library thing

About 95% of my permanent collection has been cataloged using LibraryThing. I’ve been having fun looking at the shelves of those who have similar libraries to my own. In my humble opinion, this is one of the best features of LibraryThing. I hope that a critical mass is reached that will make the social networking aspect of the catalogs a tremendously useful tool for reader advisory.

to tenure or not to tenure

Meredith Farkas of Information Wants To Be Free has a great essay on one of the great conundrums of academic librarianship: Should we strive for tenured faculty status or should we embrace a support staff role within the context of the university? She leans towards the non-tenure side and makes some excellent points for it.

I’m a bit ambivalent. On the one hand, I do view myself as a colleague of the teaching faculty in that I use my expertise to educate our students just as they do. On the other hand, I’m more of a behind-the-scenes librarian, and most of my work is focused on providing research tools that are useful and functional. In that respect, I am more like support staff than faculty. As for my tenured librarian colleagues, I wish that there was still something that could light a fire under them because they often appear to be apathetic and uninterested in improving themselves or the library.

I will continue to jump through the hoops towards tenure, because in the end, that’s how I make myself a better librarian (and keep my job).

as it happens

I was driving home last night from a friends house just a little after 9:30pm. The radio in my car was on, as it usually is, and tuned to the public radio news station. To my surprise and pleasure, I caught the end of Future Tense. Since August 13th, Future Tense has been aired at 9pm, followed by some random CBC production due to the lockout. That all ended this week, and last night was the second airing of one of my favorite programs, As It Happens. You may have noticed that for the past two months I’ve had a blog sticker on the main page:

I’m taking it down now. I’m not Canadian, and I have little stake in the politics of the CBC, but I am glad that Mary Lou and Barbara are back on the air.


It’s been a quiet month here at eclectic librarian dot net…. Actually, my non-digital life has been eventful and not at all quiet or boring. However, very little of it has been relevant to the focus of this blog, so I haven’t written much about it. Also, I’ve been saving my creative literary juices for an essay I am contributing to a book about electronic resource librarians. I will need every drop of those creative literary juices if I’m going to get anything decent cranked out. I’ll be happy when it’s done. Formal writing is unpleasant and bothersome.

One thing that I have learned about myself in writing this essay is that my perception of the digital revolution is skewed in a way I had never fully realized before. My family first purchased a PC in the late 1980s. It had two 5 1/4 inch floppy disk drives and no hard drive to speak of. The monitor was green monochrome, and although we had a mouse, we rarely needed to use it. In grade school through high school, I used various Apple computers and the occasional PC, but none of them were networked. I began college in 1994 and discovered the networked computer labs. My concept of the whole thing was still very hazy, but I understood that the computers were all connected to each other somehow, and more importantly, to the printer. In the spring of 1995, I received my first email account. I didn’t know anyone to email besides my friends at the university. I still remember a painful telephone conversation with the father of my high school best friend, trying to transcribe the @ symbol so I could email my friend. However, by the fall of 1996, my university connected with the World Wide Web, and a whole new world was opened up to me. I discovered Yahoo! and listservs and guitar tablature and and…

To me, the Internet began in 1995/1996. Over time, that has evolved to include integrated library systems, online public access catalogs, and just about anything electronic in libraries, even though I know better. In high school I used an OPAC terminal to look up books at my local public library, and I have vague recollections of using a telnet session to search ArticleFirst and WorldCat for research in the first few years of college. These things existed long before my experiences with the Internet, but over the years I have forgotten or ignored that fact, and it is coming back to haunt me now.

My essay is about the evolution of serials librarians to electronic resource librarians, where applicable. Once again, my own perspective has come in to trip me up. Before I started my research, I placed the beginning of the electronic revolution somewhere around 1999/2000. Probably because that is when I became more aware of electronic resources and ceased using print indexes for research. In reality, it was a decade or two earlier. My fear is that my skewed perceptions of the history of technology will taint the essay and make me look like a complete fool to my colleagues. Then again, if they have been reading this blog, they already know me for the fool I am.