December 11, 2012

Marketing in Libraries: DO IT!

As my final entry on the ITI Book Blog for now, share your thoughts on "Marketing in Libraries: Yes, It’s Up to You!"

Really. Go read it. If you haven't embraced the idea of marketing yet, for yourself or your library, you need to!

Everyone loves a sale!

Information Today is having a holiday sale - 33% off all books, including mine! Here's the details:

I wanted to let you know we are discounting all Information Today, Inc. books an additional 33% off the already discounted web order price from November 28 through January 7, 2013, when you order online. The discount is good on an unlimited number of orders placed during the sale period and with more than 150 titles available on our website, I'm sure you will find something that interests you.
When you check out at our online store, use the promo code ITIFW12. Don't forget that we are also offering free standard shipping on all web orders shipped within the continental United States. Visit our bookstore to see what's available.

Don't forget to visit the ITI Books Blog featuring frequent posts from our authors and editors.

December 5, 2012

Loner Librarians

As part of a series on the ITI Book Blog, please pitch in your thoughts on "Are Librarians Loners? Some Stereotypes Die a Slow Death."

Pop Culture’s View is Still Relevant

This week, I'm writing over on the ITI Books Blog about - you know it! - pop culture and librarians. First up: "A Librarian's Perspective: Pop Culture’s View is Still Relevant!"

November 13, 2012

Not Your Ordinary Librarian

New book alert!

"Not Your Ordinary Librarian: Debunking the Popular Perceptions of Librarians" by Ashanti White is now available!  Ms. White took a longer historical view of the image of librarians in pop culture (unlike my book, which only looked at examples from the Internet Age) and picked up many of the classic stereotypes (such as Marian the Librarian, and It's a Wonderful Life).
Librarians have long struggled to combat some of the negative stereotypes about their image and profession, but to do so effectively it’s necessary to look at these perceptions in a historical context.
 Take a look! (My copy's on order now!)

November 6, 2012

IL2012: Web-Based Initiatives

Project Management for Web Based Initiatives, with David Jank and Kelly Coulter

Jank reviewed his white paper "Managing Online Initiatives in Libraries and Information Centers: An Empirical Review and Conceptual Taxonomy."

Kelly Coulter did a great job with her Prezi of the same title, "Project Management for Web Based Initiatives."  Biggest takeaway here: is it a project, or a task?

note to self: learn how to use Prezi!

IL2012: Speed Tech Dating

(What a great session - all kinds of new tools to try out!!)

Speed Technology Dating! with Patrick Sweeney, Toby Greenwalt, and Jeremy Snell

Trello - good for collaboration, multiple todo lists, shared task lists, etc

Logmein - for remote system access

LibraryBox - portable private digital distribution

The Kid Should See This - tumblr, typically sci, tech, art but other things as well. Nice curated portal for interesting kid tidbits.

AirVideo - love this one, I use it all the time at work

EveryBlock - neighborhood info and message board

Tackk - time-limited online flyer type tool - on-the-fly creation - this is a fail for this presentation (said the presenter) - is now, multi user dj room

NextDoor - similar to everyblock except it allows you to set your own neighborhood boundaries, and is n more cities as well - feedback, invites, chats, teach, bookmarks, etc

Sphero - a robotic ball controlled by your smartphone - discovery tool for kids - like pandora but for art

Snaggy -  paste images straight to the web

LiquidSpace - find a place to have a meeting near you

Noon Pacific - email discovery tool of weekly playlists from top music blogs - great quick tool for grabbing a special character, copies to your clipboard and you can paste it anywhere
Oyster - iPhone app to read books on yr phone

The Noun Project - online professionally designed icons for free/CC use - no more clip art!

Sifteo cubes - interactive, intelligent play

Raspberry pi

Patch - local focused news

ShowMe - iPad app - draw, talk, ,it'll capture your drawing and what you're saying and then you an post it

MakeyMakey - similar to raspberry pi , a tiny learning circuits and programming device - everyone at a glance of what's going on in congress

Lightt - iPhone app, instagram  for video - payment processing site, like indiegogo or kickstarter but a much lower rate.

EveryLibrary - superPAC for libraries - huge movement for libraries. Assns can get items to the ballot but cannot do anything more - this can do campaigning, marketing, etc on behalf of libraries across the nation

LoudSauce - social ad buying platform

IL2012: Grateful Dead

The Grateful Dead Archive: Socially Constructed Online

What a fantastic presentation - of a fantastic project! The folks at the UCSC libraries got a 2-year IMLS grant to set up the Grateful Dead Online Archive. They used the archive materials they had at hand already, then opened it up to community input. They were sent posters, tickets, envelopes that had been drawn on, Tshirts, all kinds of material related to the Dead, and the library team set up collection development processes, taxonomies, copyright management, and everything else that goes into an online archive. Impressive!!! 

Press Release: UC Santa Cruz launches the Grateful Dead Online Archive

IL2012: IT Collaboration

Kick-Starting IT Collaboration, with Helene Blowers, Michael Porter, and Carson Block

Michael Porter
  • Discussion of it stereotypes and how it's changed
  • Keep the mission of the library in the focus
  • Don't hyper focus on your things, you exclude others
  • Think about adding another layer of communication
  • Empathy
  • Emotional intelligence

Helene Blowers
Ongoing communication with your customers

IT strategy:
  • Learn the culture of your group
  • Watch how you're communicating - up, down, or to the peers. Things that work with the peer group won't work up the chain
  • Think visuals, not just words

It's not about how much you know, but how you can demonstrate your value to the team - without overwhelming them with how much you know!

Carson Block
Do you understand your library's real mission in the community?

Is your language inclusive or exclusive?

IL2012: Transforming Roles

Transforming Roles: What Do You Want to Be? Tuesday Evening Session

I didn't take notes during this session, as I was late to it after the Drupal Dine-around and ended up just listening to and enjoying the panel discussion. Who do you want to be? What do you want to be? Where do you want to be? Great input from all the panelists, and the Twitter conversation going on around it was fantastic!

IL2012: UX & Accessibility

UX & Accessibility, by Frank Cervone

had to get his slides later, couldn't see them from seat in session.

Need to think about the totality of the experience, not just one part of it. Keep it simple and intuitive!

Check out

Lots of the regular usability tips - fonts manageable, watch color collisions, alt tags for images, avoid "click here" - (death to click here!!)

There are several assistive technology checkers for web pages - Drupal gets good rankings for accessibility but check the sites anyway. - great collection of usability resources!!

PDFs are a real a problem for accessibility... eep.

IL2012: Libraries Transformed

Libraries Transformed, by Lee Rainie

Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project report -

Pew Internet caught by the Onion! Ha!

Data to take back and prove that things are changing and we have to change to meet it.

88% US adults use Internet, 66% have at home.

Biggest change of this is the increase of creators - social networking, photos, videos, ratings and rankings, tags, comments, twitter, blogger... All of those are creations.

Blogging as blogging is decreasing because more people are logging it now on social networking sites and don't call it blogging anymore.

89% of US adults and just under 80% of teenagers have mobile phones.

We are starting to see more than one device per person.

Social networking by 59% of US adults!

Social media is the new neighborhood.

Tablets are on the rise, now one third of adults own at least one device (tablet, ebook reader) - but people are doing different things on smartphones than on their tablets/ereaders. - Big project to study the changing roles of libraries, funded by gates foundation. Full reports that the above tidbits are from can be found here.

IL2012: Big Data

From Overload to "Big Data", by Amy Affelt

Modified Garner's 3V to 5V characteristics of big data:
  • Volume
  • Velocity
  • Variety
  • Verification
  • Value
The data is big, but the new uses for it and the insights gained from it are even bigger.

Hadoop, Splunk

Examples of big data apps. Interesting but also require buy-in from users to get the data.

  • Choose which data to track and use
  • Cross correlate between sources
  • Set the context
  • Create deliverables
  • Tell a data driven story with cool visuals

IL2012: Drupal Nuggets

Drupal Nuggets: Themes, Modules, and Users, by:

Anne Platoff, UC Santa Barbara librarian
Ian Lessing, UC Santa Barbara programmer
Dillon Moore, Wilfred Laurier Univ
Joelle Rosen Queens Borough Public Lib

Full paper from UCSB for leveraging Drupal capabilities on the conference web site.

IT look over UCSB sites - used press flow variant for speed, some caching mechanisms, mem cache, boost module

Definitely check out memcache - keeps all the same things I local cache versus a new call to the server each time.  Also boost module, which caches the entire page on the server side - they found it sped up their Drupal delivery noticeably.

Moore - node herding! Heh. Theme and layout modules.

Really need to learn how to master context and panels and views - the creator of panels is also the creator of views, and learning one helps a lot with the other -

Display suite module allows you to take over some of the markup definitions for different displays.  It kind of replaces editing of the template files directly, but with more granularity.

Queens library redesign - users said bring back the old site! How to deal with that when you know you're providing a better site?

Each presenter but the last talked about caching as a way to speed things up.

IL2012: Uber Analytics

Web Analytics: Using Evidence for Improvement, by David Dahl and Ryan Hess

Customizing Google Analytics

Can be used to track activities across multiple sites....could be useful for new web stats?

Must tweak the analytics code to identify all the subdomains as being part of the main domain, but it can be tricky to keep them distinct -

Five principles of design

Audience question: Where's a good place for help in customizing Google analytics? Speaker: We used a book (can't remember right now) but also did several Google searches for analytics and tweaking.

Crazy Egg - click analytics

Lots of intro and teasers but no in-depth how to information. Need to check into this, though, for the stats reports - or something similar -

IL2012: Google Search Secrets

Google Search Secrets: 50 Tips! by Greg Notess

Some similar tips as MEB - personalization, location, etc.

Limit by site, limit by title (intitle: or allintitle:)

Can limit Google image search by size or by usage rights (CC) - can also search ON an image! Either upload or by URL, via Google image search, to find other locations with that image. Can be used to identify!

Google Advanced Search is very useful, but also hard to find. If you see a gear icon in the upper right corner of the screen, you can click on that to find the "Advanced Search" option. But the gear isn't always there, so bookmark the following websites:
Metrics are useful for journal citation research...

Web authorship programs?

Trends, insights have been combined

Do not use + as part of the Google search term now - it searches Google circles

Rankpanel - trying to demystify search parameters

il2012: Super Searcher Tips

MEB never ceases to amaze - within 5 minutes of the start of her session, I had learned something new!

Super Searcher Secrets, by Mary Ellen Bates

Google - their algorithms change based on more than just terms - speed of typing, length of time on page, order of words, all of that! I had no idea. Try each search x3 and reorder words for different search results.

Use ~word for more synonyms, use Verbatim filter to avoid all synonyms

Can block certain domains if logged into chrome - like and! Check into this.... for manually blocking in other browsers

Blekko has petty powerful slash tags for filtering, combining, etc.

Twitter - you can search limited by local area! example: Whales near:Monterey within:15mi

Private searching - and - totally anonymous, unlinked to your identity, location, computer, etc

Can search LinkedIn and limit to zip code and within radius. Can see what companies are hiring the most in a particular area.

Check out NoodleTools - "Choose the Best Search for Your Information Need"

IL2012: Transforming Knowledge

Now that two weeks have passed, which is about a week and a half longer than I planned on, I need to get my thoughts and notes down about this year's Internet Librarian conference. As always, Jane and the ITI folks did a smashing job!

These may not be much use to someone who wasn't there; they're more my notes to myself about things to remember, things to check out, and other "stuff like that". If you do find it useful, fantastic!

There's also a Fusion Table of all the tweets from the conference

Day One: Monday, October 22

Transforming Knowledge in the Age of the Net, by David Weinberger.

Digitization is networked - so much more than just taking a digital picture of the text

Library as platform
- unifying framework
- take social networking seriously

Knowledge networking: We've accepted the inherent limitations of the form of knowledge  (books) - we have to filter the medium, and that has shaped the nature of knowledge itself

Knowledge is that which has settled. It's also a series of stops. Ask a questions, get an answer, move on.

Knowledge now lives in the networks - not the nodes, but the network itself.

We are no longer locked into the rectangle of knowledge dissemination - book, newspaper - we now can get all kinds of info from far outside that box.

Peer review isn't scalable

The net exposes a long hidden truth: we don't agree about anything.

One other limitation: knowledge until now has been within a single classification. No longer!

We are getting better at disagreeing about things.

Software developers now live in the fastest most efficient and effective learning environment ever
- humility and generosity. Admit they can't do it, toss it out for others to see, copy, and use.
- The power of iteration. Public learning.

Echo chamber effect.

Must continue to teach appreciating differences.

Reddit example (made me laugh!)

Back to library as platform:  Range of services is paramount.

Metadata is what we know, data is what were looking for - use the metadata as a lever to get out the data. Everything is now a lever!

Suggested changes to Ranganathan's Five Laws:  every book its network.

November 2, 2012

The Rise of Women in Tech

"It’s time for the old adage that women neither like nor do well in math and science be put to rest …"

Amen to that! The folks at MBA-Online have put together another great infographic showing how this is changing, the impact it's having both in the workplace and in our wallets, and a few facts I didn't realize - like how the wage gap is 7% narrower for women in STEM fields.

As a woman in a STEM field - that of astronomical construction - I am heartened every day when I look around at our optical engineer (a woman), our enclosure engineer (a woman), or our thermal engineer (another woman), or talk with the mail system administrator (yep, you guessed it), or interact with any of the solar astrophysicists I talk to weekly (you got it). I feel very, very lucky to work in a project that has pretty much thrown the "typical" attitude out the window.

I can also see the significant change in organizational approach when I walk down the hallways of our sister organization, and compare the astronomers who've joined us in the last 10 years with the tenured astronomer batch - there are distinct gender and racial gaps. I'm so happy to see that change happening!

Be sure to check out the entire graphic

October 31, 2012

The Accidental Systems Librarian

The Accidental Systems Librarian
I am pleased to say that Nicole C. Engard's and Rachel Singer Gordon's book "The Accidental Systems Librarian," second edition, is now available!

"The Accidental Systems Librarian takes the approach that anyone with a solid foundation in the practices and principles of librarianship and a willingness to confront and learn about changing technology can serve effectively in a library systems position—with or without formal technology training."

I was delighted to share my opinion of the book in a blurb for it, and I'm happy to point it out as an invaluable resource for anyone who's either been dropped into this happy field by accident, or is thinking of choosing it down the line. (It's a great review for the kind of things you'd be doing!)

Give it a look!

Call for Papers: PCA/ACA

The Popular Culture Association and the American Culture Association annual conference will be held March 27 - March 30, 2013 at the Wardman Park Marriott in Washington, DC. Scholars from a wide variety of disciplines will meet to share their Popular Culture research and interests.

The Libraries, Archives, Museums, and Popular Culture area is soliciting papers dealing with any aspect of Popular Culture as it pertains to libraries, archives, museums, or research. Possible topics include descriptions of research collections or exhibits, studies of popular images of libraries or librarians, relevant analyses of social networking or web resources, Popular Culture in library education, the future of libraries and librarians, or reports on developments in technical services for collecting/preserving Popular Culture materials. Papers from graduate students are welcome.

Prospective presenters should enter their proposals in the PCA/ACA 2013 Event Management database at The deadline is November 30, 2012. Please direct any queries to the Libraries, Archives, Museums, and Popular Culture area chair:

Allen Ellis
Professor of Library Services
W. Frank Steely Library
Northern Kentucky University
Highland Heights, KY  41099-6101

October 3, 2012


I know I've said this already, but: WOOT! I get to go to Australia and talk to a batch of librarians! About all kinds of groovy, funky stuff! Who we are, where we work, where we're going, how we're going to get there... pontifications galore!

NLS6 released an announcement about it, and I'm floored by the graphics; check this out!

Ideas for my talk have been madly pinging around my head - I'm so excited about it I'm going to have to work very hard to not talk a mile a minute. And I want to say, Kate and Vanessa are awesome. (Just so you know.)

September 26, 2012

The Librarian Wardrobe

Just discovered this site... in a similar vein to "This is What a Librarian Looks Like", the Librarian Wardrobe site seeks to collect images of librarian style:
"Not always buns and sensible shoes, librarians at various types of libraries have different styles (and dress codes). Check it out here or submit your own."
 It's a great collection showing the many and varied styles of modern librarians - check it out and submit your own!!

September 20, 2012

An Open Letter to the Look That Slowly Forms On Your Face When I Tell You I Am a Librarian

Becca Brody nails it over on McSweeney's with her "Open Letter to People or Entities who are Unlikely to Respond:"
"Dear Look That Slowly Forms On Your Face When I Tell You I Am a Librarian:

The raised eyebrows and intake of breath fool no one. As a librarian, I am well aware that most people do not find my job an interesting topic of conversation at a neighborhood barbecue, music festival or, to use a more keenly relevant example, the cocktail party we both attended last Friday night..."
Go forth and read her (sadly, scarily) accurate account of how way too many interactions for us still go these days...  and bear in mind that, if you're in a good mood and feeling forgiving, this is a great time to share a quick note about how fantastic we are.

So. How 'bout that Dewey Decimal System, huh?

September 7, 2012

Yep, still carrying on.

Friday, September 7, 2012, roughly 8am local time, via @ScrewyDecimal on Twitter: 

Lady: "So what do YOU do?" Me: "I'm a librarian." Lady: "A librarian? That's still a 'thing'?"

Sigh. And people ask me why I feel I still have to carry on about our image and perception these days! THIS. This is why.

August 23, 2012

Brisbane, Here I Come!

I am honored and delighted to announce that I have accepted an invitation to keynote the 6th Annual New Librarians' Symposium, February 10-13, 2013, in Brisbane, Australia. The symposium's theme is "Think Different, Be Different", and I am looking forward to being just that!

The intended audience for NLS6 is early-career librarians and information professionals,  and the sub-themes are:
  •     Inspire (opening minds, expanding horizons)
  •     Imagine (the future of the information professions)
  •     Create (creativity, risk taking, innovation)
  •     Lead (in our profession and beyond)
  •     Climb (professional development)
  •     Leap (diverse career options for information professionals)

I have the opportunity to talk for an hour on embedded librarianship, special libraries, and our professional identity in any combination and shape I wish - hitting all six themes along the way! Given the incredibly changing nature of the profession, the opportunities available inside libraries and out, and the increase in visibility and interest in embedded positions, I have a lot to talk about! I've already begun outlining my talk, and plan (hope?) on doing it TEDx style.

The really amazing part, that I'm still stunned by? I was crowdsourced.

NLS6: Be Different

August 7, 2012

And then I went to Chicago... Parts 3 & 4

Tuesday and Wednesday at SLA were primarily unit-leader focused; I didn't get to any sessions except the IT Business Meeting, where as division secretary I took some mad notes, yo! I was able to spend some time in the INFO-EXPO collecting information for future vendor relationships with MPOW, and it was kind of nice to be able to talk to a vendor and not say "No, I'm not buying from you, I won't be buying from you, please don't give me a sales pitch". Then it was the Leadership Orientation meeting, and I was surprised at how much Gary LaBranche's presentation on association models got my attention. I also liked Bethan Ruddock's presentation on "How to Parlay SLA Experience into a Promotion" - I realized I had been downplaying all I do with SLA to MPOW and needed to change that, stat! The Leadership program was followed by the Division and Chapter Cabinet meetings - as the only Arizona board member at SLA, I went to the Chapter Cabinet meeting, then onward to the Joint Cabinet Meeting. It got pretty lively in there! (I now know a lot more about "Committee of the Whole" and what it can do.) At this point it was after 8pm and I was starving - so my friend Kathleen and I headed out for a bite to eat, and ended up at Lou Malnati's Pizza.  ZOMG now I see why people rave about Chicago deep dish pizza - this was DAMN tasty stuff! I had intended to head back for the IT Dance Party, but I ran out of energy as we were contemplating dessert so missed the shindig this year. (Dang it!)

Wednesday included a stop at the local FedEx office to ship my Fellows award back home - I didn't want to hand-carry it and take a chance on it getting broken. Plus about twenty pounds of conference-related stuff - books and papers and schwag and stuff - it felt good to get it off my shoulders, literally. I went to the Operation Vitality meeting, where the most excellent Daniel Lee shared the final bits and pieces of the great Wordpress migration, and some tidbits about the forthcoming overarching SLA website overhaul. I'm looking forward to it, and I know I'm not alone. The conference began wrapping up with the SLA Business Meeting, where I learned about and donated to the SLA Loyalty Club, followed by the Future Now Panel, which was entertaining and thought-provoking. I quite enjoyed the discussion about stereotypes versus value. The Closing Reception, thrown by the Kentucky Chapter and partners, was quite enjoyable - it was nice to be able to chat with folks with all the pressure off!

Thank you, Chicago, for a lovely visit. We'll be back!

Family Portrait at the Cloud Gate Sculpture.

And then I went to Chicago... Part 2

Monday at SLA I was finally able to breathe a bit, although the morning kicked off early again with the PAM Astronomy Roundtable at 7:30am. Thank heavens for strong coffee! It was a great session, and having no projector really challenged the speakers - they did brilliantly! (I must admit, Lance's "slides" were one of my favorites.)

Chris and I talking culture.
Photo by The Photo Group, 2012.
Then I dashed off to the Fellows and Rising Stars Roundtable, where I was paired with Rising Star Chris Zammarelli. We decided to talk about culture in libraries, where culture is defined as "the behaviors and beliefs characteristic of a particular group." Chris works for the Department of State, and as such works with libraries around the world, in embassies and out, and one of the things they must be very aware of is the local culture - societal, religious, ethnic, etc. He talked a bit about how that impacts his job, and how he deals with working with people worldwide who are often in different time zones. I talked about a different type of culture - that of the scientists and engineers I work with. Each group has a common language, habits, rituals, and expressions - and they are NOT the same, and are often in conflict. I'm in the middle, acting almost as an anthropologist and translator, to understand and bridge the differences between the two groups. I've had to learn the best way to get them what they want and need, how they search for things - basically, become bilingual.  The takeaway I offered was get to know the culture of your user groups, and integrate into them - then the users will trust you and see you as part of their group. This benefits everyone!

Happy 40th Anniversary, PAM!
After the great Q&A session at the roundtable was over, I headed for the PAM Business Meeting, where (amongst a great many other things) we started celebrating PAM's 40th Anniversary. I was in charge of the souvenir lapel pins, and it was a delight to pass them out to members! (We also had an excellently themed Daily Retreat, courtesy of IOP.) During the following INFO-EXPO time, I was finally able to meet the other members of the Online Content Advisory Committee face-to-face, and I'm looking forward to some of the things we have planned for the rest of the year.

American West Chapters Reception
Monday wrapped up with a couple of social events - first up was the American West Chapters Reception, at the Newberry Library, where I proudly represented the Arizona Chapter (and did a turn at the welcome tables). What a lovely library, and I really enjoyed the piano player - he so clearly was enjoying himself! Then I moseyed off to the PAM Open House, where AIP gave us a beautiful cake (see above) as part of our 40th Anniversary celebrations.

And then I went to Chicago... Part 1

(I can't believe it's August already!)

Last month was a very, very busy one; I moved offices (I'm out of the cave! Yay!), I went to Chicago, and I spoke to the incoming library school grad students at my alma mater. The biggie, of course, was Chicago for the annual Special Libraries Association meeting - although I did get a couple of days before the conference to play tourist with my family!

My conference started quite early, at 7:30am on Saturday the 14th. One of the hats I wear for SLA is that of the Professional Development chair for the IT Division, and PD runs the CE courses each year. I wanted to meet the instructors, make sure they had everything they needed, and thank them in person - it just meant for some very early mornings! I'm very pleased that both sessions went well - "Taxonomy & Information Architecture for SharePoint", with Seth Earley, and "Website Analytics and Usability Studies: Mastering Tools for Measuring Website Effectiveness", with Kate Marek.

Saturday was also the really productive 2013 Conference Planner's meeting - as the Spreadsheet Queen for the Annual Conference Advisory Committee, I was crazy busy, but it was really good. I think we're in decent shape at this point; there are some really interesting sessions in the queue for San Diego!

Leoma Dunn giving me my
Fellows award. Photo by The
Photo Group, 2012

Sunday was my most over-scheduled day, but also the best! After greeting Ms. Marek and getting her CE course going, I had a quick breakfast with my family and headed off to the PAM Newcomer's Lunch. As past-chair of the PAM Division it was my honor to host the event, although I was only able to stay for about 15 minutes before I had to speed back to the convention center. The restaurant (Russian Tea Time) smelled absolutely delicious and I'm quite sad I didn't get a chance to go back and enjoy the cuisine! Then it was time for a Board Meeting, a Meet and Greet, and then getting ready for the Awards Ceremony - where I was officially made a Fellow of SLA! I'm delighted, honored, and still a bit stunned by it all. I'm very glad that my husband and son could be there - thanks, SLA, for their passes!

SLA President Brent Mai and I, before the award ceremony.
Photo by The Photo Group, 2012.

June 18, 2012

Girls in STEM

Because it's cool, because we need to encourage more girls to go into STEM fields in general, because we need to ensure girls know they can study any field a boy can, and because it's cool, I give you (with permission) "Girls are Smarter than Boys", by Jen Rhee via Engineering Degrees:

"The science, technology, engineering, and math workforce is crucial to the economy and even though women represent more than half of the world’s population, women hold less than 25% of STEM jobs. In elementary, middle school, and high school, girls actually take more classes and earn better grades in math and sciences. As women progress into college, a decline in interest in math and sciences occurs and declines further at the graduate level and yet again in the professional level.
While biological differences may play a factor, though it’s still not yet fully understood, they are not the whole story. This infographic will tell you what girls go through during school that ultimately has them careers outside of science, technology, engineering, and math."

Yes, please!

I'm lucky enough to be working in a job that satisfies both my interests (and degrees): library science, and astronomy. When I was in high school and applied for a scholarship to study mechanical engineering, I was told by quite a few folks (both classmates and a couple of counselors) that I shouldn't hold my breath, since that wasn't a "good field for girls". I tell you, at graduation I sure as heck strutted my stuff, as one of only four to get scholarships in this field, and the only female! I swapped from MechE to Astronomy & Physics as time went on (and I learned that no, MechE and astrophysics really didn't have all that much in common) and while there were more women in the classes, it was still very heavily male. I look around the research institution with whom MPOW is housed, and there's a lot more men than women... but that trend is starting to change, as MPOW at least has several female astronomers on staff, and my direct project has a near half-and-half balance in the engineering staff. So there's hope!

We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

June 14, 2012

Vote for me as an Agile Librarian!

It's been a craaaaazy month but let me just reiterate: Drupal ROCKS! Also, DOORS isn't as horrible as I was led to believe, and summer has come early to the desert... hello, 108F!

And now, for the real news: Voting is now open for the SLA Agile Professional Snap & Win contest - please consider casting your vote for me!  Check it out - and many, many thanks!

May 29, 2012

An Agile Librarian

An Agile Librarian by desertlibrarian
An Agile Librarian, a photo by desertlibrarian on Flickr.
You've seen what a librarian looks like - now's your chance to show it!  SLA has teamed up with Dow Jones/Factiva to bring the "Agile Professional Snap & Win" contest to a camera near you. Show how agile you are in your profession, capture that with a photo, and you could win $1000 and a year's SLA Membership! More information is at the SLA Snap & Win site.

May 2, 2012

The Lady is a Vamp, Indeed

"The lady is a vamp: Helena Bonham Carter plays a sexy librarian in new music video", posted earlier this month at the UK Daily Mail Online site, shows us Ms. Carter in a way we may not have seen her in before, but have seen plenty of times. "The King's Speech star appears for most of the clip as a geeky, uptight librarian awaiting a mattress delivery," and then under musician Rufus Wainwright's direction, ends up following the whole repressed librarian path. Check it out:

April 12, 2012

Pearle Vision, what are we going to do with you?

While it did make me chuckle (mostly from the salespeople's reactions at the end), here we are again, using the sexy librarian trope to sell things. Sigh.

April 9, 2012

#SLAchat: Drupal vs. Wordpress

For SLA's Online Content Advisory Committee we're hosting a series of Q&A questions on the SLA Blog - there's still time to pitch into the first one, about Drupal vs. Wordpress. What do you think? Come share your musings! Feel free to share them on Twitter, too, using the tag #SLAChat.

(Current score is 3 for Wordpress, 1 for Drupal... mine. Get your own thoughts in!)

April 3, 2012

A Day in the Life: Systems Librarian Edition

I know it's not the usual time for Library Day in the Life, but some management folks were asking me just what it is I do all day! So here's my sysgrunt (hat tip to RefGrunt, which I miss), a typical day in the life of this slightly atypical systems librarian:

    •    Start: 7:57am. Email (and coffee, lots and lots of coffee)
    •    Initial config of new computer's Windows OS
    •    Confirm committee receipt of new web site online form submissions
    •    IM with my boss
    •    Scrub old version of DOORS from local virtual machine (VM, my Windows machine)
    •    Confirm agenda for SLA Fellows meeting
    •    Email manager regarding spam system settings
    •    Registry scrub of all DOORS & related mentions on local VM
    •    Email new staff member regarding vault account
    •    Install Office on new computer
    •    Regclean on local VM
    •    Install Project on new computer
    •    Reboot local VM
    •    Install Visio on new computer
    •    Updates on new computer
    •    IM with my boss
    •    New job ad on websites
    •    Email
    •    SLA Fellows teleconference
    •    Emails re: new online web form
    •    Clean install of DOORS on local VM
    •    Validate Office, Project and Visio on new machine
    •    Reboot VM after changing network adapter settings per IBM tech
    •    Install Symantec on new computer
    •    Report failure to connect to DOORS licensing server from local VM :-(
    •    Edit/format staff member's technical note
    •    Install Acrobat on new computer
    •    Create new staff member's vault account; confirm another new staff member's account exists; remove departed staff member's account
    •    Install vault software on new computer
    •    Start safety review web page
    •    Set up VPN on new computer
    •    Discover VPN server is not responding to access requests or pings; get with IT to sort out why. Further discover it's not server, it's the network config of new machine. Argh.
    •    Skype with safety officer about the safety review page
    •    Email with managers regarding files on web site
    •    Lunch!
    •    Email
    •    IM software crash & restart
    •    Check in technical note & notify staff member it's ready
    •    Changes to safety review web page
    •    Route ICD for approval
    •    Number assignment & format fixes to Report with Responses before posting
    •    Skype/ with new staff member to install vault software & give basic training
    •    Email
    •    Im with IT about VPN problem
    •    Change Request processing: returning some to editing for further changes, noting rejections & filing appropriately, pinging for status of still-awaiting-signatures ones, and updating the web page
    •    Realized that past process for denying CRs will no longer work with the recent changes to the workflow. Added a new "CR Denied" final state, and added two new transitions to the "Waiting for CCB" state, allowing return-to-edit and denial states directly rather than having to go back through syseng first.
    •    Email to manager re: CRs awaiting his approval
    •    Email with staff members regarding meeting next week
    •    Browser (involuntary) reboot
    •    Update observing schedules on new NSO website (and poke staff member about training so he can do it now)
    •    Email re: ICD drawings still awaiting proper signoff
    •    PAM strategic plan articles, first review
    •    CR # request; update web page.
    •    Email & filing of answered messages
    •    Fix location of accidentally-moved file in vault.
    •    Email with manager re: PMCS files on restricted instrument pages
    •    Locate DOORS Web installation & configuration instructions
    •    Route ICD for approval
    •    Done! 5:03pm

And now... I'm off to write my new Spectacles column!

February 17, 2012

Beyond the Core

I want to tip my hat to Bill Jacobs and the Science-Technology Division of SLA for putting together this great list on "Expanding Sci-tech librarianship beyond the core duties." It's a great starting point for answers if you're asked "Well, what do you bring to the party?"

From finding obscure references, through helping someone get or keep their CV up-to-date, to scientific literary analysis - we ARE your superpower! Don't be afraid of our skill sets - put them to use!

February 16, 2012

This is what a librarian looks like!

The ever-amazing Bobbi Newman, of Library Day in the Life fame, has created a new web site to bust the stereotype, one picture at a time - This is What a Librarian Looks Like. Yes! Look at us all in there, hiking, playing, dancing, eating, drinking, being serious, being goofy - wow, yep, just like "normal" people. Love it!

This is my own entry, to try and better illustrate my own job a bit. The hair color may change, but the second office stays the same...

February 3, 2012

Wait, what? February?

Holy smokes, I haven't written since I thanked SIRLS back in November! Things I've done since then:
  • Presented "Especially Embedded: Integrated Librarianship in Special Libraries" at the SLD Business Meeting at the Arizona Library Association conference;
  • Had a lovely holiday season;
  • Started to become one with JIRA and DOORS;
  • Attended SLA Leadership Summit in lovely Atlanta, GA. Not only did I get a lot of neat ideas and some really good networking in, SLA made me a Fellow!
And now it's February and hey! Librarians are in the news again, this time for defending their no-filtering rule. The latest, "Seattle libraries: No sleeping or eating allowed, but porn-watching OK", brings up the usual problems... we are not censors, and fight for the right for anyone to access whatever information they wish. But... how do we keep the innocent from seeing things the not-so-innocent may be viewing on a public computer? It's a thorny issue for sure, and I feel for the Seattle librarians.