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Monthly Archives: February 2006

Sorry to say, Mr. Eliot, but you’re an idiot. February is the cruelest month, by far.

Fern was my first dependent, my college cat. I got her for my twenty-first birthday from Knoxville’s Adopt-a-pet. The index card taped to the wall read:

name: Candace

quote: “I don’t like these other cats. Take me home!”

And I did take her home (and changed her name). She was a beautiful cat with a lot of personality (and Candace was an entirely improper name for her). Gray with black stripes and spots, two “rust spots” around her neck, and small black dot on her lip. She quickly took over my life.

Fern was not a good cat. In fact, she was downright evil. She demanded undivided attention, and when she didn’t get it, bad things would happen. I often speculated that if she had an opposable digit, we’d be screwed. Certainly, she left an impression. Especially on our Rottweiler, Ava.

Ava loved her kitty. She would follow her all over the house in a very “Spy vs. Spy” manner (earning Fern the nickname “Secret Agent Kitty”). The kitty just confounded her and when Fern fell ill and we had to confine her to the bathroom, Ava just sat outside the bathroom door for a month, staring at the door, waiting for her.

She left a large impression on my love life, as well. She gave Selena cat-scratch fever. She would always sit in between me and any girl I was dating on my couch. She would rattle the hell out of my bedroom door at 6:00 in the morning. Her presence inspired me to write a song about her (“All the women I’ve ever loved have been allergic to my cat”). She was good for things like that.

Most would remember Fern as the cat that lived in a wine crate over the refrigerator, scaring the unsuspecting person going for a beer. Others might remember her for being the cat the brought home a bird in the middle of a party I was having.
Fern died last night at around 7PM of renal failure (she had been battling kidney problems for over a year) She was in my lap and purring (oh how she would purr). When we laid her out in her wine crate for the dogs to see, Ava licked her nose.

We buried her in the backyard in the Hello Kitty bed my mother made for her for Christmas.

Fern, may be the birds be plentiful.

I had to leave Code4lib 2006 early, and to all there that were concerned — things are ok here (but it’s good I came home).

I cannot believe how well the conference went and having read some posts about day three, it seems like it ended great.

I’m already looking forward to next year.

Code4lib 2006 day 1 went exceedingly well.  Much better than I had expected (only because I am one of the “organizers”), in fact.

I was nervous about starting off with a “virtual keynote” (PINES, literally, just phoned in their presentation), especially since I was the goob that had to advance their PPT when they made a “beeping” noise.  It went great, though!

The only “problem” (which actually has a hidden “advantage”) is that we’re cramming so much stuff in such a short amount of time, the scheduling and timekeeping gets to be a bit draconian.  On the flipside, the energy and momentum is so high, and so much is being said, that it certainly makes up for having to occasionally rush people/cut them off completely.

The unAPI breakout session was remarkably productive.  I think we’re actually going to have a useful spec soon!

My lightning talk didn’t go so well, but I’m kicking around the idea of another one tomorrow, so maybe that will balance things.

I’m really happy with where this is going.  It’s great to meet these like minds face to face and I think a lot of ideas (and energy) are brewing.

Speaking of brewing — time to go drink some local beer.

OPA!

I’ve never been one for chain letters. I don’t generally like to impose myself on others (I don’t even like to call people on the phone on account of this… let’s call it a ‘phobia’), so the thought of dragging others into the chain to find more people to drag into the chain seems like an imposition far greater than I deserve to expect of others.

Still, sometimes the moment must rule. Sometimes the tagger is someone that I respect so much, that I cannot be the churl to break the momentum of the chain.

Plus, Peter already answered the call.

So, despite my fears of broadcasting what a knuckledragging neanderthal I actually am, here are my “4 things” (although I’m not sure what rules there are on this):

4 jobs I’ve had:

  • Newspaper bundler
  • Frozen yogurt slinger
  • Pizza Guy
  • Parcel Delivery Service Truck Loader

4 instruments I’ve played

  • Viola
  • Clarinet
  • Oboe
  • Bass guitar

4 books I regret not having read (but still might)

  • Of Mice and Men
  • King Lear
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
  • The Fellowship of the Ring

4 random numbers

  • 1
  • 6,024
  • -93
  • 873.975

4 places I’ve lived

4 movies I catch watch over and over

  • Raising Arizona
  • This is Spinal Tap!
  • Ran
  • The Conversation

4 plays I have acted in

  • The Elephant Man
  • Translations
  • Just So Stories
  • A Christmas Carol

4 favorite songs

  • “I want you” – Elvis Costello
  • “Ruby’s Arms” – Tom Waits
  • “Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)” – the Arcade Fire
  • “Upward Over the Mountain” – Iron & Wine

4 favorite covers

  • “Sunday Morning Sidewalk” – Kris Kristofferson – Crooked Fingers
  • “Hallelujah” – Leonard Cohen – Jeff Buckley
  • “Satisfaction” – Rolling Stones – Cat Power
  • “The Unwelcome Guest” – Woody Guthrie – Billy Bragg & Wilco

4 vehicles I have owned (in order)

  • ’85 Dodge Colt (red)
  • ’73 VW Camper (red)
  • ’91 Nissan 4×4 Pickup (red)
  • ’80 Mercedes TD Wagon (avocado)

4 taggees

As I said, I’m no chain letterer.  I felt an obligation to respond due to the source.  Here are some pings, mainly because everything new I learn about them fascinates me, so if they take the ball and run with it — the blogosphere is more enriched by it.

Inkdroid, LibraryCog, One Big Library, Kevin Clarke

There.  I feel free from obligation.

I have been a Pittsburgh Steelers fan for a long time. I don’t claim to have been cognizant of all of their Superbowl victories (although I was actually alive for all of them), I have always been a Pittsbugh Steelers fan (which, for a kid growing up in suburban Philadelphia was as popular as Benedict Arnold) and this was the sweetest of all.

I got my Steelers helmet for Christmas in 1994 from Pete Carty, a good friend (and former roommate)… After Superbowl XXX, I feared that the helmet was cursed (do you realize how hard it is to stick the neck of a beer bottle through the face mask?!)… It worked this year.

When Franco Harris (!!) ran out before the game waved the Terrible Towel, I had a good feeling… It quickly dissapated when the game started… I’ll be honest, Matt Hasselbeck was the MVP…

What does it matter, the Steelers won! For the thumb! Yay!

Every library I have worked at has had an uneasy caste system between the faculty and staff. While I understand this to extent, this delineation is used without rhyme or reason much of the time. The implication is that this means the librarians are treated as “career professionals” and the staff is merely “the help” (more on this in a minute).

I was pleasantly surprised to see the University of Iowa waive the MLS requirement for their current “Director of Information Technology” job posting (MS Word Document).

The University of Iowa Libraries seeks a creative, experienced professional to lead our information technology (IT) operations. Building on the Libraries’ current capabilities, the Director will provide innovative leadership in the use of technology to deliver information resources and services to the Libraries’ user communities. The Director for Library Information Technology reports directly to the University Librarian and is a member of the Libraries’ Executive Council contributing to overall strategic planning, program development and evaluation, and the allocation of resources in support of the Libraries’ mission.

This is a senior administrative position responsible for IT planning, the development of system-wide policies and procedures, and the coordination of information technology activities throughout the library system. The Director will supervise a department of 11 staff responsible for desktop support and technical training, systems administration and security/rights management, and applications development. Collaborative and advocacy activities with other library administrators and staff as well as members of the IT community on campus, the state, nationally and internationally are key responsibilities of this position. This Director serves as the Libraries’ liaison to CNI, EDUCAUSE, and similar organizations.

Qualifications

Required:

  • Bachelor’s degree

  • Minimum of 9 years of library information technology experience in a university environment

  • Demonstrated knowledge of current trends and best practices in the application of information technology in research libraries and higher education

  • Demonstrated experience promoting and working effectively in a diverse environment

  • Evidence of highly effective interpersonal and communication skills.

  • Evidence of analytical and creative problem-solving skills

  • Library-wide perspective and ability to contribute to planning and system-wide administration of the Libraries

  • Record of active participation in national pertinent professional associations

While I meet the “minimum requirements” for this position, I am not fully qualified… somewhere in this job’s requirements (maybe not actually written in it) is a healthy desire to live in or near Iowa City (which I do not possess). Still, this is very, very progressive for school of UIowa’s size. They are indicating that if you have spent 9 years of your life working in libraries and have shown the initiative to participate professionally and whatnot, you’re the sort of person who they want on their team. The idea being that the MLS is not a terribly good indicator of skills and (for this sort of position, anyway) may actually limit the pool of good potential candidates they may get.
When I was hired as “Web and Application Development Coordinator” at Emory, they stripped any “faculty-ness” from the position which, in turn, devalued the authority the position had — at least this seemed true in practice. The position could have been pretty similar to that of Iowa’s (I still would have been miserable at it), but the faculty wasn’t quite able to make the leap to label me a “peer”.

Just like my Emory position, though, Iowa is requiring that the position be a “manager” position to get invited to the “career professional” table. There are a lot of librarians at that table who are not managers.

This gap was made evident eariler this week here at Tech. I frequently hear about things going on in the library secondhand due to the fact that I am not faculty. Lord knows how much I never hear. We have a mailing list (lib-fac) where “career professional” sorts of announcements are made and, on Tuesday, a meeting was held for the faculty only to hear people report back what they had learned at ALA Midwinter.

My beef here is, why the faculty only distinction? If they were talking about tenure review or the sorts of things that couldn’t affect me by nature of my employment status that would be one thing. They are talking about things that I would like to know about, however, and could possibly contribute a voice in the discussion. I am not entirely sure why I should be left out.

It’s possible that I could be included just by asking to be. But why am I (or any other staff that has an interest in the profession, for that matter) being excluded in the first place?

I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s a little discouraging to work to be treated as a peer and a colleague in a national/international community and not in my own organization.

My intention here is not to single out Georgia Tech; this is prevalent throughout libraries everywhere (at least, from what I’ve seen it has). I’m just calling for the possibility of a third caste: those that are making a career in libraries, but have no desire for faculty status (or management).