#11

I’m Off Then: Losing and Finding Myself on the Camino de Santiago by Hape Kerkeling

I’ll bet you thought I forgot about this whole 50 books thing. No, it’s just that once again, my intentions are much more noble than reality. I have also been rather poor at reporting on the books I’ve read this year, but most of the time, I assume I’m the only one who really cares about all this, anyway.

#11 is I’m Off Then: Losing and Finding Myself on the Camino de Santiago by Hape Kerkeling, translated by Shelley Frisch. This one landed on my doorstep the other week as the latest in a slow trickle of review books coming in from Library Journal. (You can search for my recent reviews, if you’re so inclined.) A little uncertain about it at first, I quickly found myself lost in the story and read it cover to cover in one sitting.

Kerkeling is a German comedy performer of some renown. Not being up on my European comedians (aside from nearly memorizing all of Eddie Izzard’s routines on YouTube), I hadn’t heard of the fellow before this book. After failing to track down any recording of a performance in English or with subtitles, I gave up. Considering that my German linguistic skills are virtually nil, I’m not surprised I hadn’t heard of him before. (If you are interested, Amazon has a short interview with him in English.)

The book is essentially the diary he wrote while hiking the Camino de Santiago in 2001. It’s not strictly a recording of events and people from the pilgrimage, but the stories he tells about his background and prior experiences add import to the things that happen to him on the trail. By the end of the story, I felt as though Kerkeling was a long-lost friend with whom I had recently reunited over a cup of coffee. In many ways, this book reminded me of Kelly Winters’ Walking Home, and that is a good thing.

acrl northwest 2006 – day one

“The Emerging Youth Literacy Landscape of Joy” -Dr. Anthony Bernier (San Jose State University)

New Youth Literacies

  • state of current research
    • research shifted from what young people knew to how they knew it
    • young people learn bibliographic skills differently from adults
    • as a result, pedagogy itself must become more flexible
    • ethnographic research can help us
  • gaps in research
    • students are reduced to one-dimensional themes
    • information seeking is individual
    • games structure and play can inform us about youth information seeking
    • young people are viewed only as information consumers
  • libraries need to be asking why questions about young people information seeking choices
  • new paths for research
    • consider the daily life of young people
    • email is now just a quaint way to communicate with old people
    • New Youth Literacy – young people as literacy producers
      • fugitive literacy produced in small lots, non-sequential, and non-serial; using all forms of media – ephemera
      • Berkeley High School Slang Dictionary, 2002
    • Information futures and young people
      • emerging technologies for education – The Horizon Report 2006 Edition – collaboration and social computing needs to be embraced by university libraries – IM reference, Flickr, Skype, pod/webcasting, etc.
      • future challenges
        • intellectual property
        • continuing information literacy skills
        • technical support

“A Sensible Approach to New Technologies in Libraries: How do you work Library 2.0 into your 1.5 library with your 1.23 staff and your .98 patrons?” – Jessamyn West
http://librarian.net/talks/acrl-or

  • It isn’t about being expert on the latest and greatest, it’s about being flexible enough to learn the technologies you and your patrons use.
  • Smart people read the manual – knowing how to use tools to solve your problems is almost the same as solving them on your own.
  • In the end, it’s what you want out of your computer.
  • Web 2.0: “Your cats have profiles on Catster.”
  • Library 2.0 is a service philosophy: being willing to try new things and constantly evaluating your services – look outside the library world to find solutions to internal problems – the Read/Write Web
  • Librarian 2.0: not being the bottleneck between patrons and the information they want
  • Email is for talking to your colleagues.
  • Technocracy lives in chat.
  • “Internet interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.” — so do our users
  • “Blogs are like courseware, only easy to use.”
  • “Pew reports are like crack to librarians.”
  • It doesn’t matter if you think Wikipedia is good or bad. The reality is that’s where the eyeballs are.
  • Open APIs allow people to do nerdy type of stuff – mashups turn nifty things into tools you use for work.
  • People who have broadband connections are the ones interacting with the internet, and web-based tools are being created for them, not for dialup people.

I really liked this talk. Jessamyn is an engaging speaker.


“Web 2.0 Is the Web” or “We’re All Millenials Now” – Rachel Bridgewater
del.icio.us tag “menucha06

  • “born digital people”
  • Match the tool to the job – you can learn how to use them, so the question is do you need it?
  • How does Web 2.0 effect scholarship? Sort of is the original vision of what the web would be – everyone is a publisher and information is shared freely.
  • What is 2.0 for librarians?
    • web as platform
    • radical openness: open source, open standards (API, etc.)
    • flattened hierarchy
    • user focused
    • micro-content: blog post as unit of content; atomization of content
  • Web 1.0 is a framework based on the print world – the NetGens don’t need them

Web 2.0 that enhances library stuff

  • Social bookmarks can be constantly evolving bibliographies.
  • Blogs are a platform for sharing scholarly ideas that are not developed as a part of complex papers or monographs, and they allow for more immediate discourse.
  • Networked books (Library Journal article about the social book) – how do they effect our ideas of authorship when they can be created and contributed to by anonymous writers via wikis and other similar tools? See Lawrence Lessig’s book Code. Does canon mean anything anymore?
  • Peer review – can it be replaced by real-time peer review through comments and/or wiki edits? “open peer review”
  • Open data – using distributed computing networks to crunch numbers – more than just searching for aliens. Link to the raw data from the online journal article. Libraries could/should be the server repositories.

Maybe we should be listening to our patrons to find out where information is going. Maybe Wikipedia is the future. Instead of saying that our databases are like the Reader’s Guide, we should be saying they’re like Wikipedia, only created by known scholars and proven to be authoritative.

updated to fix the tweaky code — didn’t have time to do it until now — sorry!

women in digital librarianship

In the August 2006 issue of Library Journal, Roy Tennant writes about the gender gap in digital librarianship. It’s a concern that I have been pondering on a more personal level for quite some time. I totally geek out over the shiny toys being pumped out by the Library 2.0 geniuses, but when it comes to creating my own contributions, I falter. Even just writing about them makes me nervous. Who am I to pretend to know something about these things? I’m just the person who pays the bills.

This is not entirely an accurate picture of my work, but a great deal of it does involve managing budgets, as well as staff. Occasionally my Dean will discuss my scholarship direction and interest in library technology, and inevitably the phrase, “but I’m not an expert on that!” will come out of my mouth. He wants me to publish, and I find myself floundering around trying to find something – anything – that I might know more about than the average librarian. The problem is that I am the average librarian.

I’m not Michael Stephens and Jenny Levine, jetting off to here and there to bring the wonders of Library 2.0 to the commoners. I’m not Sarah Houghton with my hands buried up to my elbows in library technology. I’m just a normal person with some HTML skills and an interest in technology. I’ll never be a Mover and Shaker.

This is the mental block that gets thrown up every time I think about my role in digital librarianship. I’m always going to be on the second or third wave of folks implementing new technology in libraries.

What I need are the tools to become more technologically savvy. I’ve looked into some of the options offered at my university, but aside from seeming rather intimidating, I worry that they will be too broad for my needs. What I would really like to see are some training sessions like what Michael and Jenny have been doing, but at a higher level. For example, how about something for folks who already know about RSS feeds but don’t have the skills or tools to use them in more creative ways? That would be very useful. Or maybe a crash course in MySQL databases with PHP interfaces. I can think of a lot of uses for that just in my daily job.

Some of us are lucky enough to live relatively close to Library Science programs. If the iSchool at the University of Washington offered a day or two long continuing education course on MySQL and PHP in the library setting, I would attend.

Maybe that’s something that Tennant and his posse should consider. We can’t wait for a new generation of women to grow up encouraged to be interested in technology. We need to do something for the women who are currently in the profession, as well.

crossing this off my list

This isn’t really on the list, but I had to take time to write it anyway.

I’ve been struggling lately with feeling overwhelmed by everything I have to do, and not knowing where to start. I realized yesterday that I need to do something to organize my tasks and give me short enough goals to feel like I can accomplish useful things every day that will get big projects done.

I had a stack of professional literature on my desk that needed to be read and then routed on to the next person on the list. Since I get annoyed with my colleagues who hang onto routed journals for weeks and months, I started by browsing through them and reading the articles that caught my eye. One such article was Aaron Schmidt‘s Product Pipeline column in the NetConnect supplement to Library Journal. One of the shiny new tools he writes about is Ta-da Lists, a free online resource that allows you to create lists of things to do and check them off as they get done. As with any Web 2.0 gadget, each list can be shared with others and it also has an RSS feed.

In the afternoon, I spent some time catching up on my librarian blog reading. I’ve resolved to try to stay on top of my Bloglines subscriptions. Steven Cohen’s comment a couple of weeks ago about spending approximately an hour a day keeping up with his 600 feeds every day inspired me to try to keep on top of my 150+ more regularly, particularly since I was a week behind on reading them when I saw his post.

Part of my feed-reading catch-up yesterday included Jenica Roger’s Thinking Out Loud. Last week she wrote about her day in time increments, many of which involved adding and removing items from her to-do list. Her physical to-do list with space for doodling and concrete evidence that yes, something was accomplished today. I’ve never been much of a to-do list person, but something clicked when I read that post, and I found myself over at Ta-da Lists creating an account and making my first digital work-related to-do list.

So far today, I have had the pleasure of crossing off five items and adding two. In a way, my tasks and projects have become a sort of personal competition to see if I can clear off the list before the end of the week, and that is exactly the sort of motivation I’ve been looking for. A hearty thank you to Aaron, Steven, and Jenica for your inspiration!

about

It has come to my attention that I don’t have an About page for this blog. I never really thought that I needed one, but perhaps I do.

I first learned of blogs and blogging when I read about Jessamyn West in Library Journal. I started reading librarian.net on a regular basis, and I was inspired to try this blogging thing myself. The first incarnation of my blog was called “because everyone else is doing it” and was powered by Blogger. Wanting to get away from free webhosts and BlogSpot, I took the plunge and purchased my own domain name and hosting through Powweb. Thus, the eclectic librarian was born.

I have worked in libraries since I was an undergraduate student in 1994. By the time I left to begin the master’s program at the University of Kentucky, I had experience in almost every department of a library. At first I thought I wanted to be a cataloger, but the technology classes interested me more, and I began to explore that aspect of librarianship.

My first post-graduate job was as a serials and database cataloger at a medium-sized comprehensive university in Kentucky. It was mainly a paycheck and a foot in the door of academic librarianship, but after I attended a NASIG conference, I gained a better appreciation of the serials and related electronic resources specialty. My responsibilities shifted more towards electronic resources, mirroring the serials industry’s shift to online access and the issues surrounding that.

Now I am the serials department head and electronic resources librarian for another medium-sized comprehensive university, but this one is in Washington. I work closely with the systems librarian to improve service for our electronic resources. I am still quite interested in the technology aspects of the profession and issues related to them, which is evident in the contents of this blog. I don’t write much about serials in particular, and that’s mainly because most of the innovative work is being done on the electronic side of serials publishing, and there are other blogs that specialize in those issues.

I have a wide variety of other interests, including music, internetbased hobbies, and outdoor activities. I am also occasionally politically minded with a left-of-center flavor and a bit cynical.

Lately I have been writing reviews for Blogcritics.org, so you’ll see a few of these pop up occasionally.