What is this #libday8 thing going on…I guess I should participate?

It’s been months since I wrote anything as part of the series Day in the Life of an Electronic Resources Librarian. What a better time to restart it than during #libday8 and talk about my week so far.

Even though it’s only Tuesday, I feel like I’ve had a long week….lots of ebook processing going on. Monday – I had to process a whole bunch of ABC-CLIO ebooks and come up with call numbers for each title. In our library catalog, we have it set up so that we include a copy record with any new ebooks that we acquire. This makes sense for us because this way, if we were to lose access to any ebook or ebook vendor, we could easily clear it out of our catalog.

Actually….let me back up a bit – how many people actually list their ebooks in the library catalog and add copy records for it? When I first got this job, I thought it was a bit silly to add copy records, especially once I looked at other library catalogs and noticed that they didn’t have copy records. Having dealt with them these past few months, it makes sense as a way to future proof our catalog.

Okay, back to the story – so I had to find call numbers for all of these ebooks. Man, was it a PAIN…I had to go through WorldCat and try to find a public library that had the ebook titles. Mainly because most of the catalogs that had these titles were colleges – while I wouldn’t have minded using LC…we’re a school library, gotta live in a Dewey world. Thank goodness I was able to find call numbers for each title.

Can you imagine….if I had to come up with these call numbers myself? YIKES! I mean, I love the idea of cataloging and stuff and building call numbers…but I don’t have access to OCLC…I would have had to use an abridged version of DDC13. *sigh*

One fun thing to come out of these adventures in ebooks is that I figured out the MARC field to add copies to your catalog! Go 852!

=852 \\$hCall Number$pBarcode

What up!

Definitely making dealing with the ebooks easier – before I used to just upload the records to the catalog, then go into each campus catalog and manually add a copy. Now? Only have to upload the records to each catalogs, which takes less time than having to add copies.

In the next installment…we will talk about what happened last October/November (because yes…it’s been that long) J/K – Already talked about my hard drive crash…up next..will be me talking about what I want to do with iBook Author.

Curious Cartographic Collections

I’ve been slacking lately on my posts, but with the new year I feel like I can finally refocus on this little project of mine. I’d also like to start creating original posts, rather than commenting on interesting links that I find online. For now, this will do. Maybe in the future, I’ll start releasing short snippets of interesting bits of papers that I’m writing on, or projects of mine that are mainly offline.

Now, on to the main post..maps.

This interesting in mapping came about mainly in college, and it was because I loved the idea of studying the growth of suburbs and mapping out migration patterns for immigrants. It’s really cool, it’s really visual, and allows you to analyze what is going on.

I especially love looking at cool, unique, or even controversial maps. These maps from Mental Floss don’t really seem too controversial to me, but they are most definitely interesting.

Of these three, the one that I love the most is the one that suggests a reorganization of the United States into new states. How much work would have to be put into that? Even if the supposed new states allowed for a more equal distribution of resources, it would be difficult to break from the connection we have with our former states. There is a lot of emotional attachment connected to our sense of geography. To be forced to reassociate ourselves with a new state, while also internally mourning the loss of our former state would be difficult for so many people – especially given the bonds we have formed and the history behind each state.

via mental_floss Blog » 3 Controversial Maps.

What ever happened to teenage boy literature?

Even though I’m not too big on YA lit, I often find myself having to think about YA lit a lot – and not only because I work at a high school library, but because of the emergence of YA lit as a viable genre for publishers.

I love seeing the new books that come in from Ingram – every time we receive new books, it’s like unwrapping a Christmas/Birthday present (for me, it’s the same thing…) because I can’t wait to see what new books I’m going to want to check out. In recent years, I’ve found that I prefer nonfiction books as my pleasure reading. As much as I love reading a good fiction book and getting lost, I so rarely find that captivating book that just makes me want to READ.

I was lucky this past summer that I found a good fiction book – Almost Like Being In Love. But aside from that, I’ve mainly been reading nonfiction. I looked back at my history of reading, and made a realization today – I’ve read mainly nonfiction nearly my entire life. I wonder why I never got hooked on YA novels…

Then, I saw this list of Top 5 YA novels and made another realization – very few YA novels are geared towards boys. I guess thats an awful thing to say – why must novels be divided up by gender? Why can’t literature be cross-gender? In the YA genre, the last book/series that I can think of that had appeal equally among boys and girls was Harry Potter. The more recent popular books tend to be geared towards female readers.

Is there a reason for this? It’s not as if boys don’t read books – the Library rats at my work can attest to that (mainly boys!) I guess it could be because it’s so much easier to pinpoint what a girl reader would enjoy, hence making it easier to write? Who knows…


Delicious’d: Logic Games Online – Nurikabe

So this is the first post in another series I’ve decided to start, and I’m calling it Delicious’d – a series of posts about things that I’ve bookmarked in Delicious. In this way, I get to review the things that I thought were apparently good enough to save.

For this first post, I decided to go with the first thing I ever Delicious’d: Nurikabe.

What a fun little logic game, similar to minesweeper in that you have to use clues to determine the binary nature of each block. Each reload of the page will bring you a new Nurikabe to work with. You should definitely check it out if you want something to do to kill time

I think at this point, I might have been going through my Sudoku phase…although, was sudoku big in the US in 2006? I don’t recall it being super popular yet. I wonder why this was the first thing I ever book marked. The interesting thing is that it says “Imported” as one of the tags..imported from where? Was I using a different bookmarking tool at the time? I actually think I might have been using Furl – I loved it cause it saved a cached copy of the page!

This is going to be an interesting series…I wonder what I’ll find in my 5 years of Deliciousing! (OMG, it’s been five years? The first thing I ever bookmarked, was on Nov 3rd, 2006…)

Tourism is a big deal okay?!?!

So it looks like the United States has finally decided to join the civilized world and have an advertising campaign promoting itself as a tourist destination. Granted, they didn’t really need such a campaign, as most of the world loved to come to America anyway (See: Ellis Island, “roads paved with gold”, etc….) but I’m sure it couldn’t hurt to have a united front to show people what is so great about America!

Let’s take a look at this campaign…I bet it’ll be awesome and cool and all that jazz.

What’s the name again? United States of…Awesome Possibilities? Really? Yikes…we couldn’t have come up with something better? It didn’t NEED to included “United States of” as part of the name of the campaign. Screw it, I’m comparing this to Iceland Wants To Be Your Friend.

Okay cool, Icelands campaign has the name of the country in it as well, but at least it wasn’t a cheesy title! Iceland wants to be your friend implies a warmness, a friendliness, an approachability that is just not present when you title your campaign “Awesome Possibilities”. You just didn’t try very hard. Plus, what I enjoy the most about the Iceland campaign title is that it’s not necessarily about what’s so amazing about Iceland, but that Iceland wants to converse with you. United States of Awesome Possibilities implies (to me) that the campaign will essentially be a more national version of something cheesy like Pure Michigan. yikes! Why can’t America do something fun?

I’m really hoping they do something innovative or at least interesting with how they market themselves. Right now, it seems very plain and uninteresting. However, if they were to take a page from Iceland wants to be your friend, I hope they make it about a story – a story about the United States and it’s people. And that it encourages conversation – one of the best things about Icelands campaign is that it carried a conversation with the audience and included them as part of it’s story.

Overall, it might take a lot of convincing to get people to visit the United States of Aweso…America. While we may be a destination for a lot of people, many others find us to be an abhorrent nation and would never support travel and tourism here. We must target those who might be willing to spend their money in America, but are unsure as to whether or not they want to. Rather than change the minds of those who don’t like America, we have to work to convince those on the fence to just suck it up and visit!

I’ll probably be watching this campaign really closely and comparing it for a while to Iceland Wants To be Your Friend. This might seem unfair, but I’m already thinking Icelands campaign is gonna kick ass compared to United States of Awesome Possibilities.

Week in review: IL2011

Man, I have been busy these past few weeks. Last Sunday, I left the South Bay, hopped onto the 101 South and made my way down to Monterey with some awesomebrarians to attend Internet Librarian 2011.

This is easily my favorite conference, just because I learn so much from all of the sessions. It’s also my favorite conference because this was the second year I presented in it, and the first that I wasn’t in the Internet@Schools track. My friend and I had two presentations: Social Media Storytelling: Lessons from the Ad world – in which we discussed various ad campaigns and the lessons libraries can learn from these campaigns in how to market their library, Serendipitous Social Searching – in which we discussed the concept of serendipity in a digital realm and how it compares to physical serendipity.

In addition to these two presentations, I also have my Geography of Information presentation at Library2.011 this coming Wednesday (which I am working on right now and am pretty damn excited about….).

I’d like to write a more detailed review of IL2011, but I didn’t get to attend as many sessions as I wanted to – the keynotes were certainly inspirational and aspirational. I’m really sad that I missed out on the gamification keynote because I would have loved to hear a librarians perspective on it, but it’s been something I’ve been reading about for a while so I’m not too disappointed.

Aside from conferences, I’ve had to deal with my laptop hard drive dying – I’ve lost all of my work, but at least my laptop is back up and running. I’m considering this a sign that I needed to clean out a whole bunch of crap from my life.

By the end of the week, I’d like to post my notes from my two presentations for those who were interested in what we had to say. I was really surprised at the number of people who came up to us and thanked us for bringing attention to the importance of storytelling as a marketing tool. yay for tapping into a need that no one had really considered!

Looking positively…

Despite everything bad going on today for me, i’ve decided I’m going to try to think positively.

Last night, I had decided to upgrade to Lion and iOS5. Well…the Lion upgrade apparently revealed that my hard drive was dying – today it died.

I just lost years of work…at least my school work has been backed up. But anything professional..is gone….

So now, I’m trying to put a positive spin on it: I should act as this as a refresh in life. I’ve now gotten rid of everything that bloated my laptop and now I am free to start fresh.

At least my presentations next week are all in Google Docs. I adore you Apple, but Google FTW!

Lesson learned: backup your stuff. Or adopt this new philosophy of getting rid of everything that isn’t immediate.

I want to do everything and nothing

I want to do everything in the library. I want to shelve the books, I want to process the books, I want to teach the classes.

I want to do nothing with the library. I want to create websites, I want to learn how to program, I want to be a technologist.

It’s really hard for me to realize that I want to do all of these things at once but that I can’t. I want to be teach classes, I want to learn how to program. I want to process books, and I want to create websites. In my first month or so, I’ve pretty much done all of these things. Well. Not the teach a class part, but that’s something that’s out of my hands and I don’t think needs to be addressed. I’ve become more accustomed to dealing with the technology issues that happen everyday and that’s a good thing.

As part of our back to school process, we are all required to come up with a goal for the year. Me being me, I managed to create a goal that is not feasible in a year, but rather a ten year goal. Whoops?

On the bright side, I’m getting things done – I’ve started working on a style guide for our LibGuides and I’ve also managed to mess it up all at the same time! I accidentally forgot to close off my <style> tag…oops? That made the entire page GREEN and no other elements to show up. Lesson learned: DOUBLE CHECK CLOSING TAGS!

Why I love practical math

During high school, I learned that I loved math. I loved that challenge of solving problems, of learning new techniques to solve older problems, learning about the quirks of the number systems and how to get around them. In my mind, math was about the challenge of solving problems through various means. My favorite part of my math homework was trying various formulas and ideas to solve the problems we were given. If it didn’t work, I could always erase my paper and get back to work. It was about attempting things.

I’m pretty sure my logic is a little flawed – most people don’t like math because they see it as a challenge to solve problems through any means. For those who do like math, it’s learning about the beauty of numbers, of figuring out the logic behind systems, of finding out “y?” (what up, random Adventures of Pete and Pete reference!). It takes a special kind of person to really enjoy math – they have to be willing to work through problems and to be stymied by not finding the right answer.

In college, I realized that as much as I loved math, there were things that I didn’t enjoy about it. I find abstraction to be annoying sometimes – as much as I can wrap my head around certain problems, when there are multiple layers of abstraction, when I have to transform my logic too many times, I get annoyed because I don’t see the practical application of the abstraction. This is why I loved my practical math classes – I took courses on mathematical modeling, on game theory, on learning MatLab for numerical methods. I learned so many practical skills from these classes and I enjoyed each class immensely.

I like learning about why the things I am learning about are important or applicable to real life. It’s why I really enjoyed my sociology degree because I learned about things that are interesting and actually about real life, about real interactions. It’s why I pursued my MLIS – I learned skills that will help me with information design and helping people find the information they need.

In life, the most important thing is to enjoy what you do. The second most important is learning transferrable and applicable skills. It’s time to encourage students to think about more than just their grade, but to also think about how what they are learning will help them in the future. At the end of the day, teach skills, not just content.

How to Fix Our Math Education

New series: A year in the life of an Electronic Resources Librarian

It’s been a while since I posted, but there’s a reason for this!

I’ve been busy – finished up my web design summer school class, and have had two weeks of orientation for my new job.

That’s right folks, I’ve gotten a promotion – I went from being a Library Clerk to being an Electronic Resources Librarian. I think it could be fun to write about my experience as a first-time Electronic Resources Librarian (ERL) – first time in the sense that it’s my first professional job, first time in the sense that this is the first time my work has found they had a need for this and first time as the ERL at the school I work at. How many K-12 schools out there can say they have an ERL? I feel like I’m going down a path that few people have gone, so it feels necessary to blog about this, so that I may hopefully find a community out there.

There are going to be quite a few bumps along this road.

The first major issue is that this is something completely new for this school – they don’t quite know how to view this position, how to work with this position, what to exactly do. It’ll be a learning experience for work. As the clerk, I did a lot of the work of an ERL – managing our database subscriptions, troubleshooting outages, general technical issues, etc.

The second major issue is that this is something new to me – I don’t know exactly what is quite appropriate in terms of my responsibilities. As much as I know what to do in terms of the resources, what can/should I do? Is there a boundary that I need to respect? It’ll be a learning experience for me. As the incoming ERL, I want to do as much as I can to ensure that our resources are always available for the community. But I know I’ll probably also want to do so many other things. This will definitely test my time management skills, as well as my ability to make choices: I’ll have to learn to make hard choices about giving up on projects and knowing when to say “no”.

I’ll be blogging about this topic sporadically – only what can be shared and what is appropriate. I’m pretty jazzed, but I know I’ll be stressed out a lot. We will see how this goes. Wish me luck!

way too much information, all the time