Data Obsessed

The weblog of an almost-librarian interested in special, corporate, and government librarianship, with occasional forays into technology and anime-related geekiness.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Ah, Technology

So, after Mura and myself spent most of yesterday, pulling our hair out about it, my blog has moved to http://data.obsessed.renji.org. Due to our difficulties with it yesterday, I'm no longer using Blogger, but WordPress, and the archives from over here have not been set up. We're going to work on that later.

Anyway, if anyone reading this wouldn't mind changing their links and feed information, that's be super. Everything you need is available at my WordPress blog.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

webstuff

I'm currently in the process of figuring out how to move my blog over to my brand-spanking-new domain, renji.org, which is more complicated than it really should be. (for the interested: the blog address shall be http://data-obsessed.renji.org. When it wants to work.)

I still like to think of myself as technologically adept. ._.

Edit: We are now officially moved, and using WordPress, as Blogger continued to cause pain and suffering for myself and Mura. Visit at http://data-obsessed.renji.org.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Firefox

I've added a button for Spread Firefox, even though I tend to use Safari, for the simple and shallow reason that it's prettier.

Nonetheless, Firefox is my backup browser, and I only use Explorer these days to occasionally check website compatibility. Or when I'm at work and there's nothing else there.

But Firefox is much better - much faster, much more secure - and it should gain prominence.

Plus, it's always fun to promote non-Microsoft.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

*flummoxed*

Newsflash! Marine animals do not have the authority to sue the U.S. Navy.

Sometimes the news makes my head hurt.

Friday, October 22, 2004

interesting commercials

Errol Morris is an Academy Award winning documentarian, and the director of those nifty "switcher" ads that Apple used in an advertising campaign last year. Now he's created these, a collection of testimonies from Republicans who are voting for Kerry in this year's election. (via BoingBoing)

It's really sad when members of your own party are saying this: I don't know if George Bush ever knew what America was about.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

random post about nothing in particular

As I mentioned in my very short post last night, I spend yesterday evening in Milwaukee at the SLA monthly meeting. The presentation was by Dr. Iris Xie of the University of Wisconson-Milwaukee's School of Information Studies. It was interesting. She's a digital libraries expert, and I think I picked up more from her presentation then I have in my class on the subject.

Also networked, and that's never bad. One of the things we heard was that there's a lot of library opportunities in D.C., which could be cool. I have no objections to D.C.

In other news, I am done with the dreaded Comm A's and have set up my independent study for next semester. The librarian here would love help indexing, and I can do it from home. Since I'm practically connected to my laptop via an IV, this is a very good thing.

...Wonder what I'll write my paper on.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

it's a classic, really

I was reminded of this on the drive home from the SLA October meeting in Milwaukee tonight...nothing like being in a car with other Democratic-leaning librarians to remind you of a literary masterpiece.

So for Amy and anyone else who wants to be incredibly amused, I present: Sisters by Lynne Cheney.

I do hope it doesn't discourage any potential authors out there.

note to self: check electronic equipment for signs of insubordination

Like Chris Van Rossman, my parents recently bought me a new television (27", flat screen, speakers, JVC. Anime will be much cooler on this lovely piece of equipment), but I'm pretty sure it hasn't been sending out S.O.S signals.

Well. I hope not.

Monday, October 18, 2004

hey, I'd like a reservation at the lizard motel

My roommate has been reading Barbara Feinberg's Welcome to the Lizard Motel this semester as part of her youth services class, and now Whitney Joiner from Salon has an article on it here.

Have to say I'm with Whitney on this one. Many young adult books may deal with dark themes, but that's part of why the best of them resonate with us. Because they reflect life, and there's something about them that we can relate to. And what's wrong with characters facing things like death and peer pressure in books anyway?

Guess what: real kids face those same things.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

hmm

Johnny Depp reckons he's no great movie pinup.

*glances at poster on roommate's door*

Well. That's news to me.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

curiosity

I'm been spending a lot of what would have been my spare time this semester doing work for LIS 620, the Information Literacy 120 hour practicum, and a part of it, I've been doing what we call Comm Req A's, or Communication Requirement A (many majors at University of Wisconsin then require a Comm Req B, which is more specific to the field). Some of these have been for the ESL courses offered here, and I've seen an interesting pattern with the Japanese students in those classes.

See, all the students in the ESL classes have to write a paper on some aspect of marriage, and almost without fail, the Japanese students choose to write it on the problems with interracial/cross-cultural/international marriages in Japan. It just seems to be odd that it's chosen so often, and I wonder if it's considered to be becoming a major problem in Japan?

I'll have to do some research. This has gotten me intrigued.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Practicing Selective History is Fun

Rick Berg wrote a column in today's Wisconsin State Journal (the column itself is sadly, not online) that makes the amateur historian in me laugh out loud. There's no ploy quite as obvious bringing Abraham Lincoln into a campaign, in my opinion. But John Kerry isn't General George Brinton McClellan; as far as I know, he isn't intending to "cut and run," as Berg so eloquently puts it. He's intending to work on getting us out of Iraq. There's a difference.

And if George W. Bush is Abraham Lincoln, I will eat my shoes.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Universe and Me

Today's Calvin and Hobbes is one of those I have the urge to print out and paste on my door.

Because it's the kind of true thing that makes me smile.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

More on EBooks

Michael Pastore posts on 26 Benefits on EBooks, which include the speedy delivery of information, promotion of reading, preservation, and encouraging the development of small presses. I'm not sure I buy these last three.

Though this may be a vast generalization (and I'm sure it is), many people find EBooks difficult to read - at least if the complaints I've heard in my LIS classes are any indication. Preservation is iffy; there is no format that is completely reliable, and paper has proven itself to be one of the more reliable. As for encouraging the development and support of small presses?

I think I may be a little too cynical to buy that.

yeah, I probably should be ashamed, but who has time to read?

Bookslut has announced the nominees for The National Book Award, and I only recognize one of the titles. Normally, I would take this as an indication that I am no longer well-read (which I'm not, and which is sad, considering I spent my childhood devouring books whole), except that Jessa apparently doesn't recognize most of them either. Which indicates that the National is going the way of this year's Booker...AKA "Who the hell....?"

Anyway, the one title I recognize?

The 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States.

It might become a literary giant. *nods sagely*

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

*tilts head*

Hmm. While I am not entirely sure whether this post is directed at my complaints about impracticality or not (I don't, after all, read all the SLIS blogs under the sun), I feel the sudden need to clarify my position on library programs and practicality and theory and all sorts of fun things like that.

Theory's all well and good; I like theory. I majored in Economics and minored in History in college, and believe me, neither field is particularly high on the practicality side. And I quite agree that a background in history, ethics, et cetera is quite necessary to make good librarians. Having said that...

Is there something wrong with a part of each course being "This is usually how you do this in the working world"? I mean, I don't know about the rest of my fellow students, but I'd never worked in libraries before I got here. I don't have a terribly clear understanding of what librarians do. And that was part of the reason I came to school here - I wanted to know before I dove headfirst into the profession. I thought knowing how was worth the $40,000 I'm shelling out for this education.

I'm certainly not saying that theory isn't important; theory's very important.

But practical knowledge is certainly worth spending time on as well. And most library programs have nixed teaching most of the practical aspects of the profession. Some don't even require that their students take practica.

That, I think, is very, very foolish, and turning an MLS into a solely academic degree is rather dangerous.

But this is, of course, only my opinion.

mmm...temptation

Apparently Ha Jin has written another book, called War Trash, which is reviewed in the New York Times. (thanks to Bookslut for the link) I only discovered Ha Jin this year and devoured both his short story collection The Bridegroom and his novel Waiting; he's one of those writers I probably would make time to read.

I shouldn't buy anymore books until I finish the two short story collections I've been trying to read for the majority of the semester, but Ha Jin is tempting.

Monday, October 11, 2004

et cetera and so forth

The job search doesn't officially begin until the end of this semester (which is good. My schedule is such that I don't really have the time for a full-fledged job search right now. Searching for employment is a full time job on its own) but I keep looking at possibilities. Such as an "Information Specialist" position at RadioShack's corporate headquarters. On the plus side, it's a full time, entry level position paying $50 an hour. On the down side, it's in Texas. Fort Worth. My beautiful collection of sweaters would rarely get used.

Yes, I'm a northern girl clinging to the evil cold. Don't ask me why.

In other news, I've pretty much decided to drop one of my reference courses next semester (either advanced reference or online, I haven't decided. Gov Docs is STAYING.) in favor of an indexing independent study, hopefully at The Pleasant Company indexing articles from American Girl Magazine. A girl who did her independent study there last semester is getting me the contact info. Personally, I think the contact would be more valuable than another lecture course. Now I just need to decide which lecture to get rid of.

Cat arrived this weekend. Cat's name is Dominick, and previously belonged to my older brother. However, Dominick and older brother's dog were unable to reach an amicable truce, and thus he has moved to Madison with me. He already in the prince of the household and came equipped with a water fountain and his own collection of fiestaware.

My cat's dishes are better than my own. There's something wrong with this picture.

Friday, October 08, 2004

'if you see Iowa plates, you've gone too far'

So, I got lost tonight. Tried taking a shortcut, missed a turn, ended up driving through the nice residential neighborhoods on the west side of Madison. (incidentally, why must I live on boring Brooks Street and not Star Fire Drive? The subdivisions get all the cool street names.) After we got out of the nice residential neighborhoods, we got to see corn. Lots of corn, before finally finding the glowing and recognizable landmark of...Target. Which allowed me to get home without much further trouble. Where I made myself a celebratory bowl of ice cream.

Who needs to find Wal-Mart anyway?

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

On the subject of OPACs and everyone's favorite search engine...

This is really quite interesting (via LISNews). I can't speak for its likelihood to succeed as discussions of OPAC designs have this terrible tendency to make my head swim, but let's face it. Google is the favorite search engine of lots of people, including librarians (I rather like Vivisimo as well, but that's a tangent we won't go off on today). I don't know that the algorithm they use for their online searches will be the best for all information, but maybe they'll come up with something cool. Something cooler and more usable than the OPACs that many library systems currently use at any rate.

In other news, set up a new blog for my Information Literacy practicum with the immensely silly title Fluent in English, Pig Latin, and Library. I'm hoping to use it as a replacement for the tedious journal entries that I always, always leave to the last minute.

*spent two hours reminiscing over the past month of practicum experiences*

Monday, October 04, 2004

Organization, the lack thereof, and the general frustration of a library school student

Mondays are my marathon day, though not because of class (I only have one) but because of work, where I start early in the morning and often go until nearly ten o'clock at night, after class is over.

I get cranky on Mondays.

Which is probably why I found my database class so frustrating today. I can usually tolerate the professor's lack of organization (though one has to wonder: why are so many professors in what is essentially an organizational science so...Disorganized?). I like her as a person; she's perfectly friendly and willing to help, but the lack of preparedness drives me insane sometimes.

For instance, I took Telecommunications and Networking from her last Spring, and she'd be changing the slides during class - which defeated the purpose of actually printing them out. And this semester, it seems that a good half of the workbook problems are wrong.

I won't even get started on syllabi. Let's just say that I'm beginning to believe that professors need to have them approved by a test group before distributing them to their classes. I can count on one hand the number I've had in library school that are actually comprehensible.

The Da Vinci Code and Nutcase Readers

I tend to adore Jessa from Bookslut, as she's intelligent, well-read, and likes comics, though occasionally she exercises her gift for making me feel defensive. Her apparent dislike for manga is one example, and her posts about The Da Vinci Code is another. I enjoyed most parts of The Da Vinci Code, it was a decent enough thriller and a quick read. I don't expect it to win a Booker.

But enjoying the book doesn't mean I'm going to do any of these things. Just for the record.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

tiny revolutions

Internet Explorer is the default browser here at the business library, which I've been tolerating for the first month of school here. I don't like IE, not by a long shot, but I can work with it, if forced to do so.

It crashed three times in the first ten minutes of my shift today.

We're now using Mozilla Firefox.

It hasn't crashed once.