Monday, December 17, 2007

Iorek is awesome

The Golden Compass is very good. I think anyone not familiar with the books will wonder what the brouha is over the movie, as there is nary a whiff of any real religious overtones. The typical menacing Catholic-looking evil guys are there, but then this is the standard stereotype to use in the movies for any evil religious-type organization.

The idea of Dust has been neutered. It's all about free will now. Who can possibly find anything wrong with that idea? I find this rather interesting, as free will comes into play a lot in the books, but not in a way that many religious people would like at face value. I say "face value" because once you scratch past the surface to see what Pullman is really getting at, the "aha" moment will come.

The girl who plays the protagonist Lyra is phenomenal. A complete unknown--a schoolgirl plucked from the crowd of thousands of wanna-be Lyras--she holds her own next to Daniel Craig and Nicole Kidman. I just realized that my "daemon," the snow leopard, is the same as Lord Asriel's. Those of you familiar with the books will see how odd this is.

The exiled polar bear king Iorek Byrnison alone is worth seeing the movie.

Friday, December 14, 2007

I just made something

I can't believe it! I actually made my very own mashup. It's quite simple and not very useful for anyone but myself and a few janeites (if that). I mashed together RSS feeds from two different Jane Austen blogs, AND sorted the entries by publication dates so that they will be interfiled in the output page. You can see it here: Jane Austen.

This is about the extent of what I can mashup. If you look at the "Create a Pipe" section of the Yahoo Pipes website, you will see how complicated it looks, at least to a layperson like me. (You have to have a yahoo account to look at it). If I had more time, I could probably figure out a few other ways to mash things up by looking at what others have done. I'll save that for a rainy day.

For some really cool mashups, see the Mashup Awards website.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Flickr mashups

Here's something useless but fun, accomplished through Spell with Flickr.

L A U R A


L O V E S

coloured card disc letter t Bead Letter H e


L Bead Letter I B R A R Y

Things mashed up

I'm nearing the finish line with my Learning 2.0 posts!

Mashups are web applications that take data from two or more sources and mix them together (mash them up) to make a new application. For an example, see 1001 Secret Fishing Holes (though one wonders how 'secret' these locations are if they are posted on the web). I've noticed that a lot of people use Google maps in their mashups to do things like show the birthplaces of Forbes' 100 Most Powerful Celebrities, or America's Most Unsafe Cities.

As is the case with any web 2.0 application, there are cool mashups mixed in with a lot of pretty useless ones. Just from browsing the Mashup Directory, I haven't found any mashups that I will use in the future, though this Census Dashboard one is pretty cool. Many of the mashups I looked at either did not work properly, or made no sense. Any "about" pages they may have had tended to be on the rather sparse side--a rather frustrating recurrence.

Part of the reason for this uneven quality of mashups is due to the fact that most of these creators are amateurs, like you and me. Some of them have hit the nail on the head and created rather interesting mashups, while others have some work ahead of them. For now, I'll stick with playing around with Flickr mashups .

Monday, December 10, 2007

Podcasting makes me think of aliens

Our next lesson is on podcasting. It looks like there is a lot of cool stuff out there--it's not just music. There's podcasts on just about anything you can think of, even one on homesteading (unfortunately none just on goats--which would be rather weird: what would you talk about?) Entertainment, politics, health, home and garden, you name it, podcasts cover the whole world of information.

I'm going to return to a personal concern of mine, related to the one about youtube: what about hearing impaired people like me? There's not very many podcasts out there than continually provide transcripts for each show. A quick google search (I only looked at the first two pages of results) turned up two podcasts that had transcripts for shows talking about deaf people, which makes sense...but I'm not really that interested in deaf culture, besides the fact that I just happen to be almost deaf.

This doesn't really bother me, as I am a book person and get my current events stuff from watching TV and reading the newspaper, but this is more based on my personality rather than being hearing impaired. What about those deaf people out there who enjoy this kind of stuff?

Musings on youtube

Youtube is a black hole that will suck you in if you are not careful. One video leads to another, and another, and another, and before you know it, you've just spent all day staring at computer screen.

But it's FUN!

Some of the things I've watched on youtube:
-a praying mantis capturing a mouse (I couldn't believe it!)
-a bike messenger race through New York City (you will cringe, as the camera is mounted on the biker's helmet)
-a showdown between a scorpion and a spider
-gypsies dancing in Romania
-flatfoot dancing
-fainting goats fainting on the field

and...
my very own husband setting off the fire alarm at his school (see below for the video)!

Like any web 2.0 application, youtube has it good points and stupid points (I'm sure there are plenty of frat house parties and other similar wild things that college students will live to regret when they get a job and their employer finds this out). It's good for learning about some really interesting things--where else can you see the Roma gypsies dancing, or a praying mantis catching something--anytime and anywhere? Many people, librarians included, are using youtube as a cheap way to post presentations on a variety of things, like how to do successful research or explaining how something like social bookmarking works (as the people behind the Learning 2.0 here at EKU have taken advantage of).

Youtube could be a way of enhancing library websites--librarians could make short videos that take patrons on a virtual tour of library resources, for instance. Students at universities might appreciate this. I have several concerns. One is the students living off-campus who may not have a robust internet connection that can support streaming video. Will they be left behind?

Another is more personal--what about hearing impaired people like me? I really don't have any use for videos that talk a lot for the obvious reason that I can't understand them. Is there a possibility of adding a closed-caption option to videos on the internet so that people like me can use them?

For now, the only thing I get out of youtube are the videos that rely more on visuals than sound--which is why I watch a lot of animals, or people doing things.

For a rather bizarre youtube video that is more of an inside joke than really interesting, see March of the Librarians.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Jon set the fire alarm off

Here's Jon on youtube...

Ghost riding

Sometimes you find some very random things through your serendipitous browsing of the internet...

I was looking up web design and came across a website that let you make free websites. It had some sample websites, which I looked at to get an idea of their functionality, and I came across this website, Ghost Ride The Whip. Apparently, ghost riding is when someone puts a car in neutral and they get out and dance beside it while it is rolling. It was started by some hip-hoppers in California, but anybody does it, as you will see from this youtube video below.

Putting the old ways to rest

Google Docs is awesome.

It's not as robust as Microsoft Word, but it has all the features I need for pretty much all my writing. If I want to mess with inserting footnotes and all that minute detail, I'll just look at my document in Microsoft Word. It's as easy as that. I can also look at it in PDF or HTML or whatever else I feel like.

That's the beauty of Google Docs. You can access it anywhere, and it is compatible with proprietary software, so there's no headaches of trying to convert documents back and forth. The layout of Google Docs is also straightforward, so there's no steep learning curve. All your basic editing tools are laid out at the top--cut and paste, font magic, insert a photo or table, etc. There's no slight fear of hitting the wrong button and messing the whole document up, as has happened to me with Microsoft Word. (Don't make me tell you about the time I spent with a library patron wrestling with Microsoft Word just to get it to format a single line).

If I were still in school (ha!) I would definitely use Google Docs, if only because the flexibility it affords--I can work on a document anywhere there is internet access and not have to worry about losing my USB drive.

No more school, no more books, no more teacher's dirty looks

It is finished!


I managed to slog through the last class I will (ever?) have to take last night, trying to take notes and pay attention (management topics are rather hard to focus on). It's rather strange--I feel like I can officially call myself an adult now that I've completed graduated, even though I've been one for a while now. While my current job is not completely full-time yet, I consider myself successful--not many library graduates find a library job right away when they get out of school, at least not in their field of interest.

Side note: I've been going to school for 23 years (I'm 26)...think about that.

Monday, December 03, 2007

From the bountiful offerings of the web

A lot of web-based applications have popped up on the web. They are usually free, which is nice for those who don't want to shell out big bucks for Microsoft Office or some other expensive software pack. The one I find particularly interesting, and have actually used even before this lesson, is Google docs. It is similar to Microsoft Office and lets you create or upload documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. The cool thing about this is that you can access your documents wherever there is the internet. You don't have to carry around a USB drive and lose it (like I did). All you need is a free google account. This will be very attractive to students who want to be able to work on their documents anywhere, or who tend to forget things (like I do).

Friday, November 30, 2007

Wikis, again

Editing the Learning 2.0 @ EKU Sandbox page was obscenely easy. Look for my edits under Favorite TV Shows: Pushing Daisies and Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe.

Wikis can be started by just about anyone who has something to say. I guess I could start one on my dream of goats... But I won't. Wikis can be useful for people who want to collaborate on projects together, or for teachers who want to create a website of resources for a class. It could be a good exercise for students to contribute to a wiki. Website creation is not just a random slapping together of links and words--it is something whose purpose needs to be carefully thought out.

Wikis

Today I am learning about wikis. These are basically webpages that can be edited by just about anyone--though, in an effort to prevent erroneous editing, most wikis require editers to set-up an account before they can change or add things to the wikis. The classic example is wikipedia, which I've linked to a lot from my blog. I am a shameless user of this resource, if only to familiarize myself with the wealth of information out there and to see what other users have deemed worthy to include as reference links in their posts. For an example of a really cool entry, see the post on J.R.R. Tolkien. If I'm frustrated with an internet search on some particular topic, I will look it up in wikipedia to see if there are any worthwhile reference links to check out.

Wikis would be very useful to libraries, particularly for behind-the-scenes work. With so much stuff to be aware of, and people located in different parts of the building, it can be hard to keep track of what is going on. Wikis would be a way of consolidating all this information in one place. Giving a particular group of people permission to edit a wiki would enable them to post information to the wiki themselves, instead of relying on a webmaster to do it.

I would love to see a wiki set up for the technical services department of EKU, especially for the serials portion. My supervisor and I each have huge amounts of information related to the journals of EKU, and no good way of sharing it. A wiki could be a way to keep track of projects, publishers, misbehaving journals, etc.

(I feel very funny writing and saying "wiki" a lot).

Monday, November 26, 2007

Delicious links

For those of you who have not noticed, take a moment to admire my wonderful, ever changing list of links immediately to the right of this post, titled "my del.icio.us".
These are all websites I've stumbled across in my unending journey through the web and want to find again.

The beauty of del.icio.us is the ability to tag websites with terms you find meaningful. This tagging feature is particularly helpful once your list of websites to find again grows unwieldly (271 websites and counting..yikes!). I've generated my own variety of tag clouds there. Check out my del.icio.us page to get the full effect.

This tool has become very important to me in my work both at EKU and Clark County. There are tons of websites with information on electronic resources and library technology, as well as countless reference tools that I find invaluable.

Del.icio.us could be a neat tool to add to a library website. Users may appreciate being able to see what their librarians have deemed worthy to bookmark, especially as the wealth of information, both the good and the bad, continues to explode on the web.

What's a tag cloud?



Instead of just being listed alphabetically, varying tags have been "weighted" according to the number of times they have been used in a particular setting, in this case the Michigan State University library catalog. The more times a tag has been used, the larger and bolder it looks in the tag cloud.

I find tag clouds useful, simply because they offer various ways to search for something besides the search terms I used. Instead of wracking my brains for alternative ways to search, I can use tag clouds as a way of reaching materials I may not otherwise ever see.

Tag clouds are created from tags used by people to tag items of interest with terms they think useful. If I were to tag something in Michigan State University's catalog, that tag would probably show up if someone were to search on a related subject. This method, while it seems suspicious to the scholarly researcher, has proven to be quite useful. The odds are quite low that someone is going to take the time to maliciously apply erroneous tags to materials in the hopes of messing up someone's search--who has the time to go through the canon of Renaissance literature in some library's catalog and apply tags like "Fluffy_the_tiger" or "cotton_looms"?

Check out UK's new library catalog, and AADL's catalog for some more examples of tagging.

Go wild with your tagging

I am supposed to consider the joys of tagging for another lesson in the EKU Learning 2.0 series (I am woefully behind):

Maybe some of you have noticed that I've been adding tags to some of my posts. They're not very useful right now, unless I can find a way to get them to display in the right column. Their usefulness grows ever clearer as I realize how helpful they would be in finding some long-ago post. Several times I've had to scroll through my entire blog, trying to find my post on those evil creatures of hell: cave crickets. Imagine how much easier it would be if I just added the tag "cave_crickets" to that well-worn post. All I have to do is click on that tag, and a list of the posts I've created on cave crickets will magically appear.

Now that I've opened an account on flickr, I plan to be diligent in applying tags to each picture. There will come a day when the number of photos on my flickr account will outnumber the grains of sand on a beach and I will be very thankful that I can gather together all pictures of Pope being stupid, or all pictures of our hikes in Damascus, VA, etc.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

North & South

Jenni met a fellow Janeite (I can hear Dwain's cries of horror) who loaned her a BBC production of an Elizabeth Gaskell novel, North & South. It takes place during the Victorian age and tells the story of a minister and his family who move north to a mill town because he objected to some religious detail the bishop wanted to force him to acknowledge. They meet a mill owner, Mr. Thornton, who is very business-oriented but still interested in being educated.
There are plenty of clashes between Mr. Thornton and the minister's daughter, Margaret. Of course they fall in love. It's not just a love story, though. There is a lot of commentary on the social and economic issues of the time. The story focuses on the hardship of the mill-workers and the contrasting concerns of the mill-owners. It was very interesting.
The movie was beautifully shot. The scenes within the cotton mill were gorgeous while disturbing. Tufts of cotton filled the air while the looms worked, like snow, yet it was quite clear how damaging it was to the workers, who breathed the stuff in daily and suffered for it. One of the millworkers says, "When I think of hell, it is white."

Friday, November 16, 2007

Literature and faith

A friend recently asked me my opinion on a particular book and how it relates to the Christian faith. I plan to give it some thought because I wish to respect the concerns some people have concerning the book, while at the same time respecting the concerns the book itself raises.

This has made me think about the activity of reading itself, always a rather dangerous thing, and the relationship between reading and life. For children, this relation can sometimes be obscured so that the two are interchangeable, and in other cases it can heighten the similarities and differences between the two so that the reader's understanding of life is transformed, or challenged. We hope for the latter, but sometimes welcome the former.

I know that reading helped me while I was growing up, not only in the more mundane function of developing a better understanding of language that I could not hear, but in dealing with the frustrations of a life that I felt was rather unfair, and still feel the effects of. We all have thorns in our sides that we wish to escape, and for me, reading was my form of escape. For children, they tend to want to escape the thorn of not being an adult (funny that we adults long for childhood when we spent all of it wishing we could grow up faster) or something like that. Reading is one way of doing that.

I used to be all for letting a kid read whatever they want. Now I hesitate, since there are clearly some books that children simply are not mature enough to process or understand fully. How do we determine what books should be saved for later, and what are fine to read whenever? Do we seek to protect a child from the "bad" things of life, knowing that they will have to come to terms with them sooner or later?

What about issues of religion or morality? Should we try to protect children from different ways of thinking, or allow them to work through it on their own? These are hard questions to consider, especially for parents who want to raise their children in a particular faith. It is tempting to restrict the reading of any kind of literature that opposes their particular faith, but such control tends to lead to children determined to read such "rebellious" literature.

So what is a parent to do? My personal inclination is to allow children to read a broad range of literature they so desire, making sure the literature falls within their reading/maturity level. How else can we understand why we believe what we believe if those beliefs have not been challenged? God has survived much worse attacks than that of some book advocating atheism.

Having worked at Joseph-Beth and seeing the kinds of books available, I know that I would be more reluctant to let my kid read series like "Gossip Girls," which advocate a selfish, consumerist, back-stabbing way of life than some book in which faeries and goblins roam, or where the protoganist has encountered some devastating life event and questions the purpose of life.

I'm going to get off my soapbox here, since I'm sure only one person is reading this to the end. :)

It is finished

I break my blogger fast (I doubt any of you would have really wanted to read what I was thinking about, namely controlled vocabularies and strategic planning and all that fun stuff).

I have just turned in my COMPs essay and must now wait to find out whether I am a librarian or not.

I do get a second chance if I don't pass this time.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

A "better" accent quiz

Jon says this is a better quiz than the other one.

What American accent do you have? (Best version so far)

Northern

You have a Northern accent. That could either be the Chicago/Detroit/Cleveland/Buffalo accent (easily recognizable) or the Western New England accent that news networks go for.

Personality Test Results

Click Here to Take This Quiz
Brought to you by YouThink.com quizzes and personality tests.

Friday, November 09, 2007

What do you sound like?

Here's an interesting quiz.

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Midland

"You have a Midland accent" is just another way of saying "you don't have an accent." You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Missouri) but then for all we know you could be from Florida or Charleston or one of those big southern cities like Atlanta or Dallas. You have a good voice for TV and radio.

The Inland North
The Northeast
The West
Philadelphia
The South
Boston
North Central
What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Clows on the web

I found this endearing essay by my very own dad on the internet. The Clows in the Red River Valley appears to have been written in 1969 (wow, dad existed back then?). There's some funny tidbits, such as the sheriff who drank moonshine, and how my ancestor Charlie Clow accidentally became an American.

This essay popped up in my rambling genealogical search. I'm getting used to doing reference work, and genealogy is a big deal at Clark County (and just about everywhere else, to hear those patrons talk), so I'm researching my own family history to get acquainted with that kind of research.

So far, I've determined that bucketfuls of Clows emigrated to Prince Edward Island (imagine my proximity to Anne of Green Gables and Emily of New Moon!) from Suffolk, England, and from PEI to the Red River Valley in northwestern Minnesota. I also found out that my Grandma was born on the White Earth Reservation in MN (as reported on the census). So I've got some small amount of Ojibwe (Chippewa) blood in me.

An altogether very enjoyable way to work!

A mouse is just a mouse

I helped a lady at the library who had no idea how to use the computer. This observation didn't hit me until after she had left--I could have demonstrated a few basic things for her. My perspective needs to be adjusted. I'm used to working at an academic library where everyone knows how to use the computer and is keeping up with the trends. At the public library, they offer beginning computer classes. By beginning, I mean they literally start at the beginning, demonstrating how to turn on the computer, use the mouse, etc.

This is one of the reasons why I like working in libraries, and why public libraries hold a special place in my heart. They are the poor man's university, often the only place where people can access information through free books and the internet.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Fashionable disability aids

This is a hearing aid.

In animal print.


Is this a style of hearing aid my audiologist will recommend when I go and get checked out?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Killing ourselves thinking

The power of the brain amazes me.

Somehow I am able to go from whining about a paper, the initial composition of which is like pulling teeth, to knowing exactly what to write and tying it all together in a logical fashion. It's that in-between period that I can't understand. What happens that enables the finished product?

All I know is that while your conscious part feels dead, somehow the unconscious part is plugging away, percolating ideas while you sleep, while you stare aimlessly into space. I first discovered this while studying for exams--we would study late into the night, force ourselves to sleep at least 4 hours, then get up and study a little more before the test.

Somehow, things made more sense after sleeping than before. We no longer had to cram stuff in--it was already neatly organized in our thoughts, like a book had been written and filed away while we slept, and all we needed to do when taking the test was to pull that book out.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

We are family

We went to Aunt Opal's 90th birthday celebration in Springfield, Ohio this past weekend. Debbie has a large and rather rambunctious family. I'm still a little shell shocked from all the noise, but it was neat to meet some more of her folks and see how far the Noble & Ryman side of the family extend.
Aunt Opal let Jon and I root through one of her desks (which looked like it hadn't been touched since the 40's), so we had a lot of fun looking at old pictures of the Ryman family, various papers, the inevitable bullet casing, pocketknives--all the stuff you find in old desks. I think this is why I like to go antiquing--not necessarily to buy anything, but just to look at old things and imagine their history.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Tagging and cataloging should be friends

Tagging is Web 2.0's answer to cataloging. Basically, you assign a word or term that you think is important to whatever item you want to find again, like a website or a picture. This is particularly helpful when you've accumulated a big list of pictures and want find all the pictures of your pet porcupine Prickly. You can tag those pictures "porcupine" or "Prickly" or "pet" or whatever term is meaningful to you.

Tagging becomes pretty cool when you can share your tags with other people, such as on the website LibraryThing. You can see if other people have used the same tags as you, or if they have better tags. This social aspect of tagging ties into the concept of Web 2.0, where people can share information and even create information together.

Some libraries are joining the tagging bandwagon, such as UK Libraries with their Encore interface or the Ann Arbor District Library, which allows its patrons to tag materials in the catalog.

I think this is all very cool, even if some librarians don't. Some catalogers are decrying tagging, saying it is akin to letting a bunch of typing monkeys go wild in the world of information, which should be carefully organized and categorized just so. I think they're missing the point of tagging. It's just another form of organization, albeit a much more relaxed one.

Besides, I think the popularity of tagging should be a clue that users don't find much use for the standard library catalog (what do you expect if the standard subject heading is "cookery" not "cooking"?), which is static in comparison to the dynamics of the web. I'm not advocating the abolishment of subject headings (they're still quite helpful for researchers), rather pointing to the need for libraries to evolve and take advantage of new technology.

The unending search for knowledge

A search on Wendell Berry in google turns up 1,150,000 hits. How much of this is actually relevant to what I'm interested in is anybody's guess, but google does a pretty good job of pulling the good stuff to the very top.


A keyword search in EKU's library catalog, eQuest, turns up 92 results. A subject search in eQuest brings back 9 hits, while an author search brings back 69 hits ( the man is a prolific writer!)

Obviously the results list for these searches in eQuest is much smaller because the search was limited to just what the library actually owns . This is good for those of us who are physically stuck in the Crabbe Library and just want to know what books there are for us to touch.

Searches in eQuest will bring back much smaller, precise results, especially if one limits the search to subject headings or author headings--those carefully controlled terms that only a select few can establish, and which are only applied to those records that are explicitly about those certain subjects, or written by those particular authors.

For example, the subject heading "Berry, Wendell, 1934- --Criticism and interpretation" will only be attached to records for books that are actually studies of Mr. Berry's books, so one can be pretty certain that searching by this subject heading will bring back only relevant results, not some children's book that happens to have the words "berry" and "interpretation" scattered somewhere in the text.

Compare this with a google search, which does not rely on actual assigned subject headings, but on different factors, such as the number of times a certain word shows up in a website, and what part of the website it appears in (in the title of a website, or down at the bottom?). But while a google search will inevitably bring in some irrelevant results, it still does a pretty good job in pointing out many websites of interest. Hence, the googlization of the world (of which I am a happy partaker).

My favorite way of searching for books is to do keyword searches in Amazon. When I find a book of interest, I'll search for it in my library catalog, or worldcat (notice the worldcat search box in my blog?), to see what subject headings it has been given, and search library catalogs by those subject headings. I've found quite a few things of interest this way.

And the pile of things to read grows and grows..

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Making friends

A junco made friends with us on top of Grassy Ridge in Roan Mountain State Park, TN.

We were admiring the view of Roan Mountain and the surrounding ridges when Jon whispered, "There's something coming our way." No sooner had he said that than this little slate-colored bird fearlessly stuck its head around the rocks we were sitting on. We must not have appeared threatening because it approached us and took its time hopping a circle around us on the rock, pecking here and there, clicking its beak, fixing us with a curious eye now and then. I could have reached out and touched it.

While we're on animal matters... a mouse landed on my head while I was asleep in the Fire Warden's cabin on Roan Mountain. It must have been making a flying leap for our food bag, which was suspended from a mouse deterrent hanging from the ceiling. I don't think either of us was very happy with the situation.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Resumes

I'm working on my resume and not enjoying it at all. How does one convey that you are knowledgeable about something even if you don't know it all? Writing down my skills and qualifications always makes me feel as if I am over-stating myself. I hate these types of grey areas, especially in such a changing field as libraries where technology keeps leaping forward like Hagrid's skrewts.

I just want to say: here I am. I do a good job because I am always learning.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Here there be dragons


Fairy tales are more than true,
not because they tell us that dragons exist,
but because they teach us that dragons can be defeated.
G.K. Chesterton


There's something fishy here

Dwain and Miah had a sushi bonanza last night.

I think I can safely say that I will never, not ever, like the taste of raw fish all by itself. Having tried it twice over the past year, I can safely add it to my list of abominable tasting things (which is very short, thankfully) and never try it again.

However, the sushi rolls (rice, seaweed, various veggies, some raw thing or other) were quite delicious.

Friday, October 05, 2007

In-laws


In-laws
Originally uploaded by ozimanndias8
The Edwards...

I'm trying to figure out how flickr posts to blogger.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

A tooth

Autumn has a tooth now. If only it were this easy to excite such declarations of pride in our loved ones.

We saw her last Saturday, and I can't get over how she keeps changing. Perhaps the most unnerving of all was the fact that she has started thinking. She would gaze at you with a somber expression and it was quite clear that she was sizing you up. Not unlike suffering the steady gaze of a cat (of which I suffered plenty last night).

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Down to the creek

A place that I consider very dear to my heart is no longer in the family. My aunt and uncle have moved away from their place in the country. They had no choice in the matter, so I am quite happy that they have found a wonderful new home.

But there is still a queer sensation in my stomach as I think about the lane Jenny, Rosie, and I walked down countless times, gravel crunching underneath as we laughed and talked about everything--boys, friends, school, books, everything silly and serious that concerns growing girls.

The cats and dogs would always keep us company, the cats pretending that they just happened to be heading our way, the dogs too stupid to care about pretense. They would leap and prance, snapping at the air, happy to be going somewhere. There was nearly always a hawk in the air, hunting in the fields bordering the lane.

We would cross the road at the end of the lane and forge our way through the sharp waist-high prairie grass to the creek--for the creek was nearly always our destination, a hidden place. You never knew where exactly its path was until you nearly fell in, for the creek was always changing its way through the grass, subtly, slowly with each passing year.

It seems we grew up there, though I know we hardly went there as often as memory misleads me to think. But we went often enough that it has become a backdrop for my childhood--the prairie grass and the wide open wind mixing with such sensations as the smell of woodsmoke and the harsh scrape of Grandpa's mustache when he kissed my cheek and the crisp page of a book in my hands as my parents and I all sit quietly together, reading.

All this serves to tell me what this queerness is: I am grieving.
I should also mention that this paper is a management paper.

Ugh.

I have read too many quasi-scientific papers in which the behaviors of the human race have been reduced to numbers that somehow fit into an equation that purports to predict how they will act next.

Jon told me, "Welcome to the scientific method."

He also said that if psychologists can predict what people will do 20% of the time, they are considered geniuses. He would never have approached his adviser with results that abysmally low in his soil science experiments.

A ring of fire

I finally understand why I procrastinate.

When I am working on a project, particularly a paper, it tends to take over my life. I live and breathe the project to the point where it becomes like the ring of fire that encompasses Frodo's life towards the end of his quest. It becomes the only real thing in my life, and everything else a shadow, while the paper is being formed in my mind, random ideas being knitted together into coherent sentences.

Even my dreams are affected (I am a wonderful sleeper, to Jon's chagrin, except during these times), becoming like fretful little squirrels in the face of the behemoth that has taken up residence in my head.

I don't like it. So I procrastinate.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Lolcats

Here are a couple silly pictures from a silly website I found out about through facebook:





Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Will the circle be unbroken?

A lady I worked with at EKU passed away unexpectedly last week. Her desk was on the other side of mine, behind a flimsy cubicle wall. Throughout the day, I could catch glimpses of her movements through a crack in that wall--picking up a journal, sitting in her chair--myriad actions that reminded me that someone was on the other side, always ready for a little chat...

I don't know why I dwell on such an ordinary memory, something that doesn't indicate our growing friendship, other than that remembering those fleeting glimpses makes the present all the more stark: her chair is empty, the computer screen on her desk black.

Monday, September 10, 2007

The ordering of love

Madeleine L'Engle passed away recently.


I don't remember when I first read her books. My memory of them is timeless, like that of my parents. They've been there since before I can remember, before I even knew that memories are something to be made and cherished, what the older folk meditate on in their later years.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Electronic resources madness

The past couple of days have been a little crazy, work-wise. A librarian emailed ERIL, an electronic resources listserv, asking if anyone had started compiling a list of publishers and their perpetual access policies (for those of you happily unaware of what this means, I think you should remain so, if not, go here for clarification). I innocently responded that I had started such a spreadsheet and would be happy to share.

Well.

If I counted correctly (I can't make the picture above any clearer), I got about 170 responses within the past two days, mostly of "me too!" emails. There were even some responses from abroad: Hong Kong, France, England, Slovenia, Beirut! Obviously this is a big issue.

The cool thing about all this is that my supervisor, electronic resources librarian Kelly Smith, and some other people associated with ER&L (Electronic Resources & Libraries) are going to start developing a wiki (a website that can be edited by anyone) that will be based on this spreadsheet so interested people can contribute to this ongoing project.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Animals everywhere

Here is some of the wildlife we saw:


1) wild turkey



2) Southeastern five-lined skink

We almost saw a black bear.

These don't count:
-deer
-squirrel




Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Wise old sages

Hooray for Professor Dumbledore!

Oh the things I never knew

I found out about some funny quizzes through the blog of one of the librarians here at EKU :



What Kind of Guy Will You Fall For?

You would fall for the geek. If you're looking for love, consider spending a little more time studying up in the library. To you, there's nothing more attractive than intelligence, shyness, and kindness; your future love may have four eyes and zero social skills, but he'll make up for it in brains and heart.
Find Your Character @ BrainFall.com




Which Disney Villain Are You?

You are Lady Tremaine. You're the evil stepmother little girls have nightmares about. Hooray for you, who helped kids learn to love their birth parents and do everything possible to avoid stepparents. Next time, though, be careful not to get in between a girl and her dreams.
Find Your Character @ BrainFall.com




Which Harry Potter Character Are You?

You are Dumbledore. You're the wise sage in any group. With your guidance, any situation can be resolved in the fairest way possible.
Find Your Character @ BrainFall.com

The merry-go-round of web 2.0 applications

I'm not too interested in learning about all the web 2.0 applications out there simply because there's so much out there! You can create online "to-do" lists, make your own wiki, join all sorts of social networking sites, make your own travel page, etc. etc. etc. etc. If you want to dive into the madness yourself, go to Web2List yourself.

We're supposed to write about something that might be useful for work. So here's what I found before I got web 2.0 fatigue: Connotea. This is a "free online reference management" tool that lets you save citations and webpages to your account for easy access later. This is certainly a helpful tool to recommend for researchers. I haven't explored it too much--I wonder if it allows you to save citations from databases that the library subscribes to?

For fun, here's a link for all you scrapbookers out there: Scrapblog. This is a free website that lets you create online scrapbook pages. Here's a sample scrapbook: Old Wind Gap Postcards. This has a nostalgic flair to it. Here's another one, made by one of the PLCMC people who created the original Learning 2.0 playground: My favorite books (warning: this contains some Jane Austen pictures).

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Sense of s p a c e

The personal space bubble of people from abroad is quite different than that of Americans. Jon and I were routinely elbowed off various trails in the Smokies by large Indian families. They weren't being rude, though it was hard to be gracious after several close calls with the dangerous edge to nothing but a graceful dive into the welcoming arms of the rocks below.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Out in the mountains

Jon and I just got back from a weekend in the Smokies. We stayed at Standing Bear Farm, which is located about 200 yards from the Appalachian Trail, right on the border of North Carolina and Tennessee. It is nestled in a little hollow, with mountains rising up on either side--absolutely beautiful!
The cabin we stayed at sat on top of a stream (though there wasn't much of one while we were there). When Jon first stayed here, back when he was hiking the AT, he said the sound of running water lulled him to sleep. There was an outhouse and a snug shed with hot water for washing up and showering. Everything the body needs--though I was a little nervous about going into the outhouse with 2 huge wolfish spiders nesting in the corner, until Jon investigated and told me that they were dead.
We biked through Cade's Cove, where I had my first accident on my bike, and hiked up to some old growth trees above Laurel Falls on Saturday. On Sunday, Jon climbed the road on his bike up to Clingman's Dome while I did some hiking. We met up at the top and admired the spectacular view of the fog. On our way back down, I drove behind him while he descended on his bike. I had a hard time keeping up with him in spots--he was going over the speed limit of 35 mph!
A very pleasant way to spend the weekend, though I'm a little sore from all the activity!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

One of the books I worked with today was Snog the Frog. Can you guess what it's about?

Monday, August 27, 2007

Search engine fatigue

Rollyo is a tool that lets you create a search engine that will search only trusted websites on a particular topic of your choosing. All you have to do is add whatever websites you want to a list, name the search engine, and you're good to go. For example, here' s a link to Ainulindalë, which searches several J.R.R. Tolkien-related websites.

We're supposed to create our own search engine, but I have to think about that one; we don't need to add my half-hearted attempt right now. Rollyo seems to work well for those searches that are specific, like the Tolkien example above, or the Mr. Fix-It! search engine. I explored a knitting pattern search engine, and the results were awful--too many blog posts, not enough actual patterns.

For most of the search engines I explored, I kept thinking: I could just google it, and get quicker results! However, Rollyo would work well for people who know exactly what websites they trust and want to search only those, like reference librarians or educators. I personally tend to like the serendipitous nature of google--you just never know what you'll find.

Maybe I'll make a meat goat search engine.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

A birthday

Yesterday was unusually packed full of activity (at least for me).

I woke up fully aware of my dream, which strangely coherent and chronological: we were all part of the Viking expedition to North America, exploring the coast land of Canada with Leif Ericsson.

Jenni, Autumn, & Sue came over in the morning. We went to Magee's for breakfast, chatted and watched Autumn squirming around in her stroller. She started doing seated rows with the plastic thing (whatchamacallit) that you can set sippy-cups and other whatnots on--so determined she was to put it in her mouth (or get her mouth on it).

We toured Waveland, which had the standard dining room with plastic representations of what they might have eaten back then. I always find those kinds of details amusing--like we're all playing make-believe.

After that, it was back to the house for BLTs and Miss Potter for a movie, though Autumn turned out to be the entertainment for us, squirmy little thing so determined to get to the coffee table, or the cat.

She can crawl now--hence the struggle for independence begins.

After that it was dinner with the Edwards, then dessert at the Greek Festival with entertainment provided by girls doing the hora.

Jon and I finished the night on an anti-climatic note looking for an antennae for his truck.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Tom Brown's School days

Class starts in about half an hour. This will be my last class (hopefully).

I have been in school for about 23 years.

An odd sort of melancholy is settling over me; school has been like a younger brother to me (no offense intended, Ben). I disdain it on the outside, but secretly don't mind it so much. I hope this doesn't make me one of those professional "students" that make classes their full-time job.

Monday, August 20, 2007

The true university of these days is a collection of books.--Thomas Carlyle

I was quite pleased Kelly chose LibraryThing as one of the fun applications for Learning2.0 folks to play with. It's ridiculously fun for us bookish people.
My catalog is still a paltry 10 or so books--I'm sure it's getting quite boring to look at the random selection of books that LibraryThing inserts into my blog--but I plan to change that...when I have time. The limit for books is around 200, then you have to pay a lifetime membership nominal fee for more than that. I have over 1000 books, so I'm not quite sure I want to go that route.
What I love about LibraryThing is the Suggester tool, and its polar opposite, the UnSuggester tool. The Suggester tool is quite obvious--and works quite well, too. Once I start meandering through the links of suggestions, I forget what book started the journey.
For an idea of how the UnSuggester tool works, I input Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, and the list of books that came back included:
-Brothers, we are not professional: a plea to pastors for radical ministry, John Piper
-Greek grammar beyond the basics: an exegetical syntax of the New Testament, Mr. Daniel B. Watson
-More ready than you realize: evangelism as dance in the postmodern matrix, Brian D. McLaren.
I'm a little curious about these results, since I actually own some wonderful books by Brian D. McLaren and <gasp> enjoyed reading them. I suppose they must think that all Christians view fantasy with disdain.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Cicada

A cicada hitched a ride with me on my errands yesterday. It perched on a windshield wiper like a jeweled ornament, bravely holding on in the buffeting winds while I drove.

According to wikipedia, the song of a cicada is used by filmmakers and animators as a "means of representing silence, pathos, and the great outdoors." (I got that from here ).

Never thought you'd learn something while reading this blog, I suppose?

Monday, August 13, 2007

The search for feeds

The only search engine for RSS feeds that I actually liked was Technorati. It actually works. I could limit my searches to actual blogs, rather than postings by everyone and his dog about the particular topic I was looking for. The other websites suggested, like Feedster and Syndic8, either froze on me or returned ridiculously long lists of results.
I used Technorati to search for Jane Austen-related blogs. (I just found a blog dedicated to the new movie Becoming Jane--further prove that I am a hopeless Austen addict in Dwain's opinion). This is probably the only time I'll use Technorati--I prefer learning about feeds and websites through word-of-mouth and things I read. I trust those sources more (word-of-mouth always takes you in cool new directions you would never have thought to take).

Sunday, August 12, 2007

"Our little systems have their day."--Tennyson, In Memoriam

Another reason why I love libraries...
The other day, I came across this book: Forensic Science: an encyclopedia of history, methods, and techniques. Its introduction was quite imaginative and engrossing, a far cry from the typical droning "Chapter one is about... Chapter two is about..." The author opened each section of his history with a quote from literature.
He started off the whole introduction with "The world's history is the world's judgment." (Friedrich von Schiller, Lectures, May 1789). In writing about how the Industrial Revolution led to the invention of some elaborately named construction that made forensic science possible, he quoted Shakespeare, "The brightest heaven of invention..." (from King Henry V). From there, it was but a leap to "By a set of curious chances..." (Gilbert, The Mikado), relating to the explosion of applied science discoveries in the 19th century.
"Turning to poison..." (Keats, "Ode on Melancholy") and "For the red blood reigns..." (Shakespeare, The Winter's Tale) opened sections on very obvious things that forensic science is interested in.
In discussing how research in other fields of science helped forensic science, the relevant quote was "The true university of these days is a collection of books." (Thomas Carlyle, "Heroes and Hero Worship Lecture V. The Hero as a Man of Letters") The dawn of the twentieth century merited the quote "Brave New World" (Aldous Huxley, title of his book). The section on increased sophistication in identification was introduced by "The American system of rugged individualism..." (Hoover, campaign speech, 1928). The ability to solve crimes long past due to biometrics (use of bodily evidence) had this curious quote "I have been looking for a person...all my life" (Sydney Smith, Memoir, Chapter 9), as well as this rousing Shakespearean one, "...summon up the blood" (King Henry V).
And for those of us who watch shows like Law & Order, "Rome has spoken; the case is concluded" (St. Augustine, Sermons, Book 1), which refers to the importance of case law in establishing what can be used as evidence.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Weakness

I should not have shown a sign of weakness. The dark gods have pounced.

There is a baby cave cricket in the kitchen.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Mammoth Cave

We went to Mammoth Cave this weekend. How wonderfully glorious to go underground on a wool-muggy day!

Here are some cave crickets. Back when we were living together, many many years ago, Jenni and I called them spidickets because we had no idea what they were. One time, the power went out; knowing what we would probably see, we turned on a flashlight and saw that 20-30 of these ugly thumb-length creatures had materialized out of the woodwork.

It puts me in mind of the goblins in the mines of Moira, and Gandalf calmly saying: "They are coming." That is how we felt just before turning on the flashlight.

A link to a previous post about this vile things...

Monday, July 30, 2007

The Inscrutable Ways of Cats


Meet Oscar, the cat that can sense death.

Cats are as various as they come.

Our own Pope is quite blissfully, thoroughly full of himself. That appears to be his only skill.

Friday, July 27, 2007

RSS feeds

I like the idea of RSS feeds in theory, but I wasn't too sure about them in practice. I think this is because most of my web-surfing activity consists of checking a few, relatively static, websites regularly, with the occasional foray into speeding-bullet-updated websites. I'm not a a big news-checker on the web--seeing the daily news, glimpsing the occasional newspaper headline, and word-of-mouth does it for me--which is something that RSS feeds would work really well for.
But I went ahead and set one up, just to see what it's like. I've set up an account on Bloglines, and after the initial overwhelming, stumbling-around-the-website-tour, I got started. Jane Austen related blogs were my focus, since I knew I had to be interested in checking my feeds.
Since I know you're so curious, here's what I've subscribed to so far:
Austenblog...she's everywhere
Jane Austen's world
Books & Culture
Modestly Yours
Relevant Magazine
Tame the Web
EKU Library Learning 2.0
Dwain's blog

What I like about Bloglines so far is the ability to display items as far back as a month, or just one day ago. Being able to just click on a feed in the lefthand column is certainly quicker than typing in an URL. What I miss is getting the website experience--seeing the layout, the colors, the graphics that the creator put into creating their website. Kind of like how having the actual book in hand while you're reading it is preferable to reading bits and pieces on a computer screen.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

St Vincent, Minnesota School


St Vincent, Minnesota School
Originally uploaded by Joan44
And here's another one. Dad (and Grandma)--is this the school you guys went to?

St Vincent, Minnesota flood (1955,56 or 57??)

The things you can find on flickr.com!

I wanted to see just how broad a net Flickr casts in its photo coverage--apparently, it's quite thoroughly broad! I just found some photos from the area where my dad grew up--the little town of St. Vincent, MN, located in the northwest corner of Minnesota, several miles south of the Canadian border.

Here's a photo of the frequent floods in the area.

Monday, July 23, 2007

The places Flickr takes you...


Flickr has lots of applications that you can have fun with. Retrivr lets you create a sketch, and it will search Flickr for pictures that match that sketch. The results don't always seem to match your sketch, but who cares....they're still fun to browse!

While fiddling around with the Retrivr application, I stumbled across a picture taken by one of EKU's own librarians. The sweet little baby in the middle of the picture was taken by our own Cindi Trainor. I'm not sure how a clumsy sketch of an eye managed to pull up a baby, but the association is intriguing, nonetheless. The ways the internet can connect people!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

It is finished

I finished the book yesterday. All 750-some pages. I got up with Jon around 6 AM, started reading it at 6:30 AM and finished it around 7:30 PM. It was like a mini-vacation for me, though I did have to take some breaks just to let my eyes readjust. With those breaks accounted for, it took about 8 hours to read.

If you can believe it, Jon was actually curious about how it ended!

The Harry Potter release party at JB was insane. I'm glad I went, just to see what it's like, but I can't remember the last time I was surrounded by a buzzing horde of excited teeny-boppers. There must have been hundreds upon hundreds of people there.

Lots of sweet little Harry Potters running around, with over-large glasses slipping down tiny noses, stumbling over their robes. There were even some duels going on, though Abbi and I thought that the point of wands was to cast spells, not hit people...

The older kids had some clever costumes. There was a whomping willow--the girl was dressed in filmy green fabric, with some leaves tucked into her hair, with a car hubcap hooked over her arm (you'll have to read Chamber of Secrets to know why). There was a portrait--a girl wearing a dress and holding a frame. There were plenty of snitches--one girl was wearing gold lame tights, yellow t-shirt, and wings (you'll have to find out about Quidditch to understand this). A lot of fun to observe.

All good things must come to an end.

Friday, July 20, 2007

At long last

The book comes out tonight!

If you can believe it, I'm planning on going to JB tonight and STAYING PAST MY BEDTIME until 1 AM to get the book.

My original plan of going in Saturday morning sounded too boring when Abbi regaled me with tales of Harry Potter release parties at JB.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Worldcat

I hope you've noticed the new addition to this blog. I remembered enough html to figure out exactly where to put the code for it in the rest of the code for the blog. I'm quite proud of myself, if I may say so.
This search engine is kind of like amazon.com. It allows you to search for books in libraries all over the place. It may even have more stuff contained in it than amazon.com. This is a service based on Worldcat, a database containing most (if not all) the records that libraries participating in it have ever created.
Kelly told me there was a movement among libraries towards using Localcat as their front-end catalog--a way to provide a more powerful search engine than what traditional (dinky) integrated library systems could offer.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Facebook, some reflections

Other than the fact that I feel like I'm back in high school (albeit a much more friendly version) with all these "adding friends" and "throwing sheep" and "casting spells" options, Facebook is kinda fun, though a little addictive. I don't think I'll find much use for it after the learning exercises are over, unless my friends keep in touch.

What I found particularly of interest was the various groups/networks one can join. This could be helpful for maintaining an informal relationship with your peers, such as OVGTSL or Kentucky Libraries. This is the only reason I think I will maintain a Facebook account.

It might be beneficial for a library to maintain an account on sites such as Facebook or MySpace, especially if their target audience is the younger generation. If it joined various networks to broaden its reach, this could help draw the attention of those people who might never otherwise set foot in a library. It's kinda cool to see a library demonstrate its technological finesse, particularly since the bookish stereotype of 'hallowed hall of learning' tends to make people think libraries are stuck in the past.

Lakes of the Clouds hut


DSCF0133
Originally uploaded by jdebner
I've been here!

If you follow the trail back down to the hut and on past it, you will reach Mount Washington (hidden by the fog).

This is located in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Jon and I could keep coming back every year and be gloriously happy.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

I Saw The Book

I just saw The Harry Potter Book today.

I walked past piles of them--they were like waves of orange and red meandering along the conveyor belt (BWI has a large processing facility with conveyor belts that snake throughout the whole warehouse).

For half an hour, I sat next to 30 of them as Charles, one of the other catalogers, prepped them for delivery. It's a curious sensation to know that the conclusion of everything rests within those orange and red covers, and how easily I could reach out and flip to the last page. Yet my reader's instinct stays the irrational thought--I remain (oddly) coolly distant, knowing how much more delight I will get from reading all 784 pages.

Mom says I'm obsessive.

But considering how infrequently I get excited about things, I think we can let this slide. I thought of all the children feverishly waiting for 12:01 AM July 21st, knowing how much harder it would be for them to see so many books and not be able to touch them--part of my excitement is on their behalf.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

SecondLife spoof

This is a hilarious spoof of SecondLife. (SecondLife is a virtual reality community where you can interact with other people, fly if you feel like it, build a home, etc...it's become so big that librarians are actually staffing a virtual reference desk in it)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=flkgNn50k14

Who wants to throw sheep?

I've just visited MySpace and was reminded why I never developed my profile there. The sensation one gets from wading around that site is of a deer caught in the headlights. Where do you go? How do you get out? These questions are blindsided by the sheer volume of advertising on that site.

I managed to find a friend there, and the experience lightened up considerably, though it was still a little overwhelming. I was surprised at the difference between MySpace and Facebook. I thought the former would have as much, if not more, "stuff" going on, yet Facebook trumps MySpace in everything and manages to maintain a friendly user-interface. To see what I'm talking about, check out my account. Apparently, you can do silly things like throw sheep at people, too (I have not yet loaded that feature).

Whether I maintain my profile at Facebook depends on how much energy I want to invest in it, and whether I develop an actual community of people to interact with--it's not much fun if you're just posting messages to yourself. That's one thing to remember with all these cool new things developing on the internet: just what exactly can I use this for? I don't want to fall into the old trap I did when email was a new thing: checking it almost every hour, just in case.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Community and the American way of life


I'm reading Bill McKibben's book "Deep economy: the wealth of communities and the durable future." He says that we need to return to a more local community--supporting local farmers, keeping our money local--and we need to learn to get by with less (ie do you really need to buy the latest Martha Stewart kitchen appliance when the one you've got works just fine).
One thing that really struck me is his statement that the American way of life is not sustainable, much less so if the rest of the world is trying to attain our level of living. We humans may want it to be true, but the earth just can't keep up with our growing demands.
Is this true? At her talk, Barbara Kingsolver posited a similar stance, that we should strive to become "locavores"--eating locally--to help conserve the amount of oil that goes just into transporting food. She made the statement that "It's not a question of 'what if' the oil runs out, but 'when.'"
One disadvantage of being hearing impaired is waking up to cat puke on the bed, and knowing you slept quite peacefully through the process that got it there.

Pope has done it twice since we've moved to the new place.

Why he insists on vomiting on what little scraps of carpet or blankets we have scattered throughout the enormous space of easy-to-clean hardwood, we will never know.

Monday, July 09, 2007

One does not initially think of libraries and MySpace in the same sentence.

Yet it works. I've just looked at some examples of libraries creating pages on MySpace to reach out to their targeted communities (mostly teenagers/college students). What blew me away was the number of people who had "friend-ed" them--some libraries had over 1,000 friends listed on their profile pages. Clearly, they're doing something right.

I find this exciting because now libraries are starting to reach out instead of waiting for people to come to them. In this age of google, it's hard for patrons to see why they should bother coming to the library if they can just google everything. But the library is more than about finding information, it's about learning new things, being exposed to different ideas. It's a center of community, and now it is adding a virtual component to that community.

I think libraries need to remember that the key here is to maintain the page as other MySpace-ers do: shake it up, and keep up. Static pages are last century--MySpace is about networking, which means it's a two-way street: people will respond to you, and you need to respond back. Libraries also should talk about more than just what the latest books are in the collection--after all, books are but a part of the collection, no longer the main thing (though they remain so for me). Do they have what it takes to keep up, and maintain it?

Kelly makes a interesting point about social networking fatigue and wonders how it will affect the library's focus on providing quality service to their patrons. I think this is a valid concern to address--a library really needs to determine what will serve their patrons best.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Barbara Kingsolver is a powerful, lyrical writer. Her book Prodigal Summer manages to slip you science lessons here and there without your knowledge--at the moment, all you know is that you are thoroughly immersed in the lush Appalachian life she weaves for you, able to hear the birds trilling, see the tan blur of a coyote, feel the honeysuckle in your hand.

Pope and the bogeyman

The cat jumped on my head last night right when I turned off the light and rolled over to go to sleep. I have the mark and blood to prove it.

My first thought was a mouse (Pope usually knows that claws+human skin=not good). But I didn't find anything except Pope crouched wide-eyed under the bed.

Which makes me uneasy for several reasons:
  1. if there was a mouse...I don't even want to go there
  1. it was something else
I am more attuned to Pope's behavior than most people--he's my hearing ear cat, if you will. So I notice when he reacts to things--like someone at the door, or the phone ringing--but I also notice when he gets startled, or starts staring at something, or is generally acting strange. Last night, he was staring at the door, as if there was something on the other side. Never mind that this apartment is new for the both of us, with its new sounds and nooks and corners, it was at night and we were alone with my overactive imagination and the knowledge that in stories and folklore, cats are able to see through the veil separating this world from the realm of the unknown--for instance, in Constantine, gaze into a cat's eyes long enough, and you will be transported to hell.

Yes, I am still afraid of bogeymen. In my defense, Sue is too, and we commiserate.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Web 2.0

EKU is doing a "class" of sorts for its staff, helping us all learn more about new technologies that feed into the Web 2.0 concept--things like RSS feeds, blogs, wikis, folksonomies, etc. The idea being that having staff in tune with the times will be especially beneficial since the people we are serving are so tech-savvy (college students, young people, young-er people (than me)). I am borderline Millenial/Gen I, or whatever that generation is, which means I should be tech savvy... yet reading a book still wins the day.

Anyways, they had us watch a very intriguing, inspiring video that really communicates what Web 2.0 is all about. ( have no idea how to make the video show up in this blog.)

Web 2.0 is increasingly about collaboration, about people reaching out to each other, sharing information, learning from each other, learning from the process. It also makes me think of Vannevar Bush's memex machine--a sort of intuitive machine that would work like the human brain does, forging connections between all sorts of things (like the way we associate memories with specific physical items, for instance--whenever I smell woodsmoke, I think of Grandpa N.; whenever I see Mr. Darcy's name in print, I immediately think of Colin Firth, etc.), allowing us to manipulate it in an intuitive way, following connections here and there.

What does this mean for libraries? I have no idea--who knows how the internet works? No one is quite sure where it will go next. I never thought about blogs until I read a friend's blog--now I can't live without it. I never thought about RSS feeds, but now I see they are a neat way to keep up with the news, with new posts to blogs. This is all quite new and still changing (a process that will never end)--something that libraries are not used to. They are used to remaining still, to gathering information and cataloging it and putting it on the shelf and having it remain in one spot on that shelf so that when someone comes in asking for it, they can be taken to that one spot. The internet is quite different. You can't be sure that information will still be there in that one spot--which makes it a challenge to provide access to it (cataloging/tagging) and find it (reference).

Which means we are either in for a fight, or in for an exciting time. Which will it be?

Wednesday, July 04, 2007










Dr. Russell Arben Fox gleans clues from the cover of the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, one of which involves the mysterious veiled arch that we see in the Order of the Phoenix.
The countdown begins for the last Harry Potter book...

Lots of rumors are flying about what will happen: will Harry die? Whose side is Snape really on? How will Voldemort be defeated? and so on and so forth. I've read some intriguing guesses about what will happen, from predictable places like the Leaky Cauldron, and from not so predictable places like Books & Culture--Alan Jacobs muses over what might happen.

I am starting to seriously suspect that Harry will die--that he will willingly sacrifice his life to completely and utterly destroy Voldemort. What makes me lean this way, however reluctantly, is the fact that I've just read a quote from JK Rowling:

"Every time I’ve been asked if I believe in God, I've said yes, because I do, but no one ever really has gone any more deeply into it than that, and I have to say that does suit me, because if I talk too freely about that I think the intelligent reader, whether 10 or 60, will be able to guess what’s coming in the books." (Wyman, Max. " 'You can lead a fool to a book but you can't make them think': Author has frank words for the religious right," The Vancouver Sun (British Columbia), October 26, 2000)

Other people are afraid of this, and of how it will affect the kids who have grown up with Harry. There are even articles out there counseling parents on what to do and say should Harry die. I don't see the need to worry so much--kids are tougher than we think, or are willing to admit.
We are officially at the new place.

The past couple weeks have been a blur of moving endless boxes and cleaning (most of it involving attacking Pope's relentless fur --Jon & I have a theory that when we've vacuumed up every bit of wisp of fur we see, Pope's body will spontaneously emit a new round of fur balls, like a walking time bomb of sorts), and a lot of things have been neglected, like this blog.

I'm still settling in, getting used to light switches in different places and a gas stove and windows on the first floor--not only can we look out, but people can look in. Pope has discovered a new source of entertainment--birds pecking on the grass right outside our living room window. We're no longer in the trees, where he could watch squirrels bounding from branch to branch.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

So Dwain's off doing fantastic things on his and Miah's cross-country trip, and the most I can blog about is starting a new job today--the learning experience there isn't quite as pleasurable as the learning one gains through travel.

They pretty much threw me in the deep end and had me start cataloging right away. There really isn't any other way to learn, but all the same, I feel a little bone-dry, as if everything I've ever learned has just turned to sand and slipped through my fingers.

I think I'll enjoy it there. My fellow co-workers are quirky and have a good sense of humor--that tends to be a good combination.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Well, we don't have a particular dresser anymore. The pieces are sitting in the new apartment, waiting for re-purposing.

This is very funny--I am the kind of person that laughs when these kinds of things happen, because what else can you do?

We were moving our buffet and the tall dresser I've had forever. We loaded them in the back of Jon's truck, put the drawers back in, and Jon roped everything together. The thinking was that tying all the drawer handles together would keep them from coming out during the drive to the new place.

Ha! We came to the intersection of S. Broadway and High Street--which is a small incline, as well, and Jon slowed to a crawl to make the left-hand turn. I had a bad feeling and looked in the passenger side door. Sure enough, I could only watch as the dresser tilted ominously and the drawers start to slide out. Before I could say anything, the whole thing tipped out of the trunk and smashed open in the outbound lane of Broadway (which was very busy as it was rush hour). Jon, scientist that he is, theorized that the weight of the drawers contributed to the spectacular fall. Since they were all tied together, it took just one drawer inching out of place to pull the rest of the drawers open with it, and the whole dresser followed suit.

Thankfully, Allie and Josh were right behind us and able to pull the worst of the stuff out of traffic's way. We tried to clear off as much stuff as possible (it was mostly my trinkets and odds and ends that had fallen out), but there will be a patch of Broadway that will smell like patouchli for a while.


I am in love. We saw a gorgeous dog at Miguels near the Red River Gorge. He looked like a wolf, with a long narrow muzzle, keen eyes, and a powerful body on long elegant legs. Standing on all fours, he came to about mid-thigh on me--a big dog! He had a ruff of shaggy grey fur, much like lion's mane, around his shoulders. He was extremely laid back and offered his head for me to pet. (Jon and his parents stayed far behind me).

Allie thinks he may have been a Native American Indian dog. He looked a bit more wolfish, and much larger, though.

This is the kind of dog I would like to have with me on a farm, or out hiking.