Tuesday, January 31, 2012

me vs the ipad: round six

Okay, Henry could have won this one.  But he has a small disadvantage.  He's too big.  We have a basement in this library.  And I mean a basement, don't stop on the landing, go allllll the way down.  It is a maze.  Look for the wall of red books (American Supreme Court something-a-ruthers for those who are interested) and you will find the exit.  Otherwise it is a "bodies of students lost in this library will be retrieved Mondays and Thursdays only, no exceptions" kind of basement. (One poor young foreign student thought I was serious! eek).  I go down into the basement, in which I could find my way out blindfolded, one a week to seek out books which are labeled "missing".  Ie, we have no idea where they have ended up.  It is true, humans work here, no digital breakdown required, we don't have to be rebooted, we do this naturally: we make mistakes. 

So, there I am, in the basement, and low a student appears.  "Can I help you?"  Yup.  So I charge about the back roads of the basement and pull out the books he needs.  But there is a problem, he's new in life and missed that part of education which demanded handwriting was something you could actually read.  Especially if it was your own.  And here is where Henry would have had his moment.  I could have looked up the book and got the call number* by using Henry, who, bright little bug that he is, has access to the internet.  But I was searching for missing books and had that list in my hands, as I have to make a note of each time I look for them.  Carrying the list and Henry around with me was not a happening thing. So, I had to send the poor student all the way up the long staircase, step by step, on foot, to the main level where the computers are.  Sigh.

Now you will say I could use Henry to hold the book search list and mark off the dates on which I had checked for the books.  And I don't doubt you are right. But given that we are not allow aps due to the need for credit card back up and due to the fact that I have already stated the difficulties of Henry's note taking abilities....I will leave you with this little story.  Belonged to a group that send out a few hard copy newsletters to the luddites among us.  A friend in the group said she could print out the mailing list for me on stickies so I would not have to slave away by hand with the envelopes.  After four hours she had not sorted out how to get her computer, printer, and paper to work in concert.  I wrote the envelopes out by hand each month for five years, and still hadn't used up four hours of my time doing it.

*Yup its true, with hundred and eighty thousand, give or take, titles we do not sort them by colour but by library of congress call number.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Loving the book

A friend of mine came over for tea yesterday.  She has an e-reader.  She was unable to get it to let her read.  Asking her beloved, men always know these things, right?, and he gave advice. She followed his advice.  Twice, to be sure.  Nada.  Nothing.  No action.  Without giving in to the madness of doing the same thing again and again and expecting a different response, she called tech support.*  She was helped.  And I thought (after 'I love tech people like that'): Tech support.  Give me a book.

*The lovely (a comment on personality and duty qualifications) woman at tech support said,
"See x icon on the left?' 
"Click that."  Pause.
"See y icon?"
"Click that." Pause.
"See z icon on the left?"
"Click that."
Voila, she can read again.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

January remembers herself

Last week we were still living in a surreal extended version of October.  This week January has remembered herself. The snow came, a good half foot, quite respectable, on Saturday night.  Sunday morning my work out was shifting it off the sidewalks around the place.  Monday was cold, -25 C cold.  And today it is January:  -37 C.  Long johns, jeans, ski pants, winter boots (not the late fall early winter boots that look like glorified hikers, but BOOTS), shirt, jacket, sweater, overcoat, two shawl sized scarves, two fleece neckers (one too many as it turned out, but I am out of practice), hat with the ear flaps, gloves inside the fleece lined leather mitts.  Winter.  Fresh, bright, beautiful.

The 'green' roof of the Law College

Law KF 706 .W37 1899 gets a spine

Second spine in 112 years.  Last time the cardboard replacement method was used.  This time I decided it deserved a spine that would arch beautifully over its beautifully arched spine.  After the new mull was thoroughly dried, I measured, with a string and then the string on a ruler, the distance of the arch.  I decided which colour of book tape I would use (green won out, it looked best and was widest). 

I cut the tape the needed length and then cut a piece of binder tape.  It is gummed cloth.  You need not use it.  At home I would use a sturdy piece of regular cloth.  A cotton probably, some unsuspecting male's old cotton trousers, or, as I have used before, ancient and venerable linen towels.  Cut the cloth to cover the length of the book's covers and width of the spine arch.  Then place it centred on the sticky side of the book tape (that's important - sticking it to the non sticky side of the book tape requires glue and leaves your cloth strangely exposed on the outside of the spine.  An artistic statement perhaps, but not the one I am after.).  Then! to make the ends of the curve of the spine match the thickness of the book covers place the always useful pieces of string the width of the spine.  This time I cut straight up from the string ends and only formed the wedge shapes afterwards using an knife, but you can simply cut out the wedges with scissors. 

With the book resting on the cloth of the new spine, press the tape onto the book cover.  Draw up the centre first and work out to the edges. The tapered ends are then wrapped around to the inside of the cover.

Next time a quick look at the finishing off bits.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

salt mines

Okay, this is too cool.  As we go digital there are those with the brains to preserve paper copies of stuff. Cause, guess what, the digital stuff, as I have probably noted before, have to keep changing their format (good thing we have those lucky people in India and China who risk their lives and their health to break up our junk and pull out the useful bits).  So in the legal world there is LLMC.  And yes, I will give that to you in English.  Law Library Microform Consortium.  It is saving legal information, statues and the like, in microfilm form - high quality Silver-Halide, thank you -, in digital form, and, here comes the cool part, in original paper form in salt mines in Kansas! (Cause its archivally dark down there.)  

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

today's count

And perhaps some of yesterday's, for yesterday I sat out on the grass by the museum.  If I had not been in recovery from a cold, I would have taken off my boots and socks and walked on the grass just to say I had.  Today the air it turning and there is snow in the forecast, though I do not yet smell it in the air.  What I did smell was a small piece of crushed sage between my finger tips.  I saw the little people out with their keepers.  The keepers were in black and stood back observing.  The little people were in pink and plaid and blue and when one toppled the short distance to the grass the next would oblige by following suit.  Pig pile.  A lone jogger meandered along the river trail.  And two magpies dared the roadway to do their natural cleanup duties.  And upon my return to artificial light, I was delighted by the delivery of that which constitutes my cleanup duties.  To each their own.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Law KF 706 .W37 1899

It is not surprising that at 112 years old this book was not is as fine a shape as it was when it was born.  It had been re-spined once in the time honoured method of cardstock, string, and tape - which I am sure I have already shown you somewhere.  But this new year repair required a bit more effort.  It was, as you can see, hanging on by two original cloth tapes sewn to the spine.  I did not want to cut those tapes, but I did want to give the spine a completely new mull for support.  With the covers separated as they were it came to me in a bright moment to thread the mull between the tapes.  This was done yesterday.  Today I have glued the ends to the inside of the cover.  I will show you more as the repair progresses.

New Year's count

This year began with book repair.  And chocolate biscuits. I spent New Year's Day afternoon at a friend's house showing her, her daughter, and another friend some of the more basic book repairs: putting a cover back on a paperback, tipping in a single page.  That sort of thing.  It was a delightful opening to 2012.

New Years Day evening involved sewers and rubber boots.  But I choose to laugh at such adventures, it makes for a brighter life.  And I did get to see down the camera scope, which was very cool.

Happy New Year.