February 26, 2007

Librarians as Books, Books as Librarians

How cool! DaveyP at Self-Plagiarism is Style has a spiffy little batch of code that'll create a portrait of you out of book covers. (Bookify me, baby!) He's getting more and more librarian requests for book mosaics - check 'em out over at his blog (he's up to the third page of images!) Kudos, kudos, Dave!

February 22, 2007

Random Thoughts du Jour

Today is my Friday, as tomorrow is a work holiday (Rodeo Day... only in Tucson do businesses and schools close for the rodeo). Some of the things bouncing around in my head:

* Drupal ain't so bad after all! I found my Rosetta stone; more coming next week after I've had a chance to implement some of what I learned. (check out The Cherry Hill Company)

* These are just too funny. (found via Caveat Lector)

* LibraryThing users contributed some really cool images for the "10 million books / valentines / presidents book pile contest". Check out the winners! Then go check out the Flickr group for all the participants. (found via the LT Blog)

* Since when did the proper name for something become so offensive? (found via lots of blogs; Jessamyn summed it all up best. Sheesh.)

* This situation is just abhorrent. If you've read this for any length of time, you've probably picked up on the fact that I'm a military brat. My dad was in the Air Force; both my grandfathers were in the Army Air Corps. I went to school on an AFROTC scholarship, and if I hadn't blown my knee out in basic I'd most likely be continuing the tradition. I still feel very strongly about the military, especially how veterans are treated. This is... horrific and disgusting and intolerable.

OK. *deep breath* back to your regularly scheduled library-related postings...

Another beautiful 79° day in sunny Tucson.

February 21, 2007

The image thing is everywhere...

Lots of interesting, informative and eyebrow-raising articles came through my mailbox in the last few days:

"The Image Thing." Francine Fialkoff, Library Journal, February 15th. "The old, stale image of librarians prevails in the face of reality: librarians mirror the rest of the country, and the work they do has huge breadth and impact." I can only hope that someday there will be a resolution to the image thing, even if it doesn't seem to be happening very quickly.

"Trying to break the librarian stereotype." Julie Winkelstein: At the Library, Contra Costa Times, February 16th. Julie discusses the recent Prairie Home Companion librarian parody and learning to just let portrayals of the negative stereotype go. (A lesson I have not yet learned!)

"Charles Simonyi, the next space tourist, wants to have a Library in Outer Space." TechShout, February 20th. Yay, Charles! Can I volunteer?

"The New Library Professional." Stanley Wilder, The Chronicle, February 20th. "If you work in an academic library and are under 35, you probably don't have a lot in common with your older counterparts. You are far more likely to work in areas beyond the confines of traditional librarianship, often in information technology. You are less likely to hold a degree in library science. You are more diverse in ethnic and racial terms. And while those of you in nonsupervisory jobs generally earn less than your comparable older colleagues, some of you in high-tech jobs earn much more." A very good read - the number-crunching is quite illuminating - it should be available free for a week or two before requiring a login.

In other news, there is now a NexGen Librarians Flickr group, and I now have a Facebook profile. Wanna be my friend?

Currently a lovely 72°, sunny, and breezy.

Brats Film Tour

I'm back....

Shameless plug! Brats: Our Journey Home (which I've mentioned here before) is doing a film tour this year. Donna and her crew will be in Tucson March 6th - when will they be in your town?

February 19, 2007

Not dead yet...

...just really busy at work, then dealing with a migraine, and today there's no daycare so I'm "on vacation". I've got a few posts saved up - they'll appear here soon!

Currently cold and grey with a threat (promise) of rain. So much for going to the zoo today!

February 13, 2007

If you aren't scared, you should be.

(Warning, it's another political posting!)

The "I don't want to, you can't make me" situation continues. It seems that Dick Cheney is refusing to submit required staff information to the government-published "Plum Book" because he claims "The Vice Presidency is a unique office that is neither a part of the executive branch nor a part of the legislative branch", so therefore is exempt. Guess we have a fourth branch of government! Did you know about this? I sure didn't. Read more at the Carpetbagger Report: Part I and Part II.


found via Library Juice

When Technology Advances

HA! Got yerself one of these newfangled contraptions?

Go forth and watch this video (SFW). 2.5 minutes of one of the world's most patient technical support people. And I think I've had this user before...

60° and partly cloudy. The weather-wonks are predicting rain; I can only hope they're right.

February 12, 2007

The CMS Wrestling Match Continues

So, I'm still beating my head against the wall for Drupal. I can completely see why and how this product could be used for easy site management; maybe it's because my brain has been in "HTML built by hand using emacs" mode for - geez, 14 years now?!?! - but now that I have it installed and a basic configuration in place, I can't figure out how to make it look like I want, or do what I want it to do. I just keep thinking "Dammit, I know how to do that in straighforward HTML and CSS"... but the whole point of this exercise is to migrate from a bunch of static pages to a more comprehensive management system that will provide for other folks to be able to do this too. Doesn't help them any if I know how to do it in HTML...

After doing extensive searching and reading of handbooks, forums, and blog postings, it seems I am not alone. I can't tell you how many postings I came across from folks going "Installation good, configuration bad", or "Ok, now what?" Most of the Drupal handbook information seems geared towards developers, and the forums are (IMHO) largely useless. Lots of questions, very few answers. One posting I did find that was quite useful - if for no other reason than it made me feel better about what I'm doing - was the "Site Configuration Challenge" posting. Lots of information and suggestions here, and it helped a lot.

I'm still holding out hope that I'll find a rosetta stone that will open up this world to me - I sent out a posting last week to the Web4Lib and syslib listservs and heard back from a lot of folks who are using Drupal for their sites, and love it. Thing is, most of them didn't have to set it up and configure it - sigh. But I shall keep at it for a bit longer before moving on to the next CMS on the list.

Interestingly enough, my searches and perusals for information regarding Drupal configurations has led me to several wikis, so I have a bit more insight into the wikiworld. I'm starting to think that a wiki might not be the best management system for us - we have very little collaborative information on the web site (mostly it's single-author stuff) so while I'm increasingly admiring of wikis and what they can do, they may not be the tool for us for the task at hand.

It's a lovely 66° and sunny right now... the birds are singing and I wish I could send some of this sunshine to the poor folks buried under 12' of snow in New York.

February 6, 2007

Productivity Event Horizon

Uh oh.... These have been in my bookmarks list (or in my Bloglines roll) for a long time, but sometimes you just gotta go to the web page itself. Be warned if you do...
This doesn't count the obvious humor-related PEHs, like User Friendly, Order of the Stick or Dave Barry's Blog... Drat. Better shut the browser and get back to configuring Drupal!

Currently 64° and sunny. We hit 80° yesterday and probably gonna do it again today.

February 2, 2007

Eyes Wide Open

OK, I try not to talk politics here, so if polititalk bothers you, skip this posting.

While walking back from lunch today on the student mall, I saw a crowd of people. Wandering over to see what was going on, I came upon my first Empty Boots memorial, put on by Eyes Wide Open.

Empty Boots: Military Empty Boots: Civilian

It was like being punched in the stomach. I am pro-military but anti-war (yes, that is a possible combination); I come from a long line of military service, went to school on a military scholarship, and have many friends in the military. This war is senseless to me; this was something I knew long ago, but to see the row upon row of empty boots and shoes, all with a tag representing someone dead, was like a physical blow. Before I realized what was happening, I was crying. (Thankfully, the volunteers who organized this were prepared and had boxes of tissues handy. There are some great, strong people who do this.)

If you have not experienced one of these, do so. Regardless of your political party, stance on the war, feelings about G. W., or any of that - visit the exhibit's site and see when they'll be in your area. Then go. Walk through. Listen to the speakers reading the names of the dead. And mourn.

February 1, 2007

33 Reasons

"33 Reasons Why Libraries and Librarians are Still Extremely Important" over at DegreeTutor answers the question "Are librarians really obsolete?" Happy to say, the answer is "Hell, no!" My faves are #19, #23, and #32, although the entire list is well put together.

"Today, more than ever, libraries and librarians are extremely important for the preservation and improvement of our culture." Yes!

found via librarian.net

Molly Ivins, RIP


The first email I saw this morning when I opened my mailbox was a notice that one of the women I admire the most, who I have read regularly for years and bought all her books and saw her speak whenever possible (including the very memorable SLA keynote in San Antonio), has passed away. Molly Ivins, political columnist and activist and liberal and supporter of women's rights, lost her battle with cancer on Tuesday, January 30th. Her syndicate has posted a tribute by her editor at creators.com, where you can also read a slew of Molly's past columns. You can read other articles about Molly, her passing, and her writings here.

Molly, we will miss you dearly. I hope the margaritas at the party you're at now with Ann Richards and other friends you're seeing again are fabulous!