welcome to the professional life!

February 12, 2008

i love twitter. i love it because i get updates on all the fun things fellow LISers and tech-types are up to. over the past few weeks, a number of these folk have been “tweeting” about professional development and online life.

Karin over at nirak.net (subscribe to the RSS feed NOW!) had a killer post about professional social networking (how killer – Meredith Farkas AND Walt Crawford both posted comments!) followed up by an ever so easy-to-read dos and donts list. given the trend towards “Facebook-stalking” (as my friend Jan calls it – and i’m sure she’s not the only one) and “google-ing” that occurs – even by employers, i am constantly amazed at how we, as techno-savvy LIS students, don’t take better care of our online life.

Lauren‘s recent post – titled “investing in your professional life” – discusses tips and tricks for the new professional: go to conferences, carve out a niche, and keep learning! her subsequent post is all about how it’s silly to only be a librarian from 9-5pm, because joining associations, attending conferences, blogging, all helps both your personal and professional lives.

“And in the end, everything enriches everything else.”

i find it hard to believe that librarians are ever truly “off the clock”. information is everywhere. we work with information. therefore we are always, to a certain extent “working” (but that doesn’t mean we are miserable – i’ve never heard about a librarian who wasn’t abnormally curious – you?)


best line of my LIS education

January 24, 2008

in my information retrieval class discussing different forms of truncation

“i had some embedded truncation during a movie last night.
i took a nap.”

funny and a good prof!


John Berry, you rock my world

January 24, 2008

i love waking up in the morning to great items in my RSS aggregator. like this one, about LIS students:

We’ve begun to make it easier for change to come and for them to have a stronger voice in our march to freedom of information and enlightenment for all. We’d like to pick and choose among these new librarians, through our programs for “emerging” leaders and other institutionalized indoctrination. But they have already begun to organize themselves, singling out their own leaders and demanding of us only that same access to the profession that enabled us to make some of our future dreams into today’s realities.

I remember that future, and I remember how tough it was to convince those in charge that we would define it and lead it ourselves, not simply pay our dues and wait to be selected. If our profession is true to its history, we’ll leave its door ajar so those new librarians can, once again, march through and change librarianship.

Blatant Berry, Jan 15 2008

it made my day/week/hell, year!


my XO is here!

January 21, 2008

and i love her!

her name is Bette (all my compys have names. yup, that’s how i roll.) and she is so wonderfully functional.
(and no, my cat is not huge, that’s really how small Bette is.)
Bette bette2.jpg

i’ve been using the XO to email, use the Google suite of fun stuff, update this blog, and for the most part, it’s perfect. it’s slower than all of my other compys, but that’s okay. my others don’t fit in my purse. (yes, i know about the eeePC, and i want one, but buying one of those didn’t get some education project in a developing country a new laptop, so i got an XO.)

oh, and the more i use Google Docs, the more i love it. i know “big brother” could be watching, but that’s okay. i’ll keep my anarchist manifesto off-the-grid until i virally infect every computer on earth with its dictum. (JOKE! homey can’t code. though i did just download Hackety Hack to see what all the kerfuffle is about.)


ah newspapers, how i love thee

January 14, 2008

so everyone and their dog is talking about the demise of newspapers. the topic has even made it into pop culture, most recently in the newest season of The Wire (great line from the 20 minute promo: “You don’t do more with less. You do less with less.”) and a recent episode of The Simpsons where during election-mania in Springfield, the following happened during a CNN-type show:

Dan Rather-type, introducing a political panel: “… and Ron Mahar, a print journalist from the Washington Post.”
Nelson Muntz, pointing at print journalist: “Ha ha! Your medium is dying.”
Principal Seymour Skinner: “Nelson!”
Nelson: “But it is.”
Skinner: “There’s being right and then there’s being nice.”

so what should newspapers do to increase readership while still making a buck? let’s face it, giving the product away for free (as most are currently doing) is unsustainable. no kidding every newspaper is cutting down it’s local news and instead buying news from whatever the cheapest wire source is available – they are giving away their online content for free!

the New York Times offered TimesSelect- content exclusive to subscribers (cost of subscription: 49.95$) – until recently. that ended on September 19, 2007 and they now rely on the advertising on the site for revenue. this follows a number of other newspaper sites which offered paid content, and then saw online readership decrease.

i see the online presence of newspapers as a forum ripe for new content. on top of allowing readers to discuss articles in forums, newspapers could offer so much more additional content on their website, and people would be willing to pay for it!

for example, one of the most interesting events in ANY newsroom is the late afternoon news meeting where stories are presented by editors and when “newsworthiness” is determined. now i can see why editors are nine kinds of freaked out about having these made public – what if it comes out you didn’t know about a story/didn’t fight for it and it ended up being huge? or when some great (but tragic) art gets spiked in favour of local pets being blessed by the Catholic Cardinal? (never happens…) either way, wouldn’t the discussions started by this transparency ultimately benefit both the creators and users of the newspaper? and wouldn’t it create a tighter bond between the two sides, possibly increasing pride in the product? (or am I totally nuts and think too much of readers and editors?)

of course users aren’t willing to pay to read the “just” the news. between the internet, and frankly the radio (i *heart* CBC radio), why would they pick up a newspaper? radio covers local issues better, and national/international is well covered by the internet.

newspapers MUST add content to their sites. to say that at the moment they are doing what they can is simply brushing off a section of the population who would be thrilled to return to getting their news from a local newsroom, if not from the actual printed paper.


of all the things i need to do, updating this blog is the most fun…

January 13, 2008

… but maybe not the best use of my time.

to do today:

  • finish berloody CAIS proposal so that i can tell folks about chat reference in SL (don’t get me wrong, i really wanna go and think my research is interesting – but CFPs kill me)
  • wade through the pile of amazing submissions to Library Student Journal and tell some very patient authors that they are about to be published
  • begin reading Strategic and Competitive Analysis: Methods and techniques for analyzing business competition by Fleisher & Bensoussan. (I’m told it’s an oldie but a goodie.)
  • finish Everything is Miscellaneous because it was recalled by the library and due last Friday – which means I already owe 4$.
  • wrap my head around Blair’s “futility point” [David C. Blair, “Searching Biases in Large Interactive Document Retrieval Systems,” Journal of the American Society for Information Science 31 (July 1980)] and what this means in terms of current information retrieval
  • listen to some Feist and P Funk (ya, that’s how I roll)


here i go.



recent LIS grads – smarten up!

January 13, 2008

had some interesting chats with library muckety-mucks over the holidays, trying to figure out what people are looking for from recent LIS graduates.

from what i can tell it all boils down to one thing: professionalism.

  • don’t send in a 1 page c.v.
  • in your letter of application, make links between what the job is looking for and how you can meet those needs.
  • don’t dress like a schlub at the interview.
  • if you’re not interested in teaching, you better be interested in cataloguing.
  • have something to say about current practice at the organization – or the very least about their website! (and not “it’s great – i wouldn’t change a thing!”)

this all sounds very basic but of the three muckety-mucks i spoke to, all mentioned that recent grads don’t seem to get that they are now starting their career, not another part-time “who cares?” gig, and should present themselves as such.