Monday, October 31, 2011

It's Heeerrre

The Library 2.011 worldwide virtual conference is this Wednesday and Thursday, November 2 - 4, all online, all free. As of today, we have 5,000 registrations for the conference from 151 countries!  Amazing!  The conference schedule is also now online, with all 160+ sessions, and an individual hour-by-hour schedule calendar for each of 36 different time zones--and the live links to the session rooms will go up later today and tomorrow. Be sure to register by joining the site at the link above.

Friday, October 28, 2011

the f word

EEEEEK, it's in the weather report for tomorrow:  flurries.  That white stuff that we avoid mentioning by name this time of year.  Oh say it isn't so, say it will be rain.  The garden would love a little rain.  My one joy at a weather report like this is the small, but visible, bumps on the tiny branches of the trees, little leafs all curled up ready for spring.  Don't get me wrong, I also take great joy in a wide smooth white expanse dotted with evergreens and crowned by blue as far as you can see, but I am not in a rush for it.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

making it up

As we go digital the equipment needed for certain book repairs becomes rare indeed. Cerlox binding or Comb binding is a dying art and all the places near me that were capable of replacing a broken comb have gone to join the dodos. I first used a cerlox binder when I worked at a photocopy shop in the early 1990's.  I used to make homemade calendars with it.  But long use causes the plastic spines to break and not only is the photocopy shop closed, the printing department on campus has closed down all but its main branch. So I had to make the repair up as I went along.  I decided a perfect bind was the best, but there were those large rectangular holes cut up the spine side of the paper:  making for a very weak spine.  So I used my hand binding experience and strengthened the spine with a paper lacing before I proceeded with the perfect bind. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Yesterday's count

a view of the city from the end of the crabapple grove
it's there, honest!
And today's too.  Yesterday I saw a hawk twice.  Once sitting disdainfully on the top of a post observing the world, its kingdom, from the look on its face, and once aloft with a crow and about fifteen magpies.  When I first saw them I thought the hawk was after the crow and the magpies were trying to save it.  Could be the magpies thought so too.  But abruptly the magpies flew off, silence reigned.  The crow and the hawk circled higher and eventually separated amicably.  Today the birds I saw were the flotillas of geese on the river by the big island.  They wait, ready for that which we all know is coming.  The leaves are more and more on the ground and the sky looks bigger for it.  I love the sense of space bare trees give.  Of course by March I am pining for a little green, but let us find the joy of the moment and enjoy it.  Today the sky is blue, the downed leaves are turning orange and brown and I am still biking.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Digital Library Plenary

Yeah, but will the architecture be as nice in the Digital Public Library of America? J

Today's count

A hawk flying low to the ground.   A ground covered in leaves, brown with red highlights.  A group of shrubs sporting spring green, burnt orange of late fall, and bright yellow of early fall.  Yesterday I lay down at the end of the crabapple grove and saw the world as blue, with pale white streaks at the edge of my vision, and a green fringe. The unmowed grasses looked as tall as buildings. Behind me a poplar cackled with the wind.  Today a grounds keeper spread noise and air pollution around with the leaves, supposedly in the firm believe that the wind would not whisper by and move them back again.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A book start to finish: part 4 publication delays

This kind of thing often happens in the publishing world.  The author (me) is late getting the manuscript done for one reason or another ( I am taking Legal Writing and Research to enhance my abilities to help the law students in reference and my mind is currently being bent into a pretzel - ouch is the word, but it is a good ouch, like a new yoga pose), or the publisher changes editors (not happening here), or the illustrator breaks her wrist grabbing her two year old out of the way of her four year old who is pretending to be a bulldozer (also not likely here), or the printer has had a flood and all their paper is soaked and on drying racks so the publisher has to wait for a sunny day and the paper to dry out (remote, but not impossible), or the truck delivering the goods to market has a flat (I might have a flat on my bike bringing the book over to donate it to the library, but I can still walk the distance, so no worries there).  It is just the way of things. 

And if the e-book kiddies out there are feeling smug just remember you also have authors who have lives, and uploads that get eaten, and digital jigjags, and incompatible files.  Oh, and the battery on your e-book reader just died and you have a flat tire and can't get home to plug it in.  Too bad it doesn't have a little solar panel, you could hang it up with the paper.

When my brain has been thoroughly lawified I will get back to the manuscript of George Cecil Harris and his memorable fender.  Don't give up hope, I am only on the closed memo. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

me vs the ipad: round three

My epiphany.  To interact properly with an ipad one must think like a toddler.  Plunked into a world without language or point of reference just poke and prod ( I actually advise against putting the ipad in your mouth as a method of exploration, or biting it, though I have yet to discount the pleasure of smacking it, it really isn't its fault it is so frustrating to work with) until it does something that pleases you.  Then make it do that again.  If you can, or more to the point, until you can. Repeat. While this learning method is frustrating for an adult (and as the parents of toddlers will attest, the toddler too), it is an excellent exercise for the brain, the determination, and the patience.  Henry is as yet unsmacked, and he came with me today on a refreshing walk through the crabapple grove.  Fall is here in earnest.  The air is sharp, the yellows are bright.  The apples are turning to wine.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A book start to finish: part 3 finding George

This should really be called the research section, but what is so title grabbing about part 3, research?  The first thing I found out about Cecil George Harris, was that he wasn't called Cecil, or Cec, he was called George.  Lucky him in my opinion.  The myth about the internet is that it is the fount of all knowledge.  It ain't even the fount of all information.  I contacted first the local lawyers among the library staff and asked from whence the case on George had been heard, which court house was it?  Considered consideration brought the consensus to Kerrobert.  From websites I did find out about the courthouse and the closing there of.  But George had to be sought elsewhere.  I called the Public Library because I knew they had a local history room.  The woman at the local history room was gem.  She found for me a history on the area which gleaned information such as George's wife's name:  Bessie Mae Duke.  And that they had two children:  Donna and David.  I also went to the Saskatchewan Archives, a branch of which is on the campus of the University of Saskatchewan and there I found George's obit.  Which, among other things said he was an IOOF.  Huh?  Out came the dictionary of abbreviations and it turns out George was a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.

Friday, October 7, 2011

me vs the ipad: round two

So, I can now take pictures and email pictures with Henry.  And he so kindly lets me know that the emails are from himself the ipad.  What a great advertising gimmick.  No flies on that Steve Jobs, no there wasn't.  But it turns out Henry has something of a small mail bag, (oops, didn't mean that), he can only carry five photos at a time and after that he will only let me delete or print.  Okay, I can batch, I am a clever child.  But Henry is not.  He will label the photos one through five.  Every batch.  And when the batch arrives my computer, not surprisingly, offers to overwrite the last set of one through five or cancel the transaction. I have to go into my pictures file on my computer and change the names before I can send more pictures.  So in terms of Henry being useful for my requirements on this, my round.  Henry can't do the job without a lot of extra work from me.  But he's still so cute with all those smudgy finger prints on his face.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Today's count

An October wind, strong and warm, so strong it has raised the leaves from talk to song.  A chipmunk along a high branch of the crabapple trees considering the well ripened fruit.  A class of grade school kids gathered tidily on the bluff above the river, their abandoned bikes laying on the yellowing grass, their attention possibly on their teacher taking about erosion, possibly on the wind, the warmth, the river, the geese gathering in battalions below waiting for final take off.

A book start to finish: part 2 the inspiration continued

The Discovery Channel phoned because they were doing a segment on strange and or outrageous wills.* Could we do some photos of the fender for them.  Sure. I took some shots and sent them a copy of the case report in the 1948 Canadian Bar Review vol. 26. But the glare off the glass was too much for them.  More photos please.  More photos were taken.  Contact info to the professional who had taken a shot for the On Campus News was offered.  Nope.  Could the case be opened?  Sure, we’ll just find the key…..key? What key?  The key to what? Who would have that key?  Try this key?  No?  This one?  No?  The Discovery Channel offered to pay to have the case broken into.  As no key continued to be found the break in was arranged.  Facilities Management sent their experts, the case was taken into the Head Librarian's office, and behind closed doors, shhhh it’s a library, the case was opened and a new lock installed.  The fender was removed briefly and thoroughly photographed. 
Oh, that key.

Then Discovery Channel asked if we knew anything else about Mr. Harris.  And I was off.  For years I had seen the fender as everyone else had seen the fender, as evidence, as a noteworthy case in estate law, but as to the person who had actually lain trapped under the tractor all those years ago, breathing through the pain, scrabbling to get his knife out of his pocket and scratching those words into the side of his tractor?  He had disappeared.  I set out to find out what I could about him.

*I don't know what title they decided on in the end, or even if a show was finally produced on the subject. 

You can see why Discovery Channel didn't want my poor little photos.

Monday, October 3, 2011

me vs the ipad: round one

I'd like to say I won that one, but perhaps I could describe it as a draw?  Our work group has been provided two ipads so that we might come to better understand the minds of the new humans.  At least if you follow all the hype you might think of them as new humans, almost a different species.  I meet them daily at the desk and they seem just like the old humans to me; that is, perfectly human and generally very nice.  Still, it is best, as the world turns, to keep up with the changes.  So today I introduced myself to the the ipad we call Henry (not that you can tell the difference between him and Georgina if it weren't for the labels I put on them) and said 'hello'.  We did not get on well from there because Henry kept his mouth shut and would not not assist me in any way.  I have been told the Henrys and Georginas of this world are suppose to be intuitive.  If they are, they are faking being obnoxious and obtuse to an excellent degree.  Of course you might say I am the one with the intuition.  True enough, I do, and a good deal of stick-to-ativeness, which is why I have managed, without breaking Henry over the edge of my desk in frustration, and a couple of calls to people with their own ipads, to take photos, front and back, and to send them to Henry's email (which I can open) and latest book repair underway.