strange requests

A patron came in asking for a picture book of dead people. I didn't find any listings under the title he gave me. I had no idea what an appropriate subject heading for that would be. I tried doing a subject search-- death photographs? death pictures? That just got me (of course) movies. Then he asked me if I'd seen Faces of Death which I actually have seen bits of. Not my cup of tea.

I suggested books on war, thinking there were probably some pictures of dead people in there, but he wanted, er, one stop shopping. As one patron said to me once, "I want pictures, I don't need all them words!" (Honest to pete, she did.)

My little Horizon problem turned out to be a Horizon problem, not a telecom problem at all. No comment.

You should hear me. I sound like the frog princess. It was quite a feat answering the phones on information. I croaked out some renewal information, I held a book for some one, croak croak croak. This cold is really a bummer, although I feel better than I did Saturday, when sitting upright was a chore.

New fun filtering software for me! I don't want to change so much what it filters content-wise. Honestly, I like for people to have as free range as possible. But it has the ability to stop java based games (I managed to stop most Flash based things myself, har har) and IM stuff. If it could only filter out Google images of sneakers, I'd be the happiest woman alive. I don't know why it irks me so much, that these kids spend what seems like hours on the internet (though less now with the timed access software) staring at pictures of sneakers.

The timed access software is going great. I love this stuff. It doesn't help the congregating around the terminals too much (we have problems with kids gathering to look at --what else-- sneakers. Or scantily clad women) but it does help limit how long they congregate. And about fights about who gets on next. No number, no turn. No exceptions.

I really expected more complaints. I really, really did. My supervisor always tells me to knock on wood... It's only been a week. But most people are adjusting, and the regulars (who would be the ones to complain) have either buckled down, got cards, and learned to make the most of their hour, or gone elsewhere. Those were the squatters. Since then, we've had people get on that have actually been using the facilities the way they were designed... They do research, look for jobs, homes, schools, do general betterment stuff by using the computers, something they wouldn't have gotten the chance to, necessarily, two weeks ago.

It was that bad a situation two weeks ago. Honestly. It's that much better this week. I need to have my direct supervisor come out and behold it periodically. She's still unconvinced, but I think she'll come around. Everyone else is in love.

Here's hoping the love affair gets to continue.

Comments some of us always knew. The problem isn't the technology--it's the crusty attitude of autocratic library boards and directors who just DON'T THINK WE SHOULD USE THEM... might stop a person from finding something in the world out of an infinite amount of information!!

More stories... for example, the one where Cindy Benjamin (one of many citizens who wanted action on this topic) said that she had to tell her daughter she couldn’t bring her to the library board meeting because of the issues being raised tonight. Her daughter had told her that the last time they visited the library, she saw a man looking at naked ladies on the computer. Cindy said that it’s amazing this kind of thing could happen. 2002-03-18: FORT VANCOUVER REGIONAL LIBRARY BOARD OF TRUSTEES - Minutes March 18, 2002 (pages 6-8)

Of course the Library board resisted any action.

Well, according to the LC catalogue, you could try

  • Dead -- Pictorial works
  • Dead -- Portraits [various Free-floating subdivisions]
  • Dead in art [various FFSDs]

I started by guessing the subject "dead photographs", which lead to the "pictorial works" subject. Your library has no pictorial works, one "portraits", one "portraits -- exhibitions", which is also a "dead in art" and also points to the subject "death in art".

Of course, you're never going to see the patron again, so this is all moderately useless.

Actually, this kid is a regular. Regularly asking for things that are sort of odd.

I wish we had some copies of the LCSH books laying around... something I miss about Simmons. Made searching so much easier. Horizon has a "subject heading keyword" search that is kind of useful, but doesn't always cut it.

I'm looking under these subject headings, but I still don't think it's exactly what this kid was looking for. I think he wanted to oogle at the dead bodies (maybe he's studying to be an undertaker?) He was looking for a "Faces of Death" in a book, I think. His ideal -- "I found this title (insert title here) at Newbury Comics, but I didn't want to pay $40 for it."

Like I said, I searched, which has a better subject browse option than Horizon (which I can say because my library uses neither Horizon nor Voyager). In particular, I used the "subject browse" option, which is pretty good, since you see the real subject headings, including the ones constructed with the free-floating subdivisions, name authority subjects, and geographic subs.

Another option, which doesn't include the FFSDs and names but does include scope notes, is to search the authority files directly, as shared by DRA at

I'll have to try that...