Archive for: July, 2011

Around the Web: Plagiarism, Online communities, Conference tech and more

Jul 30 2011 Published by under around the web

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Friday Fun: The 8 Worst Types of Blog on the Internet

Jul 29 2011 Published by under blogging, friday fun

I usually don't feature too many Cracked posts here because, well, they can tend to be a little on the NSFW for a family blog like this one.

But this one is very funny and very true. Fortunately, I don't seem to qualify as any of the worst kinds of blogs, but I guess I'm not the best judge of that!

Here they are:

  • The "Let's Start a Blog" Blog
  • The Corporate Blog
  • The Shill Blog
  • The Parrot Blog. This is a blog which seems to exist solely to reprint, quote or link to other people's content. You can find these blogs everywhere, but by their very nature, they prefer cropping up in the more heavily populated parts of the blogoverse.
  • The Spam Blog
  • The Snark Blog
  • The Crazed Blog. These lurk on the fringes of legitimate parts of the blogoplex, often around political blogs. You'll stumble upon these occasionally while browsing useful sites, maybe while pursuing an automatically generated link looking for Hillary Clinton upskirts. (This is all hypothetical.) Their insanity is easy to pick out when you arrive, as they tend to prefer garish fonts and graphical themes, animated gifs and heavy capitalization of words like Truth, Underground, Crystals, Secrets, Patriot, etc. ... They'll also usually have links to self-published books written by self-published book writin' kind of authors.
  • Well, I'll let you discover this one for yourself...

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On academic leadership

No, the purpose of this post isn't to reveal the secrets of successful academic leadership. If I had those, believe you me I'd be writing this from my villa on the French Riviera.

However, I am heading off to the Harvard Graduate School of Education's Leadership Institute for Academic Librarians in Boston next week where I hope to be a least a little more enlightened and educated along that path.

Not surprisingly I've been watching the blogosphere these last few months for insightful posts and articles about academic leadership, in particular academic library leadership. I've found a few and I thought I'd share them with you.

First of all, though, I'd like to mention what the course textbook is. It's Reframing Academic Leadership by Lee G. Bolman and Joan V. Gallos. It a very good book with both practical and theoretical approaches to leadership that I find quite interesting. What's really useful is that is situates the challenges of leadership within the unique environment of collegial governance, the demands of research/teaching/service and a tenured professoriat/librarian complement. It's well worth reading. I hope to get around to a more detailed review later in the summer.

Anyways, here's some of the things I've found over the last little while. It's all on the open web so I'm sure there's lots of books and articles that would be useful that I haven't linked to. It's worth noting that I didn't only look for stuff on leadership but also ideas that are useful for leaders or potential leaders.

Of course, please feel free to suggest additional resources in the comments, either on the free web or other books and articles that you might know of.

I'll only add one post of my own that I think might be useful: A stealth librarianship manifesto.

There are a few blogs that are more-or-less required reading for me on academic library leadership, again not just because they're about leadership but because they have ideas that are useful to leaders or potential leaders:

I'm sure there are others -- suggestions are always welcome.

It's worth noting that my some of my hesitations and doubts about thought leadership apply to the domain of academic leadership as well, but different, of course. It something that's important and that needs to be embraced to be able to move forward and grow but that we also need to be careful and critical about. Perhaps I'll explore those in detail at a later time.

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Reading Diary: Required Reading: The "Very Best" of CronkNews.com

Jul 27 2011 Published by under academia, book review, education, friday fun

As anyone who's a regular reader of my Friday Fun series will know, I'm a huge fan of The Cronk, that paragon of higher ed satire. In fact, you could call me the grand high poobah of Cronk fandom with the Cronk as the Sultan of Satire!

You can see some of my posts here, here and here and even more here.

I love the Cronk, you love the Cronk, we all love the Cronk. And now we all have a chance to put our money where our mouths are and kick a little cash towards the hard working gang that entertain and amuse us so regularly. They fine folk who produce the Cronk have published a print book collection of selected articles from their site.

Of course, all those articles appearing in Required Reading have already seen the light of day online so you could just read them for free at the Cronk site, but there's something really great about collecting the best of their first year all in one place. You get a feel for the kind of work they do, their favourite targets and especially you get a few good laughs.

Overall, the quality of the articles is pretty even, consistently hitting the right satirical note -- not too vicious but still squirm-worthy enough to strike a chord for everyone toiling in the fields of higher education. The hypocrisy, the self-importance, the arrogance and cluelessness. And none of the main constituencies of higher ed are left out: students, administrators, faculty, they're all skewered equally. That being said, it's probably best to take the book in small doses as it'll have greater impact that way.

Some of my favourite articles, or at least the best titles:

  • College Art Exhibit Celebrates 30 Years of Boredom in Academia
  • Secretary's Day Gives Administrators Awesome Opportunity to Give Flowers to People they Marginalize
  • New First Year Experience Class: How not to be an Asshole
  • Faculty Development Seminar Promotes More Heartfelt Ways to Feign Caring
  • Undergraduate Fold Musician Mistakes Getting Laid for Having Talent

You get the idea.

Anyways, who would I recommend this book for? While probably not suitable for any actual academic library collections, it would probably make a great "getting the heck out of academia present" for anyone making that kind of career shift. And best of all, a great birthday or holiday gift for any loved one imprisoned in academia.

Wescott, Leah; Brody Truce and Irma Pelt, eds. Required Reading: The Very Best of CronkNews.com. Loose Lips Press, 2011. 79pp. ISBN-13: 978-0976873167.

(Disclosure: The Cronk supplied my review copy. I was also asked to provide a back cover blurb which I very happily supplied.)

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Academic/research librarians blogging in non-librarian communities

My previous post was about Brian Mathews moving his blog to the Chronicle, a non-librarian blog network.

So for this post I thought I'd list all the academic and research librarians I know of that are embedded in non-library blogging communities.

On the one hand, it's a pretty short list. On the other hand, it's not like there are that many relevant blogging communities out there!

Needless to say, I think it's hugely important to get the librarian point of view in front of our patrons and getting ourselves into their blogging communities and talking about issues they care about is a great way to do just that.

So, here's who I know about:

Are there others I'm forgetting or don't know about?

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Brian Mathews, The Ubiquitous Librarian, is blogging at the Chronicle!

As I have in the past, I'd like to point out a librarian embedded in a faculty-focused blogging network.

Brian Mathews recently moved his blog, The Ubiquitous Librarian, to the Chronicle Blog Network run by, you guessed it, The Chronicle of Higher Education.

The new URL for Brian's blog is here.

And a few recent posts:

Run on over and say Hi!

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Around the Web: The Cornucopia of the Commons, Hybrarians & scholar-librarians,

Jul 23 2011 Published by under around the web

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Friday Fun: Damn You Auto Correct!

Jul 22 2011 Published by under friday fun

Or is that Auto Cucumber?

For those of you who own iphones and text a lot, you'll know what I'm talking about here.

As you type the phone tries to guess what you really mean to say and often you can inadvertently say the wrong thing if you acknowledge the phone's suggestions too soon.

And there's a blog that's just full of them: Damn You Auto Correct!

It's pretty well the funniest thing on the entire Internet. And pretty NSFW too, as a fair number of them are, well, you really just have to see for yourself.

There's a summary post of some of the best, a taste of one of the more printable ones for your enjoyment here: The Top 15 Most Popular DYAC Texts Of All Time

P1: So how was the date last night bro.

P1: Did you score

P2: Not quite. first date we went to dinner and then walked her home.

P2: then I killed her in the woods outside her house and left

P1: Killing her seems a bit harsh. Did she order the lobster and filet mignon at dinner or something?

P2: ************KISSED wtf

Anyways, you get the idea. Great stuff.

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Who's knowledgeable about science, technology, history and literature?

Jul 21 2011 Published by under information literacy, librarianship, reference

Reference librarians, of course!

I'm reading Last Car to Elysian Fields by mystery writer James Lee Burke and came across this rather nice passage on pages 141-142.

So where do you go to find a researcher who is intelligent, imaginative, skilled in the use of computers, devoted to discovering the truth, and knowledgeable about science, technology, history and literature, and who usually works for dirt and gets credit for nothing?

After lunch I drove down to the city library on Main and asked the reference librarian...

And the whole scene in the novel is really very good, as Burke's protagonist Dave Robicheaux and the librarian hunt up some information on a particular blues musician. I really like how the reference interview and how the relentless hunt for more and better information that so obsesses librarians is portrayed.

Burke is a terrific writer, by the way, and all his novels are well worth checking out especially is you like hard boiled/noir crime fiction.

I have noted Burke's love of librarians before.

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Reference Assistant, Steacie Science & Engineering Library, York University

Jul 20 2011 Published by under job, yorku

Come work for me!

We have an 11 month opening here at my library for a reference assistant. The position doesn't require the library degree but a science background will be necessary.

The posting is here.

Posting Number: YUSA-7393
Position Title: Reference Assistant
Department: Steacie Science Library
Affiliation: YUSA
Band: 10
Salary: Annual salary of $51,439 will be prorated based on the number of weeks worked.
Duration: Temporary Full-Time
Hours: Fall/Winter (Sept to April): Mon. to Fri.; 9:00 am - 5:00 pm. Require to work a 12:00 noon to 8:00 p.m. shift one day per week. May be required to work an occasional weekend shift.
Position Start Date: August 15, 2011 Position End Date: July 31, 2012

Purpose:
The Reference Assistant is primarily responsible for providing information and assisting with reference enquiries in science and technology for library users. This position is also responsible for user outreach through the use of web technologies and for providing support for resolving basic computing problems at public workstations. In addition, this position assists with the provision of document delivery service, serials maintenance, accessing library collections and services.

Education:
University degree in Science required, physical or life sciences preferred.

Experience:
One to two years recent related experience in providing front-line public service in a reference environment or in another high volume public service area. On-line database searching experience required. Some academic research experience preferred.

Skills:
Typing 40-45 w.p.m., accuracy essential; attending accurately to detail under pressure of high volume; knowledge of general and science-related bibliographic searching tools essential; demonstrated skill/ability in the following areas: intermediate word processing, spreadsheet and database skills, preferably in MS Office (Word, Excel, MS Access), knowledge and experience in using web softwares in creating and maintaining web pages; use of an on-line records system; maintaining accurate records and working with data to compile reports; working accurately with figures; working independently; dealing calmly, courteously and effectively with people; excellent interpersonal skills; excellent oral and written communication skills; answering general and science-related enquiries clearly and concisely, specifically in a reference oriented environment; excellent organizational abilities including setting priorities, multi-tasking and working under pressure of high volume; problem solving skills and good judgement .

Cover Letter Required: Yes

Dates:
Internal Posting Date: July 11, 2011
Internal Application Deadline: July 18, 2011

Extended Posting Date: July 20, 2011
Extended Application Deadline: July 27, 2011

External Posting Date: July 20, 2011
External Application Deadline: July 27, 2011

Please Note: All applications must be received by 4:30 p.m. on the posted deadline date.

Thank you for your interest in a career with York University. To apply, please ensure that:

  • You have submitted a complete application package (application form*, resume and covering letter) by 4:30 p.m. on the posted deadline date. When emailing your application package, ensure that you have attached the resume, cover letter, and application form to your email.
  • A complete application package has been submitted for each job posting you are applying for.
  • You have quoted the appropriate posting number on your application form and in the subject line of your email. Please keep the posting number and position description for future reference or inquiries.
  • Your application package is submitted in one of the following formats: Microsoft Word (.doc), or Adobe (.pdf). If you do not have access to the above programs, you may submit your resume and covering letter in plain text format (.txt). Please note the application form cannot be saved in this format.

Applications are to be submitted to: jobs@yorku.ca.

York University is committed to Employment Equity and encourages applications from all qualified candidates.

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