Saturday, February 11, 2012

Another Perspective on the Harvard Reorganization

I'm still catching up with posts in my Google Reader (now nearing those posted near the end of January!) and came across this piece by "looty." The post fits a piece of the puzzle that I think has been missing from the larger professional discussion, i.e. libraries with large backlogs (and especially those ARL libraries with special collections and archival backlogs) should think seriously about redeploying technical services personnel, especially catalogers, towards the continued work of uncovering "hidden collections." The backlog for my unit alone includes some 60-70,000 uncataloged books, many of them acquired in the 1970s and 1980s and for which there is a barebones bibliographic record in our catalog. Add to this a mass of material from the 150 or so special collections that I oversee and it doesn't take a genius to see that there's plenty of work to do. So why not move TS staff to this new area of endeavor and engage them in work that will help us as content creators associated with rare materials make this "stuff" available for use?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Congressional Chaplains

Something else, if you have the time, that caught my eye as I'm zooming through my Google Reader feeds, this one from the New York Times on the U.S. Senate and House Chaplains. Nothing to do with books or reading or Web 2.0 stuff but of interest to me--maybe "Politics 2.0" To quote from the article: "At a time when Congress is stunningly unpopular, with approval ratings in various recent polls around 12 percent, Father Conroy and Dr. Black serve as pastors to what must be one of the most reviled congregations in the country."

One more from Dirda

I can't's another question from the interview with Michael Dirda that struck home.

How can the average person become a more discerning reader?

One, move your lips when you read, or at least say the words aloud in your head. Writers care about the sound of their sentences or the lines of their poems, and the best way to appreciate a distinctive style is to slow down and listen to the voice on the page.

Two, always read with a pencil in your hand. Mark favorite passages. Scribble questions or comments in the margin. Argue with the author.

Three, resist habit and complacency. Don’t just pick up every James Patterson or Charlaine Harris novel that comes out. Try something new or old, or translated from a foreign language, or in a field that you know nothing about but that sounds interesting.

Echoes of Mortimer Adler and How To Read a Book.

“Washington Is a Terrific Place If You’re a Serious Reader” - News & Features (

“Washington Is a Terrific Place If You’re a Serious Reader” - News & Features (

I'm catching up with some reading, much of it coming to me through all the rss feeds I have pumping stuff into my Google Reader account. I just finished this piece by someone I've had the privilege to rub shoulders with, Michael Dirda, through our Sherlockian activities (we're both members of "The 44th Street Pondicherry Lodgers." Highly recommended.

One passage caught my eye, towards the end of the interview, that resonates with me. On the one hand it doesn't have anything to do with books and reading; on the other hand it has everything to do with the world of books and ideas. Here's the passage from Michael: "I’ve learned that all pleasure is fleeting, that friendship and family are typically undervalued, that envy is a pernicious temptation, and that there’s no feeling so wonderful as that of competence in your chosen work." Amen and thank you!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Manifold Greatness Colloquium

Just a reminder of the Manifold Greatness Colloquium scheduled to begin at 4pm this afternoon on the fourth floor of Wilson Library on the West Bank campus of the U of M. Click here for details on the event.

If you're not able to make it you can still watch it on UMConnect. Go to the link above to connect to the event. Hope to see you there!