day in the life of an electronic resources librarian

9:00 Arrive at my cubicle, turn on the computer, and go get an iced coffee from the cafe and a spoon for my yogurt.

9:15 Log into the network. Open email, browser, and Twhirl. Do a quick read of the 20+ new email messages that arrived over the weekend (don’t you people take a break‽), replying to the ones that can be done quickly and sorting the rest into appropriate to-do lists.

9:55 Look over task list for today, see the note about DILO librarian, and start this post.

10:00 Tweaked the new “article finder” page per the suggestion of the head of research & instruction. Dug around EBSCOnet and Ulrich’s to determine which variation on a similar journal title is the right one and why our subscription may have lapsed last year.

10:20 Realized that my calendar didn’t alert me to my 10am bi-weekly meeting with the department head. Chatted with him for a few minutes about the status of projects and came away with a few more to-do items.

10:30 Began clearing out the to-read list, which currently dominates the inbox to-do lists. Aghast to discover that it contains messages from as far back as March. Got through the March & April backlog, but then deleted most of the rest. Resolved to either read or delete the links to interesting articles my colleagues send me, rather than shuffling them off to be read later.

11:10 Massaged some non-COUNTER use reports to appear to be COUNTER-like in order to upload and archive them in our ERMS. Sorted through a backlog of emails from publishers regarding use data and reports.

11:55 Left for lunch and running errands. Need to be back in time for my 1pm reference desk shift.

1:00 Covered the reference/circulation desk, mainly answering directional questions and checking out books. Used the downtime to catch up on RSS feeds (I’ve been doing well with maintaining Google Reader Zero). Also answered some questions from colleagues regarding online availability for journal titles we are considering moving to online only or canceling. Also found a possible solution to the EZproxy host error problem.

3:00 Processed new email. Checked Twitter.

3:10 Pulled a report of current subscriptions from SerialsSolutions, massaged it in Excel, and used it to generate a Hosts and Domains configuration file for our EZProxy setup, an idea that I shamelessly stole from someone else.

3:55 Cleared up some confusion regarding an invoice for a resource that has a new publisher and will be changing its name in September, but it invoiced with the current and soon to be former name on the line item.

4:00 Wrote up a report for the library director regarding the SerialsSoutions eBook Enhancement offer.

4:30 Hunted down some chocolate.

4:35 Processed new email. Checked Twitter. (Sensing a theme here?)

4:50 More use statistics. I’m pulling together numbers for a report due next month, but it’s slow going.

5:35 Waiting on one last COUNTER report to be emailed to me, and that portion of the report will be finished. w00t! Spent the rest of the day pulling acquisitions data out of the catalog and checking for licenses.

6:05 Saved work on the project. Published this. Time to go home.

perception & censorship

I’ve been thinking a bit about perception recently, both in the context of starting a new job in a new town, and in the context of online personas. I am rarely truly aware of how I am perceived by others, and often I move through life oblivious to how my words or actions might come across to someone who does not know me well.

New situations make me nervous, and when I’m nervous, I often find myself babbling inanely until someone more sociable is able to skillfully maneuver the conversation to something more suitable. I’m hyper-aware of this now that nearly every day presents a new situation, which makes me even more worried that I’ll say or do something stupid.

The thing is, I’m generally a good person. I try hard to find common ground with those around me, and I’m fairly open to criticism or “learning experiences.” I can also be cranky and a bit mouthy, but usually only when I’m frustrated or pushed over my tolerance limit. Long-time readers of this blog may have picked up on all of this, but there’s no way for me to know for sure. I just have to hope that as I have grown as a person over the past five years, so has the representation of me through my writing.

This brings me to the topic of censorship. I would like to state clearly, for the record, that I do not censor comments on my blog, unless they are spam or trackbacks from splogs. Those things are evil and should be destroyed. Comments that are not spam are freely posted, regardless of their content.

One of the reasons why I moved from the MovabeType blog software to WordPress was because I was getting 50+ spam comments an hour caught in the clunky spam filter used by MT. This made it a nightmare to check, and often I just deleted them all without making sure that no legitimate comments were accidentally marked as spam. Since I rarely get comments, I wasn’t too concerned with that, anyway.

However, several people have indicated that they thought I was censoring comments on this blog because I didn’t want anyone who disagrees with me to comment here. The folks who told me this are friends whom I trust, and it surprised me that they would make that sort of assumption. Again, this is a problem with perception verses reality.

Do I come across as someone who does not want criticism? I hope not. Sure, like anyone, I prefer to have constructive criticism, but that is a difficult thing to get in the virtual world where it’s much easier to make snarky comments or flame someone than to have a real conversation where everyone feels like their perspective is heard.

All this is to say, please, do comment here. If there is an old post that you’d like to comment on and you discover that commenting has been disabled for it (an old setting I used to limit spam), send me a note and I’ll open it up.

gmail coolness

I have recently switched my personal emailing entirely over to my Gmail account. In the past year, I’ve been using it for Where’s George hit notifications, Geocaching.com messages, and new BookCrossing messages and journal entry notifications. I continued to use my SpamCop webmail account for other personal emailing. However, when it came time to renew my account ($30/yr), I decided that it was time to move on. I’ve found that changing my email address every few years keeps the spam down. Even with the excellent spam filters, I was getting 10-15 spam messages a day sent to my SpamCop account, some of which were not filtered to the Held Mail folder. In the past 15 days that I’ve been using Gmail exclusively for all of my non-work emailing, I’ve been very happy with it. It’s managing threads of conversations much better than any email system I’ve used in the past. And, since it’s a relatively new account, I have gotten maybe fifteen spam messages in the past year. Not bad.

This past year, I received permission to set up a book exchange bookshelf in the group study area in the library. It’s not exactly an OBCZ, but it functions as such. I set up a separate account on BookCrossing and started registering books left there using that account rather than my regular one. I had been using my work email for that account, but I felt a bit uncomfortable about it. Also, I suspected that sometimes private messages and journal entry notifications were not getting through the campus email filters. I thought about setting up a Gmail account for that, but the idea of having to check yet another email account did not appeal to me. Then I realized I could just have everything forwarded from the library BookCrossing email account to my regular Gmail account. Brilliant! In no time I had the second account set up and forwarding messages. Thank you, Google!

changes to commenting

I got slammed again on the 4th of July with comment spam. This was what prompted me to set up MT-Blacklist in the first place. At least this time there were less than a third of the comment spams than last time. In any case, I decided to implement something I should have done in the first place. From now on, you will need to register with TypeKey in order to comment on this blog. It’s very easy. When you click on the Sign In link, it will take you to the TypeKey site. If you have an account already, go ahead and log in and you will be returned to the entry you wish to comment on. If you don’t have an account, go ahead and create one. It’s free. As long as you are logged in, you will be able to comment on my blog to your heart’s content.

In the past, I was concerned that some folks might not comment if they had to log in. However, it’s more of a hassle for me to be constantly deleting comment spams that get by MT-Blacklist.

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.