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Month: August 2006

Material Type Icons

This last year my library finally designed and implemented a coherent set of material type icons for our catalog. Now they’re up and available under a creative commons license as an open, downloadable icon set. So if you like’m you can have’m.

They were designed by a member of our college’s Web Services Group with input from our Public Access Working Group (of which I am a member).


Of Penguins and Podcasts

Wow! What a week. Gone are the days of synching my palm to my desktop calendar once a week. Gone are the days of keeping up with my email. On Tuesday it happened: the library got busy. Classes don’t start for 10 days yet, but freshmen are arriving soon (international students have arrived already), new faculty orientation is soon, and basically the campus has forgotten about summer and is rarin’ for fall.

Preparing for fall, I’ve been thinking a lot about penguins. This isn’t because Minnesota is cold in the winter and I’m thinking of winter (it is cold here, but I’m not thinking about it), nor is it because it’s predicted that we’ll have a colder than normal winter here (though we are). No, it’s because Oscar the Penguin is our unofficial mascot here in the library, and we’ve been putting penguin pictures everywhere. (By the way, Oscar is a stuffed penguin that Mr. Gould brought back with him from his Antarctic adventures.) He’s already on our web site and ready to help (though he’s not very research savvy, being stuffed… and – er- not alive, but we love him).

One thing I’ve noticed about Oscar is that he makes it really hard for us to take ourselves too seriously. How serious can you be when you’ve got penguins everywhere? I love it.

Anyway, this week he’s been put on our new trading cards (they’ll be done soon, I promise), the notepads we put out at the reference desk (they look like this), and all of our new student and new faculty fliers, guides, brochures, etc. That’s a lot of little penguins! (Oh, and that little drawing in the center of the notepads… that’s my clumsy attempt to draw on a computer for the first time. It turned out okay, but it was a PAIN.)

But today we tried something ENTIRELY new to us. We swallowed our fears of recording our voices. We decided not to worry too much about having lots of specialized equipment. And we recorded our very first podcast!!!! It’s not edited yet, but when it is it’ll go up on our web site. It’s nothing fancy, just a library tour, but it’s pretty exciting for us. (I haven’t heard my voice yet, so I may resurrect those fears of recording myself after this, but sometimes ignorance really is bliss. By the time I hear this it’ll be too late for me to back out.)

Oh, another thing that’ll soon be linked from the library’s web page is a video compilation of some interviews we did at the end of last year. I haven’t seen it yet, but I hear it’s quite entertaining (as well as informative, of course). I also hear I get mentioned by name! I hope it’s a good mention…

It’s been so incredibly busy here that I’ve got several other placeholder posts waiting to be written. I just haven’t had the time to write them yet. Ta-ta for now. I’m off to work on shrinking my “to-do” list. (So far every time I work on something it only reminds me of more items to put onto that list, so it’s been growing rather than shrinking, but perseverance should pay off sometime… I hope.)


Jiggity Jog

I’m home again, home again after my first full week of pure relaxation since I started working here. I really must do this more often. It’s not like they don’t give me enough vacation days.

Ah, well. Live and learn.

I’m a little luckier than most in that classes don’t start here until two weeks from today. Of course, I’ll pay the piper come June, when we’re still in session and everybody else is running off to their lake homes, but June’s so very far away. And things have really started to ramp up in the library already.

Yes, I’m already thinking with misty eyes and a fond heart of all the little “side” projects I’d wanted to finish by now and haven’t. (I’ve been doing a decent job with the important jobs, but they aren’t always the fun jobs.) For example, there’s my practice wiki. Apparently, it couldn’t compete with the much-needed revamping of my current subject pages. But I promise, little wiki, I’ll get back to you later. I also really wanted to continue planning for our dream research portal and learn more about web design. There were also books to read, research to complete for a paper I’ve been working on, and the list goes on and on and on. Like Liz, many of my summer resolutions fell victim to everything from conferences to late evenings with a book and the sunset.

I can tell you one thing I’m glad of, though, even with the summer coming to an end. I’m glad of the return of routine. I’m a creature of habit, and when my routine is thrown off I flounder. I even give up such easy things as taking my vitamins in the morning if I’ve been disrupted! I love a change but I need the changes to give way to blessed sameness every once in a while, even if that sameness consists of insanely busy work days.

I’m also glad that this isn’t my first year at this job any more. I can build on last year rather than start from scratch all over again. So I guess that’s two things I’m glad of.


"He Couldn’t Get That Cushion to Start on Fire": or, It’s Amazing These Kids Lived to Grow Up

I haven’t been able to get to the computer much. This is not just because I’ve been too busy doing Absolutely Nothing to squeeze in much time for doing A Little Something, but it’s also because my little brother has taken up about 20 hours of every day playing his WWII game online. But I just got to the computer before he could after brunch, so he’s now sitting around waiting for me to get off. Bwah-ha-ha. Now’s my chance to write The Great American Novel while he twiddles his thumbs.

While he waits, I think it’s important that you know that it’s a miracle I’m here today. My dad’s cousin, cousin’s wife, and cousin’s daughter came over for dinner last night (the daughter goes to the school where my dad teaches and today’s move-in day). They started telling stories from their childhood, and now I live in wonder and awe that either one made it to age 18. Mark (my dad’s cousin) was at one point explaining that most of the things that happened to him weren’t his fault. I’ll let you be the judge.

“Things weren’t really my fault ever,” says Mark, a big Harley-riding son of a South Dakota farmer, in his soft, slow voice, dimples digging deep into each cheek. “They really weren’t. I just always got in trouble for them. Take the time we were sittin’ on the porch. One of the porch chairs had some stuffin’ that was fallin’ out. I don’t remember why that stuffin’ was so interesting. It must’ve been callin’ out to us. Anyway, my friend couldn’t get that cushion to start on fire, but as soon as I tried it went poof. We ended up havin’ to throw it off into the yard to keep the house from catchin’.”

No, that wasn’t his fault at all. And there seems to be a sentence missing from his story: the one that tells us why they thought there was nothing for it but to set that stuffing on fire.

Ok, I can’t take the “music” Jesse’s making (voice, piano, and guitar by this point), so I’m going to let him back at his computer.

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