#libday8 day 2 — mushy brain work

Arrived and was greeted with paper renewal notifications covering my keyboard. Set those aside, logged in, and began sorting through the new email that arrived overnight and earlier this morning. Updated my calendar with new meetings/events, as well as the time I’ve blocked out for various tasks for the day.

First thing I tackled was notifications to the subject liasions about upcoming eresource renewals. I’m using the modified annual review checklist and data thinger that I shared about last month, and I’ve received positive responses from the subject liaisons.

At 10, I started my on-call shift for the Main Service Desk. I don’t normally do this, but I’m covering for a reference librarian who has to teach a class this morning. Basically, it means I monitor the IM reference and email, and am available to help at the desk if they need me. It also means I can keep working on whatever I’m working on, unless I get interrupted.

One of the things I’ve been working on lately is retrieving use statistics for calendar year 2011. But, it has been slow going, as I’ve been distracted with other pressing projects that normally would not interrupt this annual Jan/Feb activity. Part of what is taking me longer to prepare the annual review checklist & data for the upcoming renewal is that I have to retrieve the 2011 stats and clean them up, rather than just pulling from the files I have already.

I would like to take a moment here to say that I would almost prefer no use statistics to the ones where they only provide them for a month at a time. This requires running 12 different reports for a year, and 24 if searches and sessions are not in the same report. I say almost, because at least I get something, even if it is a royal pain in the ass to retrieve and exemplifies the short-sightedness of the publisher. I’m looking at trends, not miniscule pieces of data.

My on-call-ness and/or electronic resources librarian-ness kicked in midway through the shift when I was called out to help a student download a book in EBSCOhost. We figured out that he needed an account in EBSCOhost, and also to install Adobe Digital Editions on the lab PC. This worked for now, but I have put in a request that ADE be added to the image for all student lab computers.

Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women WorldwideFinally wrapped up the renewal stuff plus the associated use statistics stuff in time for my on-call shift to end and my lunch hour to begin. I took the opportunity to enjoy the spring weather by heading off-campus to run some errands. As it happened, I finished listening to an audiobook just as I returned, so I left a short review on GoodReads. The book is Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, and it’s the One Book, One Campus selection at my university this year.

The next 20 min or so consisted of responding to email that had come in over lunch and checking Twitter. I didn’t want to get into much, since I was about to start my one hour shift at the Main Service Desk (actually staffing it this time around).

Desk was pretty slow. I had one question about where to find a book, and a few people looking for specific librarians. My co-consipirator at the desk and I spent some time kvetching about why it is that one of the highest ILL net lenders in the state (us) is still using clunky, out-dated software when even the most podunk libraries have ILLiad now. I looked at the stats from 2011, and ILLiad would have cost us less than a penny per transaction, and saved the user and the ILL staff so much time and lost productivity. My coworker thinks we’ll probably get it in the next year, but still… I can’t believe it’s taking so long!

Now back at my desk, I took a moment to follow up with EBSCOhost tech support regarding a problem we’ve encountered with the “Linked Full Text” in Academic Search Complete. I’d called it in last week and was waiting for a response. They still don’t know what’s broken, and it is still broken. Anyone else having problems with this?

Next I spent some time trying to sort out why in one month we received two invoices followed by two credit memos from the same publisher for the same resources. Turns out the invoices had errors and the credit memos were their way of zeroing out our balance. A simple explanation or note would have saved me a phone call. Ah, the joys of automated billing systems! While I was at it, I sent them a note with updated contact info, as one invoice/credit was addressed to a predecessor of more than six or seven years, and the other addressed to the collection development librarian who will be retiring this summer. Figured I’d get it taken care of now so we don’t miss something in the future.

To wrap up the day, I reviewed the responses to an RFI for discovery services that we sent out last month. We’ll be having demos of three different systems tomorrow, and I wanted to prep some follow-up questions in advance. So. Many. Words. I know I’m going to need a drink or two by the end of the day.

#libday8 day 1

Wonder Woman
Wonder Woman inspires me when I'm feeling less than wonderful.

Yesterday, I accomplished something I didn’t think I could do — I hiked 8.2 miles, with a 1000 ft elevation change throughout. Despite sleeping for about 9.5 hrs, I ended up crashing for a few more hours after I attempted to get up and go to work. Thus, my first “day in the life of” will be a bit shorter than normal.

I arrived shortly before noon. While waiting for my computer to boot up and load all the starting programs, I cracked open a can of Coke Zero and the most recent issue of the Journal of Irreproducible Results.

Once the computer was up and running, I started sorting through the inbox of new messages. I added a few messages to my to-do list, and a few links from colleagues to my to-read list.

We’re having some vendors come in and demonstrate comparable products this week, and one needs to reschedule to next week. This means spending some time coordinating with the person who books the room we planned to use and the person who arranges for catering to bring coffee and tea service.

Once the inbox was properly sorted into tasks, archives, and deletes, I started in on the to-do list. First up is a collection of journals that are changing publishers. I’ve been checking on them in our ERMS for the past three months — ever since the change was announced. None have reflected the change yet, so I’ve bumped the due dates on the tasks for another two weeks.

One of our online resource subscriptions expired today and has not been renewed, so I removed it from LibGuides, suppressed the entry in our website’s A-Z list, and updated the status in our ERMS.

Tomorrow is the last day to download stats from the old WilsonWeb platform. The first thing I did was to check and see what links haven’t already been converted over to the EBSCOhost versions. Frankly, I was kind of surprised to discover how many were left. A few were my errors (forgot to publish the change made on the back-end), but the others I suspect may have gotten lost in the notification shuffle. It took some time to update the remaining ones, and make notes about the changes in our ERMS. I also had to re-order the databases in EBSCOhost, as new ones get added at the end, and this messes up the alphabetical order.

Finally, I went and downloaded last year’s reports as well as January this year from the WilsonWeb platform. Worked on normalizing them for import into our ERMS (I have to do this so the ERMS knows which resources the stats apply to, both for databases and for journals), but didn’t finish before I needed to break for a late lunch.

After a satisfying roasted pork bahn mi and caramel gelato from the campus international cafe, it was back to work. While I was out, more email arrived, requiring replies and such. Then it was back to cleaning up the use reports. This took longer than expected because the database titles were all abbreviated, and the journals had commas and dashes removed.

On Friday, I was asked if I would be interested in contributing a chapter to an eresources toolkit book. I spent some time thinking about it over the weekend, and after reviewing the proposed chapters and consulting with a colleague today, I sent a message to the editor indicating my interest.

After doing that, the only thing remaining on my task list for the day was to review the top candidates for an open position in our customer service department (I’m on the search committee). I decided that my fatigue required some assistance before tackling that, so I took a break to get some coffee and chat with a colleague.

Wrapped things up and prepped this for posting. Thanks for reading, and tune in tomorrow for day two.

resolutions and all that

statue reading a book at Mozart Museum in Prague
statue at Mozart Museum in Prague

I’m terrible at making and keeping resolutions. The first week or two are great, and then it starts to slip. That’s partially why I’m hesitant to articulate them, much less share them with anyone else. That being said, I have made a few promises to myself regarding things I want to work on this year. I have hopes that enough practice will eventually turn the new behaviors into old habits.

One thing I really hope to do more of, and have been working on unsuccessfully for several years now, is to set aside time to read books. And if not physically read them, at least make use of the time I spend in my car or at the gym to listen to them. I used to consume several books a week on summer breaks from school, and even kept up the habit in the working years between college and graduate school. I think it was the combination of graduate school and home internet access that broke the habit.

Last year, I chose twelve books that I planned to read. I made it through six, finished one a day into 2012, and gave up on another. Here’s the list of books read, with links to my reviews on GoodReads:

When I made the original list, it was a mix of books I’ve wanted to read but didn’t own and books that I owned and hadn’t read yet. I thought maybe the list would make me more focused, and only 12 in one year seemed doable. In fact, I read 17 books total last year, just not all of the ones I told myself I would read. About four of the books I read were ones I found in audio format at my local public library, and they were my road trip companions for the Thanksgiving and Christmas pilgrimages to Ohio.

Ultimately, what it came down to, was a mix of feeling like the list of 12 were more like school assignments and less like something I would choose to read, even though I did choose to read them and no one but myself “assigned” them. It was an interesting experiment, but this year I’ve decided to just make the time to read, and leave the material selection up to whatever I’m feeling like or have recently discovered.

Maybe all this resolution making and breaking is a good thing in the long run. Maybe it teaches me more about how my brain works and how to trick myself into making better decisions. Or maybe I just need to turn off the computer and pick up a book.