day in the life of an electronic resources librarian

I am participating in the DILOLibrarian project today. This account is by no means comprehensive or reflective of every aspect of my workday, since each one is different depending on the volume of things demanding my immediate attention. However, it may be of interest to my non-ER librarian friends, as well as newly minted librarians and those who are considering this profession.

  • 8:45-9:00am Arrived at work, a bit late because my carpool driver and I miscommunicated about today’s plans. Turned on computer, got a cup of coffee, got a breakfast bar, and started this post.
  • 9:00-9:30am Read and responded to new mail that has accumulated since Thursday afternoon. Sorted messages that require more than a brief response into Information and To-Do piles.
  • 9:30-9:35am Generated a list of print + online and online-only science titles from our Ebsco subscriptions and gave it to the electronic resources associate, per his request. The serials associate and ILL associate both need this info, particularly since we converted as much as possible to e-only this year.
  • 9:35-10:15am Sorted through the various to-do lists (both email and Outlook Tasks reminders, as well as a few scraps of notes on paper) and worked on them from oldest to newest. One item was to call back a publisher, but their phone system has been screwed up since last Thursday, which I discovered when I tried again. Also, they gave me the New Jersey office number, not the (correct) New York office number. *headdesk*
  • 10:15-10:25am To-do email sorted and cleared from the pile. Reviewed email tagged “waiting for a response” and followed up on those. These are mainly notes from publishers with information regarding electronic resource subscriptions that had been requested by subject liaisons. I hang on to the messages until a decision has been made.
  • 10:25-11:00am Took a break from email to work on two of last week’s TechLearning tasks, which I completed just before Andy sent out the email announcing this week’s tasks. Filed those items away in my Outlook Tasks with due dates set for Friday.
  • 11:00-11:25am Processed new email that had arrived over the past hour. Took a short break away from the desk. Sent suggested training dates/times to a vendor for a new product we have purchased.
  • 11:25-11:30am Checked NASIG executive board email and responded to messages.
  • 11:30-11:40am Reviewed and assessed email in the “information” category. Cleared out some items that are no longer needed.
  • 11:40am-12:10pm Read through some of the issues on the stack of routed professional journals. I haven’t had any desk time lately, just on-call, so I’ve slipped behind on those.
  • 12:10-1:30pm Lunch. Ran errands that took longer than expected.
  • 1:30-1:50pm Processed new email (see a theme here?), answered an IM question from a colleague, and checked on my pals on Twitter & FriendFeed.
  • 1:50-3:00pm Finished up professional reading backlog.
  • 3:00-4:50pm Worked on checking a spreadsheet of electronic resource holdings against what is listed in Serials Solutions. Added/deleted titles, collections, and holdings as needed. Also, paused frequently to respond to email messages as they came in.
  • 4:50-5:15pm Browsed through the last couple of hours of tweets. Processed additional email.
  • 5:15-5:20 Checked NASIG executive board email again.
  • 5:20pm Decided I had done enough for today, so I typed this and… publish.

thing 12: Rollyo

Blogcritics used Rollyo for a while a couple of years ago, and I was never happy with the search results or the way they were displayed. It could have been some setting that BC used, but I assumed it had more to do with the way Rollyo works.

When I was at Blogworld last fall, I chatted with the folks at the Lijit booth for a while and made a note to take a look at their product when I got home. Apparently so did Phillip Winn, the Blogcritics Chief Geek, because not long after, Lijit replaced Rollyo as the site’s search tool. It’s worked out well.

Rollyo’s web search is powered by Yahoo Search, so I can’t see why I would want to use it as a general search engine. I think that Rollyo’s best value is as a search engine that looks at a specific collection of websites. This might be handy in a library if you have, for example, a number of different digital collections being served up from different domains or subdomains. With a Rollyo (or similar) service, you could build a single search interface for them. That is, if you don’t mind sending your users to a site that mixes in six paid links for each page of ten results, in addition to side-bar advertisements.

thing 11: LibraryThing

I have had a LibraryThing account since mid-October 2005. Most of my collection is in there and tagged, and I’ve even started keeping books in my catalog that I no longer own (appropriately tagged, of course), just so I can keep a record of what I have had at some point.

If you look on my blog, you’ll see that I am using the LibraryThing widget to display a random book from my catalog. This changes every time the page loads, and sometimes I am surprised to see what is there. As I’ve noted several times in the past, I have more books in my house that I have not read than those which I have read.

If you’re new to LibraryThing and you have a large collection of books that are new enough to have barcodes printed on them, I recommend you purchase a CueCat scanner. It will speed up the process of getting everything in, and then you can take more time to tag, make notes, or do whatever else you may want to do to tweak your library to suit your needs.

What I have not done yet is to make use of the Recommendations, mostly because of the aforementioned over-abundance of reading material in my possession. Also, I’ve already read many of the books listed or they are already on my wishlists. Eventually, I plan to import my book wishlists into LibraryThing. I am doing that with my music collection on RateYourMusic, and I can see the value of having all that together in one place.

thing 10: image generators

For this assignment, we are asked to look at several different online image generators/editors. The first is fd’s Flickr Toys, which I have played with in the past. However, I am surprised to see how many nifty tools they have now — far more than the memes that have invaded my online social network. I will probably find use for CD Cover, Motivator, and Lolcat Generator. (If you’re a new WordPress user and you want a spiffier header than the default, check out the Blog Header tool.)

Dumpr seems to be similar to fd’s Flickr Toys, except that a handful of the more interesting tools require a pro membership to use, which does not impress me. If I’m going to pay for something like that, I might as well learn how to do it myself in Photoshop or GIMP.

BE NOT AFRAID - CEILING CAT SENT ME

#17

It has been nearly a month since I last finished a book for pleasure, although I am slowly reading my way through a couple others, and I read and reviewed a book for The Journal of Electronic Resources Librarianship (which may or may not be published — I won’t know until the issue is printed ’cause that’s how my editor rolls). Last night, I was feeling bored of my usual procrastination tools, so I decided to do a bit of fluff reading. It had to be short, though, because it was already past midnight, and I needed to get a little sleep eventually.

My selection came from among the stack of old Star Trek books on my to-be-read shelves. These are always good for a light read and stories that (usually) wrap up on the last page. This one was nearly what I wanted. The Starship Trap by Mel Gilden was your typical Trek story, but his characterizations weren’t particularly compelling. Mainly told from Kirk’s perspective, there were several rabbit holes that seemed to go nowhere, in addition to some of Kirk’s behavior being slightly out of character.

The hard science fiction aspect of the Aleph plot device was, at least, interesting. Much more so than the villain’s fixation on 19th and 20th century European and American classic literature or one of the minor character’s obsession with the American Old West. C’mon, Gilden — your ethno-centric roots are showing! For all the aliens and cultures on Star Trek, there is a disproportionate number of stories with references to American or European modern (to the reader) history.

thing 9: finding RSS feeds

Part of why I have so many RSS feeds in my reader (234 at the moment — picked up three more this week) is because it is so easy to subscribe to things I run across in my day-to-day online activity. I’m currently using the Better GReader plugin for Firefox, which compiles some of the best Greasemonkey scripts for Google Reader. One thing I really like about it is the “Auto Add to Reader (Bypass iGoogle Choice)” feature, which saves me a few clicks.

This particular assignment asks us to make use of directories like Technorati and Feedster to locate feeds we want to subscribe to. I’m going to not do that, since I already have more to read than I have time to read. In any case, those tools have not been particularly useful to me in the past. I tend to find new feeds through links from the ones I’m currently reading.

karaoke regulars

Lately I’ve been going to karaoke periodically at the Downtown Capital Ale House. The bar isn’t very smokey, and they have an excellent selection of beers. Aside from the amenities, the karaoke generally features people who can really sing and/or people who are great entertainers, regardless of their musical ability. One of the good singers and entertainers is Pete, who usually follows up an operatic piece with this:

Sorry it’s so short — I just got a new camera and didn’t have anything more than the tiny 32MH MMC for storage. It has since been replaced by a 4GB SDHC and I promise to get a full recording next time.

thing 8: RSS

The first part of the assignment is to set up a feed reader. I’ve used a variety of feed readers, from desktop readers to online readers, and by far I prefer the online readers. The mobility alone makes them a winner, since I read feeds using several different computers. Here’s my current OPML file, which has been slightly edited and reorganized for public consumption (i.e. you don’t need to know about my ego feeds).

Over the years, have had to cull my feeds periodically. There are several news sites or blogs that I would love to be able to keep up with, but I don’t have the time to process the volume of content they generate on a daily basis. Currently, I have about 231 subscriptions, several of which are for dead feeds that I haven’t cleaned out yet.

I am perpetually behind on reading all of my subscriptions. There are a few that I hit regularly, but the rest are saved for times when I need to take my mind off of whatever problem I am working on at the moment. With this many feeds, RSS is a time shifting or bookmarking tool, and I’m okay with that. Twitter has become my source for the latest OMG news.

six word memoir

I have been tagged by a meme. That never rarely happens.

The rules:

  1. Write your own six word memoir
  2. Post it on your blog and include a visual illustration if you’d like
  3. Link to the person that tagged you in your post and to the original post if possible so we can track it as it travels across the blogosphere
  4. Tag five more blogs with links
  5. And don’t forget to leave a comment on the tagged blogs with an invitation to play!

tired and worried

My Life as an Unwilling Nomad

I am tagging my fellow TechLearning companions who have their blogs linked from the site at the moment: Andy, Betty, Carol, Catherine, Crista, Leigh, Linda, and Rochelle.

I am also tagging you. Yes, YOU. Do it.

thing 7: technology

I first thought I might write about my new iMac and falling in love with the OS, but instead I’m going to write a bit about a new mashup tool that a colleague introduced me to today. It’s called Widgenie, and it takes Excel or CSV files and makes nifty graphs and charts out of the data.

I’ve done this several times using Excel, and often I find that there are too many things to tweak to do just a quick and dirty graph or chart for a meeting/presentation. With Widgenie, I found the opposite to be true. Cell formats are limited to text, number, and date/time, and for the life of me, I could not get it to show data for resources over a period of time (i.e. one year of use stats for a collection of databases).

That being said, the tool is in Beta, so it’s possible that greater functionality will come. For now, though, it’s probably useful for only simple graphs and charts, such as this: