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Midsummer Morning’s Dream

I’ve been so busy between the launch of the new MPOW, my own writing, and the sundry demands of summer, that Free Range Librarian has been hard to attend to. But the French have it right: taking a breather in August is a good idea. September will come, and with it the usual efforts.

So here are some random thoughts.

The magic of knowledge: even after my harrowing experience in MySQL training, I was elated to open a big fat MySQL manual our letter carrier had just brought me and read syntax where previously the words were just squiggles on a page. I even (cautiously, on a copied page) modified a SQL statement in a query and voila! improved an internal function in the new MPOW. O.k., o.k.–“voila” took four hours. But once it was done, it felt like “voila.”

Congrats to fifteen years of Current Cites. Now, make it a feed, will ya, Roy?

I appreciate all the comments on this blog and elsewhere about hewing to the OpenURL standard. But don’t expect the tipping point to come without at least one concrete, usable example that can “tell the story.” I agree it would have been good if OCLC had implemented Open WorldCat with OpenURL, but they didn’t. So who among us can stop talking about OpenURL in the abstract and demonstrate its value in a way the rest of us can see, taste, or feel? Show me.

Seth Finkelstein commented on this blog that the Long Tail doesn’t translate to FRL being an A-list blog within a smaller community. Correct, Seth, and I don’t have A-list Anxiety (though I can think of one blog that might as well be called just that). The magic of the Long Tail to FRL is that I can have very few readers but be part of a composite voice that is significant; not only that, I can be a constituent voice on a variety of small topics. This relates to danah boyd’s observations on apophenia, in a post that talks about link bias, that most of the metrics for measuring the A-list are gender-weighted. She’s far too polite to call it a giant d–k contest, but I will. I tried to raise this point at BlogHer–in retrospect, the only problem with BlogHer was the uncritical acception of Guys’ Rules for measuring success.

We hardly ever get any library technology conferences in California, so if you are even remotely techy, you better go to LITA Forum this fall, or better yet, send your systems person, who will come back full of ideas and thoroughly grateful for the experience. Techies deserve to be among their kind for two or three days… I’ve done the systems thing in libraries and it’s good to sit down with other people and tell stories about how you were expected to keep all the servers running, untangle the problems with Norton Enterprise, get the kids’ CD-ROM server working, order, configure, and install dozens of new machines, troubleshoot an IP address that’s not responding, replace four sets of broken headphones, and oh yeah, cover the reference desk a couple of hours per week. I’ve often wondered why the cross-training never happens in the opposite direction–you know, have the reference librarians figure out why the full backup didn’t run this week, or get the children’s librarian to ghost a few new machines with the public setup.

But that gets me into a post for another day, rolling around in my head: how to be a good former employee.

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