At the Ref Desk (1/5/21): First shift of the year! [more...]
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Academic Libraries

Proceeds of the day

Submitted by Leo Klein on Thu, 10/18/12 (7:52pm)

At the Reference Desk (actually in the workroom):

  1. OMG! 'Students Help Yourselves'? So unfair! What about us starving non-students? Strike! Strike!
  2. Then I turn to the table and see this wonderful home-made cake!
  3. Then a student brings over a burrito from some event just outside the library! At the same time, someone from Access Services says they've got a bunch of trays from yet another event and could I help clear them out? Are you kidding? Here's a picture of the final haul. It's too much!

Woodworking vs. Library Science at the University of Alabama

Submitted by Leo Klein on Sat, 12/4/10 (12:43pm)

The old joke in the Soviet Union used to be: 'We pretend to work and they pretend to pay us' -- Soviet currency being completely worthless outside its own borders. So what can I say about the position of "Digital Repository Coordinator" at the University of Alabama (UA) advertised recently on the LITA list? First, it's not even listed as "Coordinator" on UA's own HR site (or on LibJobs for that matter) but rather under the slightly more dignified title of "Digital Repository Manager". So somewhere in between, there must have been a reclassification.

But whatever it's called, the job description is the same: the lucky-ducky who lands this position must demonstrate "expertise" in MS Basic, Perl or Python, have some knowledge of either JavaScript, Java or PHP and of course, be able to design and interact with SQL databases. These are the "minimum qualifications". "Preferred qualifications" include a knowledge of XML, XSLT, diacritics and encoding issues as well as metadata standards such as EAD and MODS. An academic degree in Computer Science would be nice plus some experience in programing.

Annual salary: $26,062.40.

When someone pointed out that $26k might be a tad low, the original poster defended the rate saying "technical skills have historically been paid little in academia". On the bright side, she added, "we don't require employees to work 60-80 hour weeks as is common for programmers in the wider marketplace."

I s'pose not being required to work "60-80 hour weeks" might be a consolation for making $26k a year -- but I hardly think it's an incentive to stay very long with the employer. In fact, if I were making that little, you better believe I'd be carrying off everything that wasn't nailed down at the end of the day (joke). In any case, I did have a look at some of the other jobs available on the UA HR site -- just to get a feeling of what the prevailing wage is. And wouldn't you know, they've got a position as "Cabinet Maker III" paying close to $23 an hour -- or more than double what the library is offering for the position of "Digital Repository Manager".

So what's the moral of this tale? Woodworking beats Library Science -- at least at the University of Alabama. (And Thank God I've got a background in both.)

Blogger to End FTP-Blogging - Early Days of Library Blogging

Submitted by Leo Klein on Tue, 2/2/10 (12:38pm)

blogger-logo.pngBlogger is shutting down its FTP service. That's a shame. It's what allowed me to put together one of the early blogs on a library web site -- at the end of 2002.

In fact it was so early that library administration didn't quite know what to do with it. Months passed and I ended up putting up the first post myself on 2/9/2003:

Test Drive the New Version of CUNY+
Sunday, February 09, 2003

(note: many functions are currently not available). CUNY has released a new web-based version of CUNY+, the online library catalog. The new CUNY+ has improved features that were requested by our users. See for yourself by going to the CUNY+ page. - posted by lrk on 11:56 PM

Ah, those were the days!


Publishing Platform, Not a Repository

Submitted by Leo Klein on Tue, 1/26/10 (6:57pm)

Somewhat late to the game, but I'm impressed with where the California Digital Library is heading -- the digital arm of California's extensive university system. They've repositioned themselves, they say, moving from a static "repository" where old files go to die to a proactive "publishing platform" for their faculty.

Some of this is semantics, I'm sure, but I think it's the right direction for any academic library. In fact, the smaller the institution, the greater the need on the part of faculty.

UW-Madison Dumps Kindle in Favor of Laptops, Netbooks & Smart Phones

Submitted by Leo Klein on Mon, 11/16/09 (10:25am)

Actually they didn't but you'd think they would have right after their library director made the following comment to CNET:

[Library Director Ken] Frazier added that a suitable device would include better "accessibility, higher-quality graphics, and improved navigation and note-taking. I think that there will be a huge payoff for the company that creates a truly universal e-book reader."

Hmm, "accessibility, higher-quality graphics, and improved navigation and note-taking"? When, oh when, will we ever get a device like that? [/irony]

Of course, he forgot to include, a device 'already owned by 93% of the student body'.


Current Cites at the Reference Desk

Submitted by Leo Klein on Sat, 11/22/08 (6:41pm)

Doing my Current Cites at the Reference Desk in between patron requests.

UPDATE: And hot off the presses, here's the latest issue of CurrentCites for November...


Chicago Colloquium on Digital Humanities & Computer Science 2008

Submitted by Leo Klein on Thu, 10/2/08 (11:28am)

Registration is now open for 3rd annual Chicago Colloquium on Digital Humanities and Computer Science (DHCS) taking place on November 2–3, 2008 at U. of C.

This is an event I really enjoy attending. Last year, it was at Northwestern; this year it's at U. of C. It brings together all people interested in Digital Humanities with a scholarly bent. Unfortunately this year I'll be out of town. Darn!

In any case, you can register by going to:


PT Reference Gig at DePaul

Submitted by Leo Klein on Mon, 9/15/08 (9:26pm)

Today was my first day doing reference at DePaul University Library. I grabbed a couple of volumes of the DLB and a volume of the NUC (Pre 1956) and I was in 7th Heaven. It's only a couple hours a week but I love it!