Originally uploaded by desertlibrarian
After dinner, we attempted to crash the LSW get-together at the Crown and Anchor pub, but were told by a very cranky server that we couldn't sit in that part of the pub if we weren't going to eat anything! So we moved to a different part of the bar, and some of the LSW crowd came and joined us after they were done eating. A good time was had by all!

LU/NextGen dinner

LU/NextGen dinner
Originally uploaded by desertlibrarian
We had quite a lot of fun at the LU/NextGen dine-around! Thanks to everyone who joined in!


Can someone explain to me why a hotel that's already charging a fair amount for a room, and is charging me extra for net access in my room, does NOT also provide me net access in the lobby? No, if I want net access in the lobby of my hotel, I have to pay an additional fee on top of the one I'm already paying... for net access in my hotel.


IL2007: Cool Tools for Webmasters

Frank Cervone and Darlene Fichter - always a great talk!

Sketchcast - basically whiteboard on the web, with audio - could be a useful way to illustrate a concept, similar to a webconference -

JingProject - instant screen capture tool, can share via IM (good for showing how to change a setting, for example) - can also be used with video and audio - use for the How To pages!!

Piknik - very cool image editor, works within IE and FireFox... hmm... heard good things about this before this session, will have to go check it out. ***Can capture full page with this no matter how many screens it takes!!!

***SlideShare (presentation from this session will be posted there, too) - can also add audio to a slide show!

Other PPT sharing tools: Scribd, SplashCast, ZohoShow, SlideAware

thumbalizr - quick thumbnail of screen or entire page, in a URL grab

DiffDaff - tool to compare files, folders, or web pages (Unix diff command for Windows) - handy to compare, say, the folder on a desktop with a folder on a thumb drive and see differences.

SOAP Sonar - tests and analyzes web services

Evolved - graphic display editor for HTML/scripting (html in blue, context tags in purple, javascripting in green, etc - adapts to whatever language you're using)

For Perl (on windows): check out perl express - same type of syntax highlighting

Photo Slideshow - Create a photo slideshow Flash animation out of static pictures on your machine. Similarly, Flashgallery Generator, which is XML.

Google Sitemap Builder

Google Coop CSE (can now integrate into site much more cleanly)

Flog Blog - Facebook app - also BlogFriends

KeePass - store all pwds in one database, locked with a master key - w00t!

Check out Undelete, Unstoppable Copier, Simple File Shredder as well - small but useful utilities, can carry around on a thumb drive

IL2007: New Rules for Web Design

Jeff Wisniewski, U Pittsburgh

- Use the several decades worth of research into usability and design to shortcut current design discussions as much as possible

- can narrow down to 'what is best practice"?

Simplicity rules... but... many library sites are multi-function ones with many different types of information, so finding a balance between too little and too much is important

"the time of simplicity, if it ever existed, is over"

design matters A LOT: first impressions, etc! Design for what your users are doing (this is important!).

Rule of 7 (not so much a rule as a guideline)
- well organized
- well labeled

3-click rule... is DEAD. users will click as long as they feel they're getting where they need to be.

Design for multi-platforms and don't design for a restricted 800x600 screen - be more fluid and use flexible design (CSS media types)

RIP web-safe colors? "most computers today have the ability to display millions of different colors"

For redesign of your site, look at other libraries BUT ALSO look outside library land! see what other sites are providing.

How often to redesign? Constantly - iterative, evolutionary change is good. Revolutionary change is hard on the users (and boy, haven't we all seen that!)

A/B testing (post one design for a little while, then a slightly different design, and compare user inputs)

Follow your own naming conventions! (Whatever makes most sense to your users)

...But - follow established standards and conventions.

Don't assume all users have speedy connections, and watch download/display times.

Must support all browsers for basic content! Accessibility GOOD. (Watch the added content.)

"graded browser support" - can tweak CSS to display different levels of content based on browser in use -

The time has truly come to ditch table-based layout!

Popups still bad - blocked by default by most browsers today.

Mouseover menus... raise many usability considerations. Not scannable so could impact that first impression.

Is scrolling still bad? Users scroll if there's a clue that there's something "below the fold" - not as much as an issue these days.

Identified pictures of people increase trust and credibility

RIA - Rich Internet Application

IL2007: DIY Intranet

Eleni Gogas and Donna Feddern, Escondido Public Library

Part I: how to set up an intranet using a wiki

previously used a shared network drive

Why a wiki instead of a 1.0 website?
- really want staff to participate
- informal
- easier to use and find info

- Picking a wiki: what did they need?
- wysiwyg
- easy to set up, easy to learn, easy to teach

they went with Jotspot but there are issues since its acquisition by Google

wiki farm options

Wiki Setup
- screenshots of different pages
- implementors needed to really slow down to teach the novice users

Training now in process
- Showing off wiki to all staff, give tours
- Train supervisors
- Overcome technophobia in staff
- Let them play!

Future phase: implementation
- Define go-to folks
- Guidelines
- Keep reminding and training staff
- Ongoing process

Issues & Troubleshooting
- Bugs in free wiki software
- Backups
- Fear of change
- Staff interest

Cool tools to try
- Spice up the wiki a bit - widgets, slideshows, etc

Part II: Examples of how they're using it and the impacts of implementing a site-wide intranet

IL2007: Super Searcher Tips

Mary Ellen Bates - always an entertaining speaker, lively presentations, some good things to check out!

goofresh - G-searches for new content within a specified time range

check out ResearchBuzz newsletter - compares Google and yahoo results, choose a preference of results

yahoo's mindset feature - are you researching or shopping?

MSN's synonym suggestion tool - will also show common misspellings

MSN's misspelling correction engine's "prefer" option's academic search

don't forget: there is life after the first 10 search results!

Ask's map features - driving *and* walking directions, takes local topography into account

exalead - check it out, there are so many cool features (it's MEBates' fave engine) - try the "near" operator and their wild-card truncation

Try the quick-answer features sometime - most SE's have them now - Ask's is most featured

Gigablast - limit to multiple sites; has powerful query syntax options

SnapSearch - can interact with a retrieved site before visiting it

PageBull - entirely visual, good for right-brained searchers

Squidoo - hybrid site; possible way to share with colleagues?

factbites - quick, small factual bits of information - will give sentences instead of words for search results - BUT max 30 results

TextRunner - looks for assertions - experimental site

NationMaster - source for national stats in graphical format

TouchGraph - visual clustering engine, IE only

OneLook - a reverse dictionary! like data=mining a dictionary

Kosmix - nice clustering search engine - lets you filter by criteria

IL2007: Opening Keynote

(Opening statements were quite enjoyable! Contest for retronym for "non-Internet Librarian" - on conference survey forms. Must come up with something!)

Lee Rainie from Pew - slides will be online, find and link

bit of blogger ego-boost :-) quite amusing; he began using blogger and IRC feedback to justify internet research to the higher management

8 hallmarks of new digital eco-system

1) media gadgets a part of daily life now
2) internet is at the center of the revolution (73% penetration into american adult section; 93% teenagers)
3) new gadgets allow communication everywhere (mobile wireless use is rising dramatically) college students living in the future now
4) ordinary citizens can be content creators; blogs, facebook, etc - but it's all so integrated now it's hard to tell how many kids are "blogging" when they think of it as just posting to their facebook site (for example)
5) all those content creators have an audience
6) many are sharing to build conversations and communities... share what they know, what they feel, etc - info evaluation, tagging, comments on posts, etc.
7) we're customizing our online experience with 2.0 tools
8) different people use tech in different ways

last major interview set "what kind of internet user are you":
9 major tech user groups (and 1 non-user group) - this is the survey from a few months ago (I'm a connector)

50% of the population falls into the low-tech crowd
only 8% are omnivores

what does this connectivity do for us? changes our relatioships - to information, and to each other

Action item: Think of yourself as an information conduit!

October 26, 2007

The Virtual Librarian

A new novel by Theodore Rockwell, "The Virtual Librarian: A Tale of Alternative Realities", will be having a book-promotional party in Second Life! That's kinda nifty - a book about a virtual librarian, in a virtual space. Read the press release about it, or an earlier one about the book itself. (I'm going to have to keep an eye open for this one!)

More on 'The Librarians' TV series

forwarded to me from some friends in the Pacific...thanks, Kris and Liz!

The Librarians, a dark new comedy on Australian TV that delves behind the hard cover of a suburban library, debuts October 31. The Australian Library and Information Association has launched a blog to serve as a professional forum about the show. Check out the trailer and interview. The shows will be downloadable from ABC Television after they are broadcast. [Good news for those of us outside Australia who'd like to see them!]

October 24, 2007

Children's Books to Check Out

With thanks to Kris (long-overdue!) and Matthew for information and summaries -
  • "The Flower", by John Light. A young boy works in a library in a black and white world. One day he finds a color picture of a flower in the forbidden books. He's so intrigued he starts looking for another such picture. When he finds one he starts something that may change his world...
  • "The Boy Who Was Raised by Librarians", by Carla Morris. This is the story of a young boy who realizes all the answers are at the library, and his growing up. Kris says, "I loved the three librarians: one would answer every question with a reference book, one would answer with tons of books that could be borrowed, and the third would find lots of answers online."
  • "Carlo and the Really Nice Librarian", by Jessica Spanyol. Carlo the giraffe is making his first visit to the new library, but he's a little afraid of the librarian, Mrs. Chinca, with her sharp teeth and claws, until he learns how much she loves books.
  • "Alcatraz versus the Evil Librarians", by Brandon Sanderson. "A hero with an incredible talent…for breaking things. A life-or-death mission…to rescue a bag of sand. A fearsome threat from a powerful secret network…the evil Librarians." (from the Scholastic blurb.)
I'm off to my local library catalog to put these on reserve!

T-7 Days and Counting

So, just about exactly one week from now, I'll be giving my talk on our voyage of discovery to web content management systems. Try as I might I haven't been able to figure out how to not use PowerPoint *sigh*; because the site is still locked down and private to my staff I can't show live examples, and all the "discovery" parts aren't on the site anyway. At least I'm not going to be reading my slides - I hate it when people do that - so hopefully I can keep the audience's attention for my whole 15 minutes!

Windy and a somewhat toasty 88°. We keep thinking fall has arrived, and then summer goes "Ha! Not yet!" ...

October 23, 2007

"The Librarians" finally broadcasts

The Australian TV series "The Librarians" (mentioned here a couple of times before) has finally gone to broadcast, and the first reviews are rolling in. (Re-summary, since I can't find my own posting: "The six-part series centers on the trials and tribulations of Frances O'Brien, a devout Catholic and head librarian. Her life unravels when she is forced to employ her ex-best friend, Christine Grimwood - now a drug dealer - as the children's librarian. Frances must do all she can to contain her menacing past and concentrate on the biggest event of the library calendar - Book Week.")Given these initial reactions, I really wish I could see the series, but I'll have to rely on the reviews and comments of others about it. Wonder if the next episodes will generate similar reactions?

Currently a lovely, sunny 82°.

Internet Librarian Schedule

I've just created and posted my IL schedule over on the conference wiki. Please note I'm hosting two dine-arounds: one Monday night for LU/NextGen folks, and one Tuesday night for SLA folks. Please consider joining us!

Above all, of course, please consider attending session B304, Wednesday afternoon starting at 2:45pm, to hear myself, May Chang and Amy Radermacher talk about content management systems!

October 19, 2007


I must admit, I want the "November was a good month" shirt (if only it came in another color, sigh) and the glasses on the female model. Bummer about the tape on the male model's glasses, though - they appear to have crossed "librarian" with "geek" for this one. (As a geeky librarian, I would like to state for the record: No tape on my glasses.)

Found via Folderol

The Joys of Telecommuting

So, we've had a rather pernicious, nasty and lasting bug rampaging through our household for the last week and a half. I thought I'd managed to avoid it, despite having to split work days with my hubby to stay home with him for three days (plus a weekend of house confinement) - but Wednesday I woke up with a fever and a head full of sneeze. And thus it continued...

Thankfully with Mr. Man back in school, I've actually been able to work from home (not possible with a child addicted to keyboards. Trust me.) and want to take a moment to say: Yay for VNC. With one little VPN connection into my workplace, I've been able to have multiple windows open on my WinXP desktop, the Windows server, and two different *nix machines.

Sadly, I had to go through three different VNC clients before finding one that worked. My usual VNC workhorse abruptly stopped working Wednesday late morning and afterwards just refused my connection. Chicken of the VNC (and let me just say: I love that name) would open a window for me, but wasn't accepting any cursor input - as in, I could look at it, but I couldn't do anything. It wasn't until a friend sent me RealVNC that I was actually able to work - and it's been solid for me since Wednesday afternoon.

Between VNC, Adium, and my trusty email, it's just like being there. Except for the jammies and louder music, that is...

90° and quite sunny. Welcome to fall in the desert!

October 16, 2007

Thanks On High

Warning: No library-related information is contained in the following post...

Being a military brat, having gone to a DoDDs high school and on to college on an AFROTC gig, I know a lot of folks in the military. Most of them have been involved in Iraq and/or Afghanistan. I recently received a wonderful email from my old friend James (he and I went to the Senior Prom together lo, so many years ago) - after 10,000 combat hours (with no casualties!), he, his Chinook helicopter and his unit left Iraq last week. James will be joining his family back home in Hawaii, and hopefully he can stay there for a while.

Welcome home, James, and bless you.

October 10, 2007

Mirror, Mirror

A law librarian friend of mine (hi, Amy!) sent me an October 2007 LexisNexis InfoPro column by Rhonda Keaton titled "Mirror, Mirror: Reflections on the Image of Librarians", where she mentions my "You don't look like a librarian!" site. I just wanted to say thanks, Rhonda! (Her column is available now and I'm assuming through this month; check the archives if you miss it.)

I heartily agree with one of her opening remarks, and it's why I keep these sites going:
"As I explain what I am doing now, without fail they take a breath, take a really hard look at me and exclaim, 'Wow. You don’t look like a librarian!'

It happened again just the other day. And it keeps happening whether I am meeting old friends or new acquaintances. This negative perception of librarians has a solid toehold in the rock cliff of public attitude and frankly, it’s starting to bug me."
Me too, Rhonda, me too.

October 9, 2007

Digging Out

Hello, sports fans... no, wait...

So I've been buried in engineering documentation manuals and standards (hello, ANSI/ASME Y14.35M!) for the past week or so. Interesting stuff (well, I think so, at least!) - it's good to know that what I've set up for us so far is pretty much within existing standards, although I have a lot of definitions to add to my existing specification document. (I'm learning that whenever possible, include a definition of your "thing" in your specification so that there are fewer questions about what you mean. Doesn't mean there won't be questions, there'll just be fewer of them.) Now that I've been through most of them (although I still have "Engineering Documentation Control Practices and Procedures" to work through) it's time to digest... and come up for air!

I was able to get back on the Drupal work today - spent all afternoon on it - and I feel quite satisfied with the way it's coming together. Yay! (My wrists wish there was a way to autoingest content, but alas, there is not...)

Tomorrow: Configuration Management Joy. Four change requests were finally approved at a meeting today (one of them has taken over a year to work through the process) and now I have to implement the changes across our documentation control processes. Wheee.....

It's 94° and the sun is headed for the horizon... aah, Fall.

October 4, 2007

Three Beautiful Things

Hat tip to the 3BT blog...

1) Having a pain-free morning. (They're rare.)
2) My husband telling me how much he loves his job.
3) A tech support call that actually solves the problem.

And my fourth beautiful thing today: I finally get to order my new web server (we'll be going the Linux route), along with a new computer cabinet for the other servers (which have to move) and a UPS to charge 'em all... yay for hardware!

It's a lovely 86° with rain in the forecast... fingers crossed!

September 25, 2007

Snarl, Growl, Thrash About

Today is, apparently, "Wrestle with Every Major Software Package You Administer" Day. Only no one told me about it. What a rude surprise!

* I've spent most of the day evaluating various file management tools for Drupal and still haven't found one I like. Sigh. And until I figure out a figure caption solution, my users won't create or manage content - it has become the bottleneck issue for the new web site (for some obscure reason that noone can explain to me). Double sigh.

* I've just discovered the largest issue we've been wrestling with for our EDMS is a known bug and has been for over a year... yet my vendor technical support people haven't mentioned it to me at all, either the situation or the workaround; I found out from another user. On the one hand it's good to know it wasn't just us, that others have run into the same problem; on the other hand it would have been nice to know there was a workaround in place a year ago - it would have seriously helped head off the ugly situation I'm in now. Arrgh.

It's a blissful, sunny 90° right now; at least one thing's been nice today. And I had good coffee this morning...

September 24, 2007

Monday's Random Musings

Summer is definitely over now - welcome, Fall! (Here's to the start of the best part of the year; the eight months that make summer totally worth it!)

* I'm not sure how I feel about Askville. I loves me some Amazon, but wonder why they felt they had to get into the answer market...

* More on The Hollywood Librarian: as we approach the national release of the movie (next week during Banned Books Week), pre-reviews and interviews are starting to pop up again. Yesterday, Frank Gray wrote "Film slams book on silly librarian stereotypes" for the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette. I'm sure more will come. No word yet as to whether my local library system will be showing the film, but I'm keeping my eyes open! via LISNews

* I'm taking a break from my electronic document management system wrestling and getting back to Drupal this week - whee!

Currently a beeee-yeautiful 79° and sunny.

September 21, 2007

A Couple of Things

What a week... Here's a couple of things that caught my eye recently:

* Yes, there's another Mummy movie in the works, with a new actress playing Evelyn Carnahan: "Maria Bello, from book club to badass librarian". Look for The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor next summer!

* Check out the Wyoming Libraries Campaign. I think it's brilliant, myself - get 'em where they're looking, so to speak - but the mudflap bumper sticker is causing a lot of chat on the listservs! (I particularly like the billboard ads myself!)

* Can you escape the library? (I, rather pathetically, got stuck in a cardboard box the first time through, then in the basement. Sigh.) Found via Folderol

Have a good weekend, everyone!

September 18, 2007

Three Beautiful Things

Inspired by the 3BT blog...
  1. The first night sleeping without AC, all the windows thrown open.
  2. The first sip of a good cup of hot coffee.
  3. The unusual quiet of the hallways at work today.
Forecast this week? All 90° or lower for the highs, and into the 60s at night. Thus begins the most perfect part of the year!

September 13, 2007

Bad Sony, no cookie

So, apparently Sony thinks its new Reader is "sexier than a librarian". Hmm... nope, I don't think so.

Here, There and Everywhere

Thanks, Carolyn!

So, while archiving old files off to DVD I was reading some of the pile of back issues of library periodicals, and one of the ones I got to was the August Information Outlook. Carolyn Sosnowski mentions "You don't look like a librarian!" in her Info Sites column - thanks very much, Carolyn!

Hot 'n sunny today.

September 11, 2007

One step forward, two steps back

It's like dancing, but not nearly as much fun...

I've been able to spend just about all my time for the last couple of days working on my Drupal installation. Each time I think I've found something to solve one of my outstanding issues, I then discover that it doesn't quite do what I had in mind. Some of the modules - like Image - make me quite happy; while there are still some bugs to sort out, and it would be nice to get an error message when it doesn't like the file size instead of just a blank page, I think it's gonna be good. I was disappointed in WebFM, though - was all excited, set it up, imported all our PDF documents... and then discovered that it does not actually provide you with a way to link to the document from the document title, instead it provides a subsection on the page called "Attachments" and then lists the files you've selected. Ain't what I had in mind, at all... So I've kludged something that works for now while I keep looking. It kind of defeats the purpose of a web CMS, but I gotta have some way to link to the docs. Maybe I just read the WebFM instructions wrong, because it really reads like the perfect solution...

I still don't know how to set up figure captions to stay attached to a figure and have text flow around it. I know I can tweak the CSS to define a div to do that, but how do I then get the node editing pages to see that? So much still to do.... so much to learn. At least I'm enjoying it! (So far, at least.)

Think the monsoon's coming to an end... back to sunny and warm for the daily forecast. Ah well, we had some good storms this summer!

September 7, 2007

"Read or Die" in PvP

If you've been here for a while, or heard/read one of my talks, you've probably heard me mention "Read or Die", the anime adventures of Yomiko Readman (aka The Paper, a special operative for The British Library). Well, RoD has made an appearance in the online comic PvP - made me laugh! Thanks to Laurel for the heads-up!

It's cool for us - we haven't cleared 90° - and overcast. No rain, though.

September 6, 2007

Hello, PAM Board

Well, the election results for they Physics-Astronomy-Math division are out, and I'd like to say hearty congrats to Zari Kamarei, who will be our Chair-Elect starting in January. I'd also like to say woo-hoo, I'm now Treasurer-Elect (thanks, everyone!), and will take over from the illustrious Bob Noel come January. I'm looking forward to working with Joe, Parker, Zari and Sally in 2008!

It's only 73°, and raining :-)

September 5, 2007

Pondering Themes

So, the work continues on my Drupal installation... right now I'm fiddling with the display issues and (of course, since I got my subtheme all set up the way I like it) looking for a possible new theme. Seems the staff are used to seeing the page title up in the header area and want it to look like that now, too. (I would kinda like that, too - there's a lot of unused real estate up there.) I suspect that a simple tweak of the PHP template file would do it, but I dunno PHP and haven't a clue where to start... so let the search engines rip! If I can find a theme that already does it, at least I've got my subtheme information handy and can probably change it in much less time than it took me last time. One of the advantages of having already done it once, I suppose.

(Updated at 4pm, same day: I figured it out! Next time I'm wrestling with something, I'll blog about it... seems whenever I blog a problem, shortly after I hit "publish post" I figure it out! Sheesh.)

Data ingestion is slow but going, and I'm pleased with that, and most of my staff has at least logged in and played around with creating pages, so that's going well. At least I'm getting input!

96° and the radar shows storms to the south, moving this way - Henrietta's beating on Sonora right now (hopefully somewhat lightly as she loses steam) and is headed our way. Wheee...

Smock It, Baby

The uproar in New Zealand over the style queen offering tips at the national library conference gets louder! "Librarians Smock It to Fashion Designer" is the first step, and apparently librarians at the National Library of New Zealand in Wellington joined in with a modern fashion shoot (I can't find the pics but would love to!) as well. To quote Ms. Ryan, the aforementioned style maven: "There is obviously some sensitivity in the profession about stereotypes." Here's your cluebrick, Paula...

Updated Thursday: See the comments for links to the NZLIB pictures!

September 4, 2007

Pompous Twaddle

So, according to the New Zealand Sunday Star Times, librarians need a makeover and they're unhappy about it! "Bookworms' backs up" says that a "style queen" will be at the LIANZA national library conference to offer attendees tips on how to change their "conservative and dated image". Uproar, as you may guess, has ensued. I'll be interested to read any conference blog entries about this session, if anyone attends, and how it goes... will attendees welcome the style maven with open arms, rotten tomatoes, or something in between?

92° and 23%Rh. Henrietta is headed our way (kinda) - no rain today but rain tomorrow, I'm sure!

Prim and Proper

Over on the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Regis Behe writes about a batch of librarians who are not so prim and proper. It's another in an increasing series of "Look! This librarian also does X! Isn't that cool!" articles, and I find myself starting to be a tad bit annoyed by it all. Where are the articles about, say, nurses who also rollerskate, or attorneys who ride motorcycles, or the astronomer who plays saxophone in a jazz band? Why is it so noteworthy that librarians *gasp* have lives outside our jobs? Sheesh. (Seems Stephen Cohen over at Library Stuff, and his commentors, agree as well.)

The Librarian as “Professional”?

Found via the ever-reliable LISNews, this article over on Mere Comments (a blog for Touchstone magazine) titled "The Librarian as 'Professional' " had me alternating between annoyance and agreement. Reading the opening paragraph where the author, one S. M. Hutchens, asserts that the answer to the question "Is a librarian a professional?" is "...librarians like to think of themselves that way" without coffee was not the best way to start my day, but Hutchens then goes on to attack the "roaming librarian" concept and poor upper-management skills in a way that had me nodding my head in agreement. (Caveat: if you read this blog at all, you know I don't have a dog in that fight...just opinions!)

Read the whole thing - and be sure to read through the comments, as well, where the discussion continues. I'm still alternating between annoyance and agreement. It's an odd place to be.

August 31, 2007

It's Blog Day 2007!

Blog Day 2007"Blog Day was created with the belief that bloggers should have one day dedicated to getting to know other bloggers from other countries and areas of interest. On that day Bloggers will recommend other blogs to their blog visitors."

Here's my five (not necessarily library-related) blog recommendations; I'm violating some of the rules of BlogDay by not notifying the bloggers, but I suspect they'll live; also, these are not new, because the few new blogs I'm following are all humor-related (and not necessarily safe for work!).
  • Lifehacker. Geek to live, baby - and get it done!
  • Whatever. John Scalzi is awesome.
  • A List Apart. A great resource on the neverending CSS hamsterwheel of learning.
  • Stephen's Lighthouse. Always interesting insights on libraries, technology, and neverending worldwide travel.
  • Because I Said So. Often-hilarious commentary from a mom of six. Not for the faint of heart.
Now, to read what some other BlogDay recommendations are!

"Librarian Hotties" Calendar Planned for 2008

Tip o' the calendar sheet to Virginia for this tip! Try as I might, I can't come up with anything pointed or witty to say about it... the fact that it's satire (don't miss that part, folks, it could be important) kind of wraps it all up for me.

(99° and no rain. Sigh.)

August 24, 2007

The End of an Era

Yesterday was my mother's last day of work in a library; today, she begins her well-earned retirement. After, um, forty-two years? Forty-three? More? Some amazing amount of time 'round about there - she was working in a library when she and my dad met, and next year is their fortieth anniversary. Over the years, she's done it all - cataloging, reference, technical services, serials management, research support, solo, team-based - and in every kind of library, too - university, elementary school, military base, public, community college. She spent her last several years being the Voyager systems administrator for her college, which took her in even more new directions.

I remember helping my mom alphabetize cards for the card catalog at the base library at Incirlik (I was 6 or 7) using one of those long flippy metal and plastic alphabetizing doohickeys - you know, the ones that were really long and narrow, with the letters of the alphabet on each of the pieces of plastic, and you could slide the cards behind the right letter and sort 'em all out? Those were brilliant. When I was in high school, my mom was the librarian for the base's elementary school, and the library was the only classroom with a computer; I will never forget the horrible voice of the spelling game program that the kids always wanted to play with! And she would always bring home new books to read to us over dinner. (Bear in mind this was to a family of two adults and two teenagers - didn't matter, we had children's books read to us at dinnertime!)

My mother has forgotten more about librarianship than I will ever know. Growing up, I'd always assumed I'd follow in my father's footsteps, but when that path was closed to me, discovering that my mother's was open was serendipitous. She was a great help to me in grad school, a soothing balm through some of the rougher patches of my professional life, and a cheerleader through it all.

Thanks, Mama, and happy retirement... Now the fun can begin!

It's Friday so it must be blog-reading day, right?

Well, no, not today. Dang it. Well, maybe this afternoon...

First (well, second, after the coffee brews) I have to rename a SQL database, which turns out to be nontrivial. And this is in SQL Server 2005, which I have just about 0.0001% experience in, so I'm just a tad nervous about it all. At least at this point if I screw it up it'll only take two or three hours to rebuild it and some shrugs from the few test users, instead of being faced with a lynch mob (as in, better now than later). Yes, this is related to the EDMS from Hell, although in all fairness this is because of my own mistake in not thinking a naming convention through. So, my mistake, my pain in fixing it.

Then I have a major software upgrade (on a package I don't actually use, I just provide admin support) to perform. The thing about this one is, since we installed this package over a year ago it's worked beautifully and has required no support. Which means I have zero familiarity with it. Hopefully, the upgrade will work as beautifully as the product has so far... fingers crossed.

Ah, the coffee's done. Now I can face SQL with caffeine-induced courage. Plus, I have a bonus donut... that always helps.

Chance of rain today! Yay!

August 23, 2007

A Return to Tradition

I have decided that I've had it with these dratted newfangled electronic document management systems and I want to go back to a 3-ring binder with green grid paper and a PENCIL! Arrgh! I don't care if it means more work for me to keep track of what state each document is in, it can't be as much work as this fardling program is right now. If I could get a good grip on my hair, I'd be tearing it out right now.

I've sent my formal help request to the support line, and I'm going to go play with Drupal for a while. At least there I'm making progress and having some fun, dang it!

99°, 28%Rh, lovely clouds over the mountains, but I dunno about rain today...

August 22, 2007

Embarrassment and Wonder

Looking at my ClustrMap, I see I have visitors from countries I can't identify. As someone who identifies themselves as globally aware, this is mortifying to me. (I'm off to get me some map learnin'!) I am also completely and totally astonished every time I look at it to see how international the visitors to this blog are. Hi, aloha, dag, hola, bonjour, hej, merhaba, and g'day to you all, and I'd love to learn how to say hello in anyone else's language if you'll leave me an instructional comment!

92° and time for bed.

August 21, 2007


Just a fleeting post today...

* Still having fun with Drupal. The joys of the last couple of days: URL aliasing, the glossary and swfupload modules, and figure captions. (OK, that last one isn't quite so joyful, but it will be soon.)

* I recently subscribed to the Journal of Web Librarianship (starting with Volume 1, Number 1, which I just finished reading today, just in time for Number 2 to arrive) and I luuuuurve it. I now aspire to publish in it someday.

* Also recently subscribed to, but I'm two issues behind on reading: Library Hi Tech. I fell in love with it just for their recent issue on content management systems.

* I've only just this instant realized I missed the deadline (it was Monday) for getting my slides in for the proceedings for Internet Librarian! AAUGH! Drat, drat, drat... AND I forgot to vote in the rain game today!

It's an even 100° and I'm going home now, dang it.

August 16, 2007

A short but very deeply felt rant

I really, truly loathe web registration forms that will not work in any browser except IE... and said loathing only deepens when there is no notification of such anywhere on the page, and you don't find out until after you've filled out the bazillion form fields and tried to submit it.

If I didn't have to use this particular company's site to request an upgrade for their product for work purposes (no, you can't do it via email, nor via the program itself), I'd refuse to, and send a nasty email to the company. Arrgh.

August 14, 2007

Zoomin' with Drupal

So... it's been a hectic week with a lot going on. But I'm not going to tell you about all that - I'm going to tell you about some of the things I've discovered about Drupal lately instead! I had some real breakthroughs last week that enabled me to really get cranking, and yesterday I opened up my dev site to my engineers for input and comments. (Let the flames begin!)

I wanted to share some of the things I've learned, though, because they weren't very intuitive (at least, not to me!), the help files were not always that helpful, and why not do what I can to keep other folks from beating their heads against the wall, too? This all applies to the NoProb theme (and my subtheme off of it).

YMMV with all this, of course -

* If you're using the TinyMCE editor and the IMCE image tool, you have to either globally set, or allow your users to set, their input format to full HTML. Filtered HTML won't cut it. I was going nuts trying to figure out why just a simple hard return wasn't giving me a visible paragraph break on a piece of text - it was marked as filtered HTML. Changed it to full, and poof, there was my paragraph break. Images were also displaying in the editing blocks, but not in the preview panels, for the same reason.

* Breadcrumbing locations are not controlled from the administrative settings, nor from the style sheet definitions; you have to tweak the template's php page for that. (Thanks to Cary for the info on the right way to tweak it!)

* To allow users to change the weighting of their book pages (as in, the order in which the book pages appear in the book) you have to grant permissions to administer nodes to the appropriate user role. <rant>On a related note: So far the only thing I've found that I really dislike about Drupal is the whole weighting thing. Don't get me wrong - I love the book content type and we're going to be using it quite heavily - but I quite snarl at the weighting process. If'n you don't use it, you end up with your book pages in alphabetical order, which is not what is always wanted. It's very nonintuitive - I thought it was just me but so far every one of my users who's signed up for an account has gone "Uh, what the heck is this?", and there seem to be a hefty number of postings about it on the forums as well. And where did a weighting of -15 to 5 come from? Can't we just go, say, 0 to 20 or something? Or even more - I can very easily see where there might be more than 20 "chunks" in a set. Sheesh!</rant>

* When creating profile pages (which we will be using for staff contact pages), if you choose to use a freeform list as one of your fields, you cannot use HTML (therefore you can't, say, link to a given talk or published paper). Go with the multi-line textfield. While you're at it, if you want a picture to be added to the profile page (but nowhere else), you have to enable picture support in the user settings, but do not toggle the user picture display in the theme controls. (I thought you needed both and ended up with photos all over the site!)

Still to come (amongst much more, I'm sure): Figuring out how to limit the content list shown to the logged-in user to their own content (as in, don't show my content to Bob, or Bob's content to Sam), and trying to get figure captions to appear under the figure on the web page instead of just as a floating title (which doesn't work on all browsers, it seems).

No rain. Just heat.

August 9, 2007

So, um, er...?

Interesting link from LLotD - almost passed it over until I heard from a friend that I really should check it out (thanks, Kathy!) - Christopher Brosius Limited's perfume scent "In the Library". I'm quite tempted to buy the little bottle just to see what it really smells like!

When will scents come to the Internet? (I'm suddenly having a flashback to Bloom County's Scratch-n-Sniff Bill... aack!) Then again, maybe I don't want random smells wafting out of tiny scent generators whenever I visit a web site... *shudder*

Sunny and 87°. Aaahhhh.

August 8, 2007

Sys Grunt

A day in the life of a systems librarian... with a tip o' the hat to Ref Grunt.

Make coffee.
Read and answer email.
Check status of user with new swap space definition (so far, so good).
Send copyright question for posting old hardware manuals to listservs.
Discuss problematic webcam with IT.
Send SLA meetup info to chapter webmaster.
Read and answer email.
Research some of the listserv suggestions on copyright issues.
Troubleshoot CAD crash issue with user.
Browser/mailer crash. Sigh..
More coffee, read Monday's and Tuesday's LISNews.
Tweak data archive request form.
Procure chocolate for IT guy who fixed webcam.
Blog posting: PCA Call for Papers.
Summarize copyright findings on blog, send to listservs with thanks.
Update billing info for Experts Exchange; renew membership.
Read and answer email.
Answer reference question about the "Eye of God" nebula, aka the Helix Nebula.
Rummage around for lunch.
Adjust settings for directory monitoring program on server after forcing an end-process to kill stuttering notifications.
Post report into archives, database, and web site.
Post new instrument information to web site.
Discuss future (if any) of long-ignored indexing project.
Burn archive DVD of document set.
Return indexed papers to originating scientist; vow to finish unindexed stack sometime this year.
Listen to user complain (at length) about application.
Start work on unindexed papers. Index, index, index.
Read and answer email.
Go home.

96° and 27%Rh. No rain today.

My Foray into Copyright

This morning's adventure is into the realm of copyright and operations manuals. We have a bunch of operations manuals from the 60s and 70s that are still in regular use at the telescopes; they're physically falling apart, so have been digitized for our use, but they're also used by observers to the telescopes. The companies that provided these manuals back in the day have since vanished. Could we, legally, post the PDFs of these manuals in our new online observer's manual? I had no idea - copyright is not my area of expertise by a long shot. (I know the basics, at least!)

So, I turned to my colleagues and posted an inquiry to some division listservs. Here's a summary of my responses:

* Information Outlook has a regular column on copyright, "Info Rights", by Lesley Ellen Harris - they aren't available online right now but had a lot of good suggestions and resources for frequent copyright questions and uses. (I'll be sure not to skip over that section anymore, that's for sure!)

* (Amended to include this item) CFHT's Liz Bryson maintains a rather complete list of copyright resources that's got a lot of good information.

* If you're affiliated with a university or college, chances are very high that they subscribe to a copyright clearinghouse like the Copyright Clearance Center - check with them, they might have the answer. Or, if you have a legal department, ask them. (Lots of folks suggested these.)

* Also, be sure to check the CCC and LOC copyright sites directly. I actually found the answer I was looking for on the CCC web site; according to the "What is Copyright" page, in the "Public Domain" section:

Public domain materials generally fall into one of four categories:

  1. Generic information, such as facts, numbers and ideas.
  2. Works whose copyrights have lapsed due to the passage of time or the failure of the copyright holder to renew a registration (a requirement that applies to works created before 1978).
  3. Works created prior to March 1989 that failed to include a proper notice of copyright.
  4. Works created by the U.S. federal government.
I called CCC directly, briefly explained my situation, and asked for confirmation that they would, in fact, fall under #3 above. (In this arena, I don't trust my own first interpretation.) The very kind rep verified that yes indeedy, they would, and that it would not be a copyright violation to link a PDF of the manual (in its entirety, including the cover page) to our online observer's manual.

So. This has been a good lesson for me on copyright resources and information - thanks so much to everyone who replied to me with suggestions! dPAM and dSOLO rock :-)

Call for Papers: PCA Libraries, Archives, and Museums Area

Call for Papers: Popular Culture Association 2008

Libraries, Archives and Museums Area

The Popular Culture Association will be holding its annual joint meeting with the American Culture Association March 19 – 22, 2008, at the San Francisco Marriott in San Francisco, California. Scholars from numerous disciplines will meet to share their Popular Culture research and interests.

The Libraries, Archives, and Museums Area is soliciting papers dealing with any aspect of Popular Culture as it pertains to libraries, archives, museums, or research. In the past this has included descriptions of research collections, studies of popular images of libraries or librarians, analyses of web resources such as Wikipedia and YouTube, and reports on developments in technical services for collecting popular culture materials. Papers from graduate students are welcome.

Prospective presenters should send a one-page abstract (with full contact information) by November 1 2007, to Allen Ellis, Professor of Library Services, W. Frank Steely Library, Northern Kentucky University (

August 7, 2007

Drupal Subtheme Joy

Well, I did it! I successfully created a subtheme for Drupal, and it showed up in the administrative manager and everything! I haven't tweaked it yet - only on paper so far (I'm marking up the main theme's CSS with notes and stuff - I can't help it, sometimes I need paper and pencil), but I'll be trying that first thing tomorrow (after brewing some coffee, that is).

My plan for the coming weeks is to spend half the day on the EDMS (today I managed to create a batch file that actually works [after a couple of tries; gotta have those quotes in the right place!] to do all the "mkdir" commands to recreate the new, collapsed structure) and half on Drupal (see above). So far so good! Well, except for yesterday - my plan to work on Drupal in the afternoon was sidelined by a not-very-enjoyable vasovagal reaction to the hyalgen injections. (Yes, I passed out. A short-lived but exciting time was had by my husband and the orthopedist.) If it weren't for the fact that the last round worked so well for me... dang it. Ah well; it's the price you pay for having knees forty years older than you are.

Currently 92° and cloudy; it feels cooler than that, but the mugginess is not pleasant. How do folks on the East Coast live with this year-round?

August 6, 2007

Cranky Old Knees

So, we continue to have Fun with Monsoon Storms here in (usually sunny) Tucson - and my knees are telling me all about it. Today I have the first injection of the second round of hyalgen viscosupplementation - at least I know what to expect during the shots and what the aftereffects will be, and last round gave me 15 months of relief (which is a nice long time for this stuff, believe me!) - I hope for the same this time around. Whee...

In other news, we'll be testing a proposed SolidWorks assembly transfer process this week (if you rename a path in the filename of a SW assembly, it breaks the references and, thus, breaks your model - makes it very hard to transfer assemblies into a new directory structure). Keep your fingers crossed. And while that is going on, I plan to continue my assault on Drupal themes and modules - maybe I'll actually get somewhere this week (which would be nice). These two tasks will be my main focus for the month of August - we lose the test server on 1 September, and that's also my deadline for having a working web-CMS to present to the staff. More whee...

Time to jet to the orthopedists' office. It's still lightly sprinkling and a lovely, cool 74°.

August 3, 2007

Classic stereotypes? Nope!

Carol Petrowski shares some thoughts on the profession in her autobiographical article "Librarians don’t fit classic stereotypes" over at the Holmen Courier (Wisconsin). I like the opener:
"I was wearing my favorite T-shirt, the one that said 'U*N*A*B*A*S*H*E*D* LIBRARIAN' on it, when I had the hang gliding accident that smashed my wrist. (Now THERE’S an opening sentence you wouldn’t expect to see in a column written by a slightly-over-middle-aged librarian.)"
Nice musings!

Wait a second...

"So you're saying men can be librarians?" Check out "The Couch Dialogues", today's Penny Arcade comic (today being 2007/08/03 if you have to go back through the archives).

What do you think, guys, do you like "librarianman" any better than "guybrarian"? (How about Libratorr?)

No rain last night, very sad. Currently 86° and 50% chance of rain today.

August 2, 2007


Are you a librarian (or librarian-ish)? Got a blog? Go take Meredith Farkas' (Information Wants to be Free) 2007 Survey of the Biblioblogosphere. Go. Now. Thank you.

It's currently a sunshiny 92° - quite lovely. I hope it rains tonight.

August 1, 2007


...buried, inundated, overwhelmed...

In brief:

* We survived the last round of reviews. Yay, us!

* The Time Traveler's Wife is an awesome book. Go forth and read it now. (Thanks for the loan, David!)

* Check out the storm that walloped Tucson yesterday. (Links to MPG)

* I think we're going to be able to buy our own web server, which is good since one of our main ones went down again today - arrgh.

* Collapsing hundreds of directory structures for a new file structure is eye-strain-inducing. Bleah.

Currently a gloomy 90° with 48%Rh. I hope it rains again today!

July 26, 2007

Call for Papers: SWTX Popular Culture Association

Call for Papers: Libraries, Archives, Museums and Popular Culture Area of Southwest/Texas Popular Culture Association and Southwest/Texas American Culture Association

2008 Annual Conference
Hyatt Regency Albuquerque - Albuquerque, New Mexico
February 13-16, 2008

The Libraries, Archives, Museums and Popular Culture area solicits paper proposals from librarians, archivists, curators, graduate students, faculty, collectors, writers, and other aficionados (yes! including people who use libraries, archives, and museums!) of popular culture and information settings of all types. We encourage proposals for slide shows, video presentations, workshop formats, and panels organized around common themes. Among recent presentations were a slide show on petroglyphs, a history of a museum of bad art, and a comparison of Holocaust memorials.

Some suggested topics:
* Histories and profiles of museums, archives, libraries, and other popular culture resources
* Intellectual freedom or cultural sensitivity issues related to popular culture resources
* Book clubs and reading groups, city- or campus-wide reading programs
* Marketing popular culture materials to library, archives, or museum users
* Collection building and popular culture resources
* Organization and description of popular culture resources
* New media formats and popular culture in libraries, archives, or museums
* Wikipedia, YouTube, social networking, EBay, and their impact on popular culture collections
* The Harry Potter phenomenon in library and museum programming
Other topics welcome!!!

Send a 200-word abstract to the Area Co-Chairs by November 16, 2007. Include your complete mailing address, school or other affiliation, e-mail address, telephone number, and fax number. Graduate students are encouraged to present, and to apply for the graduate paper prizes listed on the web site.

Catching Up: A Few Random Links

So I'm finally starting to dig out from this week's LISNews, LII's New This Week, LotD, etc - hopefully tomorrow I can spend some time catching up on blogs. Here's some things I've come across, or that have been sent to me, that I wanted to share:

* This awesome library poster posted by Flickr user Felicia... I'm seriously thinking of printing out one and posting it on my office door! (thanks Amy!)

* An interesting article about "Library Law: Library Dress Codes: Keeping Up Appearances" that includes court rulings and suggestions for library dress policies (via LISNews)

* Greg Schwartz's Uncontrolled Vocabulary blog and podcast is a great live (every Thursday night) discussion about hot topics in the library world today. One of these days - if I can stay up that late - I might even join in! (via multiple bloggers)

It's currently a lovely (well, for us at least) 85° with an active flood advisory in effect. Whee...

July 23, 2007

Thunder, lighting, and rain, oh my

Crazy last few days - quiet on the posting front because I've spent most of my time preparing for a series of big reviews that start tomorrow. Once they start, though, I can begin sharing my oh-so-insightful thoughts with you all again!

In the meantime, it is pouring here - yay for rain!

Currently, well, raining - and an amazingly cool 79°.

July 20, 2007

I Can Has Snarlz

So. Turns out that SLA - despite selections on the program planner and forms being filled out - did not, in fact, record my talk in Denver. They didn't actually record any of my division's sessions. (As you can imagine, my division chair is just a tad upset with them.) Arrgh!

July 18, 2007

Vendor Make-up

I spent the day with two representatives from the company that makes our EDMS (that we were having such problems with) and I'm quite pleased with the progress we're making. It is no longer unthinkable that we may be using the software again before the end of the year. Not only are we starting to get real results (as in, "hey, we could duplicate your problem here and found the cause" kind of results, although they would have been nicer to have last year when we had the problem) but they brought me a brand spankin' new Dell server to use as a testbed platform. (Pity I have to give it back in September!) I'm feeling very positive about what we've worked out so far and the progress we made today, and given that most of the engineers have stopped spitting whenever the EDMS is mentioned, I'm hoping things will work out all right. (I still believe in this product; eternally optimistic, that's me!)

It's currently a lovely 86° and we got 0.03" of rain today! Too bad I voted for no rain in our office pool... ah well, would rather have the actual rain than the points!

July 17, 2007

And now...

Originally uploaded by desertlibrarian
...I finally match my avatars!

The Expert: New on TV in the Fall!

USA Network has announced their 2008 slate of shows, and amongst them is The Expert, summarized as "A reclusive librarian with a unique condition called synesthesia works with the police squad to aid in their investigations. Synesthesia allows her to mix her various senses -- she smells sounds, hears colors and feels words enabling her to explore unconventional ways to pursue criminals." Should be interesting! (via LISNews)

It's 104° with a 40% chance of rain. Yes!

July 12, 2007

Modules & Themes

I am so pleased with how easy it is now to apply modules and themes in Drupal 5.1. Maybe it's just because I was on the steep side of the learning curve with 4.7, but it seems much more straightforward and intuitive (once you know the proper directory to put things into, at least) in 5.1 than it did in 4.7. I'm quite pleased. I've got a couple of new modules (namely front_page and image) and new themes (K2 and NoProb) and *poof* they were instantly on my module and theme administration lists, ready to be tweaked! Yay!

I still have a long way to go but I feel better now than I did a week ago... each time I install or configure something I learn a few more things. Way cool.

102.5° and plenty happening on the radar. Now if it would just head our way...

July 11, 2007

Updated: We're not what you think!

I first mentioned this site before this blog even existed, and just to get it in the local record I blogged about it last year, too - so here's a third go round! Librarians: We're not what you think! has recently been updated by John Hubbard (tip o' the hat to him for including YDLLaL) - the full essay is quite a read, and don't forget to check out the gallery. (Thanks to multiple folks for the heads-up.)

It rained last night! And it's gonna rain today, I'm sure of it. Even if it's only 20%Rh right now. (And a temp of 102°.)

July 10, 2007

Let the games begin!

According to the National Weather Service, we've hit our third day in a row of dewpoints above 54°; this means that the 2007 monsoon season officially started Sunday the 8th. And in other weather-wonky news, yesterday was our 27th consecutive day of 100° temps, but we broke the stretch today with a high of only 99°. I bet, though, we'll have another run at it -

What does this mean in the short term, other than muggy days and awesome lightning shows? Well, we here at MPOW actually start a contest to see who can predict rain the best. We vote every day by noon, you get 2 points for a correct yes, 1 for a correct no, and none for an incorrect guess. Competition runs high and hallway hassling is not unheard of. It's the highlight of our summers (sad, but true!).