Inside a building in China

Want to see some architecture that is WOW?

Take a look:

Choose Your Own Adventure Map

There is a fun post at Boing Boing that showcases a visual map of a Choose Your Own Adventure book.

As requested, the text of the commentary from LISTen #10

Just as episodes of LISTen are not released under Creative Commons, neither are script texts. I try not to release such for multiple reasons. One of those reasons is that not releasing scrip texts help ensure you listen to the verbal delivery first. The rightsholder for the scripts and the episodes is Erie Looking Productions. In response to an inquiry received, the text of the most recent commentary script is posted here.

WARNING! This is a commentary. The views expressed in this particular segment do not necessarily reflect those of Erie Looking Productions, LISHost, or pretty much anyone besides myself for that matter.

While possibly not John N. Berry's intent, his recent piece on "Vanishing Librarians" has brought light on a symptom to a bigger issue. What are libraries? What are library values? Is there anything intrinsic in a library's value?

Have we lost our past? It seems that while we follow the zeitgeist, that is to say the spirit of the moment, we only chase the wind. In a time with ignorance on the rise, the choice to chase the wind has led to libraries trying in some respects to be all things to all people. In some ways we are not doing this well.

Although we have "foundations" classes in the MLS programs, what are indeed our foundations? Do we promote our foundations as being stability to a culture that seeks it or do we instead perpetuate the "Wizard vs. Muggle" scenario I have mentioned previously? For as closely tied as librarianship is to religion over the centuries, we end up facing much the same problems. People are seeking meaning. A problem facing so-called "megachurches" in the United States is that while they can get people in the door they have significant troubles retaining them. While we chase after the zeitgeist do we then provide merely an attraction to get people in the door without retention also occurring?

The problem in contextualization that Berry and Gorman seem to face is explaining that chasing the wind seeking to latch onto the next big thing can detract from philosophical purposes. Although they seem to only refer to libraries of yesteryear, that is the only reference point they have to a quality they perceive to be missing. In short, where has the magic of the library gone? The magic of the library, in this case, is being more than just a passing thing. People often seek substance but do not want to admit it.

Where does your library stand today? Is it an intellectual bedrock to help people build dreams and fuel imaginations? Or is it focused on glitz while not providing the fuel for imagination? In some respects our calling in librarianship is to open new worlds so that people might dare to dream. Chasing the wind is not a bad thing necessarily but is one part of a bigger whole that involves retention and more.

The Annoyed Librarian has similar thoughts that were posted right after the episode was posted. I should note that I am not the Annoyed Librarian. Both of us appear to be somewhat in agreement with John N. Berry.

Please do not skip through the podcast solely for a commentary by me. There are two fantastic interviews that present cataloging as something that is "fun". When laying out show order my usual goal is to keep commentaries towards the end. Commentaries will not be a regular feature on the podcast, though. -- Read More

Thoughts after a strange enough day

Today has been a sufficiently aggravating day. I should not focus on that, though. I should openly give thanks to Blake for adding new subscription buttons for the podcast. Such appears on every page and is as discrete as possible. After an exchange on Twitter earlier I thought it best to simplify things for folks. Blake and I were testing the e-mail subscription in the background for a while and I am happy to report that folks are already using that service. If that makes getting to the podcast easier for you, why not sign up? New e-mails come out only after I post an episode.

One of the big issues tonight is network connectivity. Cox high speed Internet has been anything but. Right now connection speeds are more akin to what I experienced while living in American Samoa. In that part of this country top speeds for an individual run around 24.4-33.0 kbps. For producing LISTen, this makes a huge difference.

As of late we have had to punt in terms of taking calls. Doing such requires Internet usage. Although a prepaid cellular telephone was obtained for use in taking calls we still do not have an adequate bridge to use audio from such. The funds are not on hand to build such and I do not want to go with any suction cup options at all.

Outages are strange things in the Las Vegas metro. I had a less than pleasant experience on the phone with customer service. Although I may be able to get this posted to LISNews the problem remains of having sufficient bandwidth to do interviews. The question on Wednesday around this is if service will be back up to par in time to use Skype for one or two interviews. Both interviews are on subjects that caught my interest.

Are there workarounds to this? I suppose so. The problem is cost. The only other viable option would be to secure a mobile broadband account with a wireless provider. Such would run USD$60 per month for a two year contract term. Right now that is not financially viable. While outsourcing the conduct of interviews to somebody else is possible the problem is getting such into editing. With Internet access being pretty heavily attenuated, how could I even receive such outsourced audio to edit in?

Right now I get to wait. It is all I can do. Hopefully this gets resolved by afternoon tomorrow. For now I get to wait.

What holds LISTen back in some respects? Funding is the key issue. The audio engineer has a regular job. I have as much work as I can get each week but hours have been declining heavily. The slightly unstable job I have is all I have as the gambling inherent in job hunting has not borne fruit yet. Outside the podcast I know I just had to pay out to replace tires on a vehicle due to an incident at the on-ramp from Russell onto the 515. Before upgrading hardware or software there are day to day living expenses that have to be handled.

An ideal scenario in LISTen evolution is for the podcast to be housed somewhere that it is part of the service of a parent institution. Examples of doing such would be creating a Center for New Media or other type unit in which the podcast is produced while teaching is provided in terms of production. We have been working on lesson plans and course outlines to offer such instruction. If a sufficient offer is made it will be considered. As long as Lake Effect Snow is not a local issue we are willing to consider locations. I must note as well that nothing says such work need necessarily remain within United States jurisdiction either.

I recognize that that ideal is not too likely. This is why the donation buttons always seem to pop up. This is why the Lulu web outlet was put together. If funds were obtained from those means I can rest easy in terms of money matters. Right now I am worried about going bald from tearing out hair over money matters. Relatively speaking it would be far cheaper for somebody to sponsor the podcast month by month rather than bringing us under an institution's umbrella. Bringing us under an institution's umbrella would cost around USD$60,000 to USD$70,000 in payroll. Sponsoring the podcast as constituted now would only run about USD$18,000 to USD$20,000. As counterintuitive as that appears, it actually would be cheaper if the production effort remains as presently constituted but with my being freed up to work on the podcast full-time. A podcast is a cost center that does not necessarily "monetize" by itself. In that respect, the seeking of donations and the sale of items through Lulu makes better sense right now compared to being under an institutional umbrella.

Wednesday is another day... -- Read More

Alternative means of getting LISTen

This form may help folks who want an e-mail whenever a new episode of LISTen is posted:

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner -- Read More

A new way to support LISTen financially?

As a means of helping folks out who might want to support LISTen financially I took action. I have put together small items on Lulu. These item are reprints of two conference papers I have presented. The papers look at an intersection between library science and Christian life.

You can find such at Lulu. If pricing seems strange, please remember that it is an interesting task finding the right balance between no margin at all and a margin that produces at least some revenue. Lulu's cost of print production is certainly not under three dollars, too.

This is a wee bit of an experiment. Hopefully it turns out well.

Pondering Podcast Access -- A Conundrum I Have No Solution To

The Online Dictionary for Library and Information Science defines podcast as:

A digital media file (audio or video) syndicated over the Internet via an RSS feed. The author or host of a podcast is known as a podcaster. Once available online, podcasts can be downloaded for listening on portable media devices (MP3 players, pocket CDs, cell phones) and personal computers. Despite the similarity in name, listening to or watching a podcast does not require an iPod, although the device can be used for that purpose. Online directories of podcasts are usually browsable by subject and searchable by keyword(s) (examples: Podcast Alley,, and

This describes the program produced here in the Las Vegas metro. This also describes the method of normal distribution. Is this the normal means of accessing LISTen, though? -- Read More

the much needed the.effing.librarian faq

Many people ask the.effing.librarian questions for advice, help or just to share his wealth of knowledge. This is his response:

I understand that you view me as an expert in most areas, but frankly, why should I share my expertise with you? I see no benefit to me. I'd love to help, but you see my dilemma.
So to head off some of those questions, I've created this Frequently Asked Questions section. I sincerely hope these answers help with what you were searching for, so that you will go away and leave me alone.

1. Are you really a librarian? I can't believe any school would give you a degree.

They didn't give it so much as I beat the Dean with my shoe until he loosed his grip enough for me to take it.

2. Who's your favorite author?

I devour everything I can find written by Gerald McVeney. Listen to this:
Set iron at recommended fabric setting.
Point arrow on spray button to red dot on can.
Shake well, before and during use.

That's for a can of spray starch, one of his early works. Gerald writes product label directions. Right now I'm in the middle of reading his directions for a can of Scrubbing Bubbles:
Won't scratch surfaces...leaves a brilliant shine!
Has a fresh, clean lemon scent.
-- Read More

US Presidential Politics vs. LISTen

I have a wee bit to say relative to LISTen and US Presidential Politics. -- Read More

What did you think of the new LISTen format tested on 2-1-2008?

Sounds great
57% (4 votes)
Sounds okay
0% (0 votes)
I vote moderate as I do not feel strongly one way or the other
14% (1 vote)
I don't like it
0% (0 votes)
I really don't like it and want the old non-alcoholic Diggnation-style format back
29% (2 votes)
Total votes: 7
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