Archive for July 2007

Harry Who?

So people keep asking me whether I have read the 7th installment of the Book That Shall Not Be Named. No, scratch that — they keep assuming I had it in my hot little hands promptly at 12:01 AM Sat. and have been holed up reading ever since. Because I’m a librarian, dontcha know.

I will confess that my library hold was filled Saturday, but I haven’t started reading yet. Why? Because I was finishing up some better books, dontcha know.

Don’t get me wrong, I like Harry Potter fine, and I’m going to read the book, and I’m glad for Ms. Rowling and her semi-rags-to-riches story. But I’m sitting here watching the whole spectacle with the same bemusement I feel about Yu-gi-oh, or Beanie Babies, or any of the other cultural fads that wash over us for no apparent reason. Harry is a good series, but is it a better series than, oh, say, Philip Pullman’s (ahem*better-written-and-edited*achoo) His Dark Materials? Or any of the other child wizard or fantasy series from which it derives much of its structure?

I guess I’d have more respect for the whole phenomenon if there was more evidence that Harry hooked kids (or adults!) into reading more broadly. Or if the paranoia and secrecy were a little less overblown… But, I don’t see a lot of lasting effects after the party is over.

On a less curmudgeonly note, I’ll leave you with Love in the Time of lolcats. Just because.


Oh my: Here’s a YouTube moment for you. (via Rambling Librarian, via nexgen…)

Something Bad Happened

Something Bad Happened…
Originally uploaded by lib_rachel

Oops… something very bad happened to my library’s OPAC this morning. Oh well, I didn’t want to reserve books anyway, right?!

Sam I Am!

Please meet the soon-to-be Samuel Lee Gordon!

If I’ve seemed distracted online or elsewhere lately, it’s because — We got our adoption referral! He’s 5 months old now, and we hope to be bringing him home this fall.

Now, off to fill out another mountain of paperwork… and, maybe, look at his little face some more!

Pioneer Days

Yesterday morning, a water main broke across the street. A very large hole ensued. The preschooler of the house found this much more interesting than I — it’s not every day he gets to see a real live excavator up close.

As of midnight, when the giant thunderstorm knocked out our power, the water still wasn’t back on. Much consternation on the part of the preschooler ensued.

But, all is back to normal this morning, other than the fact that the song from the classic I Dig Dirt video production is now permanently stuck in my head. In the spirit of cooperation and collaboration (and of being just punchy enough from lack of sleep) I now share it with you. Everyone, sing along to the tune of Frere Jacques:

“I dig dirt,
I dig dirt,
Yes I do,
Yes I do!
Scoop it with a shovel,
Dump it in a pile,
Dig up more.
Dig up more!”

Orphan Petition

Just a brief adoption update. Our home study is done, and today we are mailing in the ominous sounding Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition — with our check made out to “The Department of Homeland Security.” This includes a “biometrics fee” for, yes, a third set of fingerprints. Getting closer…!

Best Conference Wrapup Ever

“RWA is four days of introverts acting like extroverts, and we’re all exhausted.”

(via Smart Bitches)

Free Access to Corey Doctorow Novelette

Corey Doctorow’s “When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth” has won the 2007 Locus Best Novelette Award — so Baen is celebrating by unlocking the online version for all. I read this in a collection earlier this year and quite enjoyed it; if you have ever worked in any kind of sysadmin capacity, you’ll probably appreciate it too. (Profanity warning, if your workplace frowns on such things.)


If you were wondering what to get for my next birthday, this will do nicely.

Brand Yourself, and the Rest Will Follow

Confession time: I’m a social networking dropout from way back. I’ve tried a bunch but have given up on them all, most recently deleting my dormant (and embarrassingly incomplete) MySpace and Friendster accounts. Yet hope springs eternal — I’ve been playing around with LinkedIn and actually kind of like it so far; we’ll see if it sticks.

Kim Dority talks about LinkedIn as a kind of personal branding tool. I wonder — and this blog both seem more naturally my “brand” than my more impersonal LinkedIn profile, although I’ve connected with new people on LinkedIn and been approached by new “contacts” who may not have approached me over here. I also wonder how people who are active on multiple social networking sites keep from spreading themselves too thin, letting information get out of date, or diluting their brand.

On that note, I also joined Facebook a couple of weeks ago in order to check out a group for scientific/technical/medical library jobs someone suggested adding to I didn’t set up a profile, and pretty much forgot I’d created the account until the friend requests started coming in — a couple from people I haven’t talked to in years. My biggest annoyance with Facebook (and all of these sites) lies in the predefined way they want me to identify my “friends.” There’s no category, for instance, that really fits “someone I knew on an online forum a couple of years ago” or “someone whose book I edited” or “someone I’ve exchanged e-mail with over the years.”

I use social software when it makes something I already do easier. Flickr lets me e-mail links to photos to groups of people without painstakingly attaching each to e-mail and worrying about people with slower connections; its social aspect is a nice bonus, but not why I ponied up my $25. lets me access bookmarks anywhere and use tags instead of folders. Trillian lets me open up a couple of different IM accounts at once. Google Reader lets me skim through a bunch of blogs quickly and see what’s new. I’ve dallied with Furl and been briefly seduced by Shutterfly… I’ve been intrigued by NewsGator and had an extended flirtation with Bloglines… but, in the end, keep coming back to what works for me.

In a recent LJ column, Roy Tennant makes me feel better about my dropout nature by touting value of playing around with technology, just to find out what it’s about — even at the risk of later finding a specific implementation less personally useful. He mentions social networking sites like Tribe and Orkut as one example:

After using them for several months, I decided they weren’t that useful to me and stopped going to them. But now I know what they’re all about and can see why others may find them worthwhile. I’ve also dabbled in Second Life, and although I haven’t visited it in months, at least I can talk about it from some experience. At the moment, I’m trying out Twitter. Time will tell whether I keep using it.

The point is not to be afraid of trying something out to see if it works for you. You can always drop it later if it doesn’t, and then at least you’ll know what your colleagues and library users are talking about.

Via Carnival of the Infosciences #75 over at A Wandering Eyre comes this post on how class shapes social networking sites, talking about danah boyd’s discussion of MySpace v. Facebook. (I’m unclear about the assertion that the military now bans MySpace, as my brother’s page is still active.) It’s an interesting take on how we choose where to network online; at the very least, the types of communities and sites I choose to frequent change over time as my interests, needs, and just plain free time change.