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Nomicons contd. December 26, 2005

Posted by unamable in metagraphic, Tagging.
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So after the naming of parts and the conventions thereto appended we need to have a better form of access. We need to speak the language of those who crawl into our catalogues. We need to let them in and say how they would look at the item if they were looking for the item – not force them into accepting an agreed term or keyword. No need now to scrabble around in your brain for the correct form just dig out the first word that comes into your head and presto! it will be found along with other like items described equally as badly – “but what’s described badly” I hear the maverick me whisper, reminding me of subject headings of note which failed to be clarify in my muddled mind since they were couched in an archaic wordname or I was required to think backwards, in a strictly hierarchical way y’unnerstan, to find what I wanted to look for.

But life does go on and just to show that it isn’t all gloom and doom back at L of C here are some recent subject headings cribbed from The Marginal Librarian

  • Air guitar (May Subd Geog)
  • Boating with cats (May Subd Geog)
  • Boring–Mathematical models
  • Clowns–Religious aspects–Christianity
  • Cockroaches–Literary collections
  • Drunkenness (Philosophy)
  • Feet in the Bible
  • Homing pigeons in the bible
  • Fetus Fiction
  • Virtual reality in management
  • Whiskey–Anecdotes
  • Zombies–Juvenile literature
  • Boredom–Songs and music
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Nomicons December 20, 2005

Posted by unamable in Folksonomies, metagraphic, Tagging.
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The other thing I suppose I could say is that “unamable” looks sideways at is – what librarianship, if I can use the old form of address, does and maybe, occasionally specifically, at names and things that identify or describe other things. (That is a bit of what us librarians do isn’t it?)

Ooh dear it’s all so confusing for one who remembers the metal-on-wood slidesound of the card drawer and the pleasant dusty dogeared sensation of riffling through those ole cards…..

To be told that users will soon be able to write our records for us. I mean, steady on. Where will all the pedantry, nitpicking and terminal exactitude go which attended the careful “boiling in the belly” of a carefully crafted card – I ask myself. You can sense that I style myself one of the maverick breed of librarian from that remark.

I never felt satisfied by any of my efforts at describing an item – I was following rules which were logical and rational – but somehow it never quite touched the wild hardback/paperback beast I had in my hands. And I can only begin to imagine what a metadator (or whatever the naming convention is) does to less tangible, more complex and rich content items such as a webpage… my heart goes out to them. Of course OCLC has done some luvly things for us all and Open World Cat really brings to put together correct form with a juicier set of user-based fruits. But I am reminded of my high-minded browsing of Amazon where the neutral tone of an Amazon reviewer is rapidly undermined by a “hey dude dig this ‘lume” or some such enthusiastic fan-type response. Yes I know it is the voice of you and me and I should not be so snotty … but can I quite stomach such descriptive content in my library catalogue? If this is the price libraries must pay to stave off extinction, then I guess it’s o.k. ….just about

the naming December 19, 2005

Posted by unamable in Beckettiana.
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I had to come up with a name so, contrariness consulted, that’s why this is called what it is called. It comes (of course) from Samuel Beckett, who I find both profound, tragic and funny, which kind of sums up where I am as a person who works in/with/beyond libraries.To be more precise:
“Lacking any plot in the conventional sense, The Unnamable ….is the search for the self within the tragic realm of human suffering.

The obsessive narrator–who opens the novel asking, “Where now? Who now? When now?”–is a disembodied person, living in a large jar in a restaurant window in Paris. Essentially “unnamable,” the narrator is referred to as Mahood, Worm, and Basil, in a series of tales. The final sentence in the novel is a long dramatic monologue. The narrator concludes with the desire to continue living despite an inescapable sense of anguish and entropy: “I can’t go on, I’ll go on.”

taken from 1997 Encyclopædia Britannica

Which perhaps goes some way to describing my ‘tude in the current climate of pessimistic optimism or optimistic pessimism within the “library and knowledge profession” depending on which side of the digital divide you wake up on. It also has some kinship with my outlook on life, the multiverse and anything..but only when I am feeling romantic.

Beckett will be 100 December 17, 2005

Posted by unamable in Beckettiana.
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Just to pay homage to the blog title a little, I should mention that next year is the centenary of Samuel Beckett’s birth (1906 – 1989). Lots of things going on but, to me, the highlight, for those who can be there, is from April to May 2006 in the Gate Theatre productions of nine of Beckett’s plays including “Waiting for Godot”, “Krapp’s Last Tape” (starring John Hurt), Endgame and the three double bills: Play/Catastrophe, Rockaby/Ohio Impromptu and Footfalls/Come and Go. A veritable feast of othermindlyness.

Library 2.0 R.I.P. December 13, 2005

Posted by unamable in Library 2.0.
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So that’s it? It’s just another over-hyped, bubble-like protrusion on the naive adolescent face of the library profession. Web 2.0 is just another lure to get the tech-tranced, or the guilty non-techie librarian like me who wants to be ”with it” – to feel part of the knowledge age and to chalk up a cool quotient with my millenial mentors. I think not, I am more in agreement with Roger Clarke’s recent-ish post which sees Library 2.0 as a way of re-relating to our patrons/users and improving the responsive nature of our services to them.

There are some great examples of Library 2.0 already in use, people who have seen the opportunities through the hype, St. Joseph County Public Library, Ann Arbor District Library and Thomas Ford Memorial LIbrary are only three that I know of. I think to myself wouldn’t it be nice if, as a librarian, I were both prepared and able to react with agility when approached by a patron. In a similar way perhaps to the supermarket’s ability to deliver James Surowiecki’s orange juice carton – no one acts according to prescribed rules but on the basis of what is good for all the links in the chain from the grower to the shopper. We are not a retail chain, but, I believe that the library profession has a good track record in terms of sharing with each other and passing along knowledge. Now all we need to to do is extend our network in order to our users to benefit our users and, incidentally, ourselves as a profession.