libday7: day 4

Began the day by going through the handful of email messages that arrived overnight, with half of them being links to articles shared by colleagues. Then I fired up iTunes and started in on the print journal inventory project again.

Made some progress with the project, but then it was time to pick up tickets for Busch Gardens (they send us there every year as a benefit and to shut down campus for half a day). When I got back from that, I finished up the spreadsheet page I was working on and then did odds and ends until I had to leave for an early lunch.

After my early lunch and at the time I would normally be at lunch, I worked a two hour shift at the reference/circulation/information desk to cover for a colleague who was originally scheduled then. It was really quiet, with a few folks coming up to check out books and some parents with prospective students wandering through. Had one emeritus faculty member who was quite upset to learn we’d withdrawn a couple of history journals he liked to browse and photocopy. They’re in JSTOR and in the “what to withdraw” tool from Ithaka, so we figured we were covered for about 99.9% of the folks who’d want them. Did not take into account emeritus faculty who do not use computers.

Spent some time after the desk going through Twitter, reading librar* articles shared by colleagues there. And retweeting a few myself. Also cracked open my afternoon Coke Zero. Ahhh…

The only item left for today’s email inbox to-do list was to add a new eresource to the website. We’d acquired it a few weeks ago, and I’ve just been waiting for the subject librarian to send me the description she wanted to use. Got it late yesterday and bumped it to today’s task list.

Up next was going through the stack of eresource invoices that appeared on my chair while I was at lunch. I check to see if they’ve been paid already and if they’re on the cancellation list before either verifying with the subject librarian that they want to renew or giving them to my assistant to pay if I’ve already received renewal instructions. Some publishers send invoices well in advance, some only 30 days (or less) before the renewal date. I try to get renewal instructions from the librarian in advance of the license deadline, which varies from resource to resource.

This took me up to the end of the day, or at least the part where I leave to go sweat in the gym for a while.

ala annual, part one — washington, d.c.

Bloggin’ the ALA.

Aaron Dobbs and his chapeauALA Annual is as large and overwhelming as I expected, and still frustratingly too broad or too narrow at times. Either there are five different sessions I want to attend at the same time or there are none. Meh. On the up side, I have started to figure out where I should be within the organization, which turns out to be straddling the line between ALCTS and LITA.

At the ALCTS Serials Section Acquisitions meeting yesterday, I made a suggestion for a program for next year’s conference in Anaheim. The end result was that everyone on the committee liked it and the chair asked me to be the chair of the program. I’m new enough that I don’t know what I’m in for, but I think everyone will help if I get in over my head.

After the meeting I wandered over to the exhibit hall and got a copy of Social Software in Libraries: Building Collaboration, Communication, and Community Online by Meredith Farkas and have her sign it. Very nice to meet her in person.

Later in the afternoon, I skipped out on a session to attend the last few minutes of the BIGWIG Social Software Showcase, which was pretty cool. I’m sorry to have missed the first part. Met a few more blogger types that I’ve only known virtually, and that was nifty. It’s also why I attended the BIGWIG meeting this morning, and how I came to the revelation that I will find my people in LITA.

The coolness continued with the LISnews dinner/social at Capitol City Brewing. Blake Carver and Rochelle Hartman continue to rock my world.

Today was more tech goodness, which included the very interesting and very well attended top tech trends panel presentation. And now, I will close this out and pack up to head over to the Grand Hyatt for the Blog Salon.

music from Ghana

My review of a great album of highlife and Afrobeat music has been published on Blogcritics. It has been a lot of fun to listen to over the past couple of weeks.

Sitting in a chair in front of a computer, the average person will burn about 1.6 calories per hour. However, if highlife music is playing in the background, I expect that number would be much higher. It is impossible to sit still when listening to this music. I find myself constantly tapping a foot, bopping my head, or swaying my torso along with the steady dance beats.

someone’s idea of heaven

Solo album from Sixpence None the Richer’s frontwoman.

I have been listening to Leigh Nash‘s first solo recording (Blue On Blue) for the past couple of months, and it was no surprise to me that “My Idea of Heaven” was chosen to be the first single off of the album. It has all of the elements of pop sweetness that brought Nash’s former band, Sixpence None the Richer, to national attention in the late 90s. The hooky chorus comes immediately to mind every time I glance over at the CD case sitting on my desk, and I find myself singing along in my head and bouncing in my chair a little. Unfortunately, this song is one of few memorable tracks from the CD.

The album begins sparsely with the rolling, piano-driven “Along the Wall” that evolves into a slightly canned pop track by the end of the first chorus. This is disappointing to me because the song began with so much potential to be like a single rose in a simple vase and ended up overproduced like some cheap grocery store flower arrangement. Unfortunately, this is not the only track that was given that treatment.

Photo by - hosted on tinypic.comLuckily, the second track was produced with a lighter hand (“Nervous in the Light of Dawn“) and features a haunting melody by a flute or reed instrument of some sort. The lyrics paint an image of a rolling prairie in the early morning when the air is just right for contemplating life and love. There is a sense of wistful hope and optimism in her voice.

And I wished for guidance
And I wished for peace
I could see the lightning
Somewhere in the East
And I wished for affection
And I wished for calm
As I lay there
Nervous in the light of dawn

The album is reminiscent of Sixpence, but with more of the pop piano and less of the rock. On the whole, it’s a great collection of songs, but very little stands out about it. Nash’s vocals are indeed unique, but the songs themselves are only slightly mellower variations on the romantic ballads found on any top forty station. Not that that’s necessarily a bad thing, but it is a little disappointing. I was hoping for something more.

Perhaps that something more may come from the remixers. From now until September 1, fans are invited to download the multitracks for “My Idea of Heaven,” do their thing with them, and then upload them to the site. All entries will be judged by Marlin, Morgan Page, Styrofoam, Panoptica and The Submarines. The winners will receive an iPod shuffle and seven remixes done by the judges. Maybe this will inspire Nash to move beyond the tired pop formula.

nasig day one

The opening program was one of the best I’ve seen so far. The local historian, Dr. Tom Noel, gave an entertaining and informative overview of the Denver area and Red Rocks in particular, complete with a slide show of images. Equally entertaining was Jeff Slagell’s presentation of this year’s award winners.

The evening at Red Rocks was dreary, but I took a few photos, anyway. My only complaint there was the lack of sufficient seating, but after a couple of hours, enough people left and I was able to snag a chair.

Friday was a long day that didn’t end until early Saturday morning. I have notes from the sessions I attended, and I plan to flesh them out into a future post. The main take away things I got from the sessions:

  • Don’t fear technology and social networks, but make sure that the intentions brought to them are good.
  • eJournal checkin isn’t checkin per se, but more a systematic and proactive verification of access.
  • SUSHI will rock your socks off, so be on the lookout for implementation.
  • The current publisher/academe/society relationships aren’t sustainable and must change.

For dinner, B took us to an Ethiopian restaurant. The food was very yummy and we were quite satisfied when we left. There was a bit of an incident with the rehab folks on the bus to the restaurant, and the return trip was bland in comparison. In true NASIG fashion, we closed the bar before heading back to our rooms.

redneck woman

So here’s to all my sisters out there keeping it country
Let me get a big ‘hell yeah’ from the redneck girls like me

I’ve been listening to the local country stations lately while driving around when the public radio stations aren’t broadcasting anything I’m interested in. I never cared much for country until I saw the Dixie Chicks at a Lillith Fair in 1999. I started scanning the dial on long car trips, and discovered that there are in fact some witty songwriters in the country genre, as well as some great toe-tapping tunes. One of my recent favorites is a song by Gretchen Wilson that was profiled yesterday on NPR’s All Things Considered.

My reactions when I first heard this song were mixed. On the one hand, I appreciated the songwriting and gutsy humor, but on the other hand I felt a tinge of discomfort. I’m not a redneck woman, nor do I wish to be, so I couldn’t feel a kinship with the song like the women screaming “hell, yeah!” in the chorus. What appeals to me is the independence and unashamed statement of self proclaimed in this song. The commentator put it in the same category as the Dixie Chick’s Goodbye Earl, another song I can’t relate to directly, but greatly appreciate the sentiments.

I recommend giving the tune a spin on your favorite audio medium. If anything, you’ll be doing some chair dancing.

musicians & librarians

It’s been a while since I wrote here, I know. I’ve been off traveling the country, and I’ve barely had time to breathe, much less write something here. Nevertheless, I shall try to summarize.

A few weekends ago, I attended the National Women’s Music Festival for the first time. It was amazing! The music was top notch, and very intimate, since this festival is not as highly attended at some others. I was able to see some performers that I already knew and loved (Wishing Chair, Jamie Anderson, Ember Swift, etc.), as well as others that I came to love after seeing them perform at the festival (Kim Archer, CommonbonD, Jennie DeVoe, etc.). Not only was the music a wonderful collection of soul food, but the festigoers were a diverse group of women who somehow managed to blend together well. It was difficult for me to transition back into the “real world” after those few days of being surrounded by the energy of women together.

I had four days of relative normalcy, and then the conference marathon began. First, I drove down to Atlanta with several of my colleagues to attend the ALA 2002 Annual Conference. This was my first ALA meeting, and I was excited to be able to go. The high light of the conference, for me, was when the Indigo Girls performed at a fundraiser for the ALA Scholarships, and I was in the second row! When I finish the roll of film in my camera & get it developed, I might have some pictures to share. It was kind of bizarre to be in a place with more than 10,000 librarians, but I got used to it. The conference itself was disappointing, since there wasn’t much about serials or cataloging (my job in real life).

The next conference occurred right after ALA, with only a day between for me to travel. Unlike ALA, this one was directly relevant to my job. The North American Serials Interest Group (NASIG) 17th Annual Conference agenda included numerous items related to serials cataloging, as well as other serials issues, and it was also great fun! If you are ever in Williamsburg (VA), I recommend a visit to the Green Leafe Cafe. Although I may have had more beer while I was in Williamsburg for the conference than I had at any one time in my entire life, I did learn a good bit about serials cataloging issues. I also realized how little I know about serials cataloging, despite having been on the job for nearly eight months! Well, it certainly has given me quite a few goals to reach.