Tag Archives: writing


30 Nov

If you’re expecting another job listing, you are gonna be disappointed and possibly confused. We’re actually done with those for a bit (though you have a couple hours left to put in your name on the most recent one).

I spent the first part of this week home sick, the better part of the month scrambling among various projects, and to be completely honest the semester’s been kind of a blur. I think I helped organize a conference at one point, but that could be something of a fever dream. No right-thinking organization would give me responsibility for something like that.

(Though I seem to have a gavel, now, what with me stepping up as Chapter President for UNYSLA in January. I should post a picture of myself brandishing it, like the bookish and administrative Mjolnir that it is.)

But what’s brought me out of my ‘Quil-induced haze this week — and a good thing, too, with search committee duties in my present and jury duties looming — is the publication of this:

Jump-Start Your Career as a Digital Librarian: A LITA Guide

Edited by Jane D. Monson

The skills of digital librarianship are more crucial than ever, and these same skills are in high demand outside the field, from tech startups undertaking digitization projects to digital humanities centers bringing together professors, computer scientists, and information technologists. Map out your career in this fast-growing field with the full range of perspectives gathered in this clear, concise overview of the core concepts and competencies of digital librarianship. Twenty-one experienced practitioners from a variety of settings offer realistic views of today’s job market, typical project dynamics, and employer expectations. Whether you’re a new graduate just starting out or a seasoned professional transitioning from a more traditional area such as cataloging or archives, you’ll benefit from this book’s valuable coverage of topics such as

  • Activities and roles of the digital librarian, including management of digital projects and collaboration
  • Developing and using transferable skills
  • Becoming familiar with metadata
  • How digital librarians are re-shaping scholarly publishing
  • The concept and framework of digital preservation best practices
  • Technical competencies such as XML and content management systems

Familiarity with digital practices is increasingly important for all information professionals, and this book offers a solid foundation in the discipline.

I co-authored the first chapter — “So You Want to Be a Digital Librarian—What Does That Mean?” — with the formidable Cory Lampert of UNLV. It was a great experience working with her, and I’m glad what we put together is now in print.

The rest of the book looks phenomenal, as well: there are some very smart people talking about what they’re doing, and that’s always worth reading. So, and I say this with a lot of love and more than a little bias in my heart: check it out.

And have good and safe weekends, y’all. Don’t break anything that didn’t have it coming.

I wrote a thing for SLA’s Future Ready 365 project…

8 Nov

…and it got posted last Friday.

I mentioned this on the usual social media suspects, too. But I wanted to make sure there was at least a record of it here, and maybe some of y’all don’t follow me there?

In any case, this piece was a riff on something I ad-libbed during my webinar last month that seemed to resonate with folks. I tried to expand on the notion and make it a bit more general and hopefully inspirational.

If not, then at least I got to use a copyrighted image in a way that I figured was fair use. That’s always worth it.

Another Friday in the Libe

2 Sep

The first full week of classes is winding down, and I’ve been answering what feels like a staggering amount of reference questions.

Like Judd, I just finished Hunger Games, and found it to be excellent. It was also my first Kindle book (read on the iPad app), a format that I found much more enjoyable than I’d anticipated. Now I’m working through a (physical) book of Clark Ashton Smith’s Zothique stories, with breaks of rereading Harry Connolly’s Child of Fire on the Kindle app. (Follow the link; it’s only $0.99 in that format, so if you’re Kindle-y inclined and into modern supernatural horror with lots of action you should snag it. )

Right now I’m trying to think about what I’ll be doing with my time once I finish the writing described below. I think my top priority will be putting up a user survey in DigitalCommons@ILR. I need a couple more folks to give me feedback on what I’ve put together, and then submit my waiver application to the human studies folks. (Because I don’t think they’ll believe me if I claim that we’d assumed the repository was mainly used by voles.) I’m also starting to match grant opportunities with potential projects, in an extremely preliminary sense.

I’m co-authoring a book chapter for a guide to being a digital librarian, and we’re trying to get our rough draft in next week. It’s been going well, but there’s still quite a bit left to do. I’ve really enjoyed it, overall; aside from the Digital Projects Assessment I wrote earlier this year, it’s the most writing I’ve done since graduating. That being said, yesterday’s Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal comic did make me cackle at my own expense, which is an experience I highly recommend.

Friday in the Libe

5 Aug

Finishing up The Price of Spring, by Daniel Abraham. It’s the fourth part of his Long Price Quartet, and both book and series have been amazing. Smart fantasy for adults with strong characterization and no fear of raising the stakes and facing the consequences of choices made.  I love it when authors establish a strong and evocative status quo and then let their characters batter it, and I love when a plot development makes me close the book and curse in amazement. There’s a lot to love in these books.

The next few weeks are pretty heavy for the Reference & Outreach Committee, of which I’m the co-chair. We’ve got our first monthly forum on Tuesday (which we managed to program with only minimal insanity, though I am probably going to end up as one of the presenters), and our first real orientation event on Thursday. Two weeks from today is the massive orientation fair for new undergrads, with the grad fair following soon after. So that’s dominating most of the “planning” portions of my brain.

In addition to the short presentation alluded to above, I’m trying to contribute to the outline of the book chapter I’m co-authoring with UNLV’s Cory Lampert. Thank the gods for Google Docs, and the patience of colleagues.


Judd’s been doing this Friday thing for a good long while, and I’ve always thought it was keen. I used the structure a few times last year in my gaming blog, but since I never post there and most of the content this week is library related, it seemed better done here.

Library Day in the Life, Round 7, Day 3 (no, seriously, I can count)

28 Jul

I’m on vacation.

But, since we’re not leaving town until this afternoon and I didn’t get a chance to catablog* yesterday, I’ll write up Day 3 on Day 4… starting with the end of Day 2. I am not bound by your bourgeoisie linear time.

The meeting Tuesday afternoon went really well, though there was a moment when I worried that my copyright concerns would doom someone to a truly onerous workflow, despite their coming to us for help. Luckily, Steve had a great idea, the web team ran with it, I nodded and cracked jokes at appropriate times, and we left with a plan that’d give everyone less to do and cause fewer potential problems for the library and school. Can’t ask for better than that.

Wednesday started, as my days tend to, with emails. Once that was done, I spent most of the rest of the morning on the DigitalCommons@ILR survey. I got some great feedback from my supervisor Suzanne, and I figured out how to use Qualtrics to make a survey with a number of opt-out sections. I may be able to get it up and running in the repository as early as next week.

I had two meetings in the afternoon, which wouldn’t have been a problem if they weren’t scheduled concurrently. I decided to skip the CUL Archival Repository policy group meeting in favor of an all-staff meeting to discuss changes to vacation reporting policy. I think it was the right call; the changes are such that my ignorance could make things rough for both the person I supervise and the person who supervises me, and since I’ve cited both of them as being awesome in this very blog post you can understand why I wouldn’t want that to happen. (Also, my totally hypothetical friend who hasn’t handed in a leave slip since March or so totally got reminded to address that, and handed in his totally hypothetical leave slip just before he left on his totally hypothetical vacation. Which was, hypothetically speaking, included on said leave slip.)

Penultimately, my various and sundry #libday7 questions about iPads paid off when I submitted a purchase request for one. I’m hoping it’ll make traveling a saner thing for me come Spring, but it’ll also cut down on me taking handwritten notes during meetings that I can only pray not to lose, and texting items for my to-do list to my email account. Also, it will be shiny.

Finally, I spoke on the phone with Cory Lampert at UNLV, with whom I’ll be writing a book chapter. We sorted out when to set our deadlines for finishing the chapter outline — not to mention for turning in our first draft — and where to collaborate (Google Docs, of course). I’m very much looking forward to writing this Fall; if all goes well, I can see settling into a “Fall is for writing, Spring is for presenting” kind of thing in the future.

And as soon as I say that, I laugh, because nothing ever works out that smoothly. But hopefully, any bumps in the road up to the lakehouse where our friends are already waiting for us won’t be too bad.

See y’all next week.

* It’s a word, now.

Writer’s block update

19 Aug

It’s been a little over a month since I wrote about writer’s block, and despite the seemingly oxymoronic nature of such a post, received a lot of great advice. One bit that I implemented almost immediately came from a very close friend who had the opportunity on numerous occasions to observe my library school work habits.

“Why not just make yourself write for 15 minutes a day? Usually that was enough to get you going on the assignments you were procrastinating on.”

Putting aside the vile calumny that I might procrastinate, the theory seemed sound. So I dropped a daily reminder into my calendar, and it’s actually worked really well. I’ve already put together several pages of project summary that I can probably mold into an article of some kind.

The only problem is that after a few weeks I got burned out a bit on said project summary. So I’ve decided to widen the scope of my daily admonition a bit: 15 minutes a day, either on a project to be published or presented on, or this blog, or my gaming blog (which is an excellent outlet for writing when I really need a break from talking shop).

I’ve been using this iteration for a week or so, and it seems solid. We’ll see where the various projects and so forth stand in another couple of months, though.

Is this what being a librarian feels like?

13 Aug

I enjoy reading the “day in the life” posts that many blogger librarians write. After spending the last couple of days trying to hash out my week-to-week schedule for the coming semester, I think I’m close to being able to do that myself. At the very least, I’m beginning to see why such posts tend to be so long.

This fall, each of my weeks will include:

  • Three reference desk shifts here at Catherwood.
  • One shift of Cornell’s online chat reference service.
  • One shift of chat reference service for the co-op to which Cornell belongs.
  • Two classes in eskrima. (Which will not, I hope, prove directly applicable to the aforementioned reference shifts. But they will probably facilitate the maintenance of sanity.)

Every month, I’ll also have:

  • At least one meeting of the CUL Reference and Outreach Committee.
  • At least one forum, run by said committee.
  • At least one meeting of the CUL Digital Reference Committee.
  • At least a few meetings regarding the ongoing library consolidation plan.

And then there’s the other stuff on this semester’s to-do list:

It’s a more than slightly overwhelming list, especially since I know it won’t prove exhaustive. It almost certainly necessitates the delegation to others of a bunch of mundane tasks  that I still do because my previous position has remained unfilled. But truth be told, the folks above me in the chain of command have been recommending that I do that for a while now; this semester may prove the necessary impetus.

I feel like this semester is giving me a better picture of what my career’s gonna look like for at least the next several years. And the funny thing is, I’m not only OK with that, I’m pretty damned psyched about it. Overwhelming as it is, it also sounds like fun.

And not just the stick-fighting.

Writer’s block

7 Jul

It has now been almost one year since I finished my last class for library school. In those two years, I wrote numerous papers, not to mention essays, presentations, metadata schema, and even XML and XHTML code. Somehow, I still feel utterly unprepared to actually write a draft of a paper for publication.

I don’t think it’s that I lack for topics. I’m sure I could put together a written version of my presentation from CiL2010 that some publications would be interested in. A recent project which involved several groups within the ILR School could make a great case study of sorts: multiple potential audiences, collaboration between people with widely divergent skill sets, a new metadata schema, training webinars, content management systems. I just don’t know where to begin.

I am reminded of why it took me three years to write my masters thesis, and why I was so relieved that Syracuse didn’t require me to go through that hell again.

I’ve received some solid advice from folks, but this is me blatantly trolling for more. How do y’all start this sort of thing?