disorganization: Libraries are apparently going to be a big pop…

disorganization:

Libraries are apparently going to be a big pop culture trend, you guys !

Tell me, is anyone else sick of this shit? I spent a lot of time and money on getting an MSLS and I didn’t do that to get reduced to a trend in line with cupcakes. I also didn’t do it so I could be taken less seriously because some fuckin’ nerds with nothing better to do during work hours could make a foolish Gaga video. Listen, dorks: if you wanna make a stupid video, do it on your own time — not while you’re at work, showin’ yo’ ass in front of the stacks. Do not associate your ridiculousness with libraries, because that affects the rest of us who are trying to, I don’t know, make a goddamned living and possibly get a job outside of libraries one day (QUELLE HORREUR OMG). You’re the reason why we get stories like this that slowly erode the credibility of this field — the tone of this article patronizing as hell, yo! Do you want that? Do you think reporters write about doctors and lawyers like this? No, they do not. They just do it to us. Because of what a few of us put out there, we all suffer. So THINK BEFORE YOU DORK, LIBRARIANS. Be a little more professional. And for Chrissakes, stop writing papers about Facebook.

This. Except that I think there was merit in the work we did on Facebook almost 3 years ago.  But that was almost 3 years ago.

0624 Happy Hour at Dominick’s

A couple of weeks ago, my library launched our new website – we also launched the new look on our catalog, wiki, FAQ, blog, and probably other places that I’ve forgotten in the crazy stress leading up to the launch.  I inherited the design from my predecessor, and have spent the last few months beating the site and associated services into shape for this launch.  And tonight we celebrated!

Quiet Sundays at Casa Dominick's
photo by phil dokas

As far as campus bars go, Dominick’s is a real treat. This is no Kams or CO Daniels, where your shoes stick to the floor and where the sidewalks have to be hosed off every morning – weekdays included – to eradicate the smell of undergrad excess. Tucked away at the south end of Central Campus, just around the corner from both the B-School and the Law School, it seems to attract an older audience – more grad students and staff than undergrads – at least when I’ve been there. There’s a sheltered patio in front, and a lovely garden in back, and if you know you’re going to be there with a group, you can call ahead to reserve a table.

dominick's
photo by Sean Munson

Tonight we convened in the back garden, enjoying Mason jars full of sweet sangria or Founders pale.  Shane and I split a totally adequate chicken quesadilla, far too large for just one person and packed full of vegetables and melty cheese.  I coveted the slabs of garlic bread and bowls of pesto-coated pasta enjoyed by my coworkers – must remember this for another happy hour.  For now, though, I am happy to have the site out the door, our awful versioning system rendered obsolete, and just enough sangria in my system to make weeding a pleasant task.  Off to the garden!

Some thoughts on presentations to an academic audience

After attending several presentations this week and what felt like a bazillion at GW – plus giving presentations at professional conferences and job interviews myself – I have a few words of advice for those unavoidable times when you find yourself giving a talk to an academic audience.  Please heed these words of advice, or consider yourself forewarned that someone in the audience will be snickering at your mistakes.  It happens.  And it ain’t pretty.

1.  Practice your talk.  And then practice again.  And then maybe run it through a third time, maybe for an audience, just to be sure.

2. While you’re at it, practice your TECH.  Invariably something will go wrong, like the projector won’t work or your file will get corrupted or you will forget your dongle or you’ll be on an unfamiliar machine.  So make sure to control whatever variables you can, and have a back up plan for those you can’t.

3. Don’t read your slides.  If you’re reading your slides, then the audience doesn’t need to read your slides, so then you don’t really need slides, now do you?  The point of the slides is to complement your talk, not to BE your talk.  And for god’s sake, don’t have OTHER PEOPLE read your slides.  I mean, it’s their job to quietly read the slide content to themselves while paying attention to your talk – not to stand up and read portions of the slide to the rest of the audience.  That’s just laziness on your part.

4. Maybe you should think about practicing your talk again now that you’ve rethought your slides.  Make sure those slides are in the right order.  And then generate a PDF of the final copy in case your slide program of choice breaks or the version on your presentation computer isn’t compatible with the new/old one on your machine.  Also maybe you should email yourself a copy or post it on Slideshare or your home institution’s repository.  Maybe you should do all of these things.  And then practice again.

Let’s talk about presentation content for a moment now, shall we?

5. Don’t rely on or even show videos unless they are central to the point of your talk.  Yes, I did just make that both bold and underlined.  This includes funny soundbites intended to make people laugh.  Really unnecessary.  Especially when the videos don’t work.

6. No handouts.  Handouts should only be distributed during your session if they are going to be used during the session.  Handouts should only be made available period if they contain materials that supplement your talk – and then you shouldn’t require anyone to take them who doesn’t want them.  Save the trees, man.

7. If you’re doing activities during your session and will be directing participants to online materials, make those links available online as well, NOT in a handout (see #6).  Don’t make your poor participants type in a bunch of mile-long URLs.  That’s just asking for trouble.

8.  And while we’re talking about mile-long URLs, please, for the love of god, check your links BEFORE your session.  Not during your session.  I guess during the session is better than not checking at all, though.

9. And on the topic of activities?  Don’t include them just to kill time.  A well-conceived activity can make a huge difference in the quality and relevance of a presentation.  A lousy one just makes you look like you don’t have enough material to fill your time slot.  If that’s the case, create more material or end early.  No one ever minds ending early.

10. The following things do not need to be explained in the context of an academic presentation:

  • what a keyword search is and how to conduct it
  • how to conduct any search where the search box is clearly labeled
  • how to click on a link
  • how your site works.  Explaining where things are or what your site contains are OK, though.
  • that something is “online on the internet” or “online on a website”

And finally:

11.  Don’t wear tight-fitting slacks made of any soft fabric.  Trust me on this one.  Have someone whose fashion sense and honesty you trust give you a once over before you leave the house.

What have I been up to?

In progress

Empty book trucks

After

When I got my job at Cooley, I said that I thought it would be neat to be on the ground floor of a new library – something that just doesn’t happen all that often these days. I didn’t realize that meant that I would be literally putting the books on the shelves. The books arrived on Tuesday, and I spent 14 hours between Thursday and Friday shelving. My hands are formed in leetle claws the shape of the ALR, though I’m sure my pain is nothing compared to my coworkers who were there all week.

On the bright side, I haven’t felt bad about not exercising because omg it hurts to move.  On the not-so-bright side, that means I’ve been too sore to run during the rare November weekend in the 60s.  Maybe today – if the Decennial Digests don’t beat me down.

IM transcript of the day

(5:26:21 PM) gelmaninfo@meebo.org/Home: what is your topic?
(5:26:35 PM) Patron: cow sharing in Maryland

[snip]

(5:32:29 PM) gelmaninfo@meebo.org/Home: is there a synonym for ‘sharing’ that is used in the farm business?
(5:33:21 PM) Patron: i am not certain
(5:33:25 PM) Patron: its like buying cow stocks
(5:33:35 PM) Patron: not a stock but buying like the “shares” to a cow
(5:33:45 PM) gelmaninfo@meebo.org/Home: right.  I know they do that in PA with horses
(5:33:56 PM) Patron: really??
(5:34:01 PM) Patron: whats the purpose of that?
(5:34:21 PM) Patron: like the purpose of using cow shares is to get around the law that sales of raw milk are illegal.
(5:34:55 PM) gelmaninfo@meebo.org/Home: oh, my dentist just likes to ride a horse but can’t afford to own one alone… different!

Open Letter to Library Patrons

Dear Patron,

If you’re calling and there’s no answer, please leave a message.  I can’t help you if you don’t leave a message.  It’s not that I don’t want to talk to you – it’s just that I’m helping someone else.

Really, I can’t do anything for you unless you leave a message.  I’m sorry that you feel that you have to hang up after three rings.  It’s really not going to do either of us any good if you do that.  We’ll both just get annoyed and frustrated, and it will be a negative experience for us both.

My dear patron, just leave a message.  Oh, and when you do leave a message, please leave your name AND your phone number and maybe, if you feel like it, some indication of why you were calling.  It’s better for us both when you do that.

Love,
Elizabeth