ER&L 2012 reflections

Texas treeTwo and a half days is just not enough time spent with my tribe. I could have gone all week. I’m not ready to go back to the real world.

This was my third Electronic Resources & Libraries conference, and I’ve been lucky to get to know a few more ER librarians every year. This year was particularly notable, as I was able to spend quite a bit of time talking with peers that I highly respect and look to as inspirations for my own work (Jamene Brooks-Kieffer and Marie Kennedy, just to name two). I did my best to keep it cool and not go fangirl all over them.

Most of the sessions I attended were solid, informative, and often inspiring in their own right. I’m still working through the project list generated last year, and now I have more to add or enhance what’s already there.

I plan to look into:

  • JTac software for acquisitions workflow
  • CORAL for ER workflow, but maybe not for ERMS, if that’s possible
  • MISO software for ingesting SUSHI (since my ERMS is only just starting to look at developing SUSHI ingestion)
  • Documenting ER workflows and procedures — I have been intimidated by this, since I’ll be starting from scratch and don’t know where to begin. I realized this week that I could use TERMS as a jumping off point.
  • Include a feedback form for each trial we do, rather than just relying on free-form email messages
  • Seeing about modifying the workflow for eDDA titles so that liaisons can move them to firm orders before the records are loaded in the catalog
  • Also, investigating options for pDDA for slip orders
  • Joining a relevant NISO working group, if anything comes up (Marie suggested we do this, and I’ve been interested for a while)
  • Being a leader in my library without being higher up in management or at least not beyond where I’m comfortable

There were a few sessions that left me wanting. For one, I keep trying to glean some insight into better ways of managing ER workflows, but our staff is so small and the people who tend to present on the topic come from libraries so large that it’s hard to see where the connections or benefits may be. I am still thinking about how to set up something that would trigger notifications of next steps, even if most of them would end up coming to me. My paper checklist form is okay, but it only works if I remember to do it and to check up on it.

Another session I attended was supposed to be all about a tech services department reorganization with an eye towards eresource trends. However, it seems that the presenter expected more results by now than what he was able to talk about, so most of the session beyond the introduction was about what should be happening rather than what has been happening. I think that it’s difficult to know six months in advance if your new project will be at a place worth sharing, but maybe conferences need to shift more of those kinds of topics to short sessions like the lightening talks, rather than risk the session being a dud because there aren’t enough relevant outcomes to share.

ER&L 2013 will be in Austin again next year, and shortly following the SXSWi conference. They hope to have some connections between the two, so if you’ve been on the fence about attending, that may be the year to take the plunge.

libday7: day 3

The day began with sorting through the new email messages that arrived since yesterday, flagging actionable items with due dates, responding to those that could be done quickly, and deleting the irrelevant stuff.

Then I began to work my way through the to-do list, starting with verifying which ebook publisher licenses we have set up in GOBI and if any others need to be added. I tried to do this yesterday, but my login wouldn’t work. But, now that I’m in, I think I need admin rights to see them, so once again it’s on hold.

getting over the afternoon slump

Being thwarted in that, I dug back into an ongoing summer project — adding holdings years and correcting holdings errors for print journals in our OpenURL knowledgebase. I was lucky to have a floater assigned to me long enough to get the physical inventory done, and now it’s a matter of checking on anomalies (physical holdings but no catalog record, no physical holdings but with a catalog record, and neither physical holdings nor a catalog record but still listed in KB) and entering the holdings years into a spreadsheet that gets uploaded to the KB. I’m also adding location information, since we currently house print journals in four locations on campus, as well as adding notes about shelved-as titles.

Since I was on a roll with this project today after nearly a week of being distracted by other tasks, I decided to stick with it after lunch. I’m at 55% completed and I was hoping to have it done by mid-August, which will require a bit more diligence than I’ve given it for the past couple of months.

I had a brief afternoon interlude with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and a can of Coke Zero. Ahh…

I also paused to help a friend who is tech support at a medical non-profit in town. She was trying out their new remote desktop support service, so I let her take over my computer for a brief moment. Hope that was kosher with campus IS, but I figured it was for a good cause, and librarianly of me to aid in someone’s information needs.

Then it was back to the spreadsheets and the data and the ZOMG WILL THIS EVER END.

Hit a stopping point and decided to use the last 15 min of my day to wrap this post up and catch up on some professional reading.

beer & food

My review of Bob Skilnik’s book was published yesterday, and the first comment that I received was a snarky commentary on a misspelled word. Sheesh. I have written many reviews over the past year, and most of them have at most received a comment from the editor that published them. Not the most pleasant way to wake up in the morning, let me tell you.

Anyway, the book was interesting, albeit not exactly an exciting read. I’d recommend it if you are interested in beer, food, and history, as well as old recipes.

I’m about half-way through a book on the history of Guinness, and I hope to write the review of that this week.

Oh, and for those who are keeping score, this is #25, which means I’ve read half of my annual goal.

return to bangleonia

The band reunited in 2000 and recorded this live show. Now fans can finally get a copy of it.


by Shout Factory

My review of The Bangles’ Return to Bangleonia: Live in Concert has been published on Blogcritics.org. I had a lot of fun watching it last weekend. Everyone should get it, if just to listen to the commentary track.

As a child of the ’80s, my experiences with The Bangles’ music were very superficial. I remembered hits like “Walk Like an Egyptian” and “Manic Monday,” but I had no context for them in the broad swath of The Bangles’ repertoire. In fact, it was while watching the DVD that I first heard the term “paisley underground” to describe the 60’s influenced jangle pop garage band sound of the music scene the band was a part of in Los Angeles. Along with being entertaining, Return to Bangleonia: Live in Concert is also educational.


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 … Continue reading “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.

girl authority?

Boston-based tween pop group covering hit songs from the past fifty years.

cover of Girl AuthorityHave you ever been in a van with a bunch of tween girls singing along with the radio? If so, then you probably have a good idea of what Girl Authority sounds like. The band is a record label creation formed from eight young girls age 11-13 and one age 8, all with musical theater backgrounds. The girls have created alter egos for themselves that are reminiscent of the Spice Girls and the reign of girl power in the late 90’s; “Rock n’ Roll Girl,” “All-Star Girl,” “Glamour Girl,” “Urban Girl,” and “Country Girl,” just to name a few. At best, the band is cute. At worse, they are just another marketing campaign.

Each of the girls takes the vocal lead on one of the fifteen tracks, selected to fit their alter egos. For example, “Country Girl” Crystal sings lead on the country pop SHeDAISY’s “Don’t Worry ‘Bout a Thing.” The rest of the tracks are group songs with lead vocals traded off by all members of the band. They certainly had fun putting together these arrangements, which is apparent by the giggling and silliness used to cover the censored parts of “Hollaback Girl.”

If it seems like I am ambivalent about the CD, it is probably because I am not in their target market of tween kids and their parents. Maybe I would have really grooved on this record when I was 12. The songs are pop hits, so at least as a parent I would have some connection to the music. But, as a basic music listener with a taste for well-crafted original music, this is not a CD I would want in my collection.

It’s too bad, because pop music is in need of some real girl authority. Were I a tween now, I would be looking for a band that sings my stories, not adult pop songs. I would want the band members to be themselves, not marketing creations that turn them into stereotypes. Hopefully, someday Girl Authority will become something more than just a wishful name.

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!

birthday

Yesterday someone asked me, “So, are you 29 or 29 and holding?” I could take it that they think I look older than I am. Or, I could take it that they think I’m young for a department head. I think I’ll go with the latter.

Yesterday someone asked me, “So, are you 29 or 29 and holding?” I could take it that they think I look older than I am. Or, I could take it that they think I’m young for a department head. I think I’ll go with the latter.

play that funky music

For the last two weekends, I’ve heard the folks on Weekend America discuss the significance of the #1 song on the pop charts on the day you were born. It seems that quite often that song is rather appropriate for your personality. They used a site called This day in Music to find their Birthday … Continue reading “play that funky music”

For the last two weekends, I’ve heard the folks on Weekend America discuss the significance of the #1 song on the pop charts on the day you were born. It seems that quite often that song is rather appropriate for your personality. They used a site called This day in Music to find their Birthday No. 1 songs. Turns out that the number one song on the US pop charts on the day I was born was “Play That Funky Music” by Wild Cherry.

Yeah, they were dancin’ and singin’ and movin’ to the groovin’
And just when it hit me somebody turned around and shouted

Play that funky music white boy
Play that funky music right
Play that funky music white boy
Lay down that boogie and play that funky music till you die

i am not a hollaback girl, either

Heather has so kindly reminded me that I needed to look up the meaning of Gwen Stefani’s latest hit single. I’ve managed to hear it enough that it stuck in my mind, and that’s despite not ever turning on pop radio anymore. I found this useful Wikipedia entry about the song, which then led me … Continue reading “i am not a hollaback girl, either”

Heather has so kindly reminded me that I needed to look up the meaning of Gwen Stefani’s latest hit single. I’ve managed to hear it enough that it stuck in my mind, and that’s despite not ever turning on pop radio anymore. I found this useful Wikipedia entry about the song, which then led me to this most excellent analysis of the lyrics. This sh*t is b-a-n-a-n-a-s.