Harry Potter for the Ancient Greeks

I didn't think that this would work as an article but thought all Lisnews-ers would like to see this.

Hopefully, this will help make classical education seem a little less stuffy.

Friends and Foes and Such

I just posted this as a comment elsewhere, and I'll just drop it in here as well, it might be helpful to other LISNewsterz as well.

You set your relationship with other LISNewsterz by clicking the the little face icons (, , ) that appear next to their name wherever they may have left a comment, or on their user page.

contemporary social issues

I need to compile a book on vague questions. Like: Do you have any books on contemporary social issues? I have to say, the reference librarian before me put it nicely... "There are a lot of issues. Any one in particular?"

I still am new enough to get the deer in the headlights syndrome. I can't answer smoothly right away. I think, "Contemporary social issues? How contemporary? Jeez, I could use a drink right about now. Where did my other sock go? Maybe all our contemporary books have been taken out."

Dumb question...

How do you "fan" people? I can see how to friend people but what is this "fan" thing??

Stupid faculty tricks

Our faculty photocopier is down *again* and has been down for almost a week, which means that the faculty come to the library to do their photocopying. I've noticed an alarming trend with these people--they come in through the door, stand in front of my desk, and shake a piece of paper at me.

With Friends Like These--Marian the L. in bed with the FBI

The background: Last week, our city's Human Relations Commission passed a resolution speaking against the Patriot Act. Many folks in the community were pleased that this happened.

Be nice to the cataloger

Dear Public,

Be nice to the cataloger, for she ultimately decides when you will see your book.

--The Library

Digitization confusion

Somewhere there's a digitization project in the works. I really don't know using what or when yet but I know who, so I guess that's something.

The way it's going to work (tenatively) is that the selected members of our special collections will create records in WorldCat for whatever collections/items/etc... they choose. Then, we catalogers, will be downloading them from Worldcat into our system. In theory, we'll all get trained on entering these records into Worldcat.

You're number 602 in line for the Da Vinci Code

I got to tell a guy that today. He didn't want to wait. I do hope he realized we had more than one book. He rushed out before I could tell him.

The Joys of RPA

I really do wish I could be back on the grounds of my MSLS program getting my work done. I had come home to preach as guest speaker at church on Sunday (the congregation did not tar and feather me, thankfully) but picked up a stomach virus while home.I am just happy that the consortial RPA is actually working decently from home allowing me the database access I need to get some work done.

The victims and survivors ...

Regarding the article today predicting librarianship will be extinguished by Google: Being from a long line of engineers, my nature isn't to bank on the security of anything, ever. (Think: Not FDIC insured. May lose value.) Not that I would equate librarianship with a declining stock, but as an almost-there library school student who has had to deal with these doomsday articles since the get-go, I've come to the peace that while the writer behind this Google-worship story du jour could be blamed for a number of obvious holes and faulty assertions, the skinny on it all is that nothing escapes evolution or the potential for extinction -- and that things are indeed changing at an exponentially faster rate. Not that we shouldn't worry about people being exponentially more stupid in the future -- that's a huge concern for me personally. I just think careers come and go or evolve and change to adapt to specific market forces or social conditions, etc. (Romanian libraries did not practice collection development for more than a decade.) Professions merge, or they split and become more specific -- on and on. LIS itself is much more interdisciplinary now than it was 20 years ago, and every librarian I know is very oriented toward technology and embracing new developments to reap the benefits for users; look at all the academic institutions seeking librarians who can meet the needs of students virtually. And we've got to consider this type of prediction in the context of other sectors or industries -- the physical product of a newspaper comes to mind. When I was in journalism school, I saw an old Chicago newspaper columnist be totally dismissive of the Internet and the fact that folks would be willing to read news off a screen. Well, he was almost dead then, and he is dead now. And guess what? The physical product of a news PAPER isn't going to be around much longer, but a lot of jobs from the newspaper industry have and do and will survive. Librarianship will either be a victim or a survivor depending on those in the profession, and I appreciated the comment to this article by the librarian who said this could be interpreted to mean librarians will be in greater demand than ever. That's my bet. And if I'm wrong? Well, the whole Google-worship deal reminds me of that line in "The Lost Boys" when the vampire played by Donald Sutherland's son says: "It's rice. Eat it. Twenty million Chinese people can't be wrong." In other words, if the Everyman says so, it is pretty much so. Even if the Everyman has no sense of what's being lost. Even if it goes against our better judgment. I have just accepted that I can't worry about forces outside of my control on a daily basis.

The Trouble with Horowitz - A reply to nbruce

Hi nbruce,

For some reason, the system prevented me from posting the response below to your comment. So I posted it in my journal.

I appreciate you holding my feet to the fire and searching his site. I should have done so first and now I have. In my original comment I said:

"In his FrontPage Magazine, he has denounced librarians and others as traitors. If he ran a college, I'm positive there would be a lengthy list of people forbidden to step foot on his campus."

So now I'd like to share a couple of FrontPage articles about librarians AND OTHERS listed as traitors:

The Fifth Column Left Declares War
By David Horowitz | March 17, 2003

"We have long warned on these pages that the peace movement is not about peace, that it is a fifth column communist movement to destroy America and give victory to our totalitarian enemies."

The ALA Library: Terrorist Sanctuary
By Paul Walfield | May 8, 2003

The American Library Association has signed up for battle in the War on Terrorism; unfortunately, it has signed up to fight the Bush Administration and the USA PATRIOT Act. Siding with civil libertarians against public safety is just the ALA’s most recent leftist act of political defiance. However, this is their most corrosive stance for the well-being of all Americans, undermining and sabotaging public efforts to stave off terrorism."

Stab in the Back
By David Horowitz | February 12, 2004

" The Democrats’ campaign is a stab in the back not only of the President but of the nation he serves and which he is sworn to protect."

Treason, named in the first article and strongly implied in the second and third articles, is an extremely serious charge. It merits the death penalty. It implies immediate and grave harm has been done to the country.

If Mr. Horowitz and his fellow writers TRULY believe that their opponents in the peace movement and the American Library Association are traitors to this country, then they are in effect, advocating for the imprisonment or death of those enemies. I think it's safe to say these folks would not be invited to any venue that Mr. Horowitz controlled.

If the writers at FrontPage don't believe their opponents are traitors who want to "destroy America and give victory to our totalitarian enemies" then they should stop poisoning legitimate policy dicussions with such labels.

Having said all that, I still think Mr. Horowitz should be free to make speeches on college campuses or anywhere else.

Today's build up and knock down--still waiting

So today, I was feeling a little down about the academic job I'm waiting to hear about. I got to work and whined to my colleague about not having heard from the university and said they'd probably invited other people for on-campus interviews. Two minutes later, the phone at the reference desk rings, and it's someone saying "Hi this is xxxxxxx from xxxxxxxx"--someone from the library and department I applied for. In the split second it took me to respond, I thought, "Wow, they're calling me back. But wait! Why are they calling me at work at night?

Chris Ware and Keep on Keepin' on

I'm sure that everyone else has known who Chris Ware is--I'm usually a couple of years behind the times--except with 80s music, I was right there in the thick of it.
I buckled under The New Yorker's professional rate ($25!) and subscribed for 2004. This last week's was a double issue (February 16 & 23). There I was, on the MBTA Red Line heading to Alewife Station when I come to Chris' graphic story "The Whole Time." I don't care what you have to do--beg, borrow, photocopy, this 2-page story.


Oh, how I hope I have a good long stretch before I am on reference tomorrow, for two reasons.

I am battling a cold that is quite nasty. I've been sick (low grade) for about a week, and it bloomed beautifully on Saturday. Normally I would not want to go to work to make all my co-workers sick, but we were so short staffed, and I am still probationary and can't take sick time. I've had yesterday and today to recuperate, and I guess I do feel a little better, but limited time in public with my runny runny nose would be a good thing.

XRM Radio/TV....I'm hooked

I spent the V-Day weekend alone...which was great. My wife and daughter were on a brief vacation. I spent the weekend writing and getting hooked on XRMradio ( and XRM TV on WinAmp 5.0. Alone with the video feed, they have an IRC server than posts the messages over the videos. Very fun. It's been maybe 6-7 years since I spent any time on IRC. If you like music, check out XRMradio's two audio feeds and the video feed.

studying human social behavior @ your library

Some people have no sense of personal space. At first I thought maybe it was a cultural thing, but it seems to transcend all cultures, races, classes, you name it. Sometimes people inflict their "lack of personal space sense" on me, but mostly I see them doing it to each other. It actually bothers me more when they do it to each other, for some reason. I want to yell, "Spread out!"

I am the librarian. I am not babe.

Some little puke... I mean, nice young man... pulled the fire alarm yesterday... halfway. So the fire alarm went off, but the fire department wasn't called. Me, on the information desk, not knowing what to do, got up and yelled, "Everyone, fire alarm, you have to get out." Then my supervisor came over and said, "No, actually, they don't." So I had to make the announcement, "Everyone, false alarm, sit back down." Hey, I guess the firemen get very upset if the building's not evacuated by the time they arrive (and they're next door, so that doesn't leave me much time). And I sure as heck didn't want to be responsible for someone being burned to a crisp.

People get very upset over seeming little things. Okay, getting an overdue notice for a book you returned three weeks ago is disconcerting, and I could see that lady getting upset (we did find her book and she went home happy). Getting upset and calling us unprofessional because we can't change your twenty is a bit much. We're a library, not a bank. The bank's three doors down (literally).

Come to think of it, would any stores change your twenty if you weren't purchasing something there?

Grandma will come to the library and photocopy pages out of Contemporary Black Biographies (nice series) for you, but boy, are you in trouble when she gets home. This is, honest to pete, the last time grandma comes to the library without you!

Some little boys will only get library cards if they can take out Captain Underpants.

Two ethernet cards later, I got Linux networked on to our LAN. This means little with our LAN set up, except that we do now have internet access with Linux. Now I have to configure everything so that it's pretty seamless for the public to use. Number one, no one gets to tool around in the terminal. I mean, some yutz is going to press F2 or F12 or whatever it is in SuSE that opens the terminal eventually and then we'll have to deal with staff and patron having a conniption. But I guess we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. I think I could in theory block off the console on the desktop, but I don't know if it would block off the function keys as well. Any ideas? Also, if any one knows any scripts that will reset the desktop in KDE for Linux on reboot, that would just make my day.

Readin' N Writin'

On occasion I'll read a book.

That sentence was originally written as follows:
On occasion I'll read a book that I feel I could've written. Now I'll admit that's a stretch. It's a stretch to say I have the time, talent, and patience to ever write any book, but sometimes I'll finish a book and say to myself "Self, we could do that"

Lies and Statistics

Reference Desk Software

The banner ad that pops up in Opera (okay, yes, I haven't paid for Opera) when I visit this page is one for "Reference Desk Software". Our reference desk software: a Chinese word processor, Norton, Word, various and sundry Delltouch programmable key applications (what they do is beyond me), IE, Horizon (and the obligatory Sybase and Java applications that run with it). So what's cluttering the desktop? About twelve million documents. I am guilty of this too. I have a picture of Chris Farley (ahem) that I had to save there and print for a young lady (this young lady paid a whole fifty cents for pictures of Chris Farley and Martha Stewart -- not together). I was mildly curious as to what she was going to do with them.

More and more, I am liking the idea of putting the Linux box out as the unfiltered terminal. More and more, I am liking the idea of filtering the terminal, spinning it around, and making it a special, if-you-have-your-card-only access terminal. People like that terminal because they get privacy (I have to admit, it does bug me when people wander around the internet area looking at other people's screens) and because they can get naughty pictures. There's really not much our filter blocks. Further study is of course needed. But I suppose setting a home directory up read only and setting Opera or Mozilla up execute/read only would solve my problems.

I still might flip the terminal around so that patrons can't look at anything too unsavory. Just to make it easier to monitor that nothing too terribly inappropriate is going on.

People also like that terminal because it is card only, so there are less likely to be arguments over who signed up for it. Card=good.

Oh my god, when did I get old?

It's school vacation week. And it's Valentine's Day. I am wondering how busy it's going to be today and the coming week. I am on the info desk (yes, I am info beyoch) from the late morning to mid-afternoon. It's actually not so bad, when you break it down. I thought I would mind being on the desk, but so long as it's steady but not too busy, it's really not bad. Not many patrons asking questions, and things drag. Too many patrons asking questions, and things get out of hand.

Coupled with this, though, is my cold from hell. I have had it for a week now. My head's a bit foggy and my nose is running. Had I the sick time, and if we weren't half staff, it would be a sick day, I think, just out of respect to my coworkers' health.


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