Walt's blog

When life intrudes

Sometimes the vicissitudes of real life intrude more than you'd like--but that's what makes it real.

Last week was pretty much a washout because of such vicissitudes--and, looking back, I think the last few weeks have been affected.

That latter first: I had a tooth extracted last Thursday afternoon, and should have had that done a month or more ago. (My dentist said to set it up when I returned from a speaking trip; that was in March.) Constant headaches/sinus problems the last few weeks finally got me to call; after I made the appointment, naturally, they got worse. So if I've been blunter and even less coherent than usual the past few weeks, there's an excuse. (Now, how that resulted in the "Catching Up on Copyright" issue of Cites & Insights, which has gotten kind comments, is one of those mysteries...and, actually, I was more productive than usual at work...until last week.)

Last week added a second flavor: A death in the family. Not unexpected, not tragic, but nonetheless involving three lost days last week--one of them, the most exhausting, the day after the tooth extraction. (The surgery may go well, but it still takes a lot out of you!)

Things begin to return to what passes for normal around here. Prepping for ALA becomes a bit more urgent. Keeping up with massive changes hereabouts is strange. Such is, well, life.

Relevance to LISNews: Minimal, except for any blunter-than-usual comments I've left. None of which I'm likely to withdraw or apologize for.

Cites & Insights donations now activated

Thanks to your comments and others, I've made one plunge: PayPal and Amazon Honors System are both now available if you'd like to donate to help support Cites & Insights

Donations are entirely voluntary--and I think they're generally anonymous as well. (This is all new to me.)

I would still greatly appreciate opinions on possible value-added services, specifically:

Bound volumes: Perfect-bound paperbacks, cream book paper (8.5x11), color covers, containing the entire contents of one volume including title page and index. Probably around $30.

Thematic volumes: Perfect-bound paperbacks, cream 5x8 book paper, color covers, probably 150-200 pages each, containing a series of related essays from Cites & Insights--or, for that matter, from "The Crawford Files", "disContent," earlier stuff, or a combination of all of those--with updates, annotations, and proper indexing. Probably around $25-$30.

Tchotchkes if anyone really wants them--the kind of stuff Cafe Press does.

Only in California/San Francisco

Yesterday: Long story in the paper about this year's high-profile murder case, relating the desire of the victim to raise her family in "small-town" Modesto. The same article called Modesto a "town" elsewhere, noting its population of a few years ago (188,000) in the same sentence. (Population is now 202,000.)

Where but in California could a place of 202,000 population, not in any sense a suburb, be called a town--much less a "small town"?

Today: OK, everybody has cross-dressers or drag queens. But how many places have pageants for "faux queens"? That's right: An event centered on...
women who dress up as men dressing up as women.

You gotta love it.

Relevance to libraries: None.

But here's an extra trivia question for people outside Northern California: What's the largest city in Northern California?

Ohio State's "technology for the rest of us" seminars

Just a quick note, because I may or may not get around to writing this up elsewhere:

I spent last week at Ohio State University (or getting there and back), participating in three of four days of a remarkably well-designed and worthwhile event, "Technology for the rest of us: What every librarian should understand about the technologies that affect us."

Each day offered two two-hour sessions, one from 10:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m., the second from 1:30-3:30 p.m. Continental breakfast was available before the first talk (which was preceded by a few minutes of welcoming comments).

Monday--which I missed--featured Robert E. Molyneux (NCLIS) on networking and Bill Drew on wireless networking. I'm informed that both did a great job. (Had dinner with Bill and a few OSU people Monday evening; first time I've met him F2F, I believe)

Tuesday, I talked about OpenURL in the morning; Thomas J. Lynch, III (Worcester Polytechnic Institute) discussed Internet2 in the afternoon. My presentation was my first use of PowerPoint (outside RLG) in five years, was more work than any speech I've done in years, offered something I'm apparently uniquely qualified to do (a middle section showing 20 variations on how libraries use OpenURL), and was great fun to do. I'd love to do something similar elsewhere...

Wednesdy had Peter Murray (U. Connecticut) on security and Ron Gilmour (U. Tennessee) on XML.

Thursday had Sarah Shreeves (U. Illinois Urbana-Champaign) on the Open Archives Initiative Protocol and, in the afternoon, MacKenzie Smith (MIT) and Charly Bauer (OhioLINK) on institutional repositories.

I went to make a presentation. I stayed because I thought I could learn some things. I was right: The presentations were enormously informative. The timing and balance were such that I--and I think the 100-odd librarians who attended--had time to let material sink in and gain insights without being overwhelmed.

A first-rate event, one that might usefully be emulated (with a LOT of effort!) elsewhere.

I believe most presentations are or will be available at the conference website.

Feedback Desired, and Notice of Absence

Here's where I really would like comments--but don't expect a response until May 28 or later, because I'll be Internet-free until then.
(That's also true if you send email to my usual email addresses regarding this stuff: Expect delayed response.)

Specifically: If you read Cites & Insights and want to see it continue, which of these possible means of support would interest you?

  • Donation: You might make a PayPal donation.
  • Volumes as Books: You or your library might pay $30-$35 or so for full volumes, 8.5x11, with index, in perfect-bound print form (via a publish-on-demand service).
  • Value-added Books: You or your library might pay $25-$35 (depending on length) for 5x8 perfect-bound books consisting of copy from Cites & Insights gathered thematically or in other meaningful ways, with introductions and updates as appropriate.
  • Tchotchkes: You might buy caps, coffee mugs, or other nonsense with appropriate logos and stuff.

    The published query included the possibility of paid separate-article-in-HTML posting, but I think that's really improbable. Sponsorship is still possible, if unlikely.

    Feel free to reply here if that's easier than sending me email at [name] wcc [domain] notes.rlg.org.

  • With fear and loathing...

    I'm still not ready for a weblog, but playing around with a "weblog lite" might make sense.

    Don't expect loads of postings, and for sure don't expect the stuff you'd find in Cites & Insights. If that's an experiment (still, after 4.5 years), this is really experimental.

    For starters, an apology: I used Rightwing Coven (or Rightwing Cabal, or RC something) within an extended set of comments elsewhere on this august site. It was an unfortunate shorthand. I did not mean to include all those at LISNews who are either to my right politically or actual "conservatives" (in quotes, because a lot of today's conservatives would give fits to constitutional conservatives like Barry Goldwater).

    I really meant a certain quartet that I now think of as Dopey, Grumpy, Grouchy, and the Ghost of David Burt. And I'm not sure the term was warranted even for that group.

    Of course, as a devoted Buffy fan, I should also apologize for another reason: "Coven" is an appropriate name for a group of Wiccans, I assume, and I shouldn't insult those groups.

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