Showing posts from March, 2008

Hope for the Future. Or, How to Give a Librarian the Warm Fuzzies.

Just when I am finally broken enough to blog something like this, another student provides a refreshing moment of wisdom and interest in being the best researcher they can possibly be. (Much like "being all you can be" for the army. Except an army of one isn't very intimidating, whereas a researcher or scholar of one can inculcate thousands before they're stopped.)
I got my little librarian hands on two upper-level English classes yesterday, and we worked with thesauri and subject guides in various databases, learned all about how our crappy link resolver (soon to be replaced with Gold Rush - yay!) works, and delved into some of our more advanced, subject-specific databases. We discussed inter-library loan, and the coolness that abounds in librarians, who I framed as professional nerds, ready, willing and able to come to desperate students' aid in times of crisis.
I may have also mentioned in passing that we occasionally wear capes, attract the hottest men, and ga…

Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics Memoirs

All right, folks. Let's sit down and have a chat about all of the authors you're angry at because you were "touched" by their memoirs, and whom you then decry as demons when you find out they made the memoir up. It's a long overdue conversation, and it's one I really want you to think about.
Oprah took James Frey to task for making up the majority of his book A Million Little Pieces after she had endorsed it and made a good portion of the housewives of America read it. Oprah, the crusader that she is, took Frey to task publicly, outraged at having been deceived by his occasionally fictitious "memoir." He was, in fact, a drug addict, and many of the pieces of A Million Little Pieces are, in fact, true. Lots of fact there for you to enjoy.
More recently, Misha Defonseca admitted that her Holocaust memoir Misha: A Mémoire of the Holocaust Years was entirely fabricated. That's right - she fabricated her memoir of her survival of the Holocaust years…

Judging Sources, or, Why You Should Pay the Hell Attention in my Library Instruction Classes

I just spent the last fifteen minutes trying to explain to a young college girl why she should *not* be using The Onion as her news source for a serious research paper.
Let me back up. It started with a relatively simple question - she came to the desk and asked whether she was supposed to cite her news article as a newspaper or as a web source. She held out an article from the Onion. "I know it's a newspaper, but I only have the online version," she said.
Because I wanted to be sure, I asked, "You know The Onion isn't actually a real news source, right?"
*blank stare*
"What I mean to say is, The Onion is a fake news source. They make things up. it's a parody of the news, meant to make you laugh."
*blank stare*
"'s not a real newspaper at all. It's just a fake news website."
Face brightens. "So I cite it as an online source?"
"Yes. But it's not real news. Do you need a real-life news article for your p…
Woo-hoo! I made the March issue of InfoCareerTrends, the online professional newsletter for librarians-in-the-know. You can read "The New Academic Librarian: Setting priorities, Setting Goals" here.
I have to admit, writing that was a nice excuse to step back and take a look at what I Should be doing, as opposed to what I do, which is generally crisis and deadline management. Given the gorgeous weather of the past few days (makes me think beach) and that a bunch of deadlines will be off my back once march is done, I'm going to have to re-pace myself.
Here's to surviving March!