an inspirational keynote, reading & writing…

“…remember the nature of what it is you signed on for. You’ve come here to make a difference…” LeVar Burton at the 2012 O’Reilly Tools of Change conference. 

Kent A. at the Scholarly Kitchen posted a link to LeVar’s keynote address. It’s 15+ minutes long, but worth every word.

That’s a great way to start a Monday morning, but let me backtrack a bit. Time seems to fly these days. Since my last post, I’ve been to the Kansas Library Association annual conference, lost a tree in my front yard, turned in the ACRL survey, participated in the planning of our Employee Recognition Ceremony, and realize that NASIG is 6 weeks away and I need to work on my presentation & paper!

But let’s go way back in history since one of my longer term goals is to write a novel that takes place in 1776. I’m keeping my eye out for things like this:

@RagLinen: RT @BostonHistory: Rare “lost” letter written by Paul Revere rediscovered and preserved.

@RagLinen also posted a teaser trailer for Reporting the Revolution!

I’ve been reading a number of books, fiction and non-fiction, about the life & times of Richard the Lionheart and the Third Crusade to immerse myself in the ‘flavors’ of the late 12th century. Two of my current fiction reads are King’s Man by Angus Donald & Lionheart by Sharon Kay Penman. My own fiction – next year’s project – will feature 2 of Richard’s knights.

Speaking of my writing… my manuscript is sitting with 2 beta readers right now. If you aren’t familiar with the concept of a beta reader, JW Manus provided a great explanation in a recent post:

“Beta readers are not editors. You shouldn’t ask them for editorial help. They should be reading as readers. If you want to get the most out of your beta readers, then along with the chocolate or cookies or other tokens of gratitude you send, you give them these instructions:

Dear Reader: As you read it will be very helpful if when you run across something that confuses you, you mark it with a big HUH? If something bores you, mark it with a big YAWN. If a passage requires you to reread or stop and ponder what it means, mark it DIB! (do it better).

I nearly copied her advice word-for-word! Round 3 of my revisions will begin when I get their comments. You can get a sneak peak at the book description for Keeping the Family Peace – what will appear when the book is available via Amazon & other venues – on my fiction blog. I imagine that blurb will change over the next few months. Let me know what you think of it! Would that make you click “Buy”?

I’ve also participated in a twitter exercise with other writer friends in #luckyseven. Go check out my blog post for short excerpts from my novel and one of my 12th century short stories!

Link round-up: what I’ve been reading

From ProfHacker, one my favorite blogs:

From the Archives: CVs and Annual Reports
New Online Journal Addresses Teaching
Day of Higher Education (like Library Day in the Life but for academic faculty!)

Jenica Rogers from Attempting Elegance has a snippet from her presentation to CARL: “Librarians, it’s not okay to be clueless anymore.” I hope she posts a link to her entire presentation.

Feral Librarian Chris Bourg says “Share Everything. With Everyone. Most of the Time.” That’s always been my philosophy.

Blog posts from UKSG’s 2012 conference. Good stuff!

What have you been reading?

things to smile about…

“It was the best of times…” 

  • SPARC Open Access conference – new colleagues to network with!
  • Kansas City, MO – the Plaza, Brio Grille, Jack Stack, and a great view from the Intercontinental Hotel
  • new Honda CR-V with heated leather seats and hands-free bluetooth
  • kudos from a colleague at rival in-state school on our data and assessment strategies
  • talking music, marketing and crazy people with son #1
  • talking computers, cheer, and college with son #2
  • having dinner, talking Fake Patty’s Day and weddings with #1 daughter
  • revisions to the first draft of my novel are at the 60% mark
  • discussing Mark’s options for marketing and making millions with his fiction!
  • listening to Cathy’s new prose & Marie’s plans for her next novel
  • life

history comes alive

Spotted this article via Research Buzz: Confederate letters: we had apirty lively Christmas. Two researchers hope to set up a database with letters they are transcribing. What a great resource this will be – primary source material from the soldiers on the front lines or from their loved ones.

I’ve also been following wonderful, insightful tweets from @CivilianWartime, which tweets “in the words of those who lived it”.

In other history news, did you hear that the National Archives will have one of the 1297 Magna Cartas on display? There are only 4 remaining of the 1297 version. I’ve seen the 1215 version at the British Library but would definitely check out the 1297 next time I have an opportunity to visit Washington.

reading round-up…

Got reading? A sample of my readings in the blogosphere this week…

Social Networking Experiment at Ohio State – campus admins say let students manage the marketing to other students. –via the Chronicle (not sure if  this requires a subscription)

* on the Elsevier boycott here and here –via Scholarly Kitchen

* cool Library Data on tumblr –via @librarydata

* Joe Murphy’s presentation topics at CIL2012. I’m not into Pinterest (who has time?!?!?!?!) but I’d love to see Joe’s talk on it. Hopefully he’ll post some slides🙂

And on the fiction writing front:

* why writing in isolation is like singing in the shower –by me, on the benefits of critique groups on a new blog I’ll be contributing to now & then. Join us over at Pen in Hand!

* on my personal blog I talk about being stuck in the middle (but you already knew that because you’re following me over there, right?)

* and some disheartening information about Goodreads and mean author tactics — via Wringing Out Words

library day in the life – day 5

All right! I looked at the clock at 6:44 this morning. Much better than the last few days.

By 8am I’m at my desk testing a few Voyager reports to see if they’ll provide decent information for my colleague’s class assignment. One looks decent; the other crashes. I’m using a 3rd party software to run the reports because it is straightforward and simple when the reports actually run. Unfortunately, the one that crashed has a lot of ifs, ands, and buts because it’s dealing with non-print materials and 40 years of interesting machine-readable cataloging.  Creating multiple Access reports in an attempt to  to get the needed data could be a futile process, and this would have to be low on my list since it’s not a work-related request. But, just to make sure I wasn’t off the mark I headed to the 5th floor to chat with one of the catalogers. My activities for the day:

  • consulted with the cataloging folks upstairs about locations and MARC coding on the records for the type of material I’m attempting to track down. Our conclusion: too many variables and too much time with potentially sketchy results
  • investigated  journal selection criteria for A&I databases based on my to-do list from yesterday’s meeting; created a spreadsheet in google docs that our staff can share
  • reviewed a tenure/reappointment portfolio to offer comments on content and format for one of our year-4 faculty members who needs to submit it for review soon
  • worked on my UPP (unclassified performance plan, aka goals) for 2012, which must be submitted by the end of the month
  • IM Ref from 2-4pm

And so ends another week of Library Day in the Life Project.