Library News

Julie Andrews and Libraries

You may know Julie Andrews as the star of Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music and The Princess Diaries, but I was quite excited to learn that she’s also an enthusiastic supporter of public libraries! She wrote an editorial in yesterday’s Los Angeles Times, criticizing budget cuts. I’ve visited some California public libraries (and in fact have a Palos Verdes Peninsula library card) but am not that familiar with LA libraries. Have any of you visited any? And what do you think of her editorial?

New KnowledgeBase

Campus Information Systems at NU has created a knowledgeBase of all kinds of technical support information.  It’s going to be available to faculty, staff, and students through the myNEU portal.  It’s developed from third party software called “Right Answers.” The Knowledgebase has some canned information about the commercial software we have at NU, like Microsoft Office and Lotus Notes, plus some additional customized help that’s been created by our local IS people, like how to change your myNEU password.  There isn’t much there for the library yet, but we can send our own help, like how to log in to NuCat, Endnote stuff, and so on, and they will add it to the knowledgebase.  We can also supply them with links to our existing help, and then we don’t have to update information in two places when it changes.  So if a user typed in “article alerts” they would either see some instructions or a link to our page where we have instructions already (or both).   IS is still tweaking it, look for an NU announcement when it’s ready to roll out to the campus.

SL Twitter Typewriter

I just came across a blog post describing a giant typewriter in Second Life that posts to Twitter. Make of it what you will, I thought it was amusing 🙂  Happy Friday!

What ARE they teaching in Library School these days?

Well, as many of you may know, I am going to school to get my Masters in Library Science through Drexel University’s online program.  I thought maybe you would be interested in hearing about the classes I am taking (this quarter, at least). I am taking two courses, the first of which is Introduction to Information Systems Analysis (fancy-speak for just Systems Analysis).  It’s basically an overview of what it is to be a systems analyst.  To be perfectly honest…this is not my favorite course.  There are a lot of dense terms, that when read in a 40-page chapter can make my head fuzzy.  But, the professor teaching the class has a really good sense of humor and likes to joke around, so that definitely lightens the mood.  For my final project, we are asked to analyze a system (real or made up) and write a proposal to the “powers that be” in how to implement or improve that system.  I decided I wanted to analyze and propose a system on implementing a library blog! The second course I am taking is Internet Information and Resource Design (fancy-speak for Web Design).  In this course, we are making webpages, while learning about the different aspects of designing for the web.  By the end of the quarter, we will have two webpages- one by using HTML code and the other with a website design software (namely, Dreamweaver).  As you may have guessed, the first website we are creating is being done strictly with HTML code.  Which is really…how can I put this?…DAUNTING.  I have nightmares about tags, lists, and tables.  The website I am working on now is on my writing-more specifically, poetry.  I promise to post the link when it is finished, but I am warning you.  Let me just put it this way- not only will you get to see my horrible website making skills, you’ll also get to see my horrible writing skills as well! (Just kidding!…I suppose.) I have been asked a lot of questions on how online classes actually work on a daily basis.  I’m sure each program at each school is different, but I think Drexel has it down pretty well.  Drexel uses Blackboard as a learning space.  Each week new lectures (usually Word documents) and assignments are posted by the professors.  We, as the students, read the lectures and any other readings that are given to us, whether from our books, websites, or journal articles.  Then, we complete the assignments (usually exercises or activities) submit them through either email, the Assignment Manager, or the Digital Dropbox in Blackboard.  Finally, we post to the class discussion board on the topic given for the week.  Everything is posted by the professor by Monday morning and is due on the following Sunday by midnight.  This is all done very independently and at “one’s own pace.” Although I am enjoying my courses and look forward to the outcome, Library School + Full-time job = Stress City.  I have decided to take the summer off and then start again in the Fall with only one course a quarter.  I will get my degree a little slower than anticipated, but definitely with my sanity intact.

Vintage Ads

I’ve been reading more about the history of graphic design lately. During the first part of the 20th century, the large portion of the client-base for graphic designers were cigarette companies. Looking back at ads from the 30s, 40s and 50s, I can appreciate the craft (they’re all illustrated by hand), but it raises a lot of questions in my mind about ethics in a profession like graphic design. Like most, these designers did not know just how bad cigarettes were when these advertisements were composed. And this makes me wonder how many of the ads we see now will prove to be as ironic as these do now:
  • And read the reasons why you should change to Philip Morris. They’re recommended by nose and throat specialists!
  • Nevermind what they recommend. What do doctors smoke?
  • This isn’t intended to be marketed towards children. I know many adults who still play with their paper dolls.
  • This is just terrible.