this past week. . .

I finished up a collection development project for LIS 721, Library Materials for Children and discovered the existence of phantom reviews. I used Baker & Taylor’s Title Source II to help locate some books and reviews, and my partner used Follett’s Titlewave, and then we’d go look up the full citations for the reviews we found. . . or at least we tried. Let’s say that for one title, B&T said it was reviewed in the July 2000 issue of Booklist. I would dutifully go to Dominican’s databases and start searching for the review. I couldn’t find it by author, title, keyword, or date. I then tried going more directly to the source and looking through the Booklist indexes (which exist somewhere on the ALA website, though naturally now I can’t find them). No luck there either. It was time to get serious. I hit the stacks. I grabbed the microfilm and spent half an hour or so scrolling through Booklist from July 2000 and from November 2000, when Follett claimed it was reviewed. No cigar. And this happened again and again, not just with Booklist, but also with School Library Journal, VOYA, and others. My partner, meanwhile, was having a similar experience with Books in Print, Book Review Index, et al. I wrote my professor. Were we going crazy? Apparently not. She said she’d noticed this problem before. We did the best we could. A few days later, I mentioned this to my professor for LIS 745, Searching Electronic Databases, who pointed out that Baker & Taylor and Follett are, after all, in the bookselling business, not the bibliographic verification business. Still, it’s maddening. My adventures in bibliography were not over, though.

I turned in my final project for LIS 745, Searching Electronic Databases, which was a 25 item annotated bibliography on the subject of state guardianship programs for adults, prepared for my client, the Iowa Substitute Decision Maker Task Force, a group of people (including my mother) who are trying to establish such a program in Iowa. The week before, I did my final presentation on the project. I found many beautiful pictures with which to illustrate my presentation via the Creative Commons search on Flickr. I’m a big believer in giving people things to look at when presenting, but it does make for a monster-sized PowerPoint, which convinced once again that I really need to learn the S5 and/or Jessamyn West version of slides. . . I thought about doing it for this presentation, but as time was beginning to get short, I thought perhaps that would be an untenable exercise in procrastination.

I began the morning of my 30th birthday by oversleeping. I am hoping that this was the last gasp of the past decade rather than a sign of the decade to come. I finished up and turned in the paper on virtual readers’ advisory for LIS 763, Readers’ Advisory Services. Thanks to everyone who commented on my previous post on the topic, and thanks to all the biblioblogosphere folks who’ve created, written about, or fantasized about how we could make OPACs more useful and interesting. Not surprisingly, I found much more material for this paper by searching blogs than I did by searching professional journals. “Folksonom*” as a search term in one of the LIS databases turns up one citation (“Metadatering door de massa: Folksonomy,” by Sybilla Poortman and Gerard Bierens), which looks really cool, but unfortunately it’s in Dutch, which I can’t read. Partly, of course, this is because I was writing about stuff so new that it simply hasn’t made it in to professional literature. In fact, the very afternoon at work before I turned the paper in, I read a couple of new things I wanted to add. But I stopped, went to class, turned in the paper, listened to some cool book talks, and so completed my third semester of library school. One more to go!

And now it’s winter break, which I plan to spend a) reading, b) working some extra hours at my dog-walking job, c) sleeping, and d) getting serious about the job hunt. Expect more on the first and last of those in future entries–I’m also planning to a bit more blogging, now that I have a few weeks free from one of my obligations.

2 thoughts on “this past week. . .”

  1. Hi Laura,

    Happy Belated Birthday!

    I used Jessamyn’s presentation system a bit over a year ago and it was certainly doable, and I think she’s even improved it since. I also used the S5 system this semester and it was quite simple, although so was my presentation. If you have any (X)HTML and CSS skills you’ll be fine. To use the basic formats you only have to be not scared to put stuff in the template. To change the basic template (which I did not try) takes some CSS skills and editing of one or more of the external CSS files. I hope to try that over break as I do have some middling CSS skills.

    And speaking of break, congrats on finishing up another semester! Doesn’t it feel great to be able to do what you want?

    I also have one semester till graduating, but I’m applying to stay and do another degree. I want (and need) a bit more education to do what I hope to do.

    Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, or whatever works for you. ;->

    Enjoy the break!

  2. Hey Mark,

    Thanks for the birthday wishes, and the presentation formats tips. I do know HTML and started awhile back teaching myself some CSS, but, due to the nature of the world, I didn’t get very far with it. I’ve been meaning to pick it up again, though, and this presentation business will be one of my incentives.

    Enjoy your break as well, with whatever holidays it may contain for you.

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