new look

Come check out the new look for my blog, if you aren’t already viewing it now.

Come check out the new look for my blog, if you aren’t already viewing it now. I went through all of the templates and really tweaked them to fit with what I wanted. I used the Color Schemer to tweak the colors, and I found it to be quite a handy free tool.

Also, from now on, I won’t be using CloseComments. I don’t have an easy way to open comments on older entries, and with over 350 entries, I’m not going to do it manually. I plan to let MT-Blacklist moderation catch the comment spam. If that doesn’t work, I’ll go back to closing comments older than fifteen days.

caribbean beer

It’s a tough job to write a guide to regional beers, but thankfully Mark McKenna’s ten years in the Caribbean gave him the opportunity to sample all 75 local brands. His experience is chronicled in his new book, McKenna’s Guide to Caribbean Beers: All the Islands, All the Brews published by Parrot. In the book, he goes through each of the 22 islands alphabetically, including Bermuda and the Bahamas because of their proximity and beer offerings.

Continue reading “caribbean beer”


I’m working on a complete re-design of this blog. I’ve been tweaking the stylesheet and layout of this semi-out-of-the-box MT scheme for years, and I’ve finally decided to take the plunge and work on an entirely new look for the blog. I have the front page tweaked out on the test blog, and now it’s on to the other templates. The new header here may give you an idea of changes yet to come. Of course, all of you who read this in your RSS aggregator could care less if I colored the whole thing in fuschia and beige.


Finally, I have found an article on FRBR that makes sense to me. [LJ NetConnect, Spring 2005] I’ve been reading buzz about it in the library blogosphere for a while, but I couldn’t figure out what the thing was. Linda Gonzalez explains that FRBR “is a conceptual model for how bibliographic databases might be structured, considering what functions bibliographic records should fulfill in an era where card catalogs are databases with unique possibilities.”

For example, an OPAC using the FRBR principles would display on one screen all of the holdings for a journal, regardless of format and including title changes. This is an issue serials catalogers have been struggling with for decades, and the problem has only increased with the introduction of electronic formats. Instead of trying to find a way to loosen cataloging standards to incorporate public service needs, the burden of displaying data from the catalog in a user-friendly form would be placed on the database coding. Brilliant!

wildfire on the reservation

This morning while I was getting ready for work, I heard a brief news report on NPR about a wildfire on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming. Immediately I listened closer to catch any references to locations I may know, and was rewarded with a mention of the city of Lander. I’ve never been to the Wind River Reservation, but several years ago I read through most of the mystery books written by Margaret Coel that take place on the reservation. Coel is a native of Colorado, but has spent enough time with the Arapaho and on the reservation to be able to write it well. She based her Father John O’Malley’s St. Francis Mission on the existing St. Stephen’s Indian Mission.1

The two main protagonists in the series are a disgraced Jesuit priest who is a recovering alcoholic and an Arapaho woman who has returned to the reservation after many years away in the city working as an attorney. These two are an unlikely pair of sleuths, and they both have personal baggage that hinders their ability to discern the truth. The novels are as stark as the descriptions of the wind-swept reservation and offer little comfort; however, they are a convenient vehicle for conveying Arapaho history to the ignorant like myself.

  1. The Eagle Catcher (1995)
  2. The Ghost Walker (1996)
  3. The Dream Stalker (1997)
  4. The Story Teller (1998)
  5. The Lost Bird (1999)
  6. The Spirit Woman (2000)
  7. The Thunder Keeper (2001)
  8. The Shadow Dancer (2002)
  9. Killing Raven (2003)
  10. Wife of Moon (2004)

luddite with a heart of gold

Chuck Munson has a soapbox pronouncement that is sure to burn through the ranks of librarian bloggers as quickly as Michael Gorman’s anti-blog people essay. However, unlike Gorman, Munson doesn’t come across as an elitist ass. He makes some good points and some points that others are likely to quibble with. I hope he is heard, and in return hears his critics. My own quibble is with the following statement:

“These tech savvy librarians are also the ones responsible for the disappearance of books and other printed materials from our libraries. They want to turn libraries into everything but LIBRARIES. They want fancy new buildings to showcase technology. They slash periodical budgets so more tech can be brought into libraries.”

As the Serials and Electronic Resources Librarian, my responsibilities are to provide our users (students, faculty, and staff) with the best information using the most appropriate format within the limits of my budget. In my book, there are two types of periodical publications: those that need to be browsed in print and those that are used for research where only one or two articles are needed. For the latter, electronic subscriptions and full-text aggregator databases make sense. For the former, print subscriptions makes sense. I also take into account other factors such as the inclusion of illustrations and format when choosing electronic subscriptions over print. The reality is that most undergraduate students prefer to download and print articles on demand, rather than pulling the bound volumes off of the shelves and making photocopies (not to mention a total aversion to anything in microformats). A quick literature search will reveal a number of articles on user preference regarding print versus electronic.

If the periodicals budget is getting slashed, that is only because the university isn’t funding the library to the level it should. In fact, the biggest problem I face is the annual subscription price increases, regardless of format. I’d like to implement some cool tech toys that will make it easier for our users to locate information, but my budget can barely cover what we already have.

I think that Mr. Munson’s rant is motivated by his personal experiences and does not necessarily speak to the library profession at large. While we tech librarians love to congregate around the virtual water cooler and geek out about the newest tech toys, our musings about library implementation of those toys does not imply that we want to turn libraries into some sort of Matrix-like cyberworld. Anything that draws in users and provides them with tools to find accurate information is a good thing in my book.

stop! thief!

It’s National Library Week, and in an usual move, Intel has ticked off quite a few librarians. Not intentionally, mind you, but their offer of $10,000 for a copy of the Electronics Magazine issue where Moore’s Law was first published has caused library-owned copies of the journal to go missing since the announcement was made. Hopefully the stolen volumes will be returned once the thieves realize that the company won’t buy library copies from individuals.

google sightseeing

Google Sightseeing takes you to the best tourist spots in the world via Google Maps’ satellite imagery.”

I am continually amazed at what can and is being done with free stuff online. I guess when you’re stuck behind a computer screen all day, “Why bother seeing the world for real?” [thanks emily]