Thursday, September 27, 2007

Facebook and a reference question

Good grief. I just used facebook to help me answer a chemistry reference question! I remembered that Sue's status yesterday was, " Susan Cardinal is learning about the element astatine".

So when I had a couple of freshman come to the desk and ask for information about astatine, I knew right away to go ask Sue.

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. Astatine wasn't even an element when I took freshman chemistry!!!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Finding Journals Really is Loopy

I had yet another conversation with the first year graduate student who has been trying to figure out how to find journal articles all summer. Today we had a conversation about journals starting with "the". I'm not at all sure she believed me when I told her you had to leave out those initial articles... And of course it sounds loopy even to me. Amazon forgives the initial article, what kind of wacky system wouldn't? Sigh. We all know the answer to that question.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Sunday Afternoon at the Reference Desk

What can I conclude from my afternoon at the reference desk?

  1. I really, really need better signs for the bathrooms.
  2. Students expect the reserve desk and the reference desk to offer the same services. (i.e. laptop locks, markers, reserve books)
  3. Why oh why are there problems with the copiers every, single day? If this was a car, I'd demand my money back.

Questions between 1 and 5 p.m.

  • Where is the bathroom?
  • Can I borrow a pen?
  • Do you have a scanner?
  • Do you have laptop locks?
  • Apparently she can't wait... Can you watch my computer while I run to the bathroom?
  • Beep. Beep. (no money on copy card). (I give student the departmental card to use.)
  • Copier is out of paper. (No, really just a meaningless error message. Student is amazed I get the copier to work.)
  • Where is the bathroom?
  • Are there markers for the white boards?
  • Do you have the solutions manual for (the genetics textbook)?
  • *** no, reference questions ***

Friday, September 21, 2007

Three "no's" to yes

What a day.What a week. At least I can remind myself that we have turned three "no's" into yes's. (Thanks to Don Barlow for talking about this idea at ALA Annual.)

No, we only have *Styrofoam* cups for the coffee.
Yes, we have paper cups for coffee.

No, we don't have a scanner. You have to walk back across campus.
Yes, the scanner is on order and it will be installed soon.

No, you can't return a book at the reference desk.
Yes, we can take that book for you.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Right back where we started from?

We were totally focused on Faculty when I started in academic libraries twenty years ago. Then we all changed course and turned to Graduate Students. Now it seems we're in the era of The Undergraduate Student.

It was clear from interviews we did as part of the Undergraduate Research Project that students think of their professors as "the experts", the experts in everything. They don't even think of librarians as the experts for what database to use, their professors are. We pretty quickly concluded that we're going to have to work with faculty if we want to promote library resources to undergraduates.

We started to review some of the graduate student interviews this week. What a suprise. Not. Again, the graduate students view their professors as the experts. They model their behavior after their professors, they seek their advice, they are the center of their world.

Wouldn't it be ironic that I am going to end my career right back where I started, by focusing primarily on faculty? Only this time, I'm older than a lot of them....

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Google Scholar and Email Address

It happened again.
1. I found the full text of an article that we don't subscribe to and that shouldn't be available full text for free but was, on Google Scholar.
2. And once again I let the patron leave without getting their email address. Sigh. Literally two minutes after he left, I had the full text of the article he wanted. RATS.

Monday, September 17, 2007

More Insight from Twitter

I am following a couple of the librarians who are regular speakers at conferences. Interesting to follow their twitter postings. These people (women) work all the time - nights and weekends. Fame definitely has a price.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Sunday afternoon on the desk

Gave a student a new box of kleenex for his table.

Live time - twitter and flickr with friends at RIT.

One of my circ students is knitting. And no, I don't have a fit about that kind of thing any more. Age has mellowed me.

Student is working on the periodic table puzzle.

Group of four students came in together and are working together at a table on something school-related.

Lots of students at the computers - some school work, some not.

Girl sitting on the stairs in the atrium laughing so hard on her cell phone that at first I thought she was sobbing. Phew.

I covered ugly bulletin board on the third floor with children's posters brought back from ALA's of years past. Anything has to be better than nothing.

Reading Susan's "The Academic Library and the Net Gen Student". Wow. She is a very good writer.

No reference questions. This is telling me something.

Questions about Facebook

I talked to a group of humanities faculty about facebook on Friday afternoon. It was very interesting and I came away thinking I probably wasn't qualified to talk on the topic at all! Geez. They asked me a bunch of questions, I couldn't answer.

Do many faculty have profiles on facebook?
I don't think so, but I have never systematically looked.

If I (faculty) get a facebook account, will my students think it's creepy?
I live in two separate spheres on facebook - my student circle of friends and my librarian circle of friends. I rarely comment on my student's activities except to say "happy birthday" and congratulations when they get into graduate school. Faculty have a very different relationship with students than I do. I can see how they would have to be even more careful about those boundaries.

Can I use facebook to publicize a new course?
This one really stumped me. I thought it might be best if a student (major or one who was taking the course) either posted something to *their* page or created a new group. Hmmm. I feel like I'm missing something here.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Interlibrary Loan is an Amazing Service

and concept. I love working with first year, international graduate students. They remind me of the amazing riches an academic library in the United States has to offer. I absolutely just made a chemistry graduate student's day by showing him interlibrary loan. He was thrilled.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Use for Twitter?

Well I'm not sure this qualifies as an important use for Twitter, but it certainly keeps me following it. I used to work at the University the of Houston and I follow a librarian who works there now. Twice in the past two months they have been sent home (or maybe one time they were NOT allowed to go home) because of tropical storms. For some reason these single sentence Twitter postings really transport me back to Houston and the scariest weather I have ever experienced.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The book is out and so is the podcast

Today, the free online version of the book, "Studying Students: The Undergraduate Research Project at the University of Rochester," came out! Yeah.

It's available at:

The print version is in route to the distributors and will "hit the streets" next week. $28...

There is also a podcast about the book featuring me, Judi and Ann.

Gawk. My voice is very high and I have that horrible Rochester accent. Sigh. I also made a factual error in the first sentence. Rats. David worked at *Xerox* not Kodak...

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

I placed my first online order

How ridiculous is this?? I THRILLED that I actually placed my first online book order today. (Thanks Sue!) The last time I had collection development responsibilities was in the dark ages - pre Gobi, pre online ordering.

Though while I'm giddy with success, I'm thinking this whole collection development stuff might just tip me right over the edge.

Apparently to get a list of my current (online and print) journal subscriptions and how much I paid for them this year (if we paid at all) and last year I will have to use:

  1. Voyager acquisitions
  2. Ebsconet
  3. Some serials report run once a year that is stored on the network
  4. Desk top reporter that is on my work computer

Note to self: find out what the difference is between all these systems and why I need to go to four different places to create one list!

And oh yeah - I guess I better beef up my excel skills if I actually want to be able to manipulate any of this data.


Saturday, September 01, 2007

The Last Orientation Activity - Ice Cream Give Away

The Libraries and the Writing Center gave ice cream to freshman as they came off the buses from Wilson Day (a day when they volunteer in the community). The weather was beautiful. Who doesn't like ice cream? But drat - next year we have to get t-shirts! Pictures posted on our flickr site.