old friends

Mourning the loss of contact with old friends…

On Thursday and Friday of last week, I attended the ACRL Oregon and ACRL Washington Joint Fall Conference. One of the first persons I ran into at the conference was a college acquaintance I had not seen in over seven years. For some people, this may not be unusual. However, this is this first time I have ever run into someone from my undergraduate school outside of a context related to that university. I attended a small, liberal arts university in Virginia, and this conference took place in Oregon. As far as I knew, this old acquaintance had no relationship with libraries or librarianship, which as I discovered was true until recently when she began the distance MLIS program through the University of Washington. Go figure.

I’ve been thinking about old friends lately that I have lost contact with. Some of this was inspired by having recently gotten a great deal on a minidisc recorder/player and finally being able to listen to live recordings I made of a singer/songwriter friend in 1999-2001. For a while, it seemed that Thea Zumwalt was working towards doing music full-time, but her website has disappeared and none of the email addresses I have are working anymore.

One of the many recordings of Thea at the Artful Dodger in my collection makes reference to another old friend, Adi Raz. The last time I tried to email Adi, the message was returned undeliverable. I guess I shouldn’t have let over two years go by without communication. Now I can’t find any contact information for her, which is both sad and frustrating.

For over ten years I have been trying to get in touch with a childhood friend, Katie (Kate, Kathryn) Connolly. About eight years ago, or so, I got her address through her mother and a teacher at the high school where we would have both attended had I not moved the year before. She never wrote back, and the last time I tried, the letter was returned. Our friendship ended on a bitter note, sharply contrasting the sweetness of the friendship to that point. All I’ve wanted since then was to make up for that heartache, but I suspect she’s long forgotten me.

I’ve moved so much in my life that there are countless other people that I occasionally wonder about. People like Susan, my friend who lived down the street with whom I saw (and was frightened by) Michael Jackson’s Thriller video. Joanna Mullins — my first serious crush in junior high school. Dan Nietz — my best friend in high school with whom I lost contact after he got married (although my Dad says he’s seen him around town and gave him my email address… not going to hold my breath, though). And there are and will be others.

I used to be very good at writing letters and keeping in contact with everyone, but as I’ve grown older and busier, my life has become too full to keep up with those who are not a part of my routine. Maybe letting go and moving on is a part of what makes us mature adults, or at the very least, numbs the pain of the loss. I guess I haven’t quite figured out how to do that yet.

i want my country back!

I just read Howard Dean’s new book….

Some friends generously gave me a gift certificate to Powell’s Books for my birthday this year, and this weekend I had the opportunity to visit that giant independent bookstore in Portland. I used their gift to purchase a copy of Howard Dean’s new book, You Have the Power, which I just finished reading tonight. It is both educational and inspiring, with the right mix between his reflections on his presidential race and his vision for the revitalization of the Democratic Party. On assuming that Democrats have the African-American vote, Dean writes,

“The truth is

speaking of gmail invites…

Do you have a bunch of Gmail invites to give away?

If you have Gmail invites to give away, but all of your friends and interested blog readers already have them, I ran across a website that will help you give them away to those who want a Gmail account. I gave away three of my remaining four, keeping one just in case.

english major wannabe

Perhaps some latent English major talent has finally decided to surface, and it took six years away from the Mathematics textbooks for it to bubble up?

The route of my walk to and from home (for the time being) passes by a printing business. Before, I have only glimpse the inner operations through a window, but today when I passed by on my way home from lunch, the garage door entrance was open. A distinctive scent wafted out through the opening, and for some reason, my mind started coming up with a description for the scent. Here it is:

the metalic tang of ink mingling with the pungent bleach scent of new paper

Perhaps some latent English major talent has finally decided to surface, and it took six years away from the Mathematics textbooks for it to bubble up? Or maybe I’ve been listening to A Prairie Home Companion too much.

mt. st. helens

For my family and friends who may be concerned about me, I am nowhere near Mt. St. Helens and it is likely that I will not be greatly effected by any eruptions.

For my family and friends who may be concerned about me, I am nowhere near Mt. St. Helens and it is likely that I will not be greatly effected by any eruptions. Here is a message recently sent to everyone at my place of work:

Mount St. Helens blew off a spectacular cloud of steam and ash this morning, significantly more ash than yesterday’s eruption. According to Northwest Cable News, today’s burst reached the upper level air flow and there is a chance the ash could dust the Kittitas Valley within the next few hours. The ash cloud is subsiding and a dusting in Kittitas County, should it occur, is expected to be light. No air quality alerts have been issued by the Dept. of Health at this time. You are advised to take any precautionary measures should you suffer from respiratory problems.

For more information on reducing the impact of ash fall, please visit http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/ash/
If any air quality alerts occur, we will let you know immediately.
More information on Mt. St. Helens can be found at:
www.fs.fed.us/gpnf/volcanocams/msh/

Thanks,
Mark

Mark Anderson
Director, Public Relations & Marketing

recent articles read

I’ve been catching up on some professional reading.

I’ve read a few articles recently that I’ve found quite interesting and would like to share some thoughts on them.

Van de Sompel, Herbert, et. al. “Rethinking Scholarly Communication: Building the System that Scholars Deserve.” D-Lib Magazine. 10:9 (2004), doi:10.1045/september2004-vandesompel [open access]

I was immediately intrigued by what the creator of OpenURL (and his co-authors) might suggest as a technological solution to the current problems with scholarly communication. I couldn’t follow all of the technological details (they lost me at the flow charts and diagrams), but I was pleased to read this in the conclusion: “The NSF has recently recommended funding the authors of this paper to investigate these problems, building on our collective research and development. In a future article we will discuss our current work in moving toward a network overlay that promotes interoperability among heterogeneous data models and system implementations. We will describe our architectural vision for addressing the fundamental technical requirements of a next generation system for scholarly communication.”

Antelman, Kristin. “Do Open-Access Articles Have a Greater Research Impact?.” College & Research Libraries. 65:5, 372-382. [open access]

The author set out to find data to confirm or debunk the common assumption that open access articles have a greater research impact than those which are not open access. She looks at four disciplines in different stages of open access development, and all of them have had a history with the use of pre-print articles. The data she gathers leads her to conclude that open access articles do have a greater research impact than those which are not freely available. I would like to see these types of studies extended to other disciplines, but I am pleased to see that someone out there is gathering data for the rest of us to share with the teaching/research faculty in the discussions about scholarly communication we should all be having.

Siebenberg, Tammy R., Betty Galbraith, and Eileen E. Brady. “Print versus Electronic Journal Use in Three Sci/Tech Disciplines: What