30 May 2005

free beer!

Well, not really, but I do have an opportunity for one lucky winner to get lots of other free stuff. (Interesting sidenote: the world can't seem to make up its mind about swag and schwag, except that the latter seems to be the prefered stoner term and the former actually shows up in a real dictionary.)

Anyway, if you're interested in getting some, I have in my possession one free pass to the Exhibits at the ALA conference. It's sponsored by the National Library of Medicine, so if you want some swag in the sense of trinkets, you could even stop by their booth (#3202) to talk about the potential health effects of schwag in the sense of low-grade pot.

First person to write me at lauracrossett [at] hailmail [dot] net gets the pass.

27 May 2005

stuff to do

Now that you've learned all about RSS, here's a list of 15 things RSS can do for you [via LiB]. Also, I just discovered that you can get the Dominican calendar as an RSS feed. They offer two versions of the feed: one for events by week, and the other for "recently added" events, which at the moment seems to mean mostly the sports schedules for next year. I don't know how useful either of these will be for us GSLISistas, but at least it's a step in the right direction for the web site.

Speaking of web sites getting a clue, it seems that ALA is planning to get a new content management system, which, it is hoped, will make the web site a lot better. You can read more about what they want in the new CMS in the RFP [.pdf file] [via many folks on the blogroll]


We have a new Dean. Her name is Susan Roman, and she used to work at ALA. Actually, this is not exactly new news, but it is newer than some of the news on the GSLIS site. As you may remember, gettin a new dean was one of the conditions the program to continue being accredited by ALA. More on the new dean, the accreditation issue, and other bureaucratic mumbo-jumbo soon.

25 May 2005


Yes, I have entered the land of meta--blogging about blogging. Or, at least, about some blogging.

If you're reading this, you have at least some idea of what a blog is. But I've noticed in a lot of my classes that when blogs come up there are a fair number of blank faces in the room. Fear not! You too can enter the land of blog-awareness. I was going to compile a nice big post about blogs and RSS and aggregators and so forth--but then I discovered that the indefatigable Jessamyn west, of librarian.net fame, had beat me to it with her talk Staying Current Using Blogs and RSS. The notes from her talk include numerous links to definitions, tutorials, examples, the works. If you feel a little lost out here in the blogosphere, check it out. And take a look even if you feel like an expert, just so you can see what a fabulous job Jessamyn does of breaking stuff down into understandable units. Okay, I admit, I'm a fan.

But much as I love librarian.net, it is but one of the blogs I read. As you can see, I've added an LIS blogroll over on the right. It contains all of the library-related blogs and feeds that I currently read (or at least skim). It is by no means comprehensive--there are a lot of library-related blogs out there--but it's a start. I use Bloglines to read all of these and like it pretty well, but I haven't tried the other aggregators out there, so I can't really give any educated recommendations.

Why, you may be asking, do I plow through all this stuff? Mostly I do it because these blogs are, of all the things I've consumed during library school, the place where I have learned the most about actual libraries and the actual issues they face and how actual people are dealing with them. In fact, it's gotten to the point that when I'm doing research for a paper, my first thought is usually, "Hey, mp3s in libraries--I wonder ." Still don't believe me on the value of blogs for research? Here, for your reading pleasure, is a paragraph from my section of the final paper for a group project on digital rights management for 770, with its footnote:
When a library buys—or, more often, leases—a digital resource, however, its rights over that resource are determined not by the library but by the seller. The copyright statement at the beginnning of a traditional book will explain that the book many not be reproduced in whole or part, by any means, except in certain instances, such as a reviewer or student quoting a brief passage in the course of her work. The digital rights management statement at the beginning of an e-book, though, reads more like this example:
DRM Rights:
Copy 25 selections every 1 day(s)
Print 25 pages every 1 day(s)
Reading aloud allowed
Book expires 150 day(s) after download
Note that Adobe eBooks cannot be shared.5

5. Jason Griffey, “Reading aloud allowed,” post on Pattern Recognition blog (March 30, 2005):

Happy reading!

21 May 2005

multiple guess

A lis•dom reader writes:
So you are a librarian and someone gives you $40,646 dollars. After much celebration you decide to:
a) update your adult reference collection,
b) spend the money on developing your extremely popular movie and motion picture collection or,
c) contract with a security company to install finger print scanners on your libraries computers in order to be able to monitor Internet usage more closely.
What do you decide to do with the money?

As you know if you saw Friday's Tribune (or, for that matter, picked up on pretty much any other Chicago media outlet--it was a slow news day, apparently), Naperville Public Library chose option c.
For further reading, check out what librarian.net has to say about it all.

Really, one just has to wonder what their PR people were thinking. (Then again, this seems to be a common problem in libraries these days--have you seen Mao the Librarian at the Minneapolis Public Library? [also from the invaluable librarian.net]

18 May 2005

in search of. . .

Everybody who is anybody in the library blogosphere has posted this tidbit sometime in the past week. Those of you who know me to differ at any cost may be stunned by this, but I'm going to go ahead and post it, too. [I got it from The Shifted Librarian, who got it from Caveat Lector who got it from Dilettante's Ball . . . .] This is someone talking about how they got a usability expert in to review their library Web site and OPAC:

"I'll skip over the part about our website (we're able to fix that pretty easily) and write about what they recommended for the catalog. The first screen they gave us was a redesigned search form. An interesting dialogue came out of that:

Usability Expert: Ok, so this is the search form...
Librarian(s): So... is this the simple search form or the advanced search?
Usability Expert: This is the search form."

Imagine that--a single, simple search form. Just like Google. Or, for that matter, the very cool RedLightGreen, which is a single-search box that will find books, tell you what libraries have them, and then (this is the best part) generate citations for you in your prefered format. No more need to consult me, your walking talking MLA Handbook/Chicago Manual of Style.

Sadly, we don't immediately have the ability to make all library OPACs this easy or this cool. But it's something to think about. It would certainly be an improvement over the Dominican/ILLINET catalog, although it, in turn, is not so bad as some. Got a favorite bad OPAC? Leave a comment and let us know.

back from vacation

I've been in lovely Iowa City, Iowa for the past few days, more or less disconnected from the online world, although my hometown is now happily full of wifi hotspots, including a coffee shop and the Iowa City Public Library. (The latter was featured in the last issue of American Libraries for its architecture. I just like it because it has Time, Newsweek, and Life in bound editions back to about 1930 and lots of CDs. Oh, and books.)

I've got all kinds of goodies stored up to tell you about in the near future, but to tide you over, here's an article from the Chronicle of Higher Education about why a PhD is not an MLIS.

12 May 2005

wanna come work with me?

The library where I work in Franklin Park, just a hop, skip, and a jump west of River Forest, is hiring another youth services assistant. It's 19.5 hours a week, $10 an hour--pretty much the same job that I have, except I'm focused more on doing YA programming and you'd be focused more on younger kids. As you can see, our kids' web site needs some serious help (love that clip art!), although at least now all the links work (when I arrived, no one had updated them in about five years).

If you're at all interested in working with kids, I encourage you to apply. It's kind of a nutty place, but I've learned a lot since I started here in February, and I've gotten a good taste of what real life library work is like. If you want to know more about the job, drop me a note: lauracrossett {at} hailmail {dot} net, or you can sometimes catch me on AIM as theblackmolly.

Oh, and here's a link for the job ad again, in case you missed my attempt at clever linking above.

09 May 2005

publicly (and privately) speaking. . .

Steven M. Cohen, of the ad-laden but useful Library Stuff, points to a recent post about the importance of public speaking skills for librarians at the elegant (and eloquent) Caveat Lector. I didn't get to attend the GSLIS shindig that Kate Marek organized for people to show off their work (no link because I can't find one in the uninformative GSLIS Student Information Center), but I know there are people doing smart stuff out there. Drop a comment or a line (see e-mail address in previous post, and don't forget to take out the spaces) and tell us about it. Or, if you don't feel you're doing cool stuff, what would you like to be doing? Do you think our courses are giving us opportunities to prepare for giving 20-25 minute presentations? No? Gosh, neither do I. Then again, is that the school's repsonsibility or ours? What can we do? All ideas welcome.

A note on privacy: My name is plastered all over this project, or at any rate it's pretty darned easy to track it to me. If you want to make comments, via Blogger (and yes, despite my devotion to the open source movement, I am using Blogger, spawn of that devilish Google--call it a shortage of energy and cash), you can do so anonymously. If you e-mail me, tell me whether you'd be willing to be quoted and to what extent, if any, you'd like to be identified. Of course, if someone really wanted to dig up whatever you may have said at some point out in the digital world, she probably could--but unless you're planning to run for office or work for the CIA, I kind of doubt anyone will want to look that hard.

07 May 2005

ALA conference

So I hope some other people are going to ALA. If you are and you haven't already seen it, you have to check out the Unofficial ALA Wiki--and better yet, contribute to it!

Also, I forgot to say how to get ahold of me: if you have suggestions for the blog or want to contribute, please e-mail me at lauracrossett @ hailmail.net.

welcome. . .

Yo! So, this is here blog is for students in the GSLIS at Dominican University. Why? Well, earlier today I ran across an article about the library job market in Library Journal that I thought people might want to read if they hadn't seen it. I posted it on the LISSA Blackboard and was reminded again of how much I hate Blackboard (you can't always tell what a post is about until you look at it, the navigation system sucks, and no RSS! Poopy, I say, poopy! I should add that this is Blackboard's fault, not LISSA's). So then I thought, well, what would be a good system for communicating GSLIS type stuff? What would I like as a GSLIS student? Hence, this blog.

There are a lot of librarian and library blogs out there--librarian.net, Free Range Librarian, Tame the Web, Catalogablog, just to name a few--and it seems kind of silly to add to them. I don't intend for LISdom to do that. I just want it to be a place to post and exchange information: accessible, commentable-onable, RSS-able information.

So send me your contributions, rants, ideas--and if you'd like to blog on LISdom, let me know that, too--I can't do this all on my own.

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