March Madness?


I’ve read on several blogs and new sites about a recent study that apparently links research behavior at American universities with the NCAA Basketball Tournament. According to this study by Charles Clotfelter, after Selection Sunday when the tournament teams are announced, the number of articles viewed on JSTOR drop.  What is really frustrating me about this study and all the people passing it along as a done deal in correlation is that it does not take into consideration one important factor.

Clotfelter doesn’t mention — and I haven’t seen anyone ask — what effect that Spring Break has on research behavior.  Think about it.  Every March colleges and universities have no classes for at least a week and many students leave campus for recreation, volunteer service projects, and job recruiting activities.  Of course they’re not looking at JSTOR during Spring Break.  Even upon returning to campus, many students aren’t going to head straight to the library, especially if their mid-terms were before Spring Break.

So yeah, college students may be watching basketball, but maybe Professor Coltfetter needs to revisit his assumptions.

Return of A Day In a Life of a Librarian


Back in July, I participated in a web-wide librarian event entitled Library Day in the Life.  This event was created by the terrific librarian-blogger Bobbi Newman to allow people who work in libraries to share the great variety of work we do with students, patrons, and fellow librarians.  For more on what I do, check out my post from July.

A Day in the Life of an Information Lifecycle Management Assistant

  • wake up late after a rough night due to my son having frequent coughing fits.
  • once out of bed though, he seems alert and energetic so now it’s time to chase him down to get him to school.
  • my wife drives my son and I to the school.  He goes to the childrens’ center, I go to the library.
  • sort through my email and catch up on social media sites.
  • scan a few articles from Peter Kurilecz’s Records & Archives in the News (RAIN) update, but none of them seem worth in-depth reading today.
  • spend some time planning out tasks for the work week to come.
  • worked on a project to calculate the amount each administrative office at the school would pay for records storage (costs currently absorbed by the library).
  • lunch break:  the students are back so there are nearly no seats left in the cafeteria.  I’m able to sneak into a dark corner to eat my salad and write in my journal.
  • for one hour I’m on-call to page materials to the reading room from the stacks, but I’m not needed.
  • read articles from professional literature and blogs related to libraries, archives, records management and general news.  Tag some articles on Delicious.
  • place an order to retrieve a box of student records from offsite storage.
  • get a call from the Childrens Center that my son didn’t nap well due to coughing fits, and he’s a little warm but not feverish.
  • work on accessioning five boxes of videos which includes making a preliminary inventory, labeling & barcoding the boxes and preparing accession forms.
  • talk to wife on phone about coming to pick up me & our sick son on a miserable, rainy night.
  • close out day & head to the Childrens Center.
  • my “sick” son is cheerfully jumping up & down and playing with his friends.  As usual, he doesn’t want to go home.
  • supper, tubby time, bedtime for the boy & chores for me, and that was the day that was.

I think a lot of people are doing “A Week in the Life…” but for me I will end it there unless there’s some popular demand in the comments for more.

Sesame Street @ Your Library


This is part two of my tribute to Sesame Street on its 40th Anniversary.

Sesame Street is an educational program for preschoolers with one goal to help children begin to learn to read.  As a result they’ve been a boon to my profession with sketches that make the library look like a fun place.

Of course, even as Grover extols the virtues of the library, they can’t resist the stereotype of librarians as overbearing shushers:

The exasperation of this librarian is more understandable as Cookie Monster continually asks for things that are not available at the library.  Some library 2.0 types will probably ask themselves “why doesn’t the library have cookies?”:

The whole cast of Sesame Street comes together at the library for an elaborate light opera:

If Gilbert & Sullivan isn’t your thing, you can also rock out in the library:

I know that some readers are probably annoyed about all the book focus in these clips.  Here, Elmo discovers that computers are in the library in your neighborhood:

Related Links:

Book Review: Rex Libris: I, Librarian


Author: James Turner
Title: Rex Libris: I, Librarian
Publication Info: San Jose, Calif. : SLG Pub., [2007]
ISBN: 9781593620622

Summary/Review:

Rex Libris is a tough-as-nail librarian now several eons old fighting to protect knowledge and make sure books are returned on time, even when they’re held by intergalactic space creatures.  This comic book/graphic novel is funny and intelligent and lets you on what life is really like for a librarian.  I just wish Turner didn’t give away so many of our secrets.

Rex Libris succeeds at being witty whereas the Noah Wyle Librarian movies are just goofy (although the latter has Bob Newhart, so a point scored to them). I found the writing to be similar to the creative vein of Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next novels.
Recommended books: Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde, Five Fists Of Science by Matt Fraction, andVandals in the Stacks? by Richard J. Cox.
Rating: ****

A Day in the Life of a Librarian


Librarians everywhere are signing up for the Library Day in the Life project as a way of showing what we do to fellow librarians, library school students, and anyone curious.  I missed out on this the last time it occurred so I definitely wanted to participate this year, especially since I’ve been looking for ways to kickstart the library content on this blog.

My position at my place of work (MPOW) is Information Lifecycle Management assistant.  The job title is not the most self-evident and in the year and one month I’ve been working in this position the responsibilities and definitions have shifted.  Basically, I work with people and records whether those records be active (records management) or permanent (archives).  My typical responsibilities involve accessioning records for storage or for archives, retrieving & returning boxes at the request of an administrative or faculty office, and answering reference questions related to archival material.

That scratches the surface, and hopefully this exercise will explain more.  With no further ado, I present…

A Day in the Life of an Information Lifecycle Management Assistant

Monday

  • wake up (late).  My son gets me up with zerberts and lots of giggling. Get ready for work.
  • My wife drives my son and I to the school.  He goes to the childrens’ center, I go to the library.
  • begin work day by checking emails, planning out tasks for the day and other administrative tasks.
  • check out Twitter and FriendFeed to see how my other library peeps are doing.
  • continue an ongoing reference project to learn about details of the lives of students from China who attended the school in its early years.  This involves reviewing registrar records, yearbooks, and alumni bulletins among other things.
  • at request from a faculty assistant, arrange to have boxes picked up and returned to offsite storage
  • prepare a student file for loan to the admissions office.
  • Lunch!  I eat a salad and read the Rex Libris graphic novel.
  • Spend an hour on-call to page materials from the stacks for patrons in the reading room.  Spend the time populating a spreadsheet for records storage stats and reading scholarly articles and blogs relevant to my job.
  • At request of my manager, I refile boxes related to a reference question we worked on last week.  Also photocopy a few pages of interest to the patron.  I cut my finger when trying to remove the staple.  Ouch!
  • Resume research on Chinese students.  Also work on a similar question about the school’s earliest research in India.
  • Close out my day of work.
  • Go to childrens’ center to pick up my son.
  • Take bus to public library.  I get teased for going to the library on my time off, but MPOW generally doesn’t specialize in stuff I’m interested in.
  • Ride subway home.  My son is inordinately fussy.
  • Relieved to get home, eat supper, put the boy to bed and go to bed myself.  Whew!

I’m glad to get that done.  Now I’ll have to find time to read what everyone else wrote.

Meme: Dewey Decimal Classification Name, plus Blog Analyzers


Via Phil Bradley, a quiz to convert your name into a Dewey Decimal Classification class.

Liam Sullivan’s Dewey Decimal Section: 002 The book

Class:
000 Computer Science, Information & General Works

Contains:
Encyclopedias, magazines, journals and books with quotations.

What it says about you:
You are very informative and up to date. You’re working on living in the here and now, not the past. You go through a lot of changes. When you make a decision you can be very sure of yourself, maybe even stubborn, but your friends appreciate your honesty and resolve.

Find your Dewey Decimal Section at Spacefem.com

As an extra added bonus to this rather lazy post, Random Musings from the Desert posts links to various blog analyzers!

According to Typealyzer, this blog is:

ENTP – The Visionaries
The charming and trend savvy type. They are especially attuned to the big picture and anticipate trends. They often have sophisticated language skills and come across as witty and social. At the end of the day, however, they are pragmatic decision makers and have a good analytical abilitity.

They enjoy work that lets them use their cleverness, great communication skills and knack for new exciting ventures. They have to look out not to become quitters, since they easily get bored when the creative exciting start-up phase is over.

I’ve taken the Myers-Briggs test myself and always come out INFP, so my blog is more extroverted than I am.  Of course that text above is rather laughable.

GenderAnalyzer says:

We think http://www.othemts.wordpress.com is written by a man (73%)

Must be all the stuff I write about beer, baseball, farts, films with lots of ‘splosions, and nekkid jello wrestling.

Finally, the analyzer I fear the most, The Blog Readability Test:

blog readability test

TV Reviews

Ouch!

With a little Googlin’, I found one more blog analysis tool, How Much is Your Blog Worth?


My blog is worth $7,903.56.
How much is your blog worth?

That’s what I get for a high school education.

Previously:

Banned Books Week 2008


So, it’s Friday, and the ALA’s Banned Book Week is coming to an end and I haven’t posted about it yet.  Thus, here’s my post and a reminder for you to go to your library or bookseller this weekend and get a banned or challenged book to read.  And yeah, go in person, don’t be a wuss and order from Amazon.  You need to go to the counter, hold the book over your head and announce in a loud voice: “I’d like to get this banned book!”

If you’d like to know why opposing book bans and challenges is important, you need to watch this episode of The Facts of Life on Hulu.  Now!!!

Okay, now if you’d like a less-contrived and more thoughtful statement on the freedom to read, check out this blog post by jamie posted on myliblog last summer: Uncle Bobby’s Wedding.  This is the best response to a book challenge I’ve ever read.

Here’s some other news from Banned Book Week:

As for me, since I’m now a parent, I decided this year to pick up a couple of children’s books for my son:

  • First, a book about penguins that is the most banned book two years running: And Tango Makes Three.  Apparently these penquins live in Manhattan, and thus are liberal elitists.
  • Second, a classic book about nightmares, In the Night Kitchen.  Some folks think this book should come with little fig leafs.

Have a great weekend and enjoy a banned book!

Previously: Banned Books Week 2007

War of the Worlds video


Catching up on a request from a friend to share a promo video for the 70th anniversary of the War of the Worlds broadcast which will be held at the David Sarnoff Library in Princeton, NJ. This video is worth watching simply for the kickass theramin theme music.  Sure the visuals are dull, but the event should be fun, so if you’re in New Jersey on October 25th, check it out.

Previously: Radiolab podcast about War of the Worlds

Book Review: Groundswell by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff


I learned about Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies (2008) by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff from the HBR IdeaCast Episode 91: Be a Social Technology Provocateur.  I was intrigued enough to check it out from the library that employs me but it was quickly recalled.  Luckily, I had gotten far enough to sign up for the Groundswell blog where I learned that Forrester was giving away 100 copies of the book to bloggers for review.  I was lucky enough to snag a copy and I’ve finally read it so I can fulfill my end of the bargain.

The basic gist of Groundswell is that new social networking tools allow the general public to greatly influence how companies and products are viewed by people at large.  The authors define the groundswell as “A social trend in which people use technologies to get the things they need from each other, rather than from traditional institutions like corporations,” (p. 9).  Many companies see this as a threat but the authors encourage organizations to embrace social technologies to give them competitive advantage in business.

Now I’m someone who recoils at the concept of “viral marketing” in particular and really the whole corporate-consumerist ideology in general, but what impresses me about this book is that it comes down to people.  This is not about marketers telling people what to buy, it is about engaging people and learning about what products/services would enrich their lives, how to respond to problems, and even how to influence the purchasing decisons of other customers.  One interesting notion is that while corporations have “product managers,” they rarely have “people managers” although that’s going to be necessary to continue in business in a groundswell environment.  They even make a good point that the customers, not the company, own the brand.

“Marketers tell us they define and manage brands.  Some spend millions, or hundreds of millions, of dollars on advertising.  They carefully extend brand names, putting Scope on a tube of toothpaste to see what happens.  We bought this brand, they say.  We spent on it.  We own it.

Bull.

Your brand is whatever the customers say it is.  And in the groundswell where they communicate with each other, they decide,” (p. 78).

Many executives want to join the groundswell and think it is as easy as putting a blog or comment pages on their website.  The authors warn that engaging the groundswell requires planning with particular goals in mind or one’s efforts will fail.  Groundswell is like a manual for managers that offers case studies, lessons from those cases, and how those lessons may be applied to one’s own business.

I’m obviously not a corporate executive, but I read this book from the perspective that libraries can benefit from the instruction of this book.  Like corporations, libraries would do well to listen to the ideas of their biggest supporters, respond to concerns of those having problems with the library, and engage people in making the library a better place for everyone.  I’d suggest this book be read by any librarians interested in ideas for transforming the library in the web 2.0 world.

Groundswell : winning in a world transformed by social technologies by Charlene Li. Boston, Mass. : Harvard Business Press, c2008.