I just looked at the ads running to the left of this journal. First said, "What the hey?"
Then came the shock of recognition: To a bunch of online supply houses, "ALA" stands for Alpha lipoic acid, whatever that might be.
Heck, Blake, if you make a buck from ridiculous acronym linkages, more power to you. Don't think I'll be ordering any of that stuff, though.
In my "this isn't a weblog" tradition of truly random-but-interesting postings, here's one.
There's a weblog with a daily "new and improbable research" posting, courtesy of the Annals of Improbable Research, the "science humor" magazine that administers the Ig Nobel awards and is a successor to the late, lamented Journal of Irreproducible Results. (The site, Hot AIR, also lets you subscribe to the pure-text monthly mini-AIR, if you're so inclined.)
If you've heard of the Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists(TM), that's an ongoing AIR project.
Anyway ("Get on with it!"), one recent entry was about a psychologist (I believe) who has a 55-page curriculum vitae. The sheer length of the CV was repeated: 55 pages!
So, being in a silly mood, I clicked on the link and browsed through the CV. It's not every scientist who lists "Most productive X, 1990-1994" as one of their honors--or maybe it is. Nor, I suspect, do all prolific academics include separate lists of all the journals they've published in, with symbols denoting high-impact journals...
What I noticed right off the bat was that this academic provides each bibliographic citation in full form, repeating their name in each case, in fairly large type, and with plenty of white space before each citation--in a nice, single-column format with good wide margins.
Which is great--particularly if you are prolific (which this academic certainly is!) and want to make a point of just how prolific you are, based on the weight of your CV.
It also suggested to me that, in the unlikely event that I was ever going to go for an academic career (which, given my grand total of one BA and no higher degrees, even if the BA is from the world's second best university, seems like a pretty absurd goal), I've been doing it exactly the wrong way.
Which is to say that, if someone really wants to review my CV, I want to conserve paper--and the current version is 17 pages long. I get there by:
How long would this CV be if I adopted this prolific academic's conventions? I have no intention of trying--that would be work--but I'd guess at least 34 pages. No additional info, but a lot of additional paper.
On the other hand, I could do a properly academic CV, listing only book chapters, scholarly monographs, and refereed papers. That would be real short! (I think there have been three refereed papers, certainly no scholarly monographs, and no chapters in what I'd consider to be scholarly monographs.) Two pages would probably do nicely. I'm persistent; I'm not scholarly.
Now, as to a resume: I have no idea how to prepare an appropriate one. If I ever go job hunting, I'll have to beg for help.
This isn't my informal notes on sessions during the ALA Midwinter Meeting. (As soon as I finish this, I start writing those for internal use; if there's enough that I think are worth spreading further, I'll include them in a forthcoming C&I.)
Instead, it's a substitute for the Bibs & Blather about the weather and overall situation I did after Philadelphia--since I don't plan to do such a whine this time around.
First, the weather. Cold by my wimpy California-native standards: Certainly. How could it not be? Too cold, as it was the last day I was in Philly: No. The only time it got down to the teens was the day I was leaving, and at 4 a.m. I was too numb to feel it on the short walk to a cab.
That's partly because you could get to and from most meeting-heavy hotels and the conference center without going outside. I was at the Sheraton (good room, great bed, the less said about the restaurant the better, lounge prices as ludicrously high as I expected--somehow, paying the price of a bottle for a glass still bothers me just a little); you couldn't get closer to Hynes without camping out in Prudential Center, but the Westin and Marriott were also accessible in shirt sleeves if you were so inclined.
It's also partly because it just didn't get quite as cold and windy on most days. I found myself forgetting a cap and sometimes not bothering to put on gloves and scarf. That included some 4-6 block walks--and I didn't do any 3-mile hikes. As with Juneau in March (during AkLA in 2003), this was tolerable. (The jetways when changing planes in Chicago may have been the coldest part.)
I hear it was one of the better-attended Midwinters in recent years (13,000?), and that sounds about right. Our booth staff say it was active; it felt busy but not overwhelmingly crowded; most sessions I attended had more people than I would have expected.
It was also one of the most interesting Midwinters I've been to in years--and I went to more non-LITA discussions than usual. (I'm not suggesting a connection; I don't think there is one.) I believe that any attempt to curtail focused discussions further than the current "no programs except ALA-wide sponsored events" would be a serious mistake; there was a lot of vitality at this session in addition to 2500+ committee meetings, and I believe that's good for the field.
Finally, for now, a couple of words about socializing and introverts like me. I've learned not to reception-hop (it's hard on the system); this time I went to one reception where I knew I'd be at home on Saturday (ALA Publishing), one on Sunday (YBP Library Services), and that was it--but I also spent way more time than I'd planned with the PLA Bloggers. The reason that 1 hour turned into 3 was simple: They're really interesting people, most of whom I'd never met before. It was worth the effort to come out of my shell; keeping up with, being informed by, and enjoying the company of yet another younger generation was a big part of what made Midwinter great. [No, Steven C., I'm not going to use the o-word. Y'all made me feel welcome and younger.]
Just a reminder for those who're about to head off to Boston (or who already have), and particularly for those new to the field and hoping for "more information on the programs at ALA."
With one exception--the ALA President's Program--there are no formal programs as part of the ALA Midwinter Meeting. Note that final word: By ALA policy, Midwinter is a business meeting, not a conference.
Sure, there are loads of educational opportunities, in addition to exhibits and a couple of thousand committee meetings: Dozens (hundreds?) of discussion groups (or, within LITA, interest groups); various sessions held by affiliated and unaffiliated organizations (e.g., NISO's standards briefings, OCLC's lunch, RLG's various information sessions...); various other presentations arranged by ALA offices; etc., etc..
But formal programs with set speakers and full descriptions in the official program? Not allowed--again, except for the ALA President.
I would note that, IIRC, one candidate is pushing to make Midwinter even more of a "pure business" meeting, pledging to not hold a President's Program at Midwinter and to try to forbid interest groups and discussion groups from holding themed discussions. If I do recall correctly, it's fair to say that this candidate won't be getting my vote. I think that goes way too far. (I may have misunderstood some stuff that was going on, and this may have nothing to do with any ALA candidate, so I'm not naming names.)
For some of us, Midwinter is a more valuable meeting than Annual, but it's valuable for different reasons. Trying to shut it down or make it nothing but a bunch of commitee meetings would be a really bad idea, IMNSHO, as well as being a significant financial hit for the organization.
Nonetheless, if your primary interest is formal, organized programs where you know the speakers and topics in advance, then--other than the extra-cost preconferences and workshops--Midwinter isn't the place to be.
Cites & Insights 5.2, Midwinter 2005, is now available for downloading.
This 22-page issue (PDF as always), with a fresh new look (dating back to 1919), includes:
Noting the story on Will Eisner's passing, I'll mention another passing in the past couple of days that seems to have drawn a lot less attention:
Frank Kelly Freas, one of the great science fiction illustrators.
Sadly (in my opinion), the press coverage that I have seen--a brief obit in the local paper--focused more on his role in creating/refining Alfred E. Neuman as a cover illustrator for Mad Magazine in the late 50s/early 60s than on his ten Hugos (20 nominations) and stunning body of science fiction (and fantasy) illustration, and his work for NASA.
Here's the posting I just sent to four lists, and will also be suggesting as a story--but here, it has HTML!
Cites & Insights: Crawford at Large, a free web-based journal of libraries, policy, technology and media, is now accepting and inviting program and conference reports in areas appropriate for C&I's readership.
It's a chance to be published in a widely-read venue, with as little editing as possible, with a byline--and in a timely fashion (aiming for 2 to 6 weeks between receipt of reports and publication).
Full details are at the Reporting page of C&I
If you're not a C&I reader, take a look at one or two issues (http://cites.boisestate.edu/ will lead you to all of them); it never makes sense to contribute to a publication you don't read or understand!
And if you're unsure whether a program or conference is "appropriate," or have questions that the site doesn't answer, just drop me a line: email@example.com
Thanks--and I look forward to seeing, editing, and publishing your reports!
Subrandom? Well, heck, if you thought this was a great year, more power to ya! (And throw a chunk of that greatness at Doctors Without Borders, American Red Cross International Response Fund, or something of the kind!)
Minor thoughts and discoveries on a slow morning, the day after polishing off a big time-sensitive "own time" project...
And that's enough for this last day of the year. Stay off the roads tonight (whether you're drinking or not!), stay warm, and may your next year be better than this one was--no matter how good this one was for you.
Here's the formal announcement:
The 22-page issue (PDF as always) includes:
I'm looking for program and conference reporters. See
http://cites.boisestate.edu/reporting.htm for details.
The title and subtitle have not changed. I'm adding a tagline in next issue's banner, and changing the defining comment in the masthead (that's already happened), but nothing that would affect cataloging (Gaia forfend!) has changed or will change. The change from "zine" to "journal" is pragmatic--all the more so as I'm inviting other participants, making it even less of a zine.
First, for those of you not subscribed to C&I Updates: Cites & Insights 5:1, January 2005, is now available for downloading. Because of the exigencies of this tween-holiday week, I won't submit a "story" until tomorrow, and list postings won't go out until January 3--but it's there. Strong on scholarly access, some stuff on copyright, a whole bunch of self-indulgent retrospective nonsense--and a note about the new sponsorship, from YBP Library Services.
Movies, movies, movies? I've written elsewhere (in C&I) about the Family Classics 50 Movie Megapack I acquired to keep me going on my treadmill, once the 40 free movies I'd gotten from a now-dead DVD magazine were done.
Treeline Films, maker of that Megapack, has apparently developed a production system that allows them to produce boxes with 12 double-sided, double-layer DVDs, each in a cardboard sleeve containing summaries of the four or five movies on the DVD, at a price that means they can sell for $24.95 to $34.99 and be profitable for Treeline and the Internet stores that sell them. (They might turn up in retail stores as well; I got the first one for $19.95 as a RiteAid holiday special, but have never seen any since in local stores.)
The movies are all either public domain or available with no (or nominal) license fees. There are no extras. You get four scenes per movie, that may or may not be logically arranged; basically, movies are split into quarters by time.
Print quality ranges from barely watchable to excellent. On some older movies, frames are missing and some of the soundtrack is garbled, but I have yet to see a movie that was truly unwatchable because of print damage. I just finished watching Danny Kaye's The Inspector General, a gem of a film that was also a nearly-perfect print.
I mention these sets here because Treeline continues to bring them out, and I think they're a remarkable bargain for people interested in older cinema--and maybe for libraries. I see nothing preventing a library from treating each cardboard sleeve/DVD as a separate circulating item. The movies are in at least as good shape as the old public domain $5-$10 videocassettes from oddball companies--and you're getting 50 movies for $25 to $35.
I see 13 boxes so far, including genre boxes for Horror, Mystery, SciFi, War, Comedy, Western, Family, Action, as well as "Hollywood Legends" (all feature films, all with major stars) and "All Stars," a collection of star-heavy TV movies. The final three packs include one with 150 serial episodes (a dozen old serials), one with 100 cartoons, and one with 100 TV episodes.
I would expect more to come. I picked up the SciFi (yes, some of the movies aren't really SciFi, and most of the movies are B to D films), All Stars (a great bunch of TV movies!), and Hollywood Legends (a remarkable set of films for the price) boxes. The mystery (heavy on Sherlock Holmes and others) and some others also look interesting.
You can find them at Overstock for $24.95 plus $1.50 shipping, at Amazon for $34.95, and at DVD MegaPacks and BN.com for $28 to $30. I've found Overstock reliable so far; that's where I've purchased all but the first.
Obviously, I can't vouch for the video quality of those I haven't seen. Some that I have--an early "Scarlet Letter," for example--were badly damaged. Some others have been nearly perfect.
My own calculus: If I see seven movies that I'd be willing to buy as cheapo singles (say for $5), then I'm automatically ahead of the game. I've already seen seven that qualify in the "Family Classics" box, and I'm only on the fifth of twelve DVDs. Your mileage may vary, as always.
By the way, since most or all of these are in the public domain, they should also be usable for public screening.
Well, I was doing a bit of focused egosearching (on AllTheWeb, looking for "Cites & Insights", excluding boisestate.edu, and limiting it to "this year," not that date limits do much of anything for websites).
Still too many to look through, but somewhere in the first hundred I hit a publication called Cites & Insights--yes, with the ampersand.
It's a church bulletin from Hines Memorial Christian Methodist Episcopal Church in Albany, Georgia.
While I did grow up Methodist (but in what's now the United Methodist Church, not one of the Methodist Episcopal versions), it's fair to say that I have nothing to do with this church publication.
Did they know that C&I existed before they put this on the internet? It wouldn't have been hard to spot, but I won't make such an assumption.
Am I going to ask them to change the name? Of course not.
Just a curiosity.
By the way...the first issue of Cites & Insights volume 5, and the first sponsored by YBP Library Services, is now in the works. I'd guess it will appear on Sunday. Given list outages next week, it may not be publicized quite as widely as usual.
And I'll start publicizing the call for conference/program reporters starting January 3, as widely as I possibly can!
Back a ways, I noted the bizarre total number within my circle in Orkut--more than two million at the time--and that the number did not decrease significantly when I cut my number of "friends" from 21 down to 12.
One who shall go unnamed (why cause him grief?) sent email with an interesting suggestion: The number being reported is roughly the total size of Orkut, and has nothing to do with your own "six degrees of separation."
Just now--with the two million+ having grown to three million+ in the interim--I did a little test of that. I deleted all my "friends" with two exceptions, each of them people with only 20+ direct friends in their own circles.
As I checked periodically, the total number varied, but in no meaningful manner. That is, it started at 3,021,371. After I deleted four of the twelve, it went to 3,018,027. After deleting another four, it went to 2,966,236. And, finally, after deleting all but the two most selective friends in the list, it popped up to 3,023,708--the highest number I've seen.
First, my apologies to anyone who actually uses Orkut, considers me a friend, and wonders where I've gone. Nothing against you: I consider all of the dozen to be friends, and just eliminated 10 of them in a spirit of inquiry.
Second, my opinion is that the number within "my circle" in Orkut is meaningless--that final behavior, jumping up when I deleted a couple more people, can't be explained in any rational manner I can think of.
Third, I've unbookmarked Orkut (since I can't figure out a way to actually delete my "membership"). I do believe social networking software, at least within the business world, may have its uses. I don't believe Orkut has any uses for me, and there are other better ways to waste time. (Like writing journal entries...)
On vacation since November 18--and to me, part of being on vacation is ignoring as much technology as possible. We got back Monday; yesterday was entirely consumed in catching up with email and related work issues--I didn't even log on to the Internet except to check one fact.
We visited the Marquesas islands, for those who care: One of the five archipelagos that make up French Polynesia, with islands such as Fatu Hiva and Nuku Hiva. The cruise (14 days) departed from Papeete in Tahiti (departing is always the best thing to do in Papeete!), and visited five spots on four Marquesan islands, along with Rangiroa in the Tuamotu archipelago and some of "the usual suspects" in the Society Islands--Bora Bora, Moorea, Tahaa, and Tahiti, but not Raratea. (Unfortunately, Bora Bora, which may be one of the most beautiful places on earth, was overcast and raining. Otherwise, the weather was generally good.)
I'm not doing a travelogue, at least not here, not yet. Just noting that lack of entries (and lack of comments on postings!) doesn't necessarily indicate lack of interest. I'll catch up little by little, but will be VERY selective about what gets printed and considered as C&I source material--particularly because another time-dependent thing looms on the close horizon.
(No, we didn't visit any libraries in French Polynesia. Sorry about that. For those with a historical bent, the Marquesas represent an extreme example of what Randy Newman calls "the Great Nations of Europe coming through"--probaby more than 100,000 population prior to first European contact, then down to about 4,000 by WWII, now back up to 8,000 or so thanks to antibiotics to help defend against the wonders of European civilization. Things got off to an unusually bad start: The first Western visit at one island resulted in 200 Marquesan deaths right on the spot.) (Oh, and they weren't "noble savages"--neither noble nor savages.)
That's it for now. Just thought I'd let anyone who cares know that I haven't actually disappeared for good.
A few folks might have gasped had they been at the Charleston Conference last week, in a Saturday discussion of OpenURL issues. The discussion got around to some sort of functionality for people to share tips and best practices (e.g., for new targets, new forms of linking, getting around problematic targets...)
Someone suggested a list.
I suggested that a Wiki might suit this particular need better than a list or even a blog.
Now, you gotta understand, I've never run a Wiki nor actually participated in one, and have commented on them much as I've commented on weblogs--that is, "I don't know that everyone really needs to have/do/take part in one, or that they're solutions to all problems."
But, as with weblogs, lists, some kinds of social software, Wikis do look to be low-overhead solutions to some problems--and I think building a "communal knowledgebase" in the fairly specialized area of OpenURL resolver practices may be such a problem.
Who knows? It might even happen. Fortunately, before people started asking me "What's a wiki?", Pat Harris (NISO) noted that the Metasearch Initiative is using a wiki, so setting up another one would be trivial...
Nothing really new here: I don't own a notebook computer because I don't need one at the moment and prefer to travel light. Ditto a PDA. Doesn't make them useless; just makes them less than universally essential.
And there's my Friday sermonette.
Well, two days is "within the next week or so," so I didn't lie. That is, the document containing the title sheet and indexes for Cites & Insights volume 4 (2004) is now available for downloading.
Eagle-eyed readers may note that the story I just suggested, like the postings to C&I Updates, the Topica list, and a few other lists, is ungrammatical--because I left out "document containing the" for brevity, but certainly didn't use "are" to refer to a single PDF file.
In case anyone ponders the possibility that I spent the last two nights going through the 300+ pages of C&I 4 and preparing the index...well, for Volume 1, I did prepare the entire index as an afterthought. Since then, I've built the dummy Word document used for index preparation after publishing each issue. The final step is whatever cleanup I choose to do (fixing obvious typos, combining subjects, names, etc., that clearly should be combined) and the typographical transforms to finish the index.
So both of you now know a little more about this odd enterprise.
Cites & Insights 4:14--December 2004--is now available for downloading.
This 22-page PDF issue includes:
This is the final textual issue for 2004. The index and title sheet will either appear within the next week or so or in early December.
Note that it's likely to be a while (maybe six or seven weeks) before the first issue of Volume 5 appears--but Cites & Insights isn't fading away.
Special note: A sentence in this issue, suggesting that people use Atom from the C&I Updates blog to keep track of Cites & Insights, apologizes for the apparent loss of markup, at least as viewed in Bloglines.
Apparently the latest version of Bloglines fixes whatever the problem was with Atom feeds; the latest entry shows up just fine.
(As I continue to bite my tongue to avoid a political comment...)
A while back I noted that Orkut said I had two million friends, via the 19 people actually in my friends list and the six-degrees-of-separation stuff.
I thought that was just silly. So, after a while, I decided to do something about it (besides mostly ignoring Orkut, which has worked quite well). I deleted seven "friends" who I've never met and don't really know well enough to consider trusted acquaintances, bringing the set down to 12.
This wasn't easy, given that Orkut lately doesn't work more often than it does.
So I checked today. With twelve "friends," my total network of potential contacts has dropped all the way to...
What? If I cut out half of the remaining 12, I'd wind up with three million contacts? Or do I have a few hotly social contacts and they're reaching some sort of natural asymptote within the Orkut membership, roughly 2.4 million?
Oh well, back to mostly ignoring Orkut.
Because I'm trying to stick with my decision not to post any more political posts (and boy, is that hard--but, you know, I don't think I'd change anyone's mind any more than the scores of other political posts are going to change my mind)...
I discovered something about my plebeian tastes recently. (Well, something more--I already knew that I preferred good/straightfoward food to Haute Cuisine, for example.)
I figured out a long time ago that dark chocolate tasted better to me than milk chocolate. To wit, I really and truly liked Hershey's Special Dark, rationing it out a quarter-bar (that is, half an ounce) a day--when you can find Hershey's Special Dark.
So with the proliferation of serious chocolate from around the world, I thought I'd see what $5 or $6 gets you that $0.60 doesn't, trying some of the best-known and most expensive chocolate bars.
And discovered something: The most expensive ones, with 70% chocolate content (or whatever the key ingredient is), I didn't like at all.--could barely eat them. The middling ones, 40% to 60% chocolate, were OK.
And I actually liked Hershey's Special Dark, which is presumably a degraded mass consumer piece of c**p, better than the expensive spread.
Ah well. We don't all have rarefied tastes, at least not in all things. (Now when it comes to cruise ships, I do have rarefied tastes...another story.)
Those who peruse ChuckB's journal, as you should, may remember this item and my comment.
Turns out that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation underwrote the development of the malaria vaccine as well, according to an editorial in the SF Chronicle.
That shouldn't be surprising. Big Pharma is not known for investing huge sums into developing cures for "third-world diseases" or "diseases of the poor." But a big $nudge$ from the Gates people makes all the difference in the world.
Probably quite literally all the difference of the world for millions of third-world people in the future.
Trivia, and really answered by this post: A couple of friends have expressed the hope that a set-to in the comments space won't frighten me away from LISNews or from the journal.
No worry. Big gaps in the journal are because I don't have anything to say that I think suits this particular format, or because I just don't have time. Don't expect a lot of posts in the near future: I'm in the middle of a special writing project, there are still C&I and EContent pieces to write, we're getting ready for a big vacation (hurray), there are new extended-family medical problems to worry about...and, oh yes, the full-time job has been heating up.
Doesn't mean I've been scared away. Just means I'm not a natural-born blogger and I'm busy.
You won't see comments turned off here either, any more than you'll see earlier posts removed. Not my character.
Now I think I get it.
Some people see things as black and white. Other people see most of life as shades of gray.
For now, I won't characterize either in terms of politics, religion, or whatever--partly because it isn't that pat.
Those mindsets are so fundamentally different that they're pretty much irreconcilable--and it becomes exceedingly difficult for a "shades of gray" person to converse with or sometimes make sense of a "black and white" person.
Mostly it isn't worth the trouble. I really should learn that lesson once, instead of having to relearn it two or three times a year.
Before anyone at LISNews gets all upset: The lesson doesn't have anything to do with interactions at this site. Yet.
And credit goes to Randy Travis, or the songwriters for that particular song, to be sure.