Deepening the Conversation

thinking about questions of authority, technology, learning, and 2.0 in academic libraries

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Librarianship in under 140 characters!

Or, why twitter counts as working! (Names have been changed to protect the innocent 😉 )

In under 16 minutes, four librarians with subject expertise in an area I liaise with but am less than perfectly comfortable with responded to a blanket plea and provided consistent and useful advice, as well as tips for finding new resources. Solid backgrounds, support when I needed it, and tips for the future. Sure, I could somehow make the time to crack open Understanding capitalism : critical analysis from Karl Marx to Amartya Sen to learn more and back up my gut (and I will, one day I will) but I can’t do it right now, and I can’t do it in under 16 minutes! (inspiration has hit: I’ve started an OpenWC list for Overviews of Major Economists and started reading Lost Prophets: An Insider’s History of the Modern Economists)

Rudibrarian : are any of y’all econ liaisons?

B: @Rudibrarian yo econ here

Rudibrarian: @B Am I standing on sand when I think we should stop buying books w/ John Maynard Keynes in title??? we have shelves and shelves…

E:@rudibrarian: I’m econ liaison – just saw tweet. Did get info you needed?

W: @Rudibrarian – & what do you have against Keynes?? (asks former econ major…)

B: @Rudibrarian LOL I think you’re pretty solid there. 🙂

S: @Rudibrarian I am an econ liaison

Rudibrarian: @E am questioning another several books abt Keynes. Is it stoopid to cry uncle and stop Keynes buying?? S’all they/dept seems 2 want

Rudibrarian: @W: just the volume. Thee *are* other economists who are relevant, yes? (this is so outside my area!)

E: @rudibrarian: if they’re new or notable, sure, I’d buy a couple, but deselect some others. But yeah, are many other significant economists

B: @Rudibrarian that and super expensive Elsevier journals I bet. Take a look at Berkeley Electronic Press if you don’t already have

B:@Rudibrarian econ was my fave liaison subj, I did some econ at uni so at least I was slightly familiar 🙂 Also make sure to link SSRN, Repec



Late admission of techno-faux-bia

I’m finding the tech-NOT meme going around to be oddly comforting. I think what I like about it is knowing that I stand pretty firmly in the middle of the pack of folks who stand pretty far ahead of the pack in thinking about new technologies in the workplace. And I’m really ok with that!

So, my tech-NOTs?

  • Database construction. Access is one of two software programs that have thrown me to the mat without breaking a sweat. And I can understand database construction only by glancing at it slyly with my peripheral vision.
    • Photoshop also handed me my a$s.
  • Programming languages. I have the basic HTML and CSS to handcode pages, and to borrow and gut stuff I like from others. But I’m kinda stuck there. No flash or java, or even the ability to make DreamWeaver do the things I don’t know how to do. (I also have no idea how to customize the CSS in templated services like this blog or my LJ)
  • I couldn’t install my wifi router. In fact, I mangled it so badly I had to call the cable company to get my internet service working again after I gave up. (I want wifi!)
  • I don’t get SecondLife (and I think virtual worlds are going to have significant impact on how we do librarianship and education in the next decade)
  • My stereo is an JBL Soundstage/iPod dock (much to the chagrin of my former soundguy — looks like a previously unknown theme of soundguys and librarians is emerging…)
  • I’ve never tried Skype, altho now that I have people overseas (it’s expensive to call Namibia!0I’m thinking about it
  • I am so intimidated by VOIP stuff that I have never done the Uncontrolled Vocabulary call-in show, and am so embarrassed about it I’ve never listened to the podcast.
  • I have no idea how trackback works, and was worried that I was somehow having bad nettiquette by not using it. And was relieved as all hell when it worked invisibly.
  • I don’t like working on a laptop. I mean, they’re handy and portable and all, but ugh! I really dislike them!
  • I am apparently the only person in the world who has ever had a bad Mac experience. My iMac crashed constantly, I lost half a workday every day for two months on it. I really dislike Macs.
  • I want my phone to make phone calls and store addresses. That is all. Texting is nice at conferences, but it just isn’t my killer app. Plus, I’m afraid it would expensive like crack!

What I think is important and makes me technically able is that I am generally willing. I’m not sure that my desire to learn PHP/SQL would ever make me any good at it, but if there was a task I needed to do with it and the time to learn it, I could apply myself. And, like Rochelle, my interest in technology has more to do with serving (and understanding and hoping to get ahead of the future)my patrons than techno- or gadget-lust. (nothing wrong with those, they’re just not my inspirations).

So, are you techno-faux? What are your tech-NOTs?