Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I'm Too Cynical

Some kind, loving soul posted to the autocat list today, and said (I quote):

"...like AIG, libraries are too important to let fail!"

Um. Libraries obviously aren't. They fail all the time. They have failed throughout history. People willingly destroy them, or neglect them, or just plain set them on fire.

Libraries are certainly valuable. I believe that libraries are valuable. Are libraries "too important" for a government, or a community, to let them fail? Yes, of course they are too important for that. Will people go ahead and let them fail anyway? YES, OF COURSE THEY WILL.

I've written about this before, I think....but really and truly, librarians always snuggle this little belief to their bosoms that if people were just educated, they would understand how valuable libraries are. Well, yes, that's true. But people aren't educated, and they usually don't want to be, either. Is that a cynical view of the world? A realistic view? A very sad view?


I'll try to be more optimistic in the future, though. Much like the investment bank fiasco, this is depressing me.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Getting ready

So, I'm way behind the times, and I know it, but I started reading the drafts of RDA last week. I'm not really that far in, and I know that it's only rough drafts, but I figured I might as well start, since at some point this is going to be a Big Deal.

Want to know what I've found so far? I may be simplifying (God knows I'm good at doing that), but I didn't find much that was earth-shattering or worldview-changing. The terms are a little different, but the rules themselves are pretty much the same, at their core. I could still use MARC. There are still statements of responsibility. There is no hand of a Library God touching down to wreak havoc upon us all.

Now, I haven't been through all of the draft documents yet, so maybe at some point I'm going to be blown away. In fact, I'm sure that will happen. Because I haven't gotten to any place yet where RDA starts looking like a FRBR mechanism. Right now it just looks like AACRII. I could only be so lucky.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

oh, SirsiDynix

You strike again, SD. Our serials cataloger pointed out that when working in Sirsi's Java Workflows, you cannot always get the html links in a marc record to take you to a browser. The link simply will not work. They are speculating that this has to do with links that include special characters, like an ampersand.

Our IT guy says, and I quote: "This is a bug at our current Unicorn patch level. it will be cleared after we upgrade to a new version in the coming Christmas holidays."

Point of order, IT guy! When links are broken that are supposed to work, and links are presenting themselves as being in working order when they are not, is NOT A BUG. It's a functionality failure.

Now, do I think that our IT guy is the one who called it a "bug"? No, I do not. I'm absolutely positive that SirsiDynix is calling it a bug, because they would often do the same thing when we had "bugs" in Horizon. I put "bugs" in quotes because those problems were really basic functionality failures. This isn't something like "oh, when I hit this and this and do this thing and then I try to enter a 520 field in the MARC editor, it freezes!" No. This is "our links don't work, but they're still made to look like they work." That is basic functionality, and it is broken. We shouldn't have to wait for the next upgrade for this to be fixed. It's madness.

Although I did escape most of the SirsiDynix craziness when I left my former job, at least I can rest assured that the craziness continues without me, and that it has not miraculously gone away now that Symphony is in full developmental swing.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Mapping thoughts

It's been a long time, blog. No, really, like 2.5 weeks! In my defense, I'm coming up on 4 months pregnant and have been feeling "under the weather" (an understatement) for some time. It's hard to think about libraries and metadata and whatnot when I want to throw up all the time.


One of my reference librarian peeps introduced me to a website the other day: Mindomo. It's a way to map research, or brainstorm, or just organize information. It uses Flash (of course) because nothing is simple these days, but it does allow you to put links and documents and graphics all into your map of whatever it is you want to look at. You can even make your maps public for others to reference...if you go to the browse tab at the top of the site it takes you to where the public ones are located.

At any rate, I think that it's a very cool take on the "brainstorming" maps we used to draw in middle school. And certainly useful for information professionals who have lots of information to organize and who would prefer to create a digital map of their stuff rather than just one in their head, or in a finding aid or something. I certainly hope to use it for future projects--maybe it could help us determine what kind of practices we're going to impose on materials before we start working on them, in a more intuitive and visual way. Or maybe I'll just finally get around to creating a map of the relationships between early modern philosophers. Whichever.
"Wicked people never have time for reading. It's one of the reasons for their wickedness." —Lemony Snicket, The Penultimate Peril.