At the Ref Desk (6/17/17): Quick - look up the hours for today!!! (A popular question during the summer.) [more...]
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First Day at the Reference Desk for 2015!

Submitted by Leo Klein on Sat, 1/3/15 (3:22pm)

Not asked once -- not once: "Would you have my textbook up in the stacks?" Devastating.

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Steve Jobs and the Role of the Humanities in a World of Tech

Submitted by Leo Klein on Mon, 12/15/14 (9:47pm)

I always thought the best preparation for any computer-based activity, such as web development, was a thorough knowledge of English poetry. Who knew that Steve Jobs agreed with me?

When asked if he was a "computer nerd", he replied: "I wasn’t completely in any one world for too long. There was so much else going on. Between my sophomore and junior years, I got stoned for the first time; I discovered Shakespeare, Dylan Thomas and all that classic stuff." (Playboy Interview with Steve Jobs, 1985)

Frosty Takes a Dive

Submitted by Leo Klein on Sat, 12/13/14 (5:58pm)
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Happy Blue Beanie Day!

Submitted by Leo Klein on Sun, 11/30/14 (7:25pm)


Happy Blue Beanie Day! As Ethan Marcotte says, "...[C]ould you imagine anything like responsive web design without web standards?". #bbd14

What with all the talk of the 25th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall, I recalled an episode that happened to me a bit earlier while visiting East Berlin.

The way it worked is you got to spend a day there but had to be back by midnight or they'd make you pay a fine. Normally we'd go there, visit the sites (such as they were), head to a couple of bars to spend the practically worthless East-German marks, and then head back to Checkpoint Charlie.

One night as we were racing back, we got stopped by an East-German policeman or border guard or I don't know what -- on the final street right before Checkpoint Charlie. "Why", I asked the guard.

"Because you crossed the street against the light," he explained. The fine for this trespass was 20 marks (West German of course). Naturally I grumbled as I handed over the ransom money.

"But," he said by way of defense, "we have our laws, you have your laws. It would be the same in Chicago."

I looked at the deserted street I had just crossed and then the huge forbidding Wall stretched left and right with watch-towers, spotlights and men armed with machine guns -- all to keep their own people trapped inside.

"No," I assured the guard, "this is nothing like Chicago."

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At the Reference Desk: A Humble Request

Submitted by Leo Klein on Thu, 10/23/14 (6:47pm)

People, could you please refrain from sticking pencils in dictionaries!

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1st Saturday of the (School) Year

Submitted by Leo Klein on Sat, 9/13/14 (8:01pm)

Nice day; lot of traffic.

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Current Cites for Aug 2014

Submitted by Leo Klein on Sat, 8/30/14 (2:04pm)

go to Current Cites
Current Cites for August 2014 is out! You can find the issue here...

My pick this month was an article on modeling library instruction as 'performance art' -- from a librarian whose background not surprisingly is in theater. The focus was on instruction sessions but there's no reason why such an approach can't be incorporated, at least to a certain extent, in face-to-face interactions at the Reference Desk.

WebDev with a Bag Over My Head

Submitted by Leo Klein on Wed, 8/27/14 (1:59pm)

Mystery website at MPOW. I inherited the thing. It was put together maybe 6 years ago or more. What system does it run on? Nobody knows -- not even the original developers. On the other hand, many of the pages end in 'aspx'.

Some links on the main navigation end in '#' (i.e. empty hashtag). "#"? You click on that link and you'll go absolutely nowhere. It's the web equivalent of a dead-end. What'd they do? Launch the site without bothering to develop those particular pages?

I guess you could call this the equivalent of walking into a house with a bag over your head. I think I'd prefer an actual bag.

Stormy First Day for Academic Year 2014-2015

Submitted by Leo Klein on Mon, 8/25/14 (7:04pm)

Stormy first day for academic year 2014-2015.

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