i hate mondays. i especially hate mondays after i’ve been out of the office, because then my inbox is bananas, there are messages on my phone (people, please, don’t bother phoning me), and my whiteboard gives me the stinkeye as though it’s saying “what have you done for me lately?”
today was one of those mondays.
since i am still sans-boss (BE MY BOSS) i attend the senior management meeting first thing in the morning to rep for my department. despite the early hour – okay, it’s not that early, but me and mornings have never liked each other very much – i genuinely enjoy these meetings. it’s great insight into big issues in the organization, and i get to learn from the dean and associate directors. also, there is free coffee, and usually some kinda cookie thing. BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS.
we’ve got a number of digitization projects on the go, including a mega-retrospective dissertation project (the first 12,000 dissertations from mcgill – which will all be made publicly available), so i spend an hour interviewing some students for the gig. in between the interviews i start hacking away at my inbox. i also grab a quick coffee (yes, more coffee) with ed to set up our week and figure out if there are any fires that we need to put out, or start, by friday.
grab lunch in the cafeteria. they’ve started carrying some zaatar-type pitas with spinach and feta and YUM. also you can eat them while running between meetings. (i never eat in the library. nope. not never.) today i don’t have to run to another meeting for 45mins so i eat (inhale) the pita while reading some leadership books that were sent to me to prep for a leadership institute i’m going to in a few weeks. homework, yay! also, i don’t really read, uh, books, like, ever, so this is proving to be quite a learning experience.
look at to-do list and kinda freak out. get more coffee with ed.
see a question on a listserv (LIBRARYLAND LISTERVS 4EVA) about copyright which basically demonstrates how ignorant some librarians are when it comes to this (yes i know very confusing) topic. rant to ed (who gets to see RAMBINA in action more times than anyone should), rant to friendfeed, realize that i don’t want my colleagues to be this ignorant so decide to set up some sessions on copyright and OA for my peeps.
final interview. too many good candidates. i am lucky.
get an application in to the Young Canada Works program to get help with the dissertation project this summer.
triage elventy million emails.
sort out some other copyright superfuntimes with the grad studies office. follow up on missing equipment and software. hunt for invoices (seriously, i shouldn’t have to ask for an invoice if i owe you money, just gimme the thing and i will pay you), put a hold request on a book that i will try to read because i know i need to for my job and it’s time to put on my big-girl pants and just do it.
complain to friends via group text that it’s monday and someone should kill monday with a chainsaw.
realize i’m starving (homey needs more than a pita for lunch) and scrounge around my office for a snack. what do i find?
stinkin’ air canada snack food from my flight on saturday. (and yes, bretzels is french for pretzels. bretty stubid.) regardless, i devour’em.
read some articles, blog posts, poke at people on the internet about projects, and generally try and get inbox down to not-ass-kicking for tuesday.
end the day having dinner with the repository monkey at the other english university in town. we eat too much indian food, yell about mediated deposits, and generally confirm that we are in the right line of work.
get home and fill out an online quiz from one of the books for the leadership institute. it tells me my strengths are: futuristic, positivity, activator, adaptable, and individualistic.
dear aggregators, ILS vendors, publishers, computer companies, library-equipment companies, and various “cooperatives”:
some good friends in libraryland are having a rough few weeks dealing with you. this makes me unhappy. first off, i appreciate that:
for the most part you are in this for the benjamins while we are in it for our communities.
to stay competitive you can’t tailor things down to meet absolutely everyone’s needs.
you are responsible to your board members who are mostly concerned with #1.
given all of that (and i’m more “appreciative” than some) i still demand an explanation for the abominable customer service, foggy service contracts, condescending sales reps, tech support folks who treat libraries like guinea pigs for a new bug-tracking system, or ridiculous charges for “packages” (mpow has the economist from 8 different sources – it’s a great mag, but, srsly?).
a bunch of librarylanders have proposed sessions for sxsw interactive. talking to non-librarylanders about libraries – [insert sarcastic voice here] what a novel concept! i think it’s great that so many librarians are getting the word out about we do, especially in an environment like sxswi (which just seems like a natural fit for libraries, really. innovacation + community + information = libraries!)
Good libraries are community-minded, technologically-aware, devoted to increasing access to information, and interested in preserving the local cultural heritage. Good newspapers aggregate and curate information for their readers, prioritize the local population, and are the record of a place, a time, a citizenry. Both believe they must tell stories for everyone, not just themselves. Libraries have experience with media production, and are already a known community resource. Supporting communication within their community falls within the library’s mandate to increase access to information. Building on the “maker” ethic, how can libraries help their communities make their own news, write their own stories, publish their own histories?
voting closes this friday, september 2, so go register an account and start voting!
i had a really busy spring. it was both awesome, and exhausting. (errrr, i’m still trying to catch up. sorry if you’re still waiting to hear from me.)
i attended 10 conferences in 12 weeks. wait, WHUT? (plus, at some point in there, i want on a truly awesome west coast roadtrip with kendrak and megvmeg for 9 days. i think it was between CNI and CREPUQ, but i can’t really be sure.)
at some of these conferences i spoke at (one i did precon, gaming night, panel presentation, AND postcon), others i just got to learn about fun things, and one i was on the organizing committee.
here are the gory details:
computers in libraries – washington, dc – march 20-24 – presented
CNI spring meeting – san diego, ca – april 4-5 – learned
CREPUQ technologies mobiles – trois rivières, qc – may 6 – presented
IMLS workshop on library-based publishing – salt lake city, ut – may 11-13 – presented
canadian library association – halifax, ns – may 28-29 (lost the badge!) – presented
THATcamp prime – fairfax, va – june 3-5 – presented/learned (it’s a camp, you do both!)
curatecamp – austin, tx, june 6 – learned (HI DECLAN – remember how hot it was?)
open repositories – austin, tx – june 8-10 – learned (MORE HI DECLAN – remember bbq?)
special libraries association – philadelphia, pa – june 10-15 – organized/presented
tedXlibrarians – toronto, on – june 25 – presented
please note: before the haters come out… a number of these i covered on my own dime because i just wanted to go to them, and there’s no reason mpow has to send me to just anything i want to go to. also, dates may not be actual conference dates – for many i did precons, postcons, or had a metric tonne of meetings. and i had to say hi to declan because he got all cranky last week about not being in any of my #libday7 posts and yelled at me on the twittermachine.
i learned a lot about libraryland, awesome new services i want to try out at mpow, and how to bring the revolution. but what i want to share right now, is what i learned about conferencing.
things i now know
NEXUS PASSES ARE THE BEST THINGS IN LIFE. at YUL it means a quick security line as well as speedy customs line, both filled with people who are used to traveling so are hyper-efficient at getting through the line. (no, lady. you can’t bring a litre of moisturizer in your carry on.) if only YYZ had a NEXUS line for security if you’re connecting. seriously? grrrrr. the pass is well worth the 50$ (lasts 5 years).
having a sippy cup that seals completely, like this one, is one of the best things to travel with. coffee, water, bourbon… whatever ya got, you can take it with you. you can run out of your hotel room and rush to the first session (i am never late in the morning. nope, not never) with coffee in hand.
a sippy cup, and baby wipes. because everyone who travels is gross and covered in germs and half of them should probably be wearing hazmat suits. plus, when you forget to seal the package properly and they dry out, you can at least use’em as kleenexes.
how to pack for 3 back-to-back conferences and two weeks of travel in only a wee-bit-too-big-for-carry-on suitcase. lean towards underpacking (you can always run into an old navy and pick up a shirt after spilling tomato soup down the front of yourself – not that i ever had to do that) and two pairs of shoes max in your luggage. you can do it.
also, how to do laundry in a hotel. (many thanks to the awesome front desk staff in philly who not only gave me free soap, but gave me change when i didn’t have any, because “hon, we know you don’t want to be doing laundry while you’re staying in a hotel.”)
my passport number, by memory.
before arriving, map the nearest grocery store to the hotel. and the nearest liquor store.
if you’re in a hot place (HELLO AUSTIN) brew some coffee at night and put it in the frigo for the morning so you can still get a jolt of caffeine but not be drinking something hot in 104F weather.
that 104F = 40C. which is WAY TOO HOT to do anything other than be in a pool with a lone star in your hand. (i tried to have that be a session at curatecamp, but they didn’t go for it.) (cuz then giarlo woulda had to do a cannonball.)
mexican martinis are brutal. trust me on this one. there is no need for more than one. and after drinking them, you should never cap off the night with shots of cheap tequila.
always travel with acetaminophen and antacid. (possibly related to my previous point. you’ll never know.)
having a conference buddy is great. i didn’t have a partner-in-crime for a few this spring, and on occasion found myself thinking “stranger danger” at receptions and wanting to run back to my room to watch bad tv and eat ice cream. if there’s someone that you keep bumping into at conferences and you really gel with, do it.
whenever possible, try and do something non-conferencey to stay sane. visit friends in town, go to a museum, play hooky from a social event to just chillax.
eat fruits and veggies whenever they cross your path. when in the conferencezone it won’t happen often, so just do it. it also helps to have awesome vegan friends who take you to fantastic restos once you have eaten nothing but texas bbq for a week straight. (for the record, i was quite happy eating texas bbq for a week straight. salt lick and ruby’s. yes.)
in the “whenever you can” vein, if you’re doing back-to-back conferences, nap whenever the opportunity arises. it’s okay to skip the networking breakfast for a bit of a lie-in, and if there is really no session that floats your boat, and no colleagues you want to hang with during that time, go decompress in your room for a bit. you won’t learn anything if you’re zonked.
montréal, je t’aime. (i knew this already, but home is so good, it deserves a mention.)
*includes saturday, since i forgot to post this yesterday
FRIDAY: (aka: thanx jeebus it arrived.)
today was a big-ass chunk o’unproductive. i feel terrible. epic plans to get stuff done and… less epic was had. this happens rarely, so i’m not going to stress about it too much, but… ya. i do not like it when i can’t just GSD.
but i have awesome colleagues who a) understand that some days are just ZOMG TOO MUCH TO DO I CAN’T START DOING ANYTHING IMMA SIT IN MY OFFICE AND WONDER WHAT IT WOULD HAVE BEEN LIKE TO STAY IN MY PREVIOUS JOB, and b) don’t make me feel like a douche for having days like this.
one of the things i did manage to take off my to-do list, was to get up my nellie mcclung poster (sent to me by the lovely david). the awesome ed, who is in the office beside mine, who drinks coffee on a similar schedule to mine, and who wants to make academic libraryland rock as hard as it can, made me feel all productive about getting it up.
otherwise the day amounted to a ginormous chunk of email-triaging, meeting-planning, association-thinking, and generally sorting out my office. also, another colleague brought me a thermometre to try and see just how cold my office is. after 2 hours it registered between 15 and 16 degrees (celsius. seriously americans, it’s you and liberia that are holding to the imperial system. grow a set and join metricville!) that is redonkulously cold. i was not shitting you about the wool blanket in my office.
the day ended with a GREAT talk with a professor in the library school. we are planning a bunch of presentations and publications looking at scholarly communication and digital curation from both a scholar’s and a practitioner’s experience. librarians and LIS researchers talking about the same topic in the same article? kookytalk, i know. but if you know carolyn and i, it makes total (and terrifying?) sense. (i guested in a class of hers on IRs, and it was genius. “in principle, the IR does x, y, and z. amy – how does it work in practice?” “errrr, kinda like a, b, and c.” we need more of this in LIS schools – k?)
i got home, made dinner, made chicken stock (protip: a bit of parmesan rind in the stock and it’s waaaaay richer and yummier), then sat down and sent out a bunch of emails that i should have done while at work. i also did a quick wireframe of the new scholarly communications site i’m going to build in august (which is weeks away – right?). so, see? not totally a write-off of a day!
SATURDAY: (aka: sometimes, as an academic librarian, you work on the weekend, either on a desk shift, or at home. c’est comme ça. if it needs doing, DO IT.)
got up earlier than normal so that i could devise a plan of attack for the weekend.
okay, really, i got up at the same time, but instead of listening to the CBC all morning, and reading non-libraryland things (which i truly love about my weekend mornings – connecting back to my community in ways other than through the library), i read my starred google reader posts cuz i need to either respond/bring to some colleagues/write up a pilot project proposal cuz i want to steal the idea.
11:30am-3:30pm. ma belle maman had a big birthday this week, and my brother has us over to fête her. the fête was not nearly as fête-ish as it could have been, so i have plans to continue it throughout the year. (ma, if you’re reading this, pretend you didn’t see that part. k?)
3:30-8: pick up an xbox kinect. i used to play video games. i enjoy the distraction, i enjoy the silly fun. and since i haven’t played one regularly in 15 years (WHERE MY SEGA AT, YO?) everything is different! also, libraries are doing a lot with gaming these days, and i generally feel like if people are going to mention “innovative” and my name, in the same sentence, then i need to know all the fun stuff that folks are doing out there. (also, after just boxing on the kinect for 2 hours straight… seriously? i am in love.)
get home all ready to get my “kinect adventures” on, and realize i can’t get the monitor out of standby mode, cuz i don’t have the remote. thankfully the previous owner will be home around 7:30pm so i can pick it up. all is good. game on, literally.
9-midnight: read articles, network on the friendfeed, facebook, twitter, IM, email, whuteveryagot, and setup some more of the xbox. (i forgot to buy speakers for the downright-ancient, but insanely-ginormous-and-FREE VGA monitor i was given, so setup is kinda half-assed.)
1:30am: write this thinger. will likely play kinect sports games til… 3am? mebbe 4am. too fun. also, i’m terrible at these games, but i care not at all.
THURSDAY (aka: tomorrow is friday. hang in there.)
today was one of those days where i had good intentions to get some important stuff done (mostly, i have to set up my whiteboard. i am lost without my whiteboard) but got sidetracked by other things.
part of my gig is coordinating all the digitization projects here. we do a LOT of digitization and have some pretty fancy equipment. today was all about digitization – everything from buying light bulbs to thinking about metadata for rare islamic texts. so the whiteboard, she’s still blank.
morningish: email, blogs, coffee. do some non-libraryland things too (pay ze billz, email ze cousinz). at some point i get to work. i don’t quite remember when, but i do remember listening to me, mom & morgentaler very loudly on the metro during my commute. (sorry fellow commuters.)
11am: weekly team meeting to make sure we’re all doing the things we said we would be doing before other people gave us more things to be doing. my team is awesomer than your team.
noon: meet a friend from the management library (where i worked when i was but a babybrarian… 2 years ago) for lunch. at some point during the team meeting i looked down at my cardigan and realize it’s covered with, well, schmutz. well done buckland, you can’t even be trusted to dress yourself. so i drag my friend to the mall so that i can pick up something that’s, you know, clean, to wear the rest of the day. we also get lunch at the new burger place which purports to be “smart” which i guess translates to putting brie on everything. pretty yum.
afternoonish: email, phone calls, google reader, friendfeed, twitter, facebook. discover that the sparc oa meeting in march is the same week as sxswi. get bummed. decide i’d prefer to hit sxswi because i need inspiration, not moaning IR managers. we’ll see.
2-3:30pm: individual meetings with my team to make sure everyone is doing the things they said they’d be doing before i gave them more things to be doing.
3:30pm: exchange emails with some great folks about publishing, libraries, and how we need to save the world. we also discuss beer.
4pm: i start prepping lists n’such to get my whiteboard on. in going through the piles on my desk, i discover a folder of “READ ME NAO” related to digitization best practices. (i also find the receipt for a dress that i’ve been trying to return for over a month. of course now it’s too late to return it. grrrr.) so i start reading and get swallowed up by METS and RAW and OMEKA. it’s all good. i really wish i did digitization 100% of my time. i also wish i had a pony.
5 à 7: i believe in celebrating team achievements. the digitization team has had an epic year digitizing everything from old class photos, to olympic torches, to well, lots of old and crazy texts, so we go for drinks after work to pat ourselves on the back. (oh ya, and we cracked 27,000 ETDs in eScholarship@McGill.) i’ve said it before, and i’ll say it again, i work with great people.
nightish: do other things you people don’t need to know about. yell at ruebot on twitter. (i do a lot of yelling on twitter.)
(i’m pretty sure i watched greg and free karaoke this tune at IL one year, but my memory, she abandons me regularly)
WEDNESDAY: (aka: hump day. all down hill from here.)
6:45am: wake up, read email and blogs, eat the rest of the blackberries in the fridge, showeriffic, etc etc etc
9ish: dive into some emails that have been kicking around for too long. try and find the provenance of a photo in a book the library published in the mid-90s. no photo caption, no acknowledgments, and the editor has since retired. consider purchasing padding for my desk since i keep banging my head against it.
10am: meeting at the grad and postdoctoral studies office to talk about a bunch of issues around electronic theses & dissertations. productive meetings ftw!
noon: rush back to my office for my question point/meebo shift. slooooow shift. but this gives me time to deal with more emails, setup more meetings, and inhale a sammich at my desk.
afternoon: talk to colleagues at other libraries about ETDs. water the plants in my new office (trying to revive them). contemplate unpacking all the boxes. get quotes on servers. realize i haven’t backed up my computer in months…
4pm: meeting with colleagues about an upcoming digitization project. more deets to come.
5pm: get email notifying me that the reimbursement for my travel expenses will be in my bank account by the weekend. best news of the day.
5:30pm: 5 à 7 with library school friends. wing night!
8:30pm: check in with my friends in the computer. consider killing pixellated bad guys but decide to read wired magazine (ipad edition) instead.
nightish: re-watch rip: a remix manifesto. get all ragey about the state of libraryland and wonder how we can better support remix culture. draft some notes for a post/article/rant at a conference.
midnightish: write this thinger.
[july 28, 10am: realize i didn't publish this last night before going sleep, so... i do that.]
6:45am: wonder WHUT THE HELL IS THAT NOISE. realize it’s my alarm clock. say a bunch of verybadwords and hit snooze. repeatedly. (it’s an ihome and i have a remote.)
6:50am: cell phone alarm clock goes off. say more verybadwords and hit snooze. repeatedly.
[for those following along at home, alternate alarm clocks are now ringing every five minutes. dante's 5th circle?]
8:10am: i finally get out of bed after snoozing two alarm clocks for over an hour. i heard the 8am CBC news, and listened to more about poor Jack Layton than anyone should have to before coffee. triage email while drinking some coffee.
9:15am: why on earth is my office so cold? someone walks by and mentions the “arctic blast” that seems to come out the door into the hallway (and no, they are not referring to my cold cold heart). get more coffee. prep for day of… one 7 hour meeting.
9:30am: tell people i have a 7 hour meeting. appreciate their ability to not say “SUCKA!”
10am: start 7 hour meeting. (okay, it’s for a big digital humanities SSHRC grant that is going to be fanfuckingtastic in terms of bringing light to chinese female poets during the ming and qing dynasties. we are partnering with harvard, peking university, sun yat-sen university, and academia sinica. it is hot, yo.)
meeting is in english and chinese. i am the only person in the room that understands no chinese, but am completely mesmerized. my colleagues are lovely and translate everything for me.
tangent: i want to learn chinese.
noonish: the group goes out for awesome lunch. i take conference call for association work and eat a bagel at my desk. and not a good montreal bagel, but one of those redonkulously americanized bagel-cakes from timmy’s. (timmy’s are, according to the douchebag ford brothers in toronto, more important than libraries. dear ford brothers: consider yourselves on notice: RAMBINA DOES NOT LIKE YOU AND WILL HELP SMASH.)
i also catch up on the google reader, the twitter, the friendfeed, the facebook, the-rest-of-the-web-because-everything-has-something-to-do-with-my-job.
1:30pm: back to meeting. now we talk APIs, relational databases, making things available for mashups, and other good stuff that really gets my heart pumping. it’s awesome.
4pm: wrap up and great reception at the east asian studies department. fruit, tea, cookies, and good conversation.
5pm: fried brain, i run out of the office despite still having mounds of work. i replied to a bunch of emails throughout the day though, about:
hiring and training of new student staff
requests for funding for professional development (my request to attend a librarycamp as part of PD was accepted. precedence for unconference/camp attendance is now set. rock.)
plans to enter a CE for SLA 2012 on IR best practices
patent-filing questions from faculty
selection committee requests
contact info for our Elsevier rep (heh. heh. heh.)
buying another terabyte of server space for upcoming projects
6pm: try and buy an xbox kinect. realize the monitor a friend gave me, while being 42″ and free, is so old that i may want to huck it and buy a cheap tv cuz the cables n’extra stuffs to make the kinect work on that screen are pricier than the tv. also, argue with future shop dude about tech. srsly guy, don’t try and upsell me on things. i do my homework, and i know “how computers work”. *junkpunch*
nightish: tuesday nights seem to involve me hanging out with one of my best friends, who has nothing to do with libraryland, but also works for the public sector (though in a way more important gig – childcare social worker). keeps me in check (seriously, i was freaking out about… that?) and she genuinely thinks that libraryland is awesome so really wants to know what i mean when i say i have a “metadata headache”. i have awesome friends.
10:30-til i sleep: comment on libraryland blogs, read up on stuffs i should know, check in with family and friends.