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Showing posts from July, 2008

Has Harriet given up on blogging?

Since Gordon Brown's gone on holiday, that leaves the country under the watchful eye of his co-pilots.While looking at this BBC News article about deputies, I had a little moment when I wondered whether Harriet Harman (one of the 3 grown-ups currently in charge) had ever got back to her blog. she had a little incident in April when it was hacked, and her 'resignation letter' was posted.

It would appear she's not gone back to it since...although there is a spoof blog that's quite entertaining! Actually, I think I prefer the spoof one to the real one...

In the spirit of the Running Librarian...

...I shall detour from my normal random posting on vaguely law and library related topics, and sidestep into my "real" life for a moment.



On Saturday 19th July , I took part in the Edinburgh Rat Race for the 2nd time, doing the Mean Streets Prologue event. The Rat Race is a team event, 3 people with 2.5 hours to make their way around the city by foot, hitting checkpoints and completing fun challenges along the way. the Adventure Class do it over 2 days, with much more crazy stuff on the second day, and the Mean Streets counts as their warmup, taking placeon the Saturday evening.



As a not-very-fit sorta person, I wasn't sure I could manage this at all last year, but I did, and so I was looking forward to doing it again this year. A friend organised the teams, so we entered 6 teams of 3 peeps. I'd never met my team-mates before, so I was worried I'd be slowing them down if they were really fit:  a 20 year old Uni student and Officer Cadet, and a 40ish marathon runner…

The difference between a virtual service, and a 'real' service

Well after all my moaning before about the National Archives of Scotland, and how slow they can be to get a document to you, I have to say, the in-person service is a different matter altogether!

I spent a good chunk of 2 days last week rummaging around in there, and the staff couldn't be more helpful. From the security guard at the door to the Duty Archivist, everyone was happy to explain what they were doing, walk me through the processes and procedures, and help me find what I was looking for.

Unfortunately, some time between 1968 and today, the document I was looking for was vapourised by either the Scottish Office or the Scottish Government...*sigh*

But, it just goes to show - the service you receive remotely can never compete with being able to go, in person, and ask the staff for help...so thank you NAS for your great service last week!

Gossipy Facebook

I've been getting these emails occasionally from FaceBook over the past few months, and been deleting them, but...I think the whole concept of this email is wrong (and misspelled - gossips?!?!):


Do you know any gossips about your friends? Your other friends may want to hear it.

(Gossip is always anonymous, never appears in notifications, feeds or anywhere else where the author could be identified.)
 *list of friends names*

To check out gossip about you, or other friends not listed here, click here
What the Social Profile application wants you to do is post anonymous, possibly untrue information about friends and acquaintances, and allow others to see that.
Surely there's some issues here with libel? If anyone can 'publish' unsubstantiated information about others, under the guarantee that it'll never be traced back to them, which Facebook will then distribute around its system?

Hell, maybe I'll start posting anonymously about affairs friends have had, bodies t…

Feeling the property pinch

So, even the Law Society of Scotland is feeling the effects of the downturn in the property market, announcing last week that it was staying put at Drumsheugh Gardens for now.

Hell, if I'd have had a spare £5.5 million or so (although in Edinburgh the offers over premium could be 20% or more, adding a hefty chunk to that total), I'd have snapped it up in no time...I'm sure I could easily fill it with clutter in no time! :-)

OXO?

The Estates Gazette is a nice journal - it wraps its issues in what appears to be faster degrading plastic, which is nice for the planet an' all that....but I can't help but giggle when I read that "this polythene is oxo-degradable".

Images of having to dunk the wrapping plastic in hot beef stock spring to mind...

Google StreetView - coming to a city near you...or Edinburgh

So, last week, there I was, slumped in a bus seat with a vacant look (as usual), when I spotted something odd coming out of a side street.
A wee black car...with a huge pole on top, covered with cameras.
Now, it's coming up for Festival season in Edinburgh, when all sorts of strangeness occurs on a regular basis, and therefore such randomness would blend right in, but this was a tad too early.
Aha - it turned a corner, and I clocked the discrete little Google StreetView logo on its side.
Since then, I know it's been into the cul-de-sac where I live (but not got my flat as it's on the wrong side to be seen from the street), and continues to travel through Edinburgh.

Now, I know there's debate over privacy issues (which, to be honest, I think are hugely overblown by the paranoid), but I personally think it's kinda cool!
The usefulness of a walk-through map of a city, with actual images of the physical, 'real' landmarks and what they look like far outweighs t…

National Archives of Slow

Seriously, the problem with large bodies like the National Archives of Scotland is there's no pressure on them to be better, or faster, or to compete, as they're the only body that holds certain items.
Which means that the speed they deal with enquiries is, just well, what ya gotta accept.

Which doesn't help when you started an enquiry a week ago, they got back to you the next day for details, then the following day they tell you they have the item, and ask you to pay.
You pay within an hour, and wait...and wait...and wait.
3 working days later, there's still no sign of the materials, and of course they're wanted urgently. Urgently, as in last week, when you thought you'd sorted things.

*drums fingers impatiently*

Pretty academic library shelves

How pretty - a project that colour codes library books with partial spine labels shaded according to classification.



My favourite aspect of the colours is knowing a law library's colour palette will be dramatically different then that of a Art & Design library. The colours are assigned to the subjects as a rainbow gradient since there is no such thing as 21 unique colours and the classification system is linear.





Wonder if I'd be allowed to do that here - would make looking at the shelves all day more fun!



From SwissMiss

Belated BIALL thoughts

So, after a busy few weeks, I'm finally ready to sit down and pull together my thoughts on this years BIALL conference, in Dublin.

Bear in mind, this is all my persoanl impressions, and my opinions will be coloured by how much relevance I can see various sessions / talks having to my professional life. If I didn't like them, that didn't mean that they were actually rubbish!

I hadn't been to a BIALL conference since Harrogate in 2005, (shortly before I changed jobs and moved into a commercial firm from an institutional body), and I was hoping for more talks of relevance to me this time around. Working in a nice old legal body's lovely, but as you're neither academic, or corporate, finding the useful stuff from the conference can be hard.

To be honest, I hadn't thought the provisional programme had looked too interesting, but I had some hopes that the blank spaces would be filled in closer to the time, and as these talks were obviously still in discussion, I tho…