Archive for the ‘LIS’ Category

Staying consistent

May 9, 2006

If a library were going to stock this book, wouldn’t it be wrong somehow to charge an overdue fee on someone who returned it late?


Ohio State University librarian controversy

April 19, 2006

At Ohio State’s main campus, April was usually the time for protests: The weather was nice and thousands of students had senioritis. Marches would be held, demands would be presented, promises would be made, and all would be forgotten by September.

But at OSU-Mansfield? I never thought they had it in them.

Scott Savage is entitled to hold his opinions in peace if they do not interfere with his conduct as a librarian. Unless there is more to this story than I have seen, his actions were hardly harassment.

As a librarian myself, though, I am disappointed that Savage chose such a weak polemic to recommend to freshmen. Was that really the best he could do?

Colleges should introduce their students to viewpoints that challenge mainstream values, but should also ensure that those viewpoints have intellectual, philosophical, literary, or historical heft to them.

Why waste student time — why waste anyone’s time — with Kupelian’s shrill ravings? Why, when Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations is available? Or Christopher Lasch’s The Culture of Narcissism? Or Pope John Paul II’s Crossing the Threshold of Hope? Or, as Savage is a Quaker, the pastoral letters of George Fox?

That the Savage case has become a “conservative” rallying point is a sign of how weak a grasp many “conservatives” have of conservatism. Life has more to offer than fear, anger, hate, and paranoia.

The good old ALA

March 28, 2006

At the post office today, I mailed off my ballot for the 2006 American Library Association elections. Among my votes was one against the proposed increase in member dues.

While at the post office, I picked up my mail, which included a packet from the ALA. And what did that packet contain? A lengthy advertisement favoring the proposed increase in member dues. That vaunted ALA efficiency at work!

Besides which: They say they need more money, but they have enough already to pay for a nice packet (six pages, color printing) and the postage to send it to tens of thousands of ALA members.

An example of poor web design

February 25, 2006

If you go to this page on the U.S. Postal Service website and put in your address, you can get a list of the nearest post offices.

If you then select the “What’s Nearby” link under the post office location, you can learn what stores, restaurants, theaters, hotels, etc. are nearby.

But you can’t learn where to find the nearest blue sidewalk postbox.

The Web has been around for 11 years, and the Postal Service still does not have a searchable database of postboxes, much less information about when their pickup times are.

Compare that to what FedEx and UPS offer.

Learning from special librarians

January 19, 2005

My article for about what public and academic librarians can learn from special librarians has been posted.

Wikipedia as an information resource

August 25, 2004

[My response to this article in the Syracuse Post-Standard: ]

As a contributor to the Wikipedia and a librarian, I disagree with the general tone of the article titled “Librarian: Don’t use Wikipedia as source” that appeared in the August 25 on-line Syracuse Post-Standard, and note that it left out some key information that one would need to have in order to understand and evaluate the resource.


Question for the Rice folks

July 5, 2004

There is a plaque in one of the lounges of the Fondren Library at Rice University which commemorates the campus’ “Reading for Pleasure Club”.

Does Rice also have a “Reading for Duty Club”?

Drunken abstracting

December 17, 2003

According to one of my library school professors, doctoral candidates could make money back in the day by writing article abstracts for the article-abstract databases that libraries subscribe to. She told us that students would often write these abstracts while hung over on a Saturday or Sunday morning.

I think I’ve found an example of one of these.