Three weeks in

I’m now three weeks into my new job, and I’m loving it more and more every day. There’s a huge amount to learn, but I now feel like I’ve got an idea of all the things I don’t know yet, which helps.

Everyone at Perkins has been tremendously welcoming, both in explaining things and all those things like including me in lunches and conversations. My predecessor (who is retiring and who had her last day on Friday) was extremely thoughtful about transitioning things to me. She’s left me with excellent notes and her entire file of reference answers over the course of 14 years. This being the kind of job where you get things coming up every few years, that’s hugely helpful.

(Fortunately for me, she’s continuing as a remote employee on another Perkins project, so I can email her if something comes up that completely stumps me. This is good, because there’s a vast range of information I’m still getting my head around, and expect I will be for some time to come.)

Read on for more about the actual job.

Continue reading Three weeks in

Link roundup : February 27, 2015

First, a note (now that I’ve gotten through the initial bustle of dealing with the news):

I’m job hunting again, since my position is being cut due to budget issues. I’m looking widely (and have already had some interviews) but if you’re reading this and know of a position that might suit someone with my interests and skills, feel free to point me in that direction.

  • My resume is online here (PDF).
  • The thing I most enjoy in library work is connecting people with information and resources that make their lives better, easier, or just more fun.
  • That translates into especially loving reference, instruction, reader’s advisory, and collection development, as well as a fascination with how we can use technology to do things better.
  • I’ve got a broad range of library skills beyond those things, too, and strong technology/user training/etc. skills and experience, but am not a coder. (I’d like to do more of that sometime.)
  • I’ve got a particular interest in accessibility issues, and in how collections and library services support and reflect the diversity of the community a given library serves and the world at large.
  • Geographically, I have some preferences, but I’m really looking for the right mix of job and life (I’d like to put down roots somewhere), and willing to consider a lot of options.
  • If you’ve ideas or other questions or want to talk about a possible job, feel free to contact me via the contact form (or the email on my resume).

On to the links! I didn’t manage a roundup two weeks ago because I was in Boston for job hunting purposes, so this is a long one.

Continue reading Link roundup : February 27, 2015

Links of Interest : January 16, 2015

This fortnight’s link roundup: ancient music, carnivorous sponges, copyright, evaluating information, and a lot more.

Continue reading Links of Interest : January 16, 2015

Links of Interest: January 2, 2015

I’ve been putting off this link roundup for reasons discussed last post, but I also have a bunch of links I want to share, so. Links!

Continue reading Links of Interest: January 2, 2015

Link roundup – July 16, 2014

Been a long time since my last post – we’ve had a lot of changes at the UMF library, and that’s taken much of my time and thought. (And my current knitting project has taken a lot of what’s left…) But I had one link I particularly wanted to share today, so you get a few others too.

Continue reading Link roundup – July 16, 2014

Links of Interest : February 28, 2014

Welcome to another round of commentary and links.

Books: Since my last roundup of links, I have finished all the Phryne Fisher books (excellent and a lovely combo of knowing what I’d get out of them, and still having interesting bits).

Other recent reads include Code Name: Verity by Elizabeth Wein, which I found fascinating both for narrative structure and character voice, and for the time period (which is WWII.) It is not an easy book to read (without giving away plot spoilers, any book in Nazi-occupied France is not precisely going to be cheerful, really) but it has some delightful moments of friendship and brilliance and joy in amongst the horrible. (Also the pleasant realisation when I looked up her bio that I’d read and loved a number of her short stories, previously.)

Likewise, I adored Phoebe North’s Starglass which is about a generational starship about to reach its destination, with a bunch of interesting cultural twists (70% of the original population were Jewish, but a lot of it has shifted over the generations in interesting ways.)

Currently reading Monster of God: The Man-Eating Predator in the Jungles of History and the Mind by David Quammen, which is about – well, apex predators, people, their interactions, and is a fascinating mix of ecology, zoology, and history and therefore exceedingly up my alley.

Watching: As you can guess from my reading, I have now also watched Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, and loved them (though also finding it fascinating how they differ from the books: I am mostly fine with the changes, but there are some substantial ones.) I’m looking forward to being able to get the second season here in the US. I then did a detour through Warehouse 13 and am currently part way through Eureka and enjoying them for knitting watching.


Beautiful things:


Codes of contact: So, there’s been rather a lot of discussion in the library world about codes of contact for conventions and other things. Various links of relevance.

Other things:

Links of interest: January 17, 2014

Past time for another interesting link roundup. I’m also going to add comments about recent reading/watching


I’ve been running through the massive set of the Kerry Greenwood Phryne Fisher series, both because all but the last handful were available on Oyster (which I’m still loving) and partly because the first season of the TV series (Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries) showed up on Netflix, and I wanted to reread and read the books before watching. They’re glorious fun, set in 1928/1929 Australia.


I worked my way through the current Netflix-available seasons of Poirot for my knitting watching, then White Collar and rewatching rather a lot of Leverage plus finishing what I hadn’t seen.




Libraries and information: 

Other topics:

Link roundup: September 27, 2013

Finally picking these up again: I miss how they make my life a bit easier to keep track of. (Coming up here sometime next week: a review of Oyster, the ebook subscription service you may be curious about.)

Continue reading Link roundup: September 27, 2013

Handy resources

I’m working on a new project at work, that we’re calling “14 things” which is modeled on the 23 things type projects a number of libraries and schools have used. (Why 14? Because that’s the number of posts that fit in our academic year, at a post every other week, and leaving out vacation breaks.) You can see all the posts in this series over at the work blog.

Our first one is up today, and I wanted to list a few resources I find helpful, but I didn’t want to do it in that post directly (for length and focus reasons.) So instead, you get it here, on my personal blog. (If you find these useful, you might also find my link roundup posts handy. I haven’t been doing them for a while, but there’ll be a new one up tomorrow, September 27th.)

I use Feedly, an RSS aggregator, to keep up with a number of blogs (currently 114, but a number of those update infrequently, and that includes both personal and professional interests.) Some of the professional ones:


  • ProfHacker is a joint blog hosted on the Chronicle of Higher Education that talks about technology and academia. As you can guess from the title, it’s focused on the faculty side, but they have lots of great posts just as applicable for students or staff.
  • David Lee King is a great source of information about the intersection of libraries and technology.
  • Blue Skunk Blog: Doug Johnson is the director of libraries and technology at the Mankato MN school district, and he writes regularly about how you make all this stuff work in K-12 education. (He’s also been blogging for a long time, and will pull out old posts and revisit them.)
  • I’ve been following Personal Knowledge Management, a blog doing something similar to our 14 things project, only about productivity in specific. (It comes from three librarians at Georgia Tech.)
  • Nancy Sims is the copyright librarian at the University of Minnesota, and she has a great blog, with very coherent explanations of copyright and intellectual property issues, especially around Internet use.


I read a variety of library blogs, but particularly recommend Librarian in Black, Swiss Army Librarian, and as good general resources for people who aren’t librarians themselves, but want insight into the issues affecting libraries and the library profession. The Unshelved comic is also often funny and pointed all at once.

General reading:

Longform searches out excellent long-form journalism. Many of the pieces they link are recent, but they’re also sharing older or archived pieces. They post a handful a day, and I’ve found it’s a great way to learn a little about a bunch of interesting things. I also read Metafilter (which has user-posted links to and discussions about various things online and offline) though it can be a little like drinking from a firehose. Their subsite, Ask.Metafilter is one of my starting points for questions where I want anecdotes or personal experience to help with a question. I also just discovered Now I Know which does a daily explanation of some interesting and obscure thing.

Finally, if you are job hunting (or know someone who is), have a job, or just like really practical (and often amusing) conversations about the working world, I highly recommend Ask A Manager – she has great advice, but also an awesome comment section.

Links of interest : April 5, 2013

Trying to get this out before I head off to Computers in Libraries this weekend, as I suspect I’ll acquire further links.

Libraries and Librarians:

  • People keep asking me for advice about the profession. There’s a thoughtful (and thorough) article from Library Journal that addresses a lot of the things I try to talk about. 
  • In the course of my wandering on the ‘Net, I found this post from 2009 that’s a reminder that not everyone has hot and cold running Internet at home. (This is a reality for a bunch of people where I live.)
  • There’s a really interesting alternative for OPAC terminals – I don’t think it’s hugely relevant for my place of work (because we use ancient machines because they still work, and we’ve got them), but I find the idea fascinating.
  • There was an interesting NYT piece on the problems of online college classes (I continue to say “Idea decent, but can we talk more about how people use or don’t use the Internet before relying on this as the Next Big Thing, please?)
  • John Scalzi’s personal history of libraries.
  • The Northstar Digital Literacy modules test basic computer skills in a really well-done way. (Free, but site sponsoring has some additional options/benefits)
  • “Just stand there in your wrongness” has a great take on learning from mistakes (and being smart people who mess up sometimes) via lessons learned from the West Wing.
  • Doug Johnson revisited his “tech skills for incoming freshmen” (as in high school) recently, with an update for 2013. How many of these are you good with? 
  • Jenica Rogers has very smart things to say about the librarian tech skills gap. (And I really want to come back to this topic. When I’m done going to library technology conferences twice in a month.)
  • Nancy Sims talks about releasing images to the wild, and the weird things people ask her about permission to use them.
  • I have a bunch of saved links about the Edwin Mellen press issues (brief recent events version: they asked a blogger to take down posts that included criticism of the press. It gets more complicated after that) but rather than try and sort them out today, TechDirt has the best one-stop summary I’ve seen.

Google Reader: 

As you’ve probably heard by now, Google Reader is shuting down as of July 1. I currently very much like Reeder (which has said they intend to have a non Google Reader dependent version by July) but I’m still considering what I want to use for the professional blogs I read. Everyone and their cousin has an opinion about the options: if you’re looking for ideas, check out posts from LifeHacker, Doug Johnson, Steven Abram, CNET, Bryan Alexander, and the Gypsy Librarian.

Keeping track of all the bits:

  • My current favourite version of explaining citation and how you do it (and why you care)
  • I’m in the slow stages of poking at a project that will involve lots of reference and cited materials. I found this post on using Zotero and Scrivener (my long-form writing tool of choice) handy reading.
  • I’ve also been doing more with Evernote. This post on tips and tricks and this student guide to Evernote both had some new things for me. And this LifeHacker post had some good bits too.
  • I’ve been spending more time with Excel than I used to – here’s some interesting tips for manipulating date and time data.
  • Someone on one of my harp (as in instrument) lists has been doing video tutorials of ForScore, a digital sheet music app for the iPad. (Digital sheet music was the “Ok, that’s why I actually need an iPad” thing for me, though I have not been as diligent about getting music on the iPad as I’d like.)
  • One of the better descriptions of microbarriers in sharing information I’ve seen recently .

Information is good: 

  • I didn’t know that the PhD Comic had a YouTube channel, but they do, and there’s fascinating stuff in there. 
  • Is giving to get ahead good? Fascinating article, both for the research and for the presentation.
  • Want a map of every meteorite strike on Earth? Here you go!
  • Interactive historical maps, and historic maps of cities.
  • I’ve been meaning to link to the really awesome info about the discovery of Richard III since it happened, so here, have the departmental website and data. (I’ve been pro-Ricardian since reading Elizabeth Peters and her Murders of Richard III in high school.)

Very pretty things:

Hi, I’m Jen

Librarian, infovore, and general geek, likely to write comments about books, link collections, and other thoughts related to how we find, use, and take joy in information.

I'm the Research Librarian at Perkins (You may know the name as Perkins School for the Blind but they do a lot of other things these days). More about my job.

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner