Monthly Archives: March 2011

computers in libraries 2011: day one

I’ll be honest.  This morning I wasn’t overly excited about day one of the conference compared to the rest of the week, but I did enjoy the searching sessions I attended.  Overall, the sessions scheduled for Monday just didn’t seem as interesting to me.  Maybe my expectations for Wednesday’s Content Management and Preservation Track and Thursday’s Data Curation workshop are too high.  We’ll see.

Today I only attended three sessions, and none of the keynotes.  I planned for a partial day at the conference since I would be working a full shift at work tonight (I didn’t want to ask someone else to cover my closing shift).  Below are some of the highlights from the sessions I attended.

Super Searcher Strategies and Tips

  • Google has a word proximity search operator: AROUND (#) # = number of word proximity
  • Google Books’ data mining lab:
  • Yahoo Clues shows search trends and demographics.
  • doesn’t track your search results, so past searches won’t influence future ones.
  • blocks spam and content farms.  You can also use specialized slash tags, such as /relevance and /date to organize results.

Building Community with Faculty and Suppliers

  • When creating a digital repository, start small with a focus but also dream big for the future.
  • Be ready to do it all yourself.
  • Plan ahead, but stay flexible.
  • After implementing the repository, constantly assess what people are looking at and downloading.
  • You need to have both anecdotes and data to demonstrate the repository’s worth.

Search: Quick Tips for Adding Value

  • In Google, use an asterisk in place of wildcard words (e.g. john * kennedy) – but be careful, each asterisk insists presence of a word.
  • Microsoft Academic Search: Google Scholar on steroids?
  • archives tweets and allows you to search images and videos linked in tweets.
  • and Many Eyes allow you to create data visualizations without knowing code.
  • Google has a command for searching only specific file types: filetype:[extension] (e.g. [search terms] filetype:ppt)
  • Google also has an operator for searching within number ranges: .. (e.g. 1984..1999)

If you’re interested in more details about the searching sessions, Librarian in Black (who moderated the sessions) live-blogged each one.


Posted by on March 21, 2011 in conferences


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hyping links

Why Some E-Books Cost More than the Hardcover
Finally, an explanation that really breaks down the costs of selling physical books vs. ebooks that I can understand.

Information Is Beautiful on the books everyone must read
Here’s a cloud visualization aggregating popular lists and polls that name the must-read books.

SXSW 2011: The Year of the Librarian
This post from The Atlantic shares how awesome librarians are.
I’ll be attending Computers in Libraries 2011 next week and intend to blog about my experience.  If you’re not attending in person, you can still watch all three keynote speeches that will be streamed live.

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Posted by on March 18, 2011 in conferences, ebooks, links



thoughts on diversity

While I’ve read through some journal articles on diversity in the librarian profession, the following thoughts are based on my own personal life and speculation.  It isn’t the most thorough or cohesive post — and I don’t mean for it to be, as hundreds of pages could be (and are) written.  This post is definitely more of a reflection, and I am sure I will post more on this subject in the future, especially since one of my goals is to research and publish on this topic someday.

I suppose I should first spell out what “groups” I include when referring to diversity, but my list won’t be exhaustive without looking up a formal definition.  I do think diversity really encompasses many things — not just gender, race, and ethnicity.  While the focus of this post will be racial and ethnic diversity, diversity of socio-economic background, sexual orientation, lifestyle, disability, and religion are also very important to me.

So here’s my story (briefly):  I grew up in South Carolina and all throughout my schooling, I was only one of maybe three other Asian American students in my grade.  And while I always loved going to the library, it too was not a racially diverse place — both in terms of the staff and the collections.  My undergraduate experience exposed me to a lot more diversity, but the university curriculum still had a lot of work to be done.  I’ve always recognized if I was surrounded by diversity or a lack of it, but college really made me examine how a lack of diversity is usually a result of institutional and/or structural barriers.  It’s something I definitely “see” all the time now — so naturally, I have to question why the field of librarianship isn’t more diverse.  In my experience, my friends of color chose to go into fields that are already racially diverse (or at least seem to be).  Similarly, I think my female friends are more likely to choose a career that isn’t male-dominated.  No one wants to feel like an outsider — to be the only one coming from a certain background or perspective.

Honestly, being the “different” person can be really tiring.  Not everyone wants to be the “pioneer,” the one to change things, the first to bring up a problem or see it through to a conclusion.  And no one wants to be the token go-to who is asked for their perspective as a representative of all things diverse.  It can be tiring being “that person” in class, the one who always points out how something may be racially or socioeconomically problematic, etc.  Believe me, I’ve been “that person” many, many times.  It’s one thing to be conscious of the problem, but it takes a whole lot of effort to work on solving it.  So when it comes to choosing a career, it can be much easier to pick one where you don’t have to deal with a large lack in diversity.

Another obstacle I see is a lack of diversity within library collections.  If you don’t think the library contains content that interests (or represents) you, you’re not exactly going to be volunteering to join in.  Again, not everyone wants to be the person to change things.  I definitely felt like my undergraduate library did not have a well-developed collection on Southeast Asia, which was unfortunate since that area was a focus of mine.

But ultimately, I think marketing of the profession is why people in general don’t think about becoming a librarian — and this is especially true for people of color.  It didn’t dawn on me that being a librarian is an actual career until I started graduate school in another field.  And now I continually get asked what librarians do, how I got interested in the field, etc…and it always feels like I’m on the defensive, justifying why I would dare become a librarian (because the job seems either obvious or boring).  And while there are many librarians out there blogging, tweeting, etc. — the online community feels very insulated.  I don’t have any solutions in mind (yet), but I think the place to start is marketing librarianship earlier and better.

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Posted by on March 17, 2011 in diversity


hyping links

Libraries: The Gateway Drug for the Book Habit
It’s true, they are.

Feminism for Real: Deconstructing the Academic Industrial Complex of Feminism
In honor of International Women’s Day, here are some great excerpts from an anthology that bring to light “some of the issues people of color (particularly Indigenous people) encounter when entering feminist spaces.”

Quoth the Detective: Edgar Allan Poe’s Case Against the Boston Literati
Did you know that Edgar Allan Poe didn’t like Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Nathaniel Hawthorne?

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Posted by on March 11, 2011 in links



conference season schedule

In two weeks, I’ll be attending Computers in Libraries here in Washington, DC.  It will be the beginning of my “conference season” this year.  The last (and very first!) conference I attended was the Society of American Archivists (SAA) Annual Meeting back in August, which was conveniently located in DC as well.  It was before I started library school, so I felt like an outsider who didn’t know anything — which made me pretty shy and uneasy about reaching out to others.  Hopefully this year will be different, as I feel slightly more knowledgeable than before (though still only in my second semester) and have made connections to other LIS folks through blogging and Twitter.  At the very least, I feel as if I belong to the LIS community now.

Below are the conferences I will be going to this year, along with the dates I’ll be attending.  Please let me know if you will be there too!  And of course, I will write about my experiences after (and possibly during) the conferences.

Computers in Libraries
Washington, DC
March 21-24, 2011

Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference (MARAC) Spring 2011 Conference
Alexandria, VA
May 6, 2011

StartingBloc Institute for Social Innovation
New York, NY
May 26-30, 2011

American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference
New Orleans, LA
June 24-27, 2011

SAA Annual Meeting
Chicago, IL
August 24-27, 2011 (tentative dates)

I will be presenting a graduate poster at SAA (and hopefully MARAC) — so if you have any tips, please share!

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Posted by on March 7, 2011 in conferences


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