Saturday, December 30, 2006

 

Kimbooktu

I think that one of my new year's resolutions must be to stop coveting things -- mostly because I just found this blog.

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Monday, December 25, 2006

 

Get Over It?

When I recently renewed my ALA membership, I decided to finally bite the bullet and join LAMA, partially because I think LA&M has been one of the consistently strongest ALA-related publications. My joining pretty much coincided with LAMA's decision to cease print publication of the journal, and they just posted their first electronic-only issue.

This is a little frustrating, but OK, I understand the reasoning and can deal. I dig out my ALA login and password -- and, by the way, why can't the site remember me from day-to-day? -- to find that each article is one large pdf file, the first of which locks up my PC. Reboot, grumble, wish for a web-based or plain text alternative, try again, cruising along... and then I get to the "Editor's Keyboard" column, which talks about the move to an electronic format:
At the same time, I also realize that not all of you will regard this as a singularly propitious event. Trust me: I feel your pain. On the shelves behind me in my office, I have every print LA&M back to 1990. It does distress me to know that I’ll never add another issue to this collection. I know that many of you colleagues feel the same melancholy. Still, I beseech you at this time to turn the page (pun intended) and, how can I put it politely...?
Get over it!
.
...To the naysayers, all of you have spoken to me at conferences and other venues, about the creature comforts of print publishing—of being able to read LA&M on buses, of curling up with it and a cup of cocoa (or scotch) at night, and even of taking it into the bathroom on Sunday mornings (yes, I’ve heard this said), I can only respond...have you never heard of the "print" button?
All right. I'm a fan of electronic publication. I write an electronic-only column; I publish an electronic-only newsletter. But, this gets even my hackles up. "Get over it!" seems a less-than-productive approach. We try to avoid talking to our patrons this way when we move to online catalogs or cancel print publications; we should extend the same courtesy to one another and recognize that there are better ways to get folks on board.

I still appreciate LA&M's content, but I'll need more than "get over it" as a reason to re-up next year.

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Thursday, December 21, 2006

 

Job Site RSS Feeds

OK, this little post is more to test out the new version of Blogger than anything else -- but since it's been a couple months, I thought I'd check to see if anyone has found (or created) new library job site RSS feeds since I updated the list and OPML file in October. If so, shoot me the links in comments or e-mail and I'll add them in.

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A Tale of Two ISPs II: The Revenge of Earthlink

I know this may come as a shock, given the excellent customer service Earthlink has always given us, but gosh were we startled to receive a credit card bill today with a $171.15 charge for their "service." Wish us luck...

Monday, December 18, 2006

 

Networking for Introverts

Sometimes things just whack you over the head -- more eloquent people call this serendipity. I was recently reading a book about gifted children that mentioned Marti Laney's The Introvert Advantage as a side note to her newer book about the hidden gifts of introverted children. So I grab it from the library, am merrily reading along, and all of a sudden Bloglines starts flinging link after link at me stemming from How to Network: For Introverts over at Businesspundit. (I particularly like 9 Keys to Networking via Blogs for Introverts at LexBlog and Marketing to Introverts at Spare Change.)

I appreciate the distinction Laney makes between being shy and being introverted -- which Businesspundit also speaks to:
"I have a problem. I'm an introvert. I'm not shy. I'm not afraid of being in public. But I am horrible at chit-chat and gossip. If I spend an evening at a social function with people I don't know or don't like, I get home and feel like I've spent all day at the ocean. It's that fighting-the-waves and drained-by-the-sun kind of tired. I would rather spend four hours with my head stapled to the carpet. I would be more comfortable that way."
As for me, I'm working on the shyness thing, but I think sometimes we tend to conflate the two -- no matter how many articles we read about Meyers-Briggs. So, this recent writing highlighting the advantages of introversion and the ways to thrive in an extroverted world is more than welcome. Making this distinction also makes it less surprising that librarians as a group trend more toward the "I" end of the spectrum, and more apparent that our introverted natures can serve us as well in our online interactions as in our more traditional pursuits.

 

I'm the Person of the Year

According to Time Magazine, the "Person of the Year" is... you. You, me, all of us living and interacting in this Web 2.0 world:
"But look at 2006 through a different lens and you'll see another story, one that isn't about conflict or great men. It's a story about community and collaboration on a scale never seen before. It's about the cosmic compendium of knowledge Wikipedia and the million-channel people's network YouTube and the online metropolis MySpace. It's about the many wresting power from the few and helping one another for nothing and how that will not only change the world, but also change the way the world changes."
I'm thinking this is some good fodder for the Library 2.0 folks to prod administrators and others to get on board. When ideas start showing up in Time, you can pass them out to your library board ... or to your colleagues who don't make much of a habit of reading blogs ... or to your colleagues who don't make much of a habit of reading the library literature.

(Plus, I get kind of a kick out of being able to claim I am Person Of The Year!)

 

TechnoChanukah


Kid Tough
Originally uploaded by lib_rachel.

Somehow, we had possibly the most technological first night of Chanukah in our family's history. For his first night "big gift," Jacob got a "Kid Tough Digital Camera" -- he can drop it, he can poke it, and he can avoid ruining ours. He's been running around taking pictures like a maniac -- with the extra card (thankfully we got the one with the extra card!), it holds, as we found out, about 397 pictures. Which he managed to snap by the next morning. My 24-year-old brother visited this weekend, and could only shake his head about "kids these days" and bemoan the fact that he never had anything that cool in HIS day.

On a related note, my husband got a digital photo frame for his office... and, possibly the best gift yet, I got an iPod Nano, complete with car adapter. I've always thought they were cute, but after a couple days of playing around, I think I get it. I've drunk the kool-aid. Only a couple years late, I see why everyone's raving about the fantastic simplicity of the design. And, I may even start listening to podcasts!

The rest of the holiday will be more subdued. (For those of you who've in the past expressed concern about battery-addicted button-pushing cyborg children, he's getting things like books and coloring books and a kid's compass and Spanish bean bags (don't tell!).) But, it's interesting that we each independently jumped to something technological when choosing each other's big gift.

We've never been particularly ahead of the technocurve in this house. In reading various magazines' suggested holiday gift lists, it looks like we're right in with everyone else this year. This digital camera for preschoolers is a hot item on my moms' lists, and sold out everywhere. (The other hot ticket, if you want to be scared, is TMX Elmo -- you thought Tickle Me Elmo was bad enough!)

I can't help wondering what it means for libraries when 4-year-olds are running around with digital cameras (and Leapsters, and "FP3 players"...). What are these kids going to be expecting from us in 10 years? 20?

Thursday, December 07, 2006

 

YouTube (AKA Procrastination) Day

This is why I don't exercise!

And if that's not scary enough, try this Mary Poppins trailer -- redone as if it were a horror film. I'll never be able to watch the movie again in the same way...

Evening update: I can't justify another same-day YouTube post so I'm just tacking this on here. Good lord, though, do I want to be a bookbinder now.

 

Friends, Friendsters, and Top 8

No time for much analysis today, so just a pointer: The ever-insightful danah boyd has written a First Monday article on "Friends, friendsters, and top 8: Writing community into being on social network sites." Those of you investigating or participating in MySpace or other social spaces might find interesting.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

 

Holiday Gift for Your Favorite Blogger

You've heard of people getting book contracts from their blogs, but why bother with all that. Use Blog Slurper to convert your blog into a book automatically -- Slurp your blog tonight!

(I can't wait til people start showing up and trying to get their libraries to buy these...)

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

 

Think Personally, Act Professionally

I've seen a little flurry of posts and articles lately on the theme of balance and the separation of the personal from the professional. To wit:
This is an issue I struggle with, probably unsurprisingly, given that this blog lately features pictures of rogue squirrels more prominently than it does professional ruminations. This is partly because I work from home, and work for myself, but this just highlights the blurring of boundaries that many of us experience.

Letting Go

I have worried about the blurring of professional and personal boundaries here and elsewhere, which Dorothea so ably highlights. LiveJournal isn't a solution for me, though; I've gotten past getting that personal online.

I do firmly believe that the personal informs the professional, and vice versa. My thoughts about generational issues are influenced by my son; my professional productivity is affected by Comcast; the honoraria I receive for speaking are related to the need to pay for preschool. (Although, sometimes a squirrel is just a squirrel...)

In the workplace, we interact both as professionals and as individuals. Over coffee breaks or chatting at the desk or at the copier we veer from discussing a new grant project to discussing someone's new shoes. We work together better when we are able to see one another as whole people. When we know that the children's librarian is preoccupied today because her daughter is getting married soon, or that the reference librarian sings in a men's chorus and knows every show tune ever written, we're able both to lean on one another and call on one another when our diverse interests and knowledge come in handy.

I had a supervisor once who limited interdepartmental interactions to "workplace issues," and stood ready to pounce on anyone discussing anything smacking of the personal. This made for one of the most tense and depressing working environments I've ever experienced; both morale and productivity suffered.

Why should online interactions be any different? It's impossible, and imprudent, to limit the connections that we build with each other -- and this really is my workplace, just as it's an extension of many of yours.

So Where's the Boundary?

Yes, there are plenty of things I don't share online, or that I wouldn't share with coworkers, for that matter. Knowing each other as people doesn't obviate the need to act professionally. I'm OK with sharing pictures of children -- or squirrels. I'm not OK with name calling or flaming or graphically personal information on a professional blog or list, just as I'm not OK with it in the workplace. There are places for that sort of interaction, but these tend to be neither professional nor liminal spaces. While boundaries blur, and personal comfort levels vary, we do have to realize that what we say affects our relationships and that we bear the responsibility for what we say, online or off.

Cutting Back

I'm not cutting back on speaking engagements to the same extent as Steven, partially because I do treasure the in-person contact (again, I work from home!). I am, though, cutting back. Both the travel and the preparation process are hard on my family, taking up a lot of time and mental energy. Professional commitments tend to pile up gradually; the temptation to say "yes" has to be balanced with both personal and professional priorities.

Like Sophie, I declined to apply for administrative positions offered when my son was small, and am still in the process of building an alternative career path. There are so many ways to contribute to and participate in this profession; they don't all require a traditional step-by-step move up the promotion ladder.

Because personal priorities affect our professional decisions, we can't separate these discussions. Because information comes to us from multiple streams, we can't set up mock boundaries between professional and nonprofessional reading and conversations. Because we define our own online personas, we each need to find the balance we're comfortable with.

 

What you get


$30 Squirrel-Be-Gone Birdfeeder, With Squirrel
Originally uploaded by lib_rachel.

... for your money when you buy a $30 "Squirrel-Be-Gone" birdfeeder. In case you were wondering. He really enjoyed it, in case you were wondering that, either!