Wednesday, January 31, 2007

What to Write About

While this blog is directed towards professional bloggers not mere amateurs like me, his tips and ideas are creative and useful. Other ideas I use are commenting on what I've read on the Web, often found by browsing rather than searching. I also get ideas just by being observant of what's around me.

I found this article:

Ramos, M.& Piper, P. (2006). Letting the Grass Grow: Grassroots Information on Blogs and Wikis. Reference Services Review V. 34 (4), 570-574.

The main thrust of this piece was that wikis and blogs can help librarians and others communicate better, share ideas, and create instructional resources. Well, okay, but that doesn't mean that the information they contain is accurate. Wikipedia is an example. Like anything else, blogs and wikis have to be scrutinized and evaluated.

Some other good articles on this topic are:

Barton, E. & Wesmantel, A. (2006). Reflogs Now. Library Journal, 28-30.
(You can read this article here .)


Desai, C. M. & Graves, S.J. (2006). Instruction via Instant Messaging Reference; What's Happening? The Electronic Library 24.2, 174-189.


Pomerantz, J. & Stutzman, F. (2006). Collaborative Reference Work in the Blogosphere. Reference Services Review 34.2,200-212.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Oregon State University Library

I spent several hours today doing research for my classes at the OSU Valley Library in Corvallis. While I was there I took some photos.

To the left is a view of the main entrance, above is the reference desk and to the right is a photo taken from a window on the sixth floor.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Two Terrific Sites for Archivists Or Those Searching for Primary Sources

The first is Seek and Ye Shall Find ,which has links to sites with primary source documents. There's also a link to how to search the invisible or deep Web here.

The second site is Footnote with links to millions of original documents.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Great Sites I've Found Recently

The Changing 'Place' of the Library discusses how libraries can meet the needs of distance education students and faculty.

Best Tech Videos on the Net is a super directory of tech videos.

The 24 Languages Project offers electronic access to over 200 health education brochures in 24 different languages. This is a project of the Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library, in partnership with the Utah Department of Health, the Immunization Action Coalition, AAPCHO, and many others to improve access to health materials in multiple languages.

Access My Library gives free access to millions of articles from top publications available at your library.

AMSER (the Applied Math and Science Education Repository) is a portal of educational resources and services built specifically for use by those in Community and Technical Colleges but free for anyone to use. AMSER is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) as part of the National Science Digital Library, and is being created by a team of project partners led by Internet Scout.

Refdesk is a one-stop site for all things Internet including news, weather, sports, reference, encyclopedia (50 areas), facts on file, FAQs, tutorials, search engines and more.

E-JASL: The Electronic Journal of Academic and Special Librarianship - v.7 no.3 (Winter 2006) is now available.

The January/February 2007 issue of D-Lib Magazine is now available.

And finally, a couple of archives related sites.

Conservation on Line or CoOL is a project of the Preservation Department of Stanford University Libraries and "is a full text library of conservation information, covering a wide spectrum of topics of interest to those involved with the conservation of library, archives and museum materials". Definitely cool!

Ready, 'Net, Go!" Archival Internet Resources, offered by Tulane University, is an archival meta index with referrals to major indexes, lists, and databases of archival resources.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


The Corvallis Public Library offers an Aquabrowser, a visual catalog which offers patrons the opportunity to search for information using a traditional query box with results portrayed with visuals, such as photographs of book covers included, links to sources as well as links to reviews, annotations, and character and author information. Patrons don't have to specify whether they're searching for author, title, subject, or keyword; the search function is just one box, similar to Google. It also compares the patron's terms to the metadata in the library's catalog and creates a visual map (a "word cloud") of associations. This allows patrons the opportunity to discover new information and reformulate their query and broaden their search.

Additionally, patrons can refine their search by zooming on the details of various search options such as subject, author or category to find not only the exact information wanted but also the type of format preferred.

What a great tool!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Linn-Benton Community College Library

I work in the reference department of the LBCC library, a two-year college which serves over 5,000 students. I took some photographs late this afternoon when it quieted down a bit and there were only a few dozen students still studying.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Organization of Desks

Desk organization was the topic my group discussed in a presentation to the class on Saturday. It was based on Thomas W. Malone's article published in 1983 entitled “How do people organize their desks.”in ACM Transactions on Information Systems (TOIS).1 #1 99-112.

I found an article in the New York Times published last month entitled
Say Yes to Mess
which quoted more recent research, some of which contradicted what was in the article published over 20 years ago.

One key finding was that a messy desk can increase creativity because it allows one to see connections one might otherwise miss. I don't think I made this clear because some of my classmates misinterpreted this to mean that those people who had neat desks were not creative, which clearly is not true.

Some also seemed unable to distinguish between neatness/messiness and organized/disorganized. It's very possible to have a neat desk which is disorganized if the files are ambiguously labeled or disorganized within the file drawer, for example. The desk may look neat but it's actually hiding the fact that it would be difficult to find what one is looking for. It's also possible to have a messy desk which is organized but perhaps not in a way that word is conventionally used. Papers may be piled in stacks or arranged in ways which, to the casual viewer, may appear to be haphazard but the desk owner may have a very specific and unique way of organizing that is not easily apparent to others. Organization is important but messiness or neatness is not what one should be examining. Michael did make a great point, however, that it is easier to access materials in someone else's desk if it is organized conventionally; people would have trouble finding what they needed if they didn't know or understand one's personal organizing style.

Portland Art Museum Visit

Our first class, Theory of Organization of Information, met this weekend in Portland. It was clear and very cold with high temperatures in the low 30s and lows in the lower 20s. Saturday morning we went to the Portland Art Museum to meet a couple of the registrars. The registrars are those responsible for maintaining and safeguarding the art collections, both those belonging to the museum and those on loan. Some of their duties include:

- Register incoming and outgoing collections.

- Accession and catalog new items insuring that all documents are properly processed.

- Maintain detailed inventory and historical files of each item in the collections, including card catalog and photograph file.

- Develop and maintain record systems to identify and locate art works that belong to the museum.

- Oversee storage of the collection to ensure that it is safe and accessible.

- Implement an inventory cycle as stipulated by the museum's Collection Management Policy.

- Serve as risk manager for the art collection and administer the museum's fine arts policy.

- Oversee computerized collection management system.

- Assess conservation proposals with the curators; identify conservation resources.

- Maintain statistics that relate to the collection.

- Implement deaccession policy including determining objects' legal status, tracking the deaccession process and coordinating the disposal of deaccessioned objects.

- With curators, assess loan requests for art works in the museum's collection.

- Generate and maintain all documentation pertaining to incoming and outgoing loans including exhibition contracts, loan agreements, receipts, shipping documents, and condition reports.

- Arrange for appropriate shipping and crating for incoming and outgoing loans.

It was a fascinating inside view.

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Some Links

In between writing papers for publication, reading and doing course assignments for my first class this term (next weekend), taking down Christmas, preparing myself for going back to work on Monday, spending time with John and the guys, and knitting--whew!--I've been perusing the Web reading other people's blogs. This is a bit of what I found:

This great link has a list of blogs by archivists and archivist students.

This blog, written by Richard J. Cox who is a Professor in Library and Information Science at the University of Pittsburgh, School of Information Sciences, is especially useful.

And then there was this--Skills for the 21st Century Librarian-- a
which listed what the writer felt were the most important skills a librarian should have.

Monday, January 1, 2007


I found this essay on time entitled Stop all the clocks: Julian Baggini on the tyranny of time published in The Independent. I recently wrote about time in a post entitled Vorfreude, a German word meaning "pre-delight" or "before joy".

The concept of time and how it's viewed and valued in different cultures has long been a fascination of mine. One of my favorite non-fiction books is Alan Lightman's Einstein's Dreams. Read more about this book here. It also brought to mind W.H. Auden's poem Stop all the clocks, the saddest and most poignant poem I've ever found on how it feels to lose someone to death.