Bearkat's blog

A.I. as virtual research mediators

An interview question from a college student prompted this response from me:

Professional Pet Peeves

My pet peeves regarding some others in my profession -

Those who don't do their research:

  1. to properly unsubscribe from a listserv (or simply look at a message footer) and/or
  2. those who reply to an entire list instead of the original sender

*and many of these same people are supposed to help others research topics and find information?

Maybe I will write a librarian humor blog - should it be "The Humorous Librarian" (in the same vein as "The Annoyed Librarian")?

Research: then and now

This commentary was inspired by the recent opinion piece in Slate "Why Are Conservatives More Susceptible to Believing Lies?"

Book vandalism

Yesterday I saw the first evidence of large-scale book vandalism at my current library, where I have been employed for over 9 years. I initially noticed three books in the 300s (DDC), including one about the Kent State shootings, with spines cut off. Shortly after our Circulation staff and students found multiple books (up to 400) in the 200s, especially 238s (Christianity, catechisms, creeds, etc.) had either spines cut off or tops or bottoms of spines ripped off. No spines or other evidence has been found on the shelves or in the trash.

Mt. Everest and Library Work

A few weeks ago I watched the movie "Everest" . Doing so inspired me to find further background material; I found some articles about former Everest base camp manager Helen Wilton. I enjoyed reading her comment about applying for a position at a much different setting:

"On her return to New Zealand after the 1996 tragedy, Wilton took a job with Christchurch City Libraries.

"They told me at the beginning that the library was actually quite a stressful job," she says.

Cataloging by Chilton

At the risk of raising the ire of more adept catalogers, the last few years it has confounded me that cataloging manuals are so complex, e.g., LC - MARC, AACR2, DDC, etc. Why so much jargon? After all, I'm not defending a dissertation, I'm just wanting to add an item to our catalog in a timely matter. Please just provide me examples of what punctuation is appropriate, what information should go in each field, etc.

iWoz and Libraries

I'm currently reading "iWoz: Computer Geek to Cult Icon". It is a lively and fascinating read, and plenty of Steve Wozniak's comments are worth repeating, but this one about the that he and the other Steve:) spent at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) Library is superb, especially to a hang-out at libraries geek such as myself. Reminds me of spending some time at Mizzou's Engineering Library. :)

It Wasn't Fancy But It Worked (most of the time)

I don't know about you all but I'm so tired of sacrificing computer program dependability for supposed ease of use , apps on top of apps, spyware, etc...Is it just me or is the Windows desktop circle spinning more slowly and longer than ever? Oh for the days of DOS and WordPerfect 5.0..(my new-old computer is a ThinkPad with Windows 7, Office 2010, etc.)

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Plenty of Bs to go around...

I have noticed the past few days how many LIS postings are by usernames which start with B (mine included :). And some of these are very good friends of mine :). An interesting pattern which I'm probably not the only one to notice. :)

  • Bearkat
  • Bibliofuture
  • Bibliophile Adventure
  • Birdie
  • Blake ("LIS News: since 1999 and still doing fine" :))

Not sure if this qualifies as a "Friday Funnies" category or not, but it is worth a shot...

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Blade Runner moment

I downloaded the Microsoft Tags Reader for my phone and scanned one of the USA Today tags. It wasn’t in the best light and the app didn’t recognize the tag at first but in a "Blade Runner Deckard" type moment the app triangulated, centered, and focused on the tag image and then pulled up the newspaper's business headlines - wow!

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Books and Headaches

A few weeks ago I pulled a number of books for a Commedia dell'arte performance course. The subject range of books I pulled for the session covered a large gamut of topics: art, dance, costume, literature, theatre, swordplay, wagons, etc. Following my presentation to the class, a student mentioned that seeing too many books gave her a headache. She further qualified that and said that not many things gave her a headache.

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Nothing at the library?

I currently work at a small liberal arts college in the Midwestern USA where librarians are "embedded" in introductory courses and oversee the information literacy curriculum. Last week one of my colleagues informed me about a response from one of her students that I just have to pass along. The student's comment was that she couldn't find anything at the library about the Industrial Revolution , her other topic was .... wait for it .... Martin Luther and the Reformation.

Saved by the text!

I function as an "embedded" librarian of sorts as part of my instructional duties, and last week I filled in for a class session. Well, to make a long story short, the assigned classroom was not the regular classroom. The class began at 12:30 and only three students had showed up, I was beginning to panic at 12:40 - was I going to have to do an abbreviated instruction session, reschedule the session for a later date in an already tight semester schedule, etc. Anyway, a few more students came in during the next few minutes but at 12:45 12+ students walked in as a group!

Digital age and devices

In continuation of my blog entry last Friday, I have thought about the implication of digital device use in educational and other forums. As more and more information is made available in a digital format, I believe that equations about no cell phone, laptops, etc. during class (or other forums) is going to have to evolve even more than it has.

Blackberry distractions?

I'm a Blackberry fan. I don't do much texting on it, but just the other day I brought it to a faculty meeting so that I wouldn't have to print out a pile of documents or struggle to read the notes and attachments on the projector. It is so ingrained in the faculty that cell phone use during class is a disraction; I wondered if any in the group thought that I was up to no good?

"Amazoogle" and Libraries

Last week I attended an academic library conference in Missouri. The keynote speaker was Susan Singleton, Executive Director of CARLI. In her presentation Susan referenced Karen Schneider's blog, specifically The User is not Broken.

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