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Week Three With The SlashCode

So week three has brought few changes. I am rather dumb when it comes to makes any changes on this code yet, there's still a rather long list of things to do. A couple of interesting things.

1. There's about a million (well it feels like it) RSS feeds now. Thanks to the new sections that I've added, each one adds a new feed. Speaking of the new sections...

2. My big idea with the new sections, each with it's own URL, will be to have "editors" take care of each section. Now I need to finish up adding sections, and find some editors. Speaking of people posting stuff...

3. How 'bout those journals?! Getting used much more than I had though, already. Interesting posts from Oghma, Surfer Rosa (is that a Pixes reference?), sabine01, Great Western Dragon is leading the pack, quite a few more good ones In There.
RTeeter let slip a little secret, bug, I need to fix.

4. It seems that it's possible to use the new code as a Discussion Board independant of the stories and journals. Interesting...

5. There are some really funny User Names so far.

6. I took a peak at the stats, and it looks like we are down about 1000 people a day since the new code started. Not as bad as I had thought.

7. Moderation is not quite working like I had hoped yet. I guess we need more users, more users with higher karma, more users metamoderating, and more comments. The moderation code doesn't seem to scale down well, or at least, I can't get it to do that yet.

8. Got a great email from XB I need to write up.

So far...so good I think. I really need someone with mad PERL skills to help me for a few hours.

What we do

This is my first blog-style entry, so I'll make it more of an introduction than a journal entry. I’m a director in a small public library. I’ve worked in libraries since 1985, first as a shelver and technical processor at the University of Wisconsin, then as an acquisition assistant at Plymouth State College after a move to New Hampshire, where I achieved my MLIS from the University of Rhode Island. After a move to Florida, I started working in public libraries, first as a reference supervisor and eventually as a library director. I’ve been involved in four expansion projects as a librarian, three as director.

I titled the subject line “What we do� because I’ve read some recent entries questioning the frustrations of the post-master’s job search, and the state of the profession, especially surfer rosa’s journal athttp://www.lisnews.com/~surfer rosa/journal/. I remember what my job search was like, and believe me, I feel your pain. At one point I applied to four jobs at the same university library, which I didn’t get, and then they hired me as a temp to work one of the jobs while the person they hired over me went on maternity leave. Ouch.

Getting hired as a professional was very difficult, for some reason. All the experience I had pre-Masters suddenly didn’t count. The economy at the time wasn’t great, so I wound up volunteering and joining the local library association. Word of mouth eventually got me interviews, and the experience I had post-Masters as a volunteer got me the job. I just didn’t think it would be that hard. I think it’s because we what we do isn’t understood well by non-librarians, and as a result, we as a profession are undervalued, understaffed, and underpaid – so as a result, there aren’t a lot of jobs out there, the ones that are held onto, and there aren’t a lot of people who move out of it into other careers.

Understanding what it actually was that I learned in library school took me a while. I mean, I know the classes I took, which were typical of most programs: foundations, cataloging, reference, administration, etc. What did I *learn*, though? What did I know that I didn’t know before the MLIS. This is an important question, especially for those who rail against the “glass ceiling� of the “piece of paper� that the MLIS represents.

It took a while, using my skills and knowledge, making many mistakes, getting some things right, and learning again things I thought I’d already mastered. Talking to patrons, finding what they were asking for, and eventually learned to find what they needed.

I had learned how to help people.

That sounds too simplistic, so I’ll round it out with the closing of a lecture I gave on reference services during an in-service course.

We study the organization of knowledge. The word information has little character, because information, without relevance or context, is useless. Knowledge, however, is that piece of relevant information that has importance to that patron. It is the auto repair manual for the blue-collar man who has no money for repairs but has to drive to work or lose his job. It is the landlord/tenant laws that prove that a woman was illegally evicted so she can get back into her apartment and her daughter can sleep at home again. It is the fifth title in a romance series to entertain a reader. Our skills enable us to take the once piece of information from the vast cultural ocean our society has created and bring it to the individual who needs it.

It’s a great thing. To me, there is no greater thing – to share your knowledge for the benefit of others.

It’s what we do.

--Oghma

A brief history of a miserable job search.

At my library school orientation, I was regaled with stories of recent graduates who had prospective employers beating down their doors begging them to work for them. I was told that as an MLIS grad from Prestigious Library School, I would have absolutely no problem finding a job. After all, with the "graying of the library profession," lots of people at the top would be retiring, and people would move up to fill those positions, leaving a lot of good entry level jobs for new grads to fill.


Then September 11th happened, the economy went to shit, budgets were cut, and grads in just about every field found it difficult--if not damn near impossible--to find a job. It's been almost two years, but the situation isn't any better. The "graying" of the librarian population is definitely on target. I went to ALA this summer, and I was appalled at the number of coelacanth librarians--you know, "living fossils." But these people are never going to retire. They're waiting for their retirement funds to be worth what they were worth in 2000, and they'll die in their fancy chair in the director's office before that happens. Which means that I've got to wait for them to kick the bucket so everyone else can move up a rung so I can get an entry-level job. Of course, it'll take between two months and a year to fill any given position because of the snail's pace of library hiring.


I have a sparkling resume, and I give good cover letter, so I've been able to score a number of interviews. In a way, this is positive, because I have friends who haven't had an interview yet, and have been looking longer than I have. I'm so damn sick of the hiring song-and-dance at this point. I'm tired of describing my work experience and my management style and how I handle difficult situations to a committee who already knows who they're going to hire. The whole idea of interviewing multiple candidates "in the name of fairness" when an internal candidate is going to be promoted is silly. Don't dick me around, employers. I've had it.


Anyone else going through this same sort of hell? Anyone else out there irritated at the fact that complete and utter boneheads who graduated with you have jobs and you don't? Anyone else not afraid to be a little bit bitter and ranty sometimes?


Holla back, yo.

Articles in RSS, but not on Web site

In case Blake (or someone else equally powerful) is reading this:

Sometimes I see articles showing up in my RSS reader that don't show up on the Web site until hours later. Right now, I'm getting the story "What Librarians Really Mean." Also, I notice it's dated Friday, Aug. 22, at 2:00 a.m., a day and a half from now.

Is this a bug or a feature? Could it be a gift for "RSS bigots"? ;-)

?

With Blake's assistance I will be doing a wireless blog here.

Generosity and Selfishness at the New King Library

The new King Library in San Jose had its grand opening today. This is the grand new experiment: a public library and a university library rolled in one, with 2 staffs, 2 collections and 2 user populations.

It was literally a festival. Thousands ... maybe tens of thousands of people showed up. Even though nothing could be checked out today. Lots of stuff for little kids, but a fair amount of activities for adults.

As a public library, it's magnificient: lots of space, lots of light, lots of windows. 33 art installations secreted all over the place. Wide, well-lighted stairwells, nice browsing library on the first floor (although the sci-fi, hardcover & soft, is fairly lousy in that particular section).

As a university library ... we'll see. I was disconcerted to learn that bound periodicals is in the basement, 4 floors down from current periodicals. That will be a bit of a bother. Otherwise ... we'll see.

When I'm a public library user, I'm fairly patient and generous. I don't mind long lines at check-out or to get a library card; I think kids running around and being themselves in a public library is a perfectly good thing. I trust that there are some areas where people who want peace and quiet and to be left undisturbed, but that the rest is public space: loud, chaotic, funky, energetic public space.

When I'm a university library user, I'm really selfish. I want quiet and books neatly on the shelves and quiet conversation; no chatter, no crying, no screaming. I don't want kids or tourists wandering in on my space obliviously. I want comtemplative, meditative space to read and absorb and think. There are public spaces (especially the first floor), but the rest is sacred space: I want my university library, on the whole, to be quieter than my church (and if that sounds weird, remember that I grew up as a Baptist).

Don't know if the library will, can or is even meant to work on that level.

In other news, I was interviewed briefly by a reporter for the San Jose Mercury News. Since I had on my public library user hat on today, I was very good and gave nice, enthusiastic quotes.

The long walk home 08/14/03.

I was working in the library trying to figure out which of our microfilms needed to be discarded, when my computer went down and the lights started flickering around me like a 70s disco. My coworkers and I thought that just the library's power had gone out. However, we knew the problem was widespread when we went outside and saw New Yorkers desperately dialing their cell phones. I really had no idea what to do except to start walking.
I finally reached home after three hour of walking. I was not upset, because worse scenarios have happened.

Week 2 With The Slashcode

Not really in any order, but here's what week 2 has given
me to do, so far:

 

 

ENT Feeds for Jen
 

The older stories need help still

Still some Db issues I guess with those

The old quotes are just gone right now, not sure if I can import them or not
yet.

Slowly getting there. It's still a challenge figuring how this code works, it's
much more complex than the old site.

 

The old polls, forgot about those till someone asked.
I'll get there, I hope, haven't even looked at that one though, maybe just a
link to the old poll code?

 

I need to write some decent documentation for both
authors and members

Authors is coming along, and I think members is done until
someone tells me otherwise.

Old comments, HOW TO?

ACK! This is going to give me nightmeres.

Integrate mailing lists
No, wait, this is going to give me mightmears!

 

What about subscriptions?
Yeah, what about them? Can this place pay for itself finally?

 

Make the "hits" come back to the story display
Should be simple... famous last words.

 

I don't like "Read/Comment..." but not sure what would
work better
.
Maybe just comments?

 

What Karl said, the edit link is misleading. See if I
can hide that when previewing stories (authors only).
[Submitted to the
Slashcode folks as a bug]
Status is fixed, so maybe I can just diff that file.

 

Make a

better page
that lists UID's.

Damn that's ugly.

 

Make admin toolbar stand out more, it's easy to miss.

Just some Bold Tags should do it.

Ender filter.
 

Fix all those 404's via ln -s.
More or less complete

 

Get that "about" page rewritten

Yeah, some day.

Categories for all the vars?
Maybe ask the list for help.

 

Modify the moderation reasons a bit

Work with Aaron and other authors

Make HOF.pl better, or move back to the old .php one.
Might be a good file to get chops on.

 

Kill relocate.pl

I swear I read that somewhere.

Old stories with single and double quotes in their titles have the \ showing

Ack.

 

Add links to Urchin, search, and mailadmin to admin tool
bar

Now that I can do!

 

Tell me how many user accounts we have when I log in

Might not be too hard.
 

anon people to start out at 1, and
people with acocunts start out at 2 (maybe up the ceiling?). That
way, no worries about what it does with 0s and stuff. And default
viewing is at 1.

The Big Red Button

When I got hired I noticed a big red button in the corner of the library.
My boss said:
"This is the big red button. NEVER press the big read button!!"

So yesterday, I got bored, and around 4 and I figured, what the heck, lets see what the big red button does...

Someone came in this morning to install the blue button that'll take care of everything, so hold tight for a little while longer.

;-)

Note: This makes sense if a) you know where I work and b) you know what happened yesterday around 4.

Blogs...

Well, since blogs have been around for a while now, has anyone ever done a survey on the average lifespan of a blog?

so

so, how long before the ubiquitous "in soviet russia, libraries own YOU!" quote? :)

Ah-ha!

From the Slashdot quote thingie:

You possess a mind not merely twisted, but actually sprained.

At last! Recognition!

However, I still prefer the old quote feature from the pre-Slash days.

first entry

don't know what to say on the first entry except ---what is this? I must be bored and ready for school to start -- did I say that!

Greetings, Earthlings!

In the spirit of things, I hereby write my first entry. Blake, all your hard work is appreciated. I didn't truly realize until now that you're really building a community, not just a blog (blogs are often communities, too, but with very limited functionality!).

I realized this due to the intense personalization required when a user sets up an account. I've never been a big fan of the usability of slashcode, but, hey, we're librarians, we Figure Things Out for a living. Still, it's worth it, as are all your labors, and I hope LISNews.com continues to flourish.

-Mike

I'm not 92, I'm 74

I understand the nature of websites and losing information. I originally registered on lisnews.com and had the UID of 74. Now, after registering again, I'm 92. Still double-digits, so I shouldn't complain too loudly. Rant is over.

Power Of Google?

Maybe google’s popularity is working against it?
Compare search results for “International Book of the Month� in Teoma, All The Web, MSN, and Google.
Who won? Well, I’d say MSN lost, by far. The first few results are just way off. Paid placement?
All the web and Teoma do ok, as does google, but this search returns a couple of obviously wrong results, domain squatters, search engine spammers, not sure what to call them. Those annoying sites that exsist only to spit popup ads and crap just drive me crazy. I’m assuming people only bother with google when pulling scams like that.

The News LISNews

I'm glad Blake switched to this new slash code. Yeeha. I'm hoping that we see tons of action around here.

Beeeeep.

This is only a test.

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