Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The lunch line

Last week I stood next to Ted Coppel in the lunch line. For about ten minutes. Is it unprofessional for me to be kind of excited about that?

Friday, July 21, 2006

'Reasons why I am a lousy blogger' OR 'What makes you think I will be able to get that?'

A good blogger would post regularly and consistantly. I am never in the mood to post, and then I find some time and feel as though I have to catch up with several at once.

I have been loving the reference work I have been doing. Finding awesome video of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi for Day to Day and bringing in my own copy of Grey's Anatomy Season One DVD to be dubbed into a science show is exciting and makes me feel good as a librarian. However, yesterday I seemed to get several questions that I could not provide satisfactory results for. This was really getting me down until I started thinking about some of the questions I got and what in Heaven's name made people think I could get those things. Vintage sound from a roller derby which took place from 1935 to 1940 only, and on deadline? I found some from 1946, but when I finally heard the obit piece I realized it wasn't used. sigh. Or what about the BBC broadcast of Captain Kurt Carlsen speaking in 1951 about his ship sinking....from London, in 24 hours?!? I called London, but not surprisingly my quest was a failure. I have to admit that everyone has been very nice and understanding when I just can't find what they are looking for. I guess I just need to understand that just because someone might expect me to be able to find something, I need to allow myself to understand that it will not always be the case and I should be OK with that. Right?

Some projects I have been working on:

1) Tech processing for the archive project. Tedious and monotonous but important (or so they tell us so that we feel better).
2) Collection development and management. I think that this might even be more challenging in a news sound library than in a traditional library because one does not only need to evaluate whether an item is of use to a patron, but also whether that item will ever be of use to a patron. I have been going through old, un-cataloged, un-marked audio reels of campaign materials and trying to determine whether they are worth keeping. This is kind of tough when looking at state representative candidates from 1992. They weren't big names then, they aren't big names now, but they could become president one day and then we might wish we had held on to them. The difficulty of deciding what should be considered historically important as well as trying to anticipate the news of the future. I feel the responsibility.
3) Reference.
4) Making a proposal of how to catalog 16.9 hours of FDNY radio transmissions from 9/11 as well as hours of BBC special coverage of that day. That's what I worked on today, and let me tell you I went home feeling drained.

The Arrow Lakes needs a little more excitement

So, the communications interns sent out press releases to everyone's home newspaper. Today some fellow from the Arrow Lakes News called to interview me about my internship. I found it incredibly difficult to describe what I do and have it make sense to a lay person. Cataloging begins to sound a lot like data entry, even though it requires thought and creativity. Does the average person know what reference is? I forgot to mention that the broadcast library doesn't have any books, forgetting that people might not realize this. And...on top of it all, I am worried that I am going to be misquoted or give librarianship a bad name. Granted, will anyone read this article or care? Probably not. But since a few trees being cut down on Morton's beach make the news cut, I guess a small town girl working for one of the world's foremost public broadcasting organizations might get a second glance. Maybe. I mean, I guess it is slightly more newsworthy then that time my picture was in the paper for dressing up as a mime in the July 1st parade. Here's the picture I was bullied into submitting. Pretty dorky.

Brushing shoulders

On Wednesday there was a lovely catered 90th birthday tribute lunch for Daniel Schorr. I stood behind Ted Coppel in line for food.

roof top

This is the view from the NPR rooftop. Kind of pretty.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The Shadow

On Saturday I finally got to hear the fruits of my reference labour. I had a producer come in on Friday needing sound of “The Shadow”, which I was able to find and on Saturday I heard it on Weekend Edition Saturday. It was pretty exciting hearing something on the radio that was there thanks, in part, to me. Now I just need someone to access one of the 140 historic baseball clips that I spent so much time cataloguing last month…

Sunday, July 16, 2006


Yesterday was my first shift as temporary librarian staff at that un-named non-profit broadcasting organization and not as an intern. Not one person came into the library. I spent the entire day typing (on an IBM electric typewriter) almost 200 lending cards for the archive project. Only about 900 more to go. Fun.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

If I weren't a librarian...

I am really quite happy I decided to become a librarian. But, if this falls through I have a back-up career plan: zoo historian.

I have been reading a book called 'Giraffe', which, while fiction, is based on the following true story: "In 1975, on the eve of May Day, secret police dressed in chemical warfare suits sealed off a zoo in a small Czechoslovakian town and ordered the destruction of the largest captive heard of giraffes in the world [32]." (Ledgard, 2006). As well as 'Kicked, Bitten, and Scratched: Life and Lessons at the world's Premier School for Exotic Animal Trainers' (subject self-explanatory, I hope). They are both really fascinating and stir up that historian in me. So, zoo historian has now been moved up the list of back-up career plans ahead of culinary historian and author of a glossy history/cookbook called 'The History of Blood as Food: subtitle yet to be decided', and epidemiologist with a focus on infectious tropical diseases and the plague. I know this is off topic for this blog. But, I just thought I would mention it.

Authority Work

I am now doing name authority work to go along with my NLM records. Adds a little research to the mix and keeps things interesting.

Read some horrifying articles on the use of electro-shock therapy in the late nineteenth century. Not surprising that those in need of it seemed to be women for the most part. One discussed inter-vaginal and inter-uterine galvanization to jump start halted menses. My readings on female hysteria and mania show that halted menstruation was a problem that a lot of women suffered from, and it almost always led to hysteria. But, then again, so did reading literature, being away from your husband, idleness, and general excitement. Thank god we don't all have that problem anymore.

trial by fire

Or at least that's what it felt like on Friday at the reference desk.

Hour One: "I need sound of a British newscaster saying 'there has been a bombing' for our story on the anniversary of the London transit attacks. We're going on the air in 45 minutes." Seems easy enough. But wait. We went into special coverage on that day and none of that is transcribed. Clearly I can not listen to eight hours of footage in the next 45 minutes. However, with a little bit of investigation and a lot of trial and error I was able to come up with a British newscaster with an Indian accent, and some unidentified British citizens - take your pick.
Hour Two: "You know how the Radio Mundo football announcers yell 'gol', and hold it for a really really really long time, when someone gets a goal? I need that." This one was fun. After I decided what we had in our library was not as long as the 'goooooooooooool' that was demonstrated for me in the reference interview, I got to spend 15 minutes listening to MP3s and YouTube clips of really entertaining sports announcers. Now, I am sure that soccer would be much more popular year round here if Bob Costas got excited like that. (Is Bob Costas even alive anymore? He was a sports announcer, right?).
Hour Three: "Interviews with John Huston, please." Check.
Hour Four: "When was the last time I talked about watermelon on the air? What did I say." Check.
Alright - so, that was my heavily abridged day (and it lasted 10 hours, not four...but you guys aren't that interested anyway). There were a lot more questions. Most of which I could answer in an accurate and timely manner and a few that I couldn't. I probably did not take a deep breath all day. I was stressed out but high off of it. Pretty fun.

Then Moe did a great brown bag lunch on Wikis which inspired me to just suck it up and learn some computer skills. She easily convinced me that using bloglines to collect rss feeds for all the celebrity blogs I normally check is really the only efficient system. Moe, you are so right -- what the hell have I been doing before now?

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


I owe this blog a posting. I think about doing it. But either I am too tired or I am busy reading celebrity gossip sites. Tonight it is the former.

Monday, July 03, 2006

"On the Nature of the Knee-Jerk"

By Warren Plimpton Lombard.

I also cataloged an article on Lyssa (rabies), which argued that humans with rabies have not, in fact, been infected with a disease, but rather are rendered hysterical because they have heard too many stories about people who have become warewolves after being bitten by rabid dogs. On a related note, and much to the misfortune of all those 19th century individuals who were infected with rabies and tried home remedies, rabies has the highest fatality rate of any infectious disease at 100%. Although, HIV is also likely 100%, although some experts are hesitant to state as much as there are some of the earliest known infected individuals who are still surviving (Garrett, 1995).

It had been two weeks since I had been at NLM and I was worried that I was going to forget all those MARC codes, the delimiters, and indicators. However, it all came back to me and I got some really positive feedback on the records I had done over the past month, as well. That made me happy. It's kind of neat that my original catalog records get posted on OCLC for others to copy catalog. And as NLM will, likely, keep these items indefinately, it is my little contribution to history. Very little, but it's enough for me.