Dinosaur and Dewey

I was looking at an AquaBrowser installation of one of the regional library systems, using their administrative headquarters as my searching location. I entered the term “dinosaur”  (I always use “dinosaur” when I do test searches). I was presented with a list of results, with a word cloud on the left of what AquaBrowser calls “related terms.” I selected from the word cloud the term “encyclopedia.” In the resulting list was the title Dewey decimal classification and relative index. . . . And I started with dinosaur . . . .

Happy Birthday, Blog

3 years ago, I wrote this blog birthday post (abridged) . . .

2 years ago today, I got brave enough to make my blog public. This is the 193rd post since then. My Blogger profile says I’ve been on Blogger since November 2003, which is when I came back from Internet Librarian, inspired to blog. There were lots of posts back then, but one day I (foolishly) deleted them, thinking I didn’t have anything worthwhile to say.

Lots of studies have been done on why people blog. Just today, the venerable Michael Stevens of Tame the Web wrote about the ideology of blogging. I identify with the comment in his post: “It amazed me how ingrained in my life the act of blogging had become.” I am often aware of how what a great blog post a certain experience would make. Now, if only I had time to act on all those inspirations.

I recently said to a colleague that blogging was so “yesterday.” I guess what I really meant was that blogging has become so mainstream that it’s hardly a phenomenon any more. We just accept and expect that the voices of our culture are heard through the blogosphere.


I ended the post with “Wonder what this blog will have to say in another 2 years.”  Well, it’s now 3 years later. I’ve definitely become less prolific; at times the blog has been downright dormant. It could have something to do with a career move. Or maybe I just ran out of things to say. Posts have been less frequent at times. But I see that I did expound on lots of things happening in my life. There were other things happening that as a Director, I didn’t want to talk on in a public venue. Whatever . . .

I also note my statement “blogging is so yesterday.”  Nothing has particularly replaced it. We all moved to Facebook, where we post much shorter thoughts. Then we got worried about privacy and limited our thoughts to only our Friends. But then we moved to Twitter – so much for privacy. I tweeted a couple of tweets, then became a Twitter-quitter. I see in my twitter-quitter post that I preserved my name, but I’ve forgotten it. Oh well.

Looking back at my blog (and a few others) from 5 years ago, I do see some changes. For a while, I wrote for a collaborative library blog where we devoted a fair amount of posts proclaiming — look who just started a blog. Many blogs were kind of amateurish. We went through the spelling-doesn’t-count phase. Who’re you kidding? Of course it does! Do I want a prospective employer reading whatever I dashed off with no proof-reading? The blogs that hung around have gotten more polished (oops, gotta work on that one). Lots of blogs, I suspect, are written by someone other than the name at the top. That wouldn’t apply to librarians, of course ;^)

So here I am, blogging into my 6th year. I like the idea of writing for the world, as much as I want. Facebook is for a limited number of Friends (a whole lot of cousins). Twitter — well, I quit that, remember? Wikis? Never got into that, except for a few mission-specific.

So, this ends post #245. Happy birthday, Blog! Where’s the cake?


3 years ago today was my first day in this position. A month earlier, 2 significant events had occurred within days of each other. The I-35W bridge over the Mississippi River collapsed, killing 13 people and injuring 145. It was a catastrophic day in history, and will forever remain one of those days when you remember exactly where you were when you heard the news.

The second horrific event occurred in what was to become my new work home – in fact, I had already been offered the position of Director. The library automation system, that managed operations for this 14 branch library system, crashed, losing all the data for items in the system and all the data relating to items’ status (checked out, on hold, etc.). What made the crisis unimaginable was that there were no current usable data backups. The most recent usable backup was 6 months old. It was uploaded into new software by the vendor and we carried on. What made the crisis bearable (we kept telling ourselves) was that it was only data, and could be mostly restored, not like the lives lost on the I-35W bridge that would never be again.

As we forged on, we couldn’t check anything in until we determined if there was even a viable record, and if there wasn’t – well, you know what we had to do. So everything returned was stacked and stored, on shelves, tables, in bags and even laundry tubs, until we could get to it — item by item. Here’s what the meeting room looked like for several months.
Books and media

Well, I could tell you all about the next months as we recovered, and the next year as the lost catalog records were identified and restored. But that conversation is better had now over coffee or wine or beer (good for sob stories). The important thing is that I quickly learned what a wonderfully committed staff I had. We dug in, and did it and capstoned the process with a full system inventory – the first one ever done in this system. What a positive affirmation it was to find out how few items had been lost.

The last 3 years have been a growth period for me. I’ve been told my experience is common, but it proves that you never know what you don’t know until you don’t know. The important thing is, that not knowing something is the beginning of learning.

So, here’s to another year. It’s been a quiet anniversary day of small challenges. Nothing like those days 3 years ago. We’re a better organization, with a more secure system (we hope). Like every other library, never have so many (public) expected so much of so few (staff), who are working with ever-shrinking financial resources.

The war is over

So the President spoke from the Oval Office tonight and told us the war is over. Just like that, troops are coming home because the President says the war is over. I work hard at being apolitical and this post isn’t intended to make a statement on the war. I find the whole history of the Iraqui wars (how many?) very curious and confusing. I guess I’m not the only one, since someone posted a page on Wikipedia titled “Iraq war (disambiguation)“.

Having lived most of my adult life as part of military community, I have personal memories entwined with many of the happenings in the Middle East . . . a family member who lost all her savings in a bank in Kuwait while she was home on break from her teaching job in Kuwait; January 16, 1991 lying on my bed watching bombs fly in Kuwait on TV, assuring a small boy that his daddy was in Alaska (secretly praying that he was still there);  meeting streams of returning military with desert sand still clinging to their boots as they first landed on American soil at Bangor International Airport; five years later thankful that the boy’s graduation kept his dad behind his squadron long enough that he missed being in a car-bombed dormitory in Saudi Arabia.

In recent history, there was the First Gulf War (which was only the Gulf War until the 2nd iteration), the Second Gulf War, Operation Desert Storm, Operation Iraqui Freedom, and a few other named conflicts. Some of these are different names for the same thing, or overlapped until I didn’t know when one ended and another began.

But now it’s proclaimed — the war is over (or is it a conflict? I can’t ever remember.) Troops are coming home. I so hope he’s right. It’s long overdue. But somehow, I just know that there will be more entries on that Iraq War disambiguation page.