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OH HAPPY DAY! I get to go to the Computers in Libraries 2006 conference next month in Washington, D.C. That city HAS to be my favorite, next to Boston. I wish I could figure out what it is that inspires me there. The buildings? The ideas and ideals that it's supposed to represent? Oh, I'm a naif - I still believe there's good in everybody - it's the silver lining in every cloud. Every cloud has one. Sometimes it's just not where you expect it.
So, for the contents of the conference: WebMaster's University for a day, collaborative technologies, IM and virtual reference, instructional technologies for information literacy, digital preservation...so much to choose from!
I imagine there will be "professional bloggers" there, but I think I might post some stuff anyway.
Have a most excellent weekend everyone! --D
Things that made me go "hmmmm.":
Presumably this means we need to change,(I think we do) but coming from a person so heavily invested in the oil industry, smacks of irony.
I agree with this statement and have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA how to do it. I've been trying to think of who makes money in medicine. From what I can come up with, it's (not necessarily in this order): doctors, nurses, HMO's/insurance companies, drug companies, certain non-M.D. specialists. I'm sure I'm missing a bunch of others. IF HMOs/insurance co's were taken out of the equation, what costs for care would the market bear?
I appreciate the fact that wildfires are a devastating natural disaster for the communities that endure or are consumed by them. However, in terms of ecological processes, wildfires - whether in grasslands or forests - are a natural event that serve to reinvigorate the land over time. So, I'm not really sure that PREVENTION of these fires is the best idea. I'd advocate for CONTROL and for dollars spent for disaster recovery.
Now for the "et al" part
"The average man in the street is more like me," said Intelligence Committee member Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., in a Senate hallway. "'If it's for the security of America, please tap my phone.'"
I must not be "the average man on the street."
I'm a little ahead of Politics Thursday. Forgive me if I steal anyone's thunder unawares.
I watched the speech last night while drinking a glass of red wine to keep my blood pressure from going through the roof. (My girlfriend asked me, "If it upsets you this much, why do you watch it?") The answer is simple: if I don't watch and listen and attempt to understand what the head of our government is thinking, then I've no right to complain. I liken it to the same rationale I adhere to for voting.
I heard "a 22% increase in funding for the Dept. of Energy to research and develop" cleaner burning coal plants and hydrogen-fueled cars. And I shouted at the T.V.: "We don't need anymore research! We need the development, the marketing, etc."
There is always money for research....there's relatively little risk in research. Development is always riskier because, IMHO, you have to "spend the money in order to make money."
I kind of agreed with the stance on education. We need to do better, but NCLBA is not the way to do it. I've written about this before: it's STATISTICALLY IMPOSSIBLE for every student to be "average." So, how do we fix "the educational system" as it is now? Well, we for darn sure don't make it HARDER for kids to go to college by cutting $25 million (billion?) from the budget. At the same time, we have to accept that not every kid WILL or HAS to attend college. The service and "professional trade vocation" sectors are having a hard time recruiting people for jobs like plumbers, carpenters, and the like.
I hope this hasn't turned into a rant. More later...
I admit it. I took the challenge issued on the iBookwatch Blog of coming up with a unique search.
I chose a word at random from the title of a book I read earlier this year. Elizabeth Berg's "The Year of Pleasures." Anyway, I searched the word pleasure.
The results were, umm, unique is a good word. Try it if you dare at iBookwatch.com
In order to lessen the appearance of ethics violations in Congress, the Congressional Ethics Committee is to be disbanded. --Will Durst, political satirist
I found the above quote in the piece Will wrote on January 24th. I laughed at first. I mean, he WAS trying to be funny. But in light of some of the research I've done in the last couple of weeks - business ethics - oy vey! That comment, IMHO, could be clairvoyant. So how does this relate to the library?
Primarily, I've been mentoring a young lady who is interested in getting her MS in LIS and I discovered that one of our departments has an opening, which I told her about. Not a big deal. BUT, I needed to know what I could and couldn't say/do in terms of hiring practices. Could I, for instance, tell the department head that someone I knew was applying for the job? In essence, what actions were ethical and which were not? Some of the things one might think are OK, might not be. So, that was my business ethics research.
Am still reading Ambient Findability and picked up the new David Kline book, Blog!. I can't believe I'm reading non-fiction.
I "volunteered" to help with National Library Week festivities. This is something I've never done before. Planning parties, presentations - I've done that. But this particular event is SO central, it seems, to our collective identity as librarians. I suppose it's no different than Engineers Week in February or National Women's History Month (oh yeah, that'll be another post).
Finally, I've convinced some of my faculty (so proprietary, Durst!) to link to blogs from our subject guides and perhaps from their internal class web pages. It's another way to grab student's attention and it gives the faculty more access to participate in discussions taking place around the world. Blogs vetted by Durst. EGAD!
It's true - I've thought this for years. My life is really just a series of song snippets. Everything from Dan Folgelberg's "Another Aulde Lang Syne" to Carly Simon's "The Spy Who Loved Me" - throw in "Love Me When I'm Gone" by 3 Doors Down and any piece from Phantom of the Opera, too.
I have found much meaning, much solace, and the answer to a reference question or two in my musical mind. But the past week, I've been struggling to find the name of a group that I think was local, but who recorded an album I've since lost.
I can remember song titles like "Reaganomics" and "Lazy Love" and the sound was vaguely folk-ish. The time frame would have been late 80's, early 90's. Does anyone have any recommendations of where I could look? (Because believe me, Google didn't do the trick.)
I've just finished reading the hardcopy of a Wired article titled Don't Even Think About Lying. The first couple of pages detail the author's experience in a functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) machine that is supposed to produce a scan of his brain functions as he THINKS about things that are FALSE in his life and then things that are TRUE.
An image is eventually created which shows areas in the brain that are "hot" or "cold" depending on the portion of the exercise. According to the researcher, those areas that are responsible for emotion, conflict, and cognitive control "heat up" when you think about lying.
Further on, there are details of two commercial companies who are planning to market this kind of technology to individuals who believe they've been unjustly charged with a crime.
Would it surprise you to know that much of the research into this technology has been funded by DoD, DARPA, and DHS in the search for a "better mousetrap...um, lie detector?"
SO - here's the big question: is it a lie detector or is it simply a "diagnostic test?"
This past weekend, I asked my husband what he had planned for the first week back at school. He told me there were some standardized tests going on and a computer lab research assignment. "Oooh! Research", I say, with great glee. "What are they researching? Has the school librarian given them any instruction on how to pick/choose/find/evaluate valid sources of information?"
"No", he says. "(Guilty name) doesn't do that. Besides, they only need two sources."
OK. Maybe I've fallen into a trap here, being a reference/research librarian in an academic institution, but shouldn't critical thinking and information evaluation skills be taught at the middle-school/jr. high level?
"So, what topics are you having them research?" Hubby rattles off three topics dealing with genetics. "WAIT!", says I. "I can give you some FREE, authoritative websites AND tell you what terms your students should use in their searches. Would that be helpful?" "Maybe", he says.
I realize they're "just 8th graders", and they aren't being required to do a 10-15 page paper for Professor "Knock-Me-Down-a-Notch". Nevertheless, IMHO, being able to determine what sources are valid and which are not is an important part of the learning process. Much of the information I gave hubby is linked from our library website. Maybe I should go look at the traffic logs and see how often it was hit.
No joke. It took two of us this morning...that's AFTER two days of waiting to find out if we should convert the incandescent bulbs over to what I call "the spiral fluorescent thingies" for energy conservation.
OY! We finally decided to just replace them with some low-wattage bulbs that had been squirrelled (sp?) away in the office. We have plenty o'light now.
It's taken a little while, but I think I finally have my interface to LISNEWS set up the way I want. Extreme KUDOS to Blake for upgrading the design, etc.
One of my favorite blogs, Slacker Manager, posted an email from some nuclear engineers who talk about professional slacking. Called The Slacker Equation, it goes quite in-depth with some equations. Yeah, like the E=mc squared.
It's been some time since I took a physics class, let alone a course in logic, but somehow, what they wrote made sense to me. Especially the part about how they seem to be able to tell when others are "coasting" vs. "actually contributing" to the organization. Funny, I seem to have that talent, too.
They (or maybe that's we) are the emerging king disruptor; the one entity that we will soon fear most, if not already...Like its predecessors, Wikipedia is powerful because it provides access to largely accurate information that can be hard to find. This king, however, is unlike any other because it operates in a completely democratic way.
I think this gets back to the discussion from awhile ago about whether there is a need for authority. I found it interesting food for thought. As the Kos says, "Chew it up. Spit it out." Cheerio! --D
Found this leetle article while browsing around "Collecting My Thoughts." IMHO, it paints a rather bleak picture of bloggers as evil, out-to-get-whomever-they-can slanderers warranting an increase in competitive intelligence specialists to keep track of the lies and invective.
I'm not one who takes kindly to being painted with a broad brush...it's happened way too many times during my tenure with Uncle Sam. Or am I being too sensitive? I know some of what the article says is true, but not all bloggers are of the ilk that smear to survive. What do YOU think?
Here's a leetle trivia:
The Red River (near Grand Forks, North Dakota) in the United States is one of approximately 20 rivers in the U.S. that flow north rather than in a southerly direction. (I was at a presentation today in which someone mistakenly said there were only three north-flowing rivers in the WORLD.)What are some of the others?
Yeah, I know I could look it up. This just seemed more fun!
Going along with the earlier thread on whether blogging had anything to do with a professor not being granted tenure, here's a linkto a post over at Mcgees Musings regarding a Master's Thesis on Blogs and Blogging.
Taken together with the CIA paper on wikis, blogs, and adaptive intelligence, it appears a trend is happening in scholarly research circles. Blogs and blogging are actually being STUDIED as valuable information commodities within the communities of advertising design and intelligence gathering.
If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.
Learned Institutions ought to be favorite objects with every free people. They throw that light over the public mind which is the best security against crafty and dangerous encroachments on the public liberty.
I just thought these were cool --D
Well, I totally blew an easy reference question yesterday because I reacted to the hurried tone in the patron's voice and felt I should respond in a hurried manner searching the catalog. Much to my chagrine, I handed over a couple of possibilities KNOWING they weren't exactly what was needed. So, after the patron left the desk, I re-did the search using a slightly different approach and found EXACTLY what I knew would answer the question.
By the time I got the items off the reference shelf, the person was gone and I schlepped back to the desk feeling like a heel. Hopefully this AM I made up for that snafu by helping someone else out with a really difficult question. We took our time, tried some different strategies and came up with useful information. He felt good, I felt good...it was all good.
In two weeks I am to become the de facto expert on several databases - my own inclination. In four weeks I'll get to do some hands-on demonstration of the DBs for faculty. Two reasons for this: 1)there is overlap in coverage and some are better than others for finding business-related "stuff", 2) it's totally a networking opportunity! We'll get to serve refreshments, have some interaction, and get some feedback. (I feel like I'm the only one that gets a charge out of this.)
Something else I found today: This article from govhealthit.com announces that legislation mandating the creation of an electronic health record will probably be forthcoming for federal employees enrolled in the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program (FEHB). Aside from the massive amount of funding from both insurance companies and medical providers needed to pull something like this off in five years (that's the goal), aren't there also data migration issues, privacy, and such? It does seem that FEHB is often on the bleeding edge of progress when it comes to trying on new ideas. Perhaps it really doesn't matter that all that information will be floating around in the ether? I would hope that the recent spate of data security fiascoes(sp?) is a primary concern.
It seems that there will be several versions of this legislation going around. This is going to be interesting.
In a not-so-shocking, but disappointing move, NASA's Ames Research Center has agreed to lease office space on it's campus to Google. The ContraCosta Times has the story today.
"Google's CEO said their should be lots of interesting job opportunities" coming out of this partnership. They are billing it as the largest public-private partnership ever. In my head, I know that Google employs some of the brightest minds in information retrieval research, taxonomy development, and information management in general. The same is true for NASA in the fields of astronomy, physics, aeronautics and all it's facets. BUT...and this is the former fed in me...it's mixing government with big business again and that makes me uncomfortable.
Read the article - it's short. What do YOU think?
Feel what? Feel sorry? Feel empathy, sympathy, fed up? This is one agency that seems to be kicked while it's down more often than not. This short story posted at FCW.COM is a good example.
For a couple of years now, the CIOs at the nation's premier investigative agency have been trying to create a database that will allow them to have access to as much of their own internal information as possible. Earlier this year, after spending millions on a contractor to do just that, they scrapped the original project and have now opened (and extended) bids for a NEW data management system.
On the soapbox again, but this ties into a previous post of mine about in-house expertise in the federal sector. Part of it is knowledge of the technology and what it can do, but a larger part may be knowledge of how to write a coherent "scope of work" to ensure you get the product you need.
(sounds of knees creaking as I step gingerly off the soapbox)
I LOVE Mark Russell. I have watched him on PBS since I was a little kid...I think I liked him early on because he played the piano. As I got older, and started to understand the jokes, the piano just became an instrument of presentation.
Mark's comments are clean, so I don't have to worry about my children hearing what he has to say, and like the Capitol Steps comedy troupe, no party, belief, or personage is sacred. Equal opportunity satire...facetiousness at its finest.
Oy! I had no idea how busy I would be here. I still find it hard to believe I'm getting paid for this gig, just because it is so fun. Has there ever been a database more fun to search than ISI's Web of Science? Truly - I'm getting a kick out of helping profs put their rank and tenure packets together. WAY TOO COOL!
BUT -- it's almost non-stop: the questions, the webpage updates, the reference assistance. At times I am amazed I remembered to grab my brain from the jar on the head of my bed :-). Then again, if it was slow, I'd be bored. Bored and Irish just don't go together very well at all. We end up writing schmaltzy drinking songs....