Displaying posts categorized under


Literary genre cataloging: why is it such a mess?

Ages ago I wondered about the tendency of novelists to subtitle their books, redundantly, “A Novel,” as if the reader is incapable of picking the book up and looking at the back cover, or the blurb on the inside front flap. I’ll never complain about that again. Why? Well, try doing a ton of author searches in WorldCat for […]

More library humor from YouTube

Both of these YouTube videos landed in my inbox in the last few days, and both made me giggle. So I’m passing them along: An intrepid documentarian watches the strange biannual ritual of the March of the Librarians in Seattle. (It helps if you’ve seen March of the Penguins.) Introducing the Book! If you’ve ever […]

“Future of the Catalog” conference notes

My second systems analysis project is done, and now I have a bit of breathing space (next week, thanks to Thanksgiving, is a no-classes week). So here, a bit belatedly, are my notes from the ACRL-DVC Future of the Catalog conference on the 3rd. Thom Hickey, OCLC: OCLC and the Future of the Catalog I […]

Specialty search engines and specialized book (un)recommendations

Wow. Google is now letting people make their own search engines. Just a few days ago I was trying unsuccessfully to find a specialized search engine only for opera companies and performers and performances; now I can make my own. I wonder if I can get extra credit for my Information Resources and Services class […]

Election, librariana, offline weekend

I wish I had a dramatic election-day story, but mine was pretty anticlimactic: I went to my local polling place at 7:15 in the morning. There was already a line, but the poll workers said it had been longer at 7, when the doors opened. I cast my vote, jumped on the bus to Suburban […]

Briefly noted

No time to blog, really. Owing to class projects and visiting friends and general busy-ness, this week and next are a complete madhouse — in a good way, but a madhouse nonetheless. However, I do have time to note in passing: I spent yesterday at the ACRL Delaware Valley Chapter’s conference on "The Future of […]

“This workout is the only medically approved workout for librarians”

This video has been making the rounds amongst my coworkers, and it cracked us all up. Something about the juxtaposition of ’80s exercise-video music ("Shout! Shout! Let it all out!"), ’80s library technology (the terminals! the microfiche catalog!), and the shots of people aerobically shelving books and spinning globes — well, maybe it’s funniest if […]

Reflections on book bans

In honor of Banned Books Week, I made a little LibraryThing widget to display banned books from my own collection: I used Wikipedia’s list of banned and challenged books as a quick reference. Looking over the list, I recognized quite a few books I loved when I was growing up. It made me wonder if […]

On a high note

My last day at work isn’t till next week, but yesterday I worked my last couple of reference desk shifts. At the end of the last one, a visiting student came to the desk with a question about a checked-out book she wanted to consult. She wasn’t going to have time to recall it, and […]

On birds, DVDs, classification, and prior knowledge

(Here follows some noodling that I might turn into something longer and more polished. It’s also tangentially related to my “Why research is hard” series of posts.) Recently the Internet Scout Report featured Cornell University’s online guide to birds. Curious about an unfamiliar bird I’d spotted, I figured I’d try a sample search. I was hoping to […]