Archive for: October, 2010

Sunday Halloween Fun: 10 chillers to tingle your spine

Oct 31 2010 Published by under friday fun, science fiction

Canadian horror/dark fantasy writer Kelley Armstrong has a nice list of 10 favourite horror novels in a recent issue of the Globe and Mail.

Here it is:

Armstrong talks about the entries in the original article.

I've read half of them, with a couple more on my to-be-read list. How about you?

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Friday Fun: Growing up a horror fan

Oct 29 2010 Published by under friday fun, personal, science fiction

A second Halloween-related post, with the happy day coming up this weekend. My "give a scary book" post came on Monday.

Anyways, a recent post on really resonated with me: Growing up as a horror fan. Mostly because I too grew up a huge horror fan, mostly watching cheesy old Hammer films on tv, the Dracula and Frankenstein ones having particularly strong memories for me. To this day, I'm a huge fan of some of their main actors such as Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee. Island of Terror is non-Hammer film that I have vivid memories of watching when I was a kid -- as is Quatermass and the Pit and a million more.

As far as horror fiction is concerned, HP Lovecraft was probably my first love. But I also got into a lot of horror comics and other stuff too. TV shows like Dark Shadows and Night Gallery and Night Stalker (movies and tv show, my all-time fave!) are vivid memories.

So, like I said, this post has a huge resonance.

Our different and unique experiences have molded us into the horror fanatics that we are today.

I was born on December 25th, 1970 ( yeah, I know ), so my earliest memories of horror movies probably started somewhere in the mid- 1970′s through the early 1980′s. Those are the years in my life that I'm going to explore to try to answer my own question.


There's more. I mentioned Frankenstein and I'll mention him again. During those crucial horror fan building years, it was Frankenstein who was my favorite monster. I mean, not any more really. You grow up and you find new horror monsters to idolize, but back then, man o man, he was the cat's meow. Of course, a take off on Frankenstein was Herman Munster. The Addams Family and The Munsters, both played significant roles in me becoming Joyhorror. The specific episode that I remember liking a ton was when Herman was singing that song, "My foot bone connected to my leg bone, my leg bone connected to my hip bone". You remember, the song might not have went exactly like that but you know what I'm talking about. I used to go around the house singing that song as a kid.

And more. It's a great post, well worth reading the whole thing.

What are your horror memories?

5 responses so far

Science & technology librarian blogs on

A week or two ago, in a comment on the Blogging Groups and Ethics post, I lamented that I always seem to be reading the same librarianish blogs, not mixing it up too much. I wished that we might have a blogging community to assemble around, or at least a good aggregator.

Well, Bora Zivkovic challenged me in the comments to at very least aggregate scitech librarian blogs for the site.

It's taken me a while, but I've done it.

Using the list I previously created for the List of Science & Technology Librarian Blogs I created a Friendfeed group which Bora has since connected to It's about 3/4 the way down the page, in the Aggregators and Combined Feeds of Independent Bloggers section. Thanks to Bora for getting it set up so quickly.

Based on my previous post, here's a list of the reasonably active Science & Technology library blogs I've included. As I said before, I've not included medical library blogs because it's not an area I'm knowledgeable about. That list would make a great idea for a similar aggregator in it's own right, but that's not what I was trying to do here.

In no particular order:

I've also included a couple of institutional blogs that have a bit more of a personal feel:

Read, enjoy, explore -- over at

And like last time, if I've missed any scitech librarianish bloggers, please let me know so I can add them to the Friendfeed group.

Update 2010.12.20: Updated Trading Knowledge to new location and added The Methods Section by Ariel Neff.

4 responses so far

Around the Web: Digitizing your personal library, Librarian tribes interact, Piracy trumps obscurity again and more

Oct 26 2010 Published by under around the web

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Monday Bookish Fun: Give someone you love a scary book!

Oct 25 2010 Published by under books i'd like to read, friday fun

You know, there just aren't enough useless holiday excuses to give books to people.

Giving books as presents has to be one of my all-time favourite things to do in life -- especially the opportunity to give books to my family!

So, it seems that Neil Gaiman has a really, really good idea.

I propose that, on Hallowe'en or during the week of Hallowe'en, we give each other scary books. Give children scary books they'll like and can handle. Give adults scary books they'll enjoy.

I propose that stories by authors like John Bellairs and Stephen King and Arthur Machen and Ramsey Campbell and M R James and Lisa Tuttle and Peter Straub and Daphne Du Maurier and Clive Barker and a hundred hundred others change hands -- new books or old or second-hand, beloved books or unknown. Give someone a scary book for Hallowe'en. Make their flesh creep...

Give a scary book.

If you don't know what kinds of books there are, or what would be appropriate for the person you're giving a book to, talk to a bookseller. They love to help, most of them. (The ones that don't tend not to be booksellers for long.) Talk to librarians. (Do not plan to give away their books though, unless they are having a library sale.)

That's it. That's my idea.

Scary book. Hallowe'en.

Who's with me?

Neil, I'm with you.

Any suggestions on good scary books to give? I recommended The Walking Dead series a while back and that's a great place to start. Those that are interested can see what I'm currently reading here on Goodreads, including some of the scary stuff from the last little while.

And no matter what you think of the idea, go on over and vote in Chad's poll on Gaiman's idea.

3 responses so far

Open Access Week: Exploring Open Science

As I mentioned a few days ago, the kind librarians of Brock University in St. Catherines, ON invited me to give a talk as part of their Open Access Week suite of events.

I've included my slides for the presentation below. There was a small but engaged group of mostly librarians that turned up.

Please don't let the high number of slides deter you from zipping through the presentation. A good chunk of the slides only have a couple of words on them and another good chunk are screen shots of xkcd strips.

The slides are in our IR here and on Google Docs here.

I'd like to thank Barbara McDonald and all the other librarians at Brock for their kind invitation.

4 responses so far

Friday Fun: Townies Make Preemptive Strike On College

Oct 22 2010 Published by under academia, friday fun, kids today

Ah, The Cronk News. Always good for a laugh at academia's expense!

I like this one from a few weeks ago, an amusing take on the whole town vs. gown issue: Townies Make Preemptive Strike On College

Town/Gown relations in Norwich, CT deteriorated in record time this year when students returned to campus. For over fifty years, tensions between "townies" and college students have centered around student vandalism of locals' mailboxes, cars and homes. But this year, the townies took matters into their own hands.

"I was sound asleep and heard screaming and yelling," said Patrick Minchoff, a junior living in Vanderbilt House. "When I looked outside, I saw a bunch of old Townies screaming and tee-peeing some trees. I had class the next morning. Don't they know we're trying to sleep?"

The Townies, who have adopted the name "The Rebel Alliance," allegedly stormed the campus between the hours of 4 am and 7 am last Tuesday leaving a wake of vandalism and destruction.

Junior art major Shelby Harris says, "Next time, we'll be ready for them."

"The Townies pooped all over the front steps of our lobby," exclaimed Charity Minster, a sophomore living in Thurston House. "We were totally trapped for hours. We didn't know how to get out. There was a lot of poop."

It's completely hilarious how the "townies" call themselves the Rebel Alliance.

Anyways, enjoy.

(It's worth noting that I work at an urban commuter university with really very few of these types of issues. Also, both universities I attended (Concordia University's downtown campus and McGill University) are located right in the heart of downtown Montreal and as such didn't really have town/gown issues either. As amusing as this issue is, I come at it vicariously.)

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A techy librarian and an instruction librarian walk into a bar...

Ok, not a bar, more like an information literacy class.

I thought I'd bring to everyone's attention a presentation by two of my York University Libraries colleaques, web librarian William Denton and instruction librarian Adam Taves.

It was at Access in Winnipeg a week or so ago:

After Launching Search and Discovery, Who Is Mission Control?

Reference librarians are whiny and demanding.

Systems librarians are arrogant and rude.

Users are clueless and uninformed.

A new discovery layer means that they need to collaborate to build it and then -- the next step -- integrate it into teaching and learning. How should we (reference librarians, systems people, and users) work together to better exploit the possibilities of open source systems so we can focus on discovery and understanding instead of the mechanics of searching?

Bill and Adam basically wrote up their presentation as a play featuring "themselves" and did a dramatic reading of said play in front of the conference audience.

I've read the script but haven't had a chance to get into the audio or video yet.

It's both informative and amusing and best of all, amusingly informative. It definitely dramatizes the techy/instruction divide within the librarian community as well as the the techy vs. "humanist" divide within the culture as a whole.

There's lots of food for thought and a bunch of great laughs too.

An semi-random excerpt from the script:

[ACT 3: Information literacy]

Adam: Well, yes and no. I still need to be able to use sophisticated search techniques. If I wanted Google, I'd just use Google. But getting back to your average undergrad. They need to understand things like who wrote the book - what makes that person qualified to speak on the topic. Who published the book - is it --

Bill: Yeah, but that's really some bullshit, isn't it? I mean, come on. These loftier IL goals, isn't that all just basically stuff from a grade ten media studies course, with a bit of Neil Postman thrown in?

Adam: They had media studies back when you were in grade 10? I didn't want to make things too confusing for you. Getting back to "disciplinary discourse" - how do people in a particular subject area talk to one another?

Bill: I guess --
[Bill continues trying to interrupt]

Adam: How is publishing in high energy physics different than, say, publishing in ancient Greek history? How do psychologists communicate their research to the academic community? Or, and we hear this one all the time, why can't we just digitize all the damn books in the library and be done it with?

Bill: Well, that's because of copyright and intellectual property issues and --

Adam: Exactly. IL Standard 5, Performance Indicator 1, Section d. Wouldn't it be interesting if, when we linked to full-text, there was some little clue as to the conditions of access. Like - "No copyright", or "licensed access secured". Then the catalogue is directly supporting an IL competency. Or another issue, how do you learn from your mistakes? A particular approach is not working well, but may tell you something about how to improve it and how to look for information about a certain --

Bill: Well, I do that all the time. It's basic to systems development and programming when you're debugg--

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Around the Web: Distraction in the classroom, Reading Instrumentally, Outsourcing higher ed and more!

Oct 20 2010 Published by under around the web

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Open Access Week: Explore Open Science with me at Brock University on Wednesday

The kind librarians at Brock University in St. Catherines, Ontario have invited me to help them celebrate Open Access Week!

Their rather impressive lineup of OA Week events (and I'm not just saying this because I'm involved, believe me) is here.

My part is a talk I'm giving on Wednesday:

Wednesday, October 20 2-3:30

Exploring Open Science

Join John Dupuis, Head of the Steacie Science & Engineering Library, York University, for a discussion of how Science and Technology academics and publishers are responding to the growing open access movement and the changing nature of research in their fields by becoming more innovative in the services and features they offer.

(all events will be held in the e-classroom, TH 253 - no need to register!)

The talk is somewhat inspired by the Web 2.0 Community Building Strategies: The World of Science 2.0 session I gave at the Ontario Library Association conference in 2009 but I think will also be significantly different as well.

If you're in the neighbourhood, please do drop by and say hi. I'll be posting my presentation a bit later in the week for all to see. After all, it is Open Access Week!

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