Blogs

Oooh....first entry

Well, just got onto LISNews after reading for a while. I plan on adding a few things here, although I will be posting most of my thoughts on a 'to-be-implemented' movable type website on my server in a few weeks.

Dickson County Library

Yup, I applied to be the Director there. Went through the interviews and was offered the job. Thought about it, looked hard at the pros and cons, and in the end; thanks to a couple of friends, opted not to take the job. Gave the reason of the pay not being enough. THANK YOU to the friends that warned me off of that fiasco. I truly wish I could have taken that job, had there been more incentive for me to take it I would have gladly; but a low salary, a looming budget crisis, and a couple of personal reasons thrown in, I am glad I didn't. When I did turn it down, I was offered, almost immediately, a promotion in the system I work for now. Made me even gladder I stayed. A lot of old boys networking and small town politics in this one. VERY ugly.

Thanks!

First off, thanks to all who responded to my last journal entry. There were some great stories in there from people who've been through the same thing. :-)

I still haven't gotten a straight answer about it all but I have made an appointment to talk to the head of Branch Services. So, he should have some insight into the whole thing (I hope). If he doesn't then I am back to the HR director. Anyways, thanks to all who wrote me. I'll let you know what (if anything) I hear.

LISNews Happenings - Mail and some Stats

The import script seems to be ready to roll. It’s going to suck all the email addresses out of the old ezmlm mailing list, and turn them into brand new accounts, with the daily newsletter option turned on. The “daily� newsletter is now going to run only on Monday Wednesday and Friday. This still leaves the weekly list to deal with. I think I’m going to have to kill that, and roll it into the regular list. I simply don’t have the time to make a weekly option for the slashcode at this point, nor do I have the time to worry about that list floating around out there, should I leave the weekly list live. If all goes well I’ll make the magic happen next week. I want this all worked our before I leave for Hawaii.
So that’s that…

In other LISNews news, the journals have been so much fun to watch. I’m quite happy with how much they are being used, I had rather low expectations, and have been proven wrong. There’s even been some discussion on some of the journals.

Moderation participation is about what I expected, there’s a few people doing a lot of moderation, a few other people doing it once in a while, and most people not at all, or maybe just once. The # of comments seems to be about the same on the new code as it was on the old. Over all, visits, hits, page views, and all that jazz are slowly trending up.
Last month we had about 3,500 visitors a day, served about 12,450 pages a day, all that from around 61,000 hits a day. Those are the number from last month, and the stats were down for a few days in there, so the real numbers are a bit higher.

Some more interesting findings in the logs…

Referrals:
1. (no referral) 68,694 66.67%
2. www.google.com/search 12,261 11.90%
3. search.yahoo.com/search 4,225 4.10%
4. radio.userland.com/newsAggregator 3,908 3.79%
5. frontier.userland.com/xmlAggregator 1,111 1.08%
6. www.google.ca/search 982 0.95%
7. aolsearch.aol.com/aol/search 754 0.73%
8. mail.yahoo.com/ym/ShowLetter 476 0.46%
9. www.steakandcheese.com/content/browse.asp 446 0.43%
10. google.com.au/search 416 0.40%

As you can see it’s almost entirely a google world for us. LISJobs, librarian.net and BetweenTheStacks are the only 3 “real� sites that made it into the top 25 referrers, and none of them sent in more than .11% of total sessions. I’m never quite sure what to make of those numbers. I guess with 66% of people coming in with no referral it means most people who read LISNews already know we’re here.

Top Keywords from those:
1. (no referral) 81,162 78.77%
2. harry potter book six 790 0.77%
3. pick up lines 662 0.64%
4. welchia virus 659 0.64%
5. librarian action figure 442 0.43%
6. pickup lines 241 0.23%
7. sixth harry potter book 237 0.23%
8. harry potter sixth book 230 0.22%
9. bush demonstrating genuine leadership 220 0.21%
10. pick-up lines 183 0.18%

The top keywords lead me to believe that not everyone is happy finding LISNews.

Most popular pages:
1. /lisnews.rss 57,906 16.04%
2. /article.pl 54,175 15.00%
3. /index.pl 34,286 9.50%
4. /article.php3 32,366 8.96%
5. /search.pl 20,483 5.67%
6. /comments.pl 19,535 5.41%
7. /relocate.pl 12,300 3.41%
8. /rss/descriptions.rss 8,889 2.46%
9. /robots.txt 4,898 1.36%
10. /users.pl 4,292 1.19%
11. /index.rss 4,076 1.13%
12. /wireless_descriptions.rss 3,499 0.97%
13. /submit.pl 3,134 0.87%
14. /articles.rss 2,646 0.73%
15. /favicon.ico 2,596 0.72%

Our feeds our crazy popular now. It’s been fun watching the incredible growth in popularity of RSS. Having an RSS feed was one thing LISNews was way ahead of the curve on.

Reasonable time between interview and job notification?

Hi all.

I need to pick the collective brain. What do you consider a reasonable length of time between an interview and notification of filling the position?

I interviewed for a public service position around 3 months ago and I heard this week that they still have not made a decision. (This would be a promotional position for me) It boggles my mind that they would treat staff this way, and I wonder whether outside applicants have gotten the same treatment. I should add that this interview was to fill 2 positions, one of which has been filled. When that position was filled, they notified other applicant but not me, even though I interviewed to be eligible for BOTH positions. I am irritated by this and wondered if anyone out there could give me advice on how to tactfully express my indignance over this. TIA

The Mailing Lists

So I’m about halfway to having the old mailing list moved over to the new slashcode. For those of you on the mailing list (The headlines that come out Mon Wed and Fri) hopefully my messages made some sense. If not, let me try again.
The way I see it, LISNews is made up of 2 parts at the moment. The web site, and the mailing lists. The lists (there’s 2, one 3 times a week, and one weekly) have been around for a few years. Originally I hacked some code together, and lately they’ve been running on a program called ezmlm (it’s like Listserv, but free). There’s still about 1800 people on the 2 lists. The problem is those lists still take up no small amount of time for me. So I need to move those names into the slashcode, and then change the slashcode daily mailer code to just go out on Monday Wednesday and Friday. I won’t even pretend I could make a weekly option at this point.
So far I’m able to create a new user account from a file, and I’ve almost got it emailing the password and user name. Once I get that working I need to hack the slashcode mailing function, and then import all the names from the lists into slashcode.

Someone who knows PERL and Slashcode could’ve done this in an hour or 2, but it takes some time for me to do things with Slashcode still, so I hope to have this done some time next week, if I’m lucky. The goal is to have it done before I go to Hawaii. The hidden goal are to make my life easier.

excitement in the basement

Is this some sort of comment on tech services work?

This morning we came in at the butt-crack o'dawn to find the biggest (seriously, it was huge) cockroach I have ever seen sitting on the wall above a desk. We had to call a maintenance man to come "take care" of it, since we're all wussies when it comes to bugs that can take off a finger. I tell you what, a large bug like that will wake you up faster than coffee though.

Pick A Name

Browsing the list of 466 User Accounts we already have at LISNews the names are quite amusing. Here's a few of my favorites:

Fang-Face (he's so scary sounding), bibliothecarius, TechKase, soy_mustang (just cuz it's so funny sounding), Onehander (could mean anything I suppose), madcow, libdir, Zed (Canadian?), drweb, RudeAmy (Understanding is the first step towards the cure), librarybunny (cute), hahahaha, honky, j_at_work (Hardly working I assume), cdnlibrarian (Eh?), swampthing, SpinsterLibrarian, angrythoat (Scary), ChrisTheCat (meow), InfoWhale, pamplemousse, Fez the Barbarian Li (Damn, cut short), bbbbbbb1 (Stutter?), artlibrarian, literarylion (Roar), masterbation, bookworm4321, Jonas (Reminds me of that Weezer song), Original Cyn, surfer rosa (Pixies), Another Aaron (If at first you don't succeed), Biblia, the Warrior , Eclectic Researcher, privacybarbie, lucky, BubblyBookGrrl (Just sounds so friendly), librlord, scary , The Federalist, chattykathy, bookmarm, librarian (It took 300+ people to think of that one?), Esmeralda, maxpower (Strap yourself in and feel the G's!), Mock Turtle, Infoweasel, Gonzo Librarian, andhow, SmartRat, aah, miraclesdaily (Good description of what we all do), SkinnyPimp , hihuhiuhiu, tomeboy , librarymary, themom, map (Keeping it simple), GeekLib, shelfmouse, Meteor, waterdragon (There be Dragons here), and last but not least....infodiva, which is the actual last account at the moment.

With extended shushing action!

I have to admit: I don't care much for the doll.

However, I'm going to go back on my word and buy one. As a gift. To the following:

Attorney General John Ashcroft
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001

It's petty, but so am I ...

Catching up

It's been a while, and I'm sorry for it. Work has been busy (whose hasn't?) and we've had company from out-of-town.

So, what's new? I don't have any slice-of-life stories...

I read a good YA book, "The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things" by Carolyn Macker. It's the story of Virginia. She thinks she's the ugly duckling in a perfect family, where everyone else speaks French and is in perfect shape. She's slightly overweight, and has low self-esteem. Virginia's world is shaken when her brother date-rapes his date and is sent home from college.

I enjoyed the book, and the way Virginia relates to her domineering mother. I also liked how Virginia starts to relate better to her body. One thing that made me uncomfortable is that Virginia notices that a classmate may have an eating disorder, but she does nothing about it; not even speaking to the girl. (Virginia's mom is well-known teen psychologist, so Virginia seems well-versed on teen issues.)

Anyway, just my thoughts. Feel free to share any thoughts you may have.

Censoring. Boston Public Library Prexy Bernie Margolis.

To: Center for Public Integrity
[ http://www.publicintegrity.org/dtaweb/index.asp?L1=40&L2=0&L3=0&L4=0&L5=0 ]

Cc:
BPL departments reference desks
BPL unions collective bargaining labor relations advocates

Our Boston Public Library Department curatorial departments librarians
have censored their reports, censored city and state consultants' studies
and censored city and state consultants' reports about public libraries
collections and services. BPL President Bernie Margolis is in denial
about the lack of availability of background information
about our public libraries collections and services.

President Margolis delegated BPL Operations Director R. Kowal as so called
freedom of information officer only to improperly deny, delay or
apply punitive additional fees for public information contrary
to ethical and intellectual freedom principles. Reference enquiries have been
sent to city hall as a deterrent for public library users reference desk
enquiries contrary to established principles of reference desk services
guidelines at
[ http://makeashorterlink.com/?Y55925F54 ]
[ http://www.ala.org/Content/NavigationMenu/RUSA/Professional_Tools4/Reference_Guidelines/Guidelines_for_Behavioral_Performance_of_Reference_and_Information_Services_Professionals.htm ]

Public libraries users, public libraries personnel and public libraries unions
collective bargaining labor relations advocates do not have available to us
the basic public library services and the free inquiry to read this
public information held at our public libraries reference desks.

Other cities' public libraries have also censored in this manner for which
our Boston Public Library Department is a model of a bad example.

It's friday!!

Okay... So I just wanted to share this link in honor of International Talk like a Pirate Day. Take the quiz to find out your pirate IQ. I'm a cabin boy! Which is odd since I'm a girl... Anyways, happy friday!
Pirates!

ugh, feels like I'm a student again

I've got an interview in exactly 4 days. It's a job that I am (in theory) qualified for... however, I am spending my freetime studying for the interview.
Has anyone ever had to do that?

It's a metadata librarian job. They are looking for someone to be a young expert on metadata. I am familiar with the issues surrounding metadata but not working in a very professionally nurturing environment I haven't been able to pursue it with any focus. Any advice from anyone on how to cram a semesters worth of metadata stuff in my head over a weekend?

Directions to my wedding

Follow the big red arrow, the time and date are wrong, but location is correct:

Boston. Cambridge.

43 Days And Counting

43 days till I "tie the knot", and 45 days till we honeymoon in Hawaii!
I should have a laptop with me, and I'll be sure to have extra people around to baby sit LISHost & LISNews during my time on the islands.
I'm hoping that we'll be able to set up some kind of web cam for the wedding, there'll be at least 3 LISNewsterz there, possibly more, so it might be somewhat interesting to watch. Then again, probably not, but I may be able to set something up.

Never fight the urge to Buy Me A Present.

What should I do for my faculty fellowship?

Well the powers that be decided that since no one from my particular college had applied for a faculty fellowship, I should do so. I filled out the application 5 minutes before closing one day and had it the next day. I am glad to have this, it should be fun--it involves working with some of the IT folks to "develop" my skills to work on a project. It looks like I'm doing some kind of library tutorial, unless I come up with something else better soon. My mentor is a web graphics designer. I already know HTML, and have been playing around with graphics.

Any suggestions on great ideas to learn and do would be appreciated--it would be nice to come up with something that is at least a bit unique and not just the standard basic "here are the library resources" presentation.

HTML workshop

First html workshop tonight ..... very informative ..... group activity went well and even got a chance to mingle a bit with the lis web team ..... hmmmmm maybe I'll mention this online journal thing at next week's workshop ...... eventually, i hope, my journal will discuss more technical computer kinda stuff instead of this stream of consciousness kind of writing/babbling :P

Library Advocacy

Library Advocacy: A topic of great interest to me,
whether it be Academic, Public or School.

Lately I've been reading about so many library cutbacks, that I wonder what we, the Information Professionals, are doing right and what are we are doing wrong.

Specifically, when the public libraries were spared from the chopping block in Ohio, was it the protest rallies held at the Capitol and letter writing campaign to legislators that made the difference? Or was there other inside politicing going on?

Tommorrow , Sep 9, the Pennsylvania Legislators start their session to decide the fate of Governor's Reindell's budget PDF , which proposes a 50% decrease in funding to Pennsylvania public libraries, spending 37.5 million instead of 75.2 million for fiscal year 2003-2004. What will need to happen for the public funding decision makers to spare the library budget as proposed by 71 of the 203 Reps in HB 1590 ? What information will sway their decision? Will it be a letter writing campaign from the PA library advocates ? Editorials expressing outrage? Or will other groups' lobbyists present their cases more effectively?

It is paradoxical to me that we make our living as Information Specialists, yet, I don't think we are getting the specific information delivered to the audience that needs to see it in order to keep us afloat.

Governor Rendell hates this budget but wants to balance the 600 million dollar deficit. He believes these are the tough measures needed to bring the state back to prosperity so that he can reinstate the funding to the public libaries.
I believe he likes libraries, because he posed in front of library shelving for one of his photos that randomly appear on his web site.

You see, Governor Rendell explains his reasons for the tough choices. One of his sources cited was a report from the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) , a non-profit, non-partisan Foundation. Titled the Development Report Card (DRC) , it summarizes economic benchmarks for decisionmakers and is succinctly subtitled "How to Govern in a Recession ". The report "provides ten guidelines to help state policymakers make wiser choices in what programs to cut, what investments to sustain, and what taxes and fees to raise."

Each state gets a report card and is graded using raw data collected for 71 measures. You can then compare your state's performance in the recession to other states on such indicators as "Average Teacher Salaries" , "Crime Rate", and "Unemployment Rates". Also, you can check your state's individual strengths and weaknesses.

The 71 measures are grouped into three Indexes: Performance, Business Vitality and Development Capacity.
The Performance index hopes to answer the question, "How well is the state's economy providing opportunities for employment, income, and an improving quality of life?" Colorado (it got straight A's) had favorable data in the measures that make up that category.

Index 2: Business Vitality question, "How dynamic are the state's large and small businesses? Index 3: Development Capacity, What is the state's capacity for future development?

Now, if you think like I do, you'd want to find how effective public library systems were figured into the 71 measures. Surely, a state like Ohio, with its largely state funded public libraries got a few points for improving the quality of the lives of their patrons with job search strategies and improving the literacy levels of children through library programming. I supposed that a public library system that is successful in meeting it's mission statement (especially with state dollars) would be figured into the first index question, "How well is the state's economy providing opportunities for employment, income, and an improving quality of life?"

But, after searching all the measures, I could not find a single one that included any public library statistics. I called the CFED and they confirmed that they had not included public libraries contribution but, were open to the idea of including PL data next year.

Now, here is a project where ALA or PLA-types could lend a hand. Will the CFED really make these changes on the basis of one librarian's request? How can I assume she will find all the wonderful sources of data already collected?

ALA does address federal funding issues , but I think either PLA or ALA could come up with some strategies for dealing with the state funding crisis affect on public libraries. This brings up the question, to quote Blake
"Does the ALA need to do More for budgets and worry about Filters Less?"

State library associations like PaLa can only do so much with their limited funds. Compare the PaLa web site to the < a href="http://www.olc.org/budgetupdate.asp"> Ohio Library Council budget update and Advocacy Handbook (PDF) for an idea of the inequity of state level organization and support.
Iowa Library Association complies Library Success Stories and the grass roots campaign by MaryLaine Block to collect library success stories looks promising, however I did not find a compilation of the stories, I wonder if anyone sent any to her.

I did join the ALA Advocacy Now, (ALADNOW) "A discussion list of the ALA Library Advocacy Network for idea sharing, updates, and legislative alerts." to find out more about the ALA's Advocacy programs . For example, who do I talk to about this issue of a national think tank missing the PL data? I e-mailed someone at ALA but there must be something else that can be done.

I am new to this profession and have a lot to learn about the professional organizations. I welcome your comments.

Speaking of passwords

Password Rage is a fact of life I suppose. I am trying to figure out how many username/passwords I need to keep track of.

I have 2 for work.
2 for AOL.
1 for another mail account.
3 for LISNews mail.
1 for my personal shell account
Root @ LISHost
3 different MySQL accounts
3 different LISNews accounts
2 websites I use often (Mefi & Slashdot)
Several others that are not used often
1 for the home linux box
Another few at OSU
eBlake.com gives me 3 more
Assorted other accounts on one of 2 servers.
I dunno, what's that...about a million?

Here's my secret... NONE of them are the same! I am not lazy when it comes to passwords, or other security, and it's a bit of a challenge to keep them all correct in my head sometimes. Most of them are 5 or 6 letters/numbers long as well.

No use in complaining as it's the only way we can keep things secure at this point.

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