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Archive for June, 2011

Trying to remember things from “Library School”

Posted by Librarian/Information Professional on June 22, 2011

Sometimes I get busy with routine library work and need some tidbit that I know I learned in grad school. Now, I know I could go hunt it up, but sometimes it doesn’t seem important enough to go to the trouble to seek it out.
Yes, it is laziness on my part and I see evidence in our OPAC that I am not the only one who suffers from this condition. So, what should I do? I think that sometimes a person needs to decide whether doing everything “correctly” is worth the trouble of the pesky details, when most people don’t know the difference. Getting the information out and available is more important than dotting all the “i’s” and crossing all the “t’s”.

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Country Driving

Posted by Librarian/Information Professional on June 18, 2011

A brief diversion to recommend a book, Country Driving: A Journey Through China from Farm to Factory by Peter Hessler. It is a non-fiction book. Hessler lived in China for a number of years and is a writer for The New Yorker and for National Geographic.

The book is arranged into 3 books, or sections. The first section is devoted to his travels around the Great Wall. He talks to people every where he goes and finds out a lot of the history of the Great Wall. The only historians for the wall are self-educated peasants who value the history of the Wall(s).

In the second section, he lives part-time in a village and gets to know the people there. Some valuable insights evolve about Chinese people as he tells us about his friends (and some who are not friends) in the village. He becomes observes and becomes involved in the village life. I learned a lot about education, culture, etc. in this section.

The third section is about the factories and the people in the Development Zone. He befriends some of the workers in the factory and the factory owners. While I didn’t think this section would be as good as the other 2, it held some surprises for me. The Chinese attitudes toward work and business were interesting.

I found some of my conceptions about China to be confirmed, but yet my impressions changed as I became acquainted with the characters in this book.

It is a fascinating read. I highly recommend it.

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Digital projects

Posted by Librarian/Information Professional on June 8, 2011

Since I started this blog, I have been adding digital records to our library catalog (OPAC for all you librarians out there). When I was a library assistant, or technical worker, I added batches of e-documents that I got from Dataminer. I would filter records that were created in a previous month and then process them into our OPAC.

In our department, we tried several methods to upload them. Student workers checked to see if they were already cataloged and adding 856 fields with URLs. We tried dumping in the entire batch filtered for our library. We tried variations on the same idea. We still weren’t satisfied.

When I got to be in charge of the department, I experimented some more and now have a different variation. I filter the records at Dataminer by our depository number and then download the batch. Since some of the links include records to the GPO catalog, but not to the digital item, I don’t want to include those records. I use MarcEdit to make batch changes to the entire bunch and then upload them into our OPAC. It is not quite that simple, but it is not that difficult either. It takes some tweeking of the records and of the holdings codes, and I am done.

I used a similar process to batch load e-journals and ERIC records. I may write about them another day. Hope this jogs someone into thinking about a better way than I am now using and that they let me know. Until then, it is the best that I have come up with.

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It’s June and what to do??

Posted by Librarian/Information Professional on June 7, 2011

Every summer it seems there are so many things that I would like to accomplish, like emptying 2 file cabinets full of old unused materials. Yet it is so hard to get to my projects. It is not for lack of trying. Sometimes it is the lack of time and resources, i.e. available workers, and sometimes it is other people’s priorities. You know the type, they dream up stuff for me to do because I have all this available time. They often are my peers, who convince the right people that this is something that “we” should do. Funny, the “we” is usually me, and my projects get to take a back seat. So far I am waiting on that to happen as it always does, every summer.

So back to the other issue, having the resources to get to my projects. I came back after Memorial Day and my week vacation to discover that I had virtually no workers at all. One worker who had agreed to work found the opportunity to more hours in her home department. That left me with one worker who wanted to work one hour a day! So I dug through the very few applications. Most of the applicants had another campus job and only wanted another hour or so, here or there. No real help for me there! I did see one promising applicant, who informed me that she had just decided to take a job at a summer camp. Lucky me, I now had one worker could give me one hour per day. Since my assistant is out having major surgery, not enough workers!

Fortunately, things have a way of turning out OK. The original worker didn’t get the expected hours, after all, so I now have some excellent help. Wish I could steal her, but that’s not likely.

As I said, things have a way of righting themselves, today one of my academic school year workers walked in wanting to have some hours to work! YEA!! A trained worker!! So now we can, at least, climb out from under the never ending mail! I actually started thinking about emptying those 2 file cabinets again!

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