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Exhaustion, uber-folksonomy, and nice people to work with

I have worked places where filing travel receipts almost made me cry, or where I had to grovel with some extremely unpleasant person who would scold me for minor infractions. So when I said today I wasn’t sure how to file my travel receipts, imagine my delight when someone from MPOW came into my office and gently walked through my receipts with me. By the end of the day I had signed a voucher for my last trip. No scoldings — just lots of TLC.

Am I really working at MPOW, or is this some alternate library Stepford universe I’m passing through on my way elsewhere?

Anyhoo, I got in at midnight, finally got to sleep at 2, woke up at 7:30 and dashed to work, and do not remember much of today. I asked my boss what my next report should be about and she didn’t even make fun of me for not remembering that we had had this conversation. Oh right, new delivery models for remote patrons, kthxbye!

But I know you’re really waiting for me to talk about uber-folksonomies (because even on a Friday night, when you’re in something filmy sipping a particularly nice dry Riesling, your mind, as mine does, naturally wanders to the question of ontology). I have given folksonomies considerable thought of late, as next week I’m talking about taxonomies and folksonomies at Defrag, and a couple of weeks ago I asked myself, “Self, exactly what are we discussing?” Only to hear a deafening silence. I’m hoping I’m the only librarian so I can baffle them with bibliononsense…. but a talk at Internet Librarian this Wednesday at least got my gears (finally) turning.

Tom Reamy of the KAPS Group presented about folksonomies versus taxonomies. He made some very good points about the limitations of folksonomies (particularly the flatness of their structure), but I think he was too biased toward the taxonomy as product, which isn’t surprising given that the KAPS group states that “taxonomy development” is one of the “the areas of expertise that [they] utilize in the creation of an intellectual infrastructure.”

God knows I need an intellectual infrastructure; tonight I’m so tired I nearly poured corn syrup instead of olive oil into the steak marinade. (Note: did MPOW force me to take all these trips at once in a three-week marathon session? No, they supported me, but it was all My Choice.)

But I’m still seeking that sweet spot between the expert on the dais, determining what’s good for the hoi polloi, and the triumph of the Hive Mind, a descriptor that makes me think not of bees in a colony but of someone rather young with an acne problem. I do believe in gradiants of expertise, and of the ability of people who know a lot about something to improve the quality of discovery.

Anyway… I think it’s time to turn on the grill.

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