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.

day in the life – day 4

Here we go again. 6:40am. At my desk. I really didn’t want to wake up at 4:44. This is getting tiring…

Oh, and my heat conked out yesterday. Overnight, the indoor temp fell to 59. Fortunately, temperatures have been around 60 outside, but everything changes tonight. Winter returns and the highs will stay mostly in the 40s for the next 10 days. I definitely want my heat working!

But on to Library Day in the Life.  You get the quick round up today:

  • verified data sources for my content development colleague to back up the figures a vendor has requested
  • compared the ARL Stats collection subscription with ARL Statistics Interactive (which we have) – would we need both? Ran a couple of sample reports for the dean and assistant dean
  • coffee break with colleague Lisa. We both have daughters getting married this year so we’re comparing notes  : )
  • attended a meeting to discuss abstract & indexing options and resources for our open access journals; this is in preparation for a meeting with two specific editors next week but will serve as basis for all our journals
  • added the missing piece of data I received for our reporting data; did not need the big guns after all ; )
  • responded to a colleague about various library stats she needs for a class she is taking
  • read the charge for a User Experience Team that is seeking members from amongst the staff.  You know me & web stuff – love it! Will have to talk to the bosses about the time commitment
  • ate lunch at my desk and worked on this entry because I need to leave about 1ish – the heating guys will be at the house this afternoon. Ouch. I’m afraid to hear what they might uncover. Can you say $$$

day 3 – library day in the life

You must be bored by now, right?  You can probably guess how my day started… email, calendar, rss. Unfortunately, it started earlier than I planned. Again. My internal alarm went off at 4:45 and I laid in bed, tossed and turned. Sleep did not find me. I crawled out of bed at 5:30 and padded into the kitchen to turn off the crock pot. Tonight’s dinner will be veggie soup.

6:50am At work. Computer on. Connected to the VPN so I could run several Voyager acquisitions reports.

I volunteered to take Lisa’s 9am IM Ref shift this morning. She had a conflict. We have a cool “Trades Bazaar” blog where requests for Help Desk & IM trades are posted. It saves inundating staff inboxes with email requests. We use email for last minute trades, so that isn’t too painful.

I started to feel zombie-like around 8:30 so I decided it was time to make a pot of coffee. Got logged into LibStats and the web chat login. Coffee brewed, poured. Aaahhhh….

I tackled a bit of light reading while waiting for a question or two: Elsevier boycott, thoughts on Google. I  did a quick look at CDC’s new Disability and Health Data System (via Research Buzz)–forwarded that to our data services librarian. Did you know the Congressional Record has an iPad app?

10am Email exchange with NASIG ECC members to explore setting up a test link for CPC’s conference registration page. Oh the power of the collective group think! Sent the test info link to CPC, then documented the process in our ECC manual.

Fielded a question from Content Development staff about a vendor who was arguing about our student FTE. They claimed it was higher than the number we provided, which is information I collect annually from the university Office of Planning & Analysis. I imagine they had enrollment figures rather than FTE but it still irks me.

1:00pm Back from lunch. Time to open the ACRL survey. I had to resend a message to 1 colleague who hasn’t sent me data I’ve requested two previous times. May have to call in the big guns. : )  Shot off another question to university Planning & Analysis about full- and part-time grads & undergrads. Had to close up before I had a chance to review new questions that have been added. I’ll save those for tomorrow if I have a chance to work on it.

3:00pm Reference training series – IM tips and best practices + JING.

4:10pm Headed to Radina’s to work on chapter 1 of the novel. Writers group tomorrow night will get to hear the opening unless Cathy is still sick.