Thursday, October 9, 2008

Just shoot me now.

Ok, so I have another entirely non-library related post for you, so bear with me here. Sarah Palin is driving me bonkers. Really. I mean, I'm sure she's actually a fairly intelligent person, or she wouldn't have gotten as far as she has, but did McCain really have to pick someone who comes off so ditsy and quaint? For all the feminists thinking of voting for McCain just because they're pissed off that Hillary didn't get the nomination (and I'm just guessing that there are some of you out there) please don't do it. Palin is the anti-feminist. And I'm not even going to get into the whole abortion/making rape victims pay for rape kits thing, as if that's not bad enough. I'm just annoyed that given all the really smart, independent, well-read, politically-savvy women out there in America, McCain had to go for the folksy, quaint, down-home mother figure. Now I'm sure he just picked her because she's cute and could get his campaign lots of attention, attention that he was aggravated kept being paid to mr. rock-star Obama, but come on! I feel like maybe this country still isn't ready for real women in power, because they're just more comfortable with women who still embody their pretty, dippy, soccer-mom ideal. Everyone was so hard on Hillary for just about everything, but now we should cut Palin some slack because... um... she's cuter than Hillary? Oh, and Mrs. Hockey Mom Joe Sixpack? When it comes to running this country, give me the fancy-shmancy highly educated elites any day of the week. I mean, Joe Sixpack and I are great friends, and I'll grab beers with him whenever, but I don't want dumbasses running my country... anymore, that is.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Hell hath no fury like a pissed-off blogger...

Ok, so I know this is not library-related, but it's about my cat, and it's a very librarian-ish thing to do to have a cat, so, by the transitive property of blogging, this is library-related, no? Anyway, yesterday I had to bring my cat to the vet to have her put to sleep, because she had FIP (Feline Infectious Peritonitis), which is 100% fatal and eventually causes their bodies to attack themselves, and all her organs had begun shutting down. Ridiculously sad, right?

So I call during the day yesterday to make an appointment for today, and they tell me they can take me that same day at 7pm. Not my first choice, because I definitely wanted more time to spend with her, but I know it is selfish to keep her suffering just for me, so I take the appointment. I leave work early and take her in the yard all afternoon, because she loves it there, and then take her right from the yard to the vets', so that her peaceful time outside will be her last memories.

When I get to the vets' office however, I am ignored and left waiting for AN HOUR, with no explainations and no apologies, and when my boyfriend finally has the NERVE to actually complain, the girl at the desk is rude to him and tells us it's our fault for not alerting them when we signed in why we were there. Gee, I'm sorry I'm a wreck because I'm having my beloved pet put down and just assumed that you had an appointment book somewhere with the reason for my visit, which I clearly stated when I made the appointment EARLIER THAT SAME DAY. And nowhere in all her blame-shifting and aggressiveness was there any sort of an apology. Then, when we are finally taken in the room and the procedure is underway, the girl is in the back with some other workers, laughing and joking around, and generally having a merry old time, despite the fact that we are now THE ONLY people left in the office, and she obviously knows what is going on in the room....ARGH!!!!!!!

So maybe there is some small lesson in here for librarians, or anyone who works with the public all day: BE NICE. If she had just apologized when we complained, and was nice to us, it would have ended there and I wouldn't be ranting to everyone I know about how I'm never going back there and how they should tell everyone they know not to ever go there. That's it, just be nice. Even when people are frustrated with you, be nice. Even if they are short with you, be nice.

As a matter of fact, I think Patrick Swayze said it best in roadhouse... Oh the wisdom of the Swayz...

Monday, September 15, 2008

Ennui, setting in...

I know I don't post much here anymore (and I know that the "why I haven't been posting lately" post is one of the blogosphere's most popular refrains), but I'm truly uncertain as to why this poor blog is experiencing such a dry spell. It certainly isn't from a lack of ideas. I think of topics to blog on all the time. In fact, I often compose eloquent (read:verbose) posts in my head while on the way home from work, or while trying to fall asleep at night. There's certainly a lot to talk about in the world of information, and I do a ton of professional reading, but for some reason once I'm in front of a computer, all my inspiration just peters out.

It's true that I've been extremely busy at work, but that's really no excuse either, seeing as I seem to find the time to check Facebook, IM with my peeps and read about a hundred rss feeds a day...

Maybe it is the echo chamber that is the library and tech blogging worlds, making me feel like I just don't have anything unique to say, or maybe it's the frustration of constantly defending the continued existence of my profession making me feel like i don't have anything interesting to say, or maybe, just maybe (and this is probably the most likely excuse) I am simply just too lazy to try and make sense of the sad mish-mash of triage efforts that my job has become.

At some point you become very disillusioned with all the wonderful, helpful things you could be doing for your patrons, because you are too busy trying to be all things to all people. That is the sad life of an 'Information Services' librarian. I mean, what *are* information services anyway? Pretty much only everything that goes on in a library. Sometimes doing a little bit of everything is a great way to keep from getting bored with your career, and sometimes it is just a recipe for feeling like you are constantly trying to move forward in all directions at once, a feat not easily accomplished, and sure to leave you exhausted on a fairly consistent basis.

OK, now I'm just griping, I know. So I guess you should just be thankful for my lack of posting, shouldn't you? I'm sure you have better things to do than listen to me complain... like checking your Facebook.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Info Babe Turns Thirty...

...and surprisingly, no tears were shed. There was nary even a frown. In actuality, it was a quite good birthday, with my friends and co-workers throwing me a lovely surprise party (one of them, who is a pastry chef, even made me a cake!) I really didn't even need the flood of "30s are the new 20s" sentiments that came my way. I'm 30, and I'm perfectly ok with it.

I have to admit, I'm feeling pretty lucky lately. I finally found myself a nice, geeky boy to settle down with (in fact, he's in the process of moving in with me right now.) I am surrounded by a great family and good friends. I have a job I like (most of the time), and a career I love (all of the time.) Oh, and a cat, a really awesome cat.

I celebrated the actual day like any mature, 30-year-old adult would, with a new tattoo and cheese fries at the diner. Oh, and ice cream cake, of course.

Friday, June 6, 2008

The Next Big Project

So last post I mentioned wanting to get back into working on some of my own pet projects, and I figure I might as well mention the big one at the top of the list.

A professor at my university has a collection of interviews with famous scientists (he's a science journalist, so he taped his interviews for reference when writing them later.) These are mostly on cassette, and in decent condition (although sometimes the sound quality is not great due to background/ambient noise.) This professor now wants to showcase these interviews on his website, so, seeing that he works at an engineering school, he Googled "audio engineer" and "stevens institute", figuring he could find an actual sound or audio engineer right here on campus.

Well, instead he found little ol' me :) I am by no means an audio engineer of any sort, but I do have a masters in audio production (a field that moves so quickly that anything I learned way back in 2001 when I was in school is now sadly out of date...) Also, I have worked on a few audio archiving projects before, namely at Rutgers' Institute of Jazz Studies, and at a poetry library in Manhattan called Poet's House (for which I created a website of audio archiving resources now located at But these were projects that I was involved in only briefly, as a student in library school, so the idea of working on a project like this from start to finish scares the crap out of me.

In preparation for the project, I have been brushing up on my reading (most notably: Sound Directions: Best Practices for Audio Preservation, the CDP Digital Audio Working Group Best Practices, and Matrix @ MSU’s Historical Voices.) I have also been taking some CONTENTdm workshops (that's the digital repository software we use.)

I advised the professor in charge to send the cassettes out to a company that specializes in audio reformatting and transcription to convert the files to digital, but I think he is trying to get students to do it instead (NOT the best idea for conistent, superior quality in my opinion, but certainly the most cost-effective.)

So mostly my role will be to import the compressed (probably mp3) versions of the files into CONTENTdm, and to catalogue them. This is pretty intimidating to me, seeing as I somehow managed to skip taking any cataloguing classes in school (there were just so many interesting tech ones to take.... Oops!)

Oddly enough, I think my toughest challenge has been convincing the professor to use the library's software to catalogue and make these recordings available. He seems to think it would be easier and better to just have a student build a website around them from scratch, or just post them on their website (which I guess results in something like this, with no good search interface or descriptive records/pages.)

Ok, I've gone on way longer than I intended. I just wanted to put this out there, in case anyone else is working on anything similar and wants to trade advice, experiences or just complaints!

(Oh, and the CONTENTdm rep recommended that we set up a 'streaming server' for the files. Does anybody have any knowledge/experience with doing that?)

Friday, May 30, 2008

Remember me?

Well, after many months of being m.i.a., I'm finally back in the good ol' web 2.0 mentality, trying to get back into the world of the social web. Mind you, I've been good and active on Facebook, Twitter, feed-reading, etc., and even trying new apps like friendfeed and Digsby, but just haven't found the time, energy or inclination to blog. Go figure.

Anyway, my library's new website is almost ready for the public (the official launch date is July 1st, but the content is pretty much all there, we're mostly just doing user testing and working out bugs at the moment). Yes, this will be a full 9 months after we were supposed to launch, but rebuilding a site from scratch is not an easy task, no matter how badly the powers that be want it to be one...

But with most of the stress involved with the website out of the way, and the campus nearly empty for summer break, I feel like I have a little time to myself again, to ease back into my own projects and pursuits, blogging being one of them (cleaning my desk/work area being another one... I'm ashamed, librarians should be more organized than this, shouldn't we?!)