It’s Time to Move Along

December 20, 2009

I have to say that my decision to start a blog back in September of 2005, when I started graduate school, was one of the most edifying parts of my educational experience. It gave me a venue to work though my school experiences as well as my thoughts on various topics relating to library science. I have definitely missed blogging. It seems to me that I was more attentive to different trends in the library world and more thoughtful about how they impacted the things I was studying and my library work.

However, I made a conscious choice when I began blogging to try to focus my comments on graduate school rather than on my work as a systems librarian. I didn’t always follow this internal mandate – after all, I my profession certainly colored my educational experiences and my opinions on various issues. The strictures that I had set became a problem for me when I got close to finishing school. I grew more and more frustrated with my experiences in a distance program and more focused on work because of things that were happening in my library (and in the greater institution). I had several issues that I wanted to write about, but I definitely started discarding the majority of my posts because they were becoming more and more removed from my educational experience. This trend only continued once I actually graduated.

The ironic thing is that I really wasn’t conscious of why I kept starting posts and then deleting them until quite recently. In August, I participated in the “Library Day in the Life” meme which caused me to seriously think about blogging and whether or not I wanted to continue. I definitely wanted to continue, but still found myself stymied. Shortly thereafter, I realized that I wasn’t able to blog under the original constraints that I had set for this blog as one about my library school experiences.

Ultimately, I decided that I needed to formally put this blog to bed. I figured it would be best for me to first decide if I wanted to start another blog or not. After much soul-searching, I decided that blogging had been extremely beneficial for me. It had allowed me to participate in larger library conversations. As an introvert who doesn’t feel very comfortable in large groups of unknown people, I don’t often participate in conferences or face-to-face gatherings. I found that this blog helped me become aware of myself and my role in the larger library world. I learned not only from my own blog musings, but from many others. Blogging was very good for me, and I do not want to return to the more insular library world in which I was living four to five years ago.

So, I have started a new blog in which I plan to focus a bit more on the issues that I face in my day-to-day life as a systems librarian. More can be found there.

(In case anyone wonders what prompted this:
I did make this decision in early November, but a very hectic work schedule and a recent two-week vacation in Sydney, Australia made my life a wee bit crazy. I admit that I was prompted to sit down this week after reading the latest edition of Walt Crawford’s January 2010 issue of Cites and Insights. And, I needed to procrastinate about Christmas shopping. This weekend’s blizzard helped some as well.  🙂 )

A Return to Blogging?

August 1, 2009

Over the past year, blogging has been a nonexistent priority in my life. The major reason for this is that school wiped me out – sapped me of almost everything that I had to give. Working as a systems librarian full-time and attending library school meant that almost every waking thought that I had was about libraries. I admit that I got to a point where I really needed to confine my library-related thoughts to my work schedule. I was afraid that I was coming to hate the word library. So once I finished my schooling and realized that I needed some space, I started looking for ways to take more time for me. Given the amount of time and effort that blogging takes, I decided to let it go. And you know, it did help.

Oddly enough, I have missed blogging – quite a bit. I can’t say that I am surprised by this fact. This was always a place where I worked through my own thoughts about library-related issues. When blogging, I found that I paid more attention to things that were happening in the library world. I thought about them more consciously – and I admit that I cared about them more. Since allowing myself to take a break, I have noticed that I pay less attention to things that are happening in the wider library sphere. I am much more narrowly focused in scope. This isn’t bad. It was probably a good thing. I think that I needed to narrow my focus in order to make it through the past year. The past two years at work have been particularly stressful, and I needed to reorient myself in order to find a better way to deal with the stress – and to give myself some time to figuring out what my place in the library world might be.

I believe that things have leveled out a bit (or I have just become used to how things now are). I’m starting to care more about what is going on in the greater library world. So will I return to blogging? I hope so. I have been thinking about it for the past six months. I dont’ think that I have quite figured out what my place in the library world definitively is, but I think that blogging can help. The Library Day in the Life meme was the perfect motivation. I do hope to continue blogging. I can’t promise anything (to those of you have asked), but I think it would do me good. We shall see!

The Liblog Landscape: 2007-2008 – Walt Crawford

December 30, 2008

Boy, how time flies. I’ve had Walt Crawford’s Liblog Landscapesince the day before Thanksgiving – which, coincidentally, is actually when I read the book. I took notes intending to write a blog post. Then, I guess, that life happened, andhere I am over a month later going through my notes to put together a post. It would have been much easier to just do it then. Oh well!

My first reaction to the book was “Wow, there is tons of data here.” Having done a statistical research paper last spring, I was impressed with all of the work that must of gone into analyzing the 607  liblogs that Walt Crawford included in the study. The data is a bit overwhelming, as the author noted. I admit to skimming over some of the more statistical portions of the book, preferring to spendtime reading the analytical sections withmore depth.

Because there is so much data, there is a great deal of explanation of the research, the algorithms used and the research methodology. This information is important in order to understand how the research was done – and what data really means. There is no way that I would have understood the quartiles or the methodology without supporting documentation. So, I understand the importance of the information even if it threatened to give me a headache.

Walt Crawford has explained why there is little in the way of personal commentary and evaluation in The Liblog Landscape. His reasoning makes sense, and the book would have been way too long if such commentary were included. I admit that I was bit disappointed that the commentary was missing. Crawford’s commentary is one of the reasons that I enjoy reading his work. To answer Walt’s question, I would love to see “Walt’s Big Book of Liblogs.”

To me, the most valuable parts of the book were the chapters on “Patterns of Change”, “Subgroups”, “Liblogs and the Larger Blogosphere,” and “Liblog Profiles”. I found these four chapters to the be the heart of the book. I hadn’t expected to read about liblogs in relation to the blogosphere in general, but I think that might be the part that I enjoyed most. I can’t say that I read the “Liblog Profiles” from start to finish. It is definitely more a reference section.

Anyway, I found this book to be a valuable read – and would think this would be the case for anyone interested in the liblog universe. And, now I know how many posts I wrote during the 2007 timeframe as compared to the 2008 one; along with how many words per post I wrote; and how many comments I received. Believe me, there is no way that I was going to count, but I was interested in knowing.

Lastly, I want to note that using Lulu to buy this book was a very easy and quick experience. I ordered the book on November 22nd. In the descriptive information, I read that it could take 3-5 days to actually print and ship the book. I choose to have the book shipped USPS Priority Mail, which might take 2-3 business days. I generally dislike parcel post (which was the least expensive option) and was in no way interested in the faster options. If I remember correctly, the most expensive shipping option brought the total for the book (the book itself was $22.50) to just under $100.00. So, I was rather impressed when I received an email late in the day on November24th indicating that the book had been shipped. It arrived that Wednesday. So, I was impressed with Lulu’s service.

It’s Feeling Like Christmas

December 20, 2008

The Day After the Snow Storm

Originally uploaded by ScruffyNerf.

Well, the big storm that has been crossing the country finally made its way to Massachusetts yesterday afternoon. We definitely have about a foot of snow – and it is still snowing. I think we were very lucky though. The storm hit us on a Friday afternoon – and everyone knew it was coming. In fact, a couple of people commented that it felt like the end of the world was coming. Many people didn’t come to work; and many businesses had simply closed for the day.

The college where I work closed at noon, even though it didn’t start snowing until about 2PM. I am definitely glad that I was home before it started. It was wonderful to be home, warmly ensconced in my comfortable clothes, curled up on my couch with a book. There hasn’t been any real need to go out – and I’m getting a good handle on trying to get my house clean before I have family over next weekend. One caveat, my husband’s work Christmas party is tonight, at least an hour away (in good driving conditions). I’m not too keen on having to get dressed up and venture out, but we do what we must.

The best part about snow before the holidays is that it definitely helps to put me in the Christmas spirit. All of the holiday decorations look amazing in the snow. The down side, however, is that I haven’t finished my Christmas shopping or errands. Time is growing short, and I won’t be able to do those things that I had planned to do this weekend. I guess I will just have to stop worrying about it – and enjoy the day!

The Cost of Brilliance

November 11, 2008

As a minor blogger, I do not get many email solicitations for product consideration. I like it this way. When it does happen, I read them and then quickly delete them. They often amuse me, and I guess that is worth something. But yesterday I received an email about the Chapeau Blog Awards that just confuses me. From their home page (can be found by searching for Chapeau Blog Awards):

Blog Brilliance!

To this, we tip our Chapeaus!

Blog Brilliance is, in fact, what Chapeau Blog Awards is exclusively devoted to honoring.

Brilliant Blogs must deliver upon audience expectations. From design and navigation, to business or consumer topics, the most effective blogs cater to how readers absorb and process information.

At the same time really great blogs are true to themselves and their own unique personalities. Some blogs challenge readers. Some invite opinion and other blogs simply share a story or follow a trend.

But which blogs are the best?  And who should decide which blogs are the best?

Chapeau Blog Awards intends to answer this question. And we won’t assemble an antiquated academy of high profile “Noggers” (Non-Bloggers—You first read it here!) to determine which blog is best.

We will do what bloggers do; ask the public sphere of blog readers. You. Us. Blog readers who truly know what a quality blog is.

It all sounds rather innocuous. We live in a society that loves to rank things, so I do find the overall concept all that odd. The bizarre part is that the solicitation is aimed at getting bloggers to nominate themselves for consideration. There are several categories into which one can enter a blog. The first group of categories are for blog audience. You decide what subject best fits your audience. Then you can enter your blog in up to five award areas such as best industry blog, best design and navigation, etc. Ultimately, the Chapeau Blog Awards will choose one blog to be the “Most Brilliant Blog”. The kicker is that there is an entry fee to nominate one’s blog: $195 if you enter before November 14th, $250 if you enter between the 15th of November and the 15th of December, or $275 between December 15th and January 30th. January 30 is the cut of to enter. The official nominees will be announced on February 15th. Blog readers get to vote and the results will be announced on May 5, 2009.

Seriously???? How can a group purport to be choosing the Most Brilliant Blog when it requires payment (and a significant one at that) for consideration? Has anyone actually given money to this organization? There is just so much wrong with this. The good news? I am willing to declare this blog The Most Brilliant Blog Ever for free – and I would be willing to declare your blog The Most Brilliant Blog Right Behind Mine for considerably less that $195. Let me know. I accept PayPal.

I do like the word “Noggers”.  I’ve never heard that before, but I think I will incorporate that into my daily vocabulary. Anyway, thanks for the blog fodder.

An Analysis of My Blog

November 10, 2008

Helene Blowers, over at LibraryBytes, wrote a post including links to several tools that analyze blogs. I couldn’t resist playing along – and found out some fascinating things about what my blog says about me.

The first tool is Typealyzer, which analyzes one’s writing to make a personality determination. My blog was labeled as INTP – The Thinkers. The website’s description of this label is as follows:

The logical and analytical type. They are especialy attuned to difficult creative and intellectual challenges and always look for something more complex to dig into. They are great at finding subtle connections between things and imagine far-reaching implications.

They enjoy working with complex things using a lot of concepts and imaginative models of reality. Since they are not very good at seeing and understanding the needs of other people, they might come across as arrogant, impatient and insensitive to people that need some time to understand what they are talking about.

This INTP result isn’t much of a surprise. I am definitely a thinker type – and I like to use my blog as a place to work through my thoughts about library-related subjects. I’m not sure I’m so keen on the arrogant, impatient and insensitive thing though – that isn’t a message that I would like to send to the world.

The second tool is GenderAnalyzer, a tool which tries to determine if a blog’s writer is male or female. The site determined that my site was gender neutral with a slight preference for a male. These results fascinate me. I am female, but have been told that I often think like a man. I guess I might tend to write like one too?????

The third tool is the Blog Readability Test. This site determines the reading level of one’s blog. I have done this one before, and the results have stayed the same – High School Reading Level. I’m good with that.

The last tool is the site that determines How Much is Your Blog Worth. This doesn’t mean much too me because my blog is worth much more to me than to anyone else. Also, I’m not sure what being worth $19,194.36 means. Actually, I realize one has to compare it to the worth of other blogs. Chances are I am not going to do that. However, if someone offered my $19,000 for this blog, I might just take it. 🙂

Now, back to my regularly scheduled Monday!

Amazon Fights Wrap Rage

November 3, 2008 has an interesting note posted on its home page today about fighting “Wrap Rage” – a phrase which “describes the frustration we humans feel when trying to free a product from a nearly impenetrable package” (from the notice posted on the website today). To eliminate wrap rage, they are introducing “Frustration-Free Packaging (FFP)” which is now available on 19 toy and electronic products. They also offer some customer-provided videos that detail their frustrating package experiences. Amazon also maintains that their new FFP will be more eco-friendly.

Very cool!! The plastic and wire ties used in packaging are beyond frustrating. Memory cards and small electronic devices are nearly impossible to open without tools. I hope that other retailers follow suit. Go FFP!!!!!

A Swift Kick to My Posterior

November 2, 2008


Japanese Maple


Originally uploaded by ScruffyNerf.


During the summer of 2007, I consciously decided to limit my outside distractions and focus on finishing school. I was emotionally overwhelmed by school issues and felt like everything in my life revolved around libraries. I worked in one all day and then spent an inordinant amount of time studying about them while I was at home. I decided that finishing school was critical – and knew that I had no intention of quitting my job (which I love on most days). I did, however, cut down on blogging-related activities – both writing and reading. This meant that I starting isolating myself from the greater library community. Oddly enough, it did help me get through my last two semesters of school.

However, I have now been out of school for six months and I have not yet re-engaged myself. I am now making a conscious effort – giving myself a swift kick in the posterior – to get out of my funk. I have become involved in two new projects at work (creating accessible library workstations for physically challenged students and taking responsibility for a relatively new digital image application – projects that I care about deeply) and am hoping to start blogging with more regularity. I have found that when I am in a blogging groove I pay greater attention to library news and read more attentively. I think about issues more and thus, am more engaged.

By the way, the picture has no relevance to the post. I took this picture this morning and it made me happy. The bright red of the leaves of this Japanese Maple tree in my front yard is such a beautiful color!

Google to the Rescue

October 15, 2008

With Mail Goggles! Seriously. Google has launched a new Labs feature for Gmail that will prevent a user from sending an email if they can’t do a couple of simple math problems. The idea being that if you can’t do some simple math problems then you may not be in the right state of mind to send email (too drunk). Once enabled, it defaults to being active only during late evening hours on the weekend. The timing is customizable. I can’t say that I have ever sent an email that I regretted while incapacitated in some way during wee, weekend hours. Nor have I ever received an email that someone probably sent out unwisely in a drunken stupor.

I would turn it on to see how it works, but I am afraid that my simple math skills may cause me frustration even when my mind is in its normal state. That I do not need.

I would be much more interested in some new features that would prevent me from replying to all when not intended, that would prevent the receipt of out of office replies to bulk/listserv emails and that would sense when I too stressed out to deal with certain people or situations and would hold those emails until I’m in a better frame of mind. That would be cool!

The Semester is Under Way

September 1, 2008

Oddly enough, I have indeed survived another start to the fall semester. And believe me, I questioned whether or not this would be the case on many occasions over the last couple of weeks. I can definitely say that in terms of work, August is my least favorite time of year.

On another note, the semester is under way, and I am not actually in school. How awesome is that???? I am fully appreciating the feeling of being out of school.