Friday, December 04, 2009

I don't know why they don't make this more visible...

....I mean, the Scottish Courts logo doesn't look at all like a rude hand signal, oh no, not at all.
Of course, the logo / image used on their site is a far nicer "lion with paws full of arcane stuff", so maybe the "bird" version is an outdated one.

I may have blogged about this before, I may not, who knows, I'm currently functioning (or not) in a sleep deprived daze.

Is it the weekend yet?

Can I go home now?

If all else fails, call the Doctor!

"Knock knock?
Who's there?
The Doctor?
Doctor who?
You just said it!"

Yup, that pretty much summed up the height of wit and humour in my early childhood...have you heard the one about the two fish in a tank?

Anyway, that minor flashback was triggered by reading this story, about a school library using a lifesize, working (well, apart from the kinda odd internal dimensions and time-travel aspects) replica of Dr Whos Tardis.
It certainly makes it a bit more fun than my school library was - it's great when departments can work together to make the unexpected happen :)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

SLLG Christmas Networking Meeting

Yay, it's almost time for the festive grumbling-about-suppliers and muttering-about-budgets SLLG Christmas meeting! And the musical speed-networking chairs game! No Scottish law librarian Christmas is complete without it!

It's that time of year again. This year's Christmas networking meeting will be held on Wednesday 9th December at 4pm in the SSC Library. Christine Wilcox has kindly offered to be host again and the meeting will be sponsored by Avizandum.

We will be sticking to our usual "speed networking" format followed by the ever-popular "mulled wine and mince pies" format.

If you would like to come please let me know and if you have any suggestions for discussion topics, even better.


If you're a member of the Scottish Law Librarians Group, I hope to see you there. And *ssshhh*...I may even bring along some teeth-melting tablet too...

Also, while typing the title to this post, I created what I believe to be a new type of meeting: "newtworking". It's been suggested that this involves. "little newts with glasses and business cards"(@cronvek). I kinda like that idea!

I'm looking for a book on television. It's a blue book.

You! yes, you! Do you want to be a librarian?
Well, if you love books, and people, and peopley-books, you too could work in one of those spiffing library places, where you can "bring books and people together".


(Even law firm libraries get a mention, at 2.38)
And those kids with the Childrens Librarian don't really look overly impressed. They will never reach the pinnacle of being.... A LIBRARIAN!

Via @carlychats

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Supreme Court website – what’s the point of it again?

Something @infobunny was trying to find out this morning...she was looking for what she believed to be the 2 cases decided so far. Where would they be? Well, any sane person would think "Ah, the Decided Cases section, that's where they'll be". But no, sanity does not prevail here! Obviously, where you should be looking for decided cases is in the News and Publications section, where you'll find a link to a topic called Judgments. Here, you'll find a case. Just one case. The other is mysterious, and not to be accessed by the likes of us. It may be real, it may not. There's no way of confirming that from the mish-mash of the website. Although @johnhalton has suggested that the delay in judgments going where they're meant to be is due to the fact that it takes a while to transcribe from the vellum onto computer...

And of course, why would anyone want to be able to pick up an RSS feed of any important areas, like, ohhh, News? Judgements? Anything? Silly me - what we're meant to be doing is taking regular trips to the site, to make sure we don't miss out on any silly little snippets from THE HIGHEST COURT IN THE COUNTRY.

Jeez people - get with the technology, and try doing crazy stuff like putting things in the right place, and letting us keep an eye on information without a daily visit?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

My Library Route

So, I've previously blogged my Library Roots, and added it to the wiki of the Library Routes project (and if you haven't done yours yet, get adding - it's fascinating!).

I thought I'd now add info on my Library Route, i.e. how I ended up doing what I do today.

Well...it all started off a bit randomly. I'd qualified, and now I needed a job. I was scouring the CILIP Gazette job section, and the library recruitment agencies, and the local authority job sites here in Edinburgh, hoping to find something, anything, that would let me work! But it's not easy, even in the Capital of the country, to find a job when you don't have any official experience. So really, after a couple of months, and with the savings going down fast, I needed a job.

I saw a post for a part-time library assistant at a private members society library within the Scottish courts complex at Parliament Square. I had no idea what a librarian would do in a court library, but I got the job, and soon found out. Mainly, the library dealt with the research enquiries of its members, who were all qualified Scottish solicitors. The society owned the building it was situated in, and let out various areas to other groups, and hired out a room for functions. The role involved doing anything from accounts for photocopier use, posting books to out of town members, to helping members find the information they needed, whatever that may be. I was on my own one day a week, and on the other day I had the company of the lovely lady who dealt with the members coffee area, and general bits and bobs.

Having had no experience with Scots law, or researching it, lets just say it was a steep learning curve! OPSI, HMSO, SIs, SSIs, Acts, Acts of Sederunt, differences between UK-wide law and Scots-only laws...every day was quite an education! The previous edition of this book was my saviour! As were the librarians at various other libraries within the complex: I could often be seen sidling into on, with a hopeful look on my face!

A while after starting there, a part time post came up at another solicitors library in the court complex, where I'd got to know staff via my regular visits to ask for help with some obscure reference, or borrow a book to consult. The hours of the post were able to be organised to fit around my first position, and equivalently (and boy did my bank balance thank me for this!) I now had a full time, Monday to Friday, 9-5 job.

I worked both jobs together for about a year, until a full time position became available at the second library, which I was offered and accepted. And now I began what was effectively an apprenticeship. Every enquiry could now be discussed with, or referred to, people with far more experience than me. We all kept track of the progress of each others enquiries, so even if I had passed a tough one on, I could still find out how it had been resolved, and learn from that. We had an indexed book of frequently asked unusual enquiries for reference. The library was a large, long established one, so there were lots of materials, systems and rooms to get acquainted with, and I'd say it took at least a year of full-time work there before I could say I was able to deal with the bulk of enquiries that came my way, and know where things were.

In between enquiries there was of course the general administrative work needed to keep things going - yup, the eternal joy of compiling and issuing of accounts for photocopying and research! :) Also, since the library had held various large book-stock sales in its history, but the card catalogues still held the records for these sold books in with the current books, it seemed like a good idea to get those card files out, and into their own catalogue. That project took about six (dirty - these cards were old!) months, of sorting through each file drawer and removing the records marked as sold when I had a free moment. Finally, we had accurate online, card and bound catalogues, yay! Then I moved onto cataloguing the older editions of textbooks (and some hidden gems) onto the online catalogue, a task that was only 50% completed when I left.

We pushed to get the best technology and resources possible, working with the restrictions of doing so in a listed building. I think the biggest advance was my boss managing to get wi-fi installed! We could be showing members how to best use web tools one moment, and then later on, bringing up case reports from the 1800s from the basement for academic researchers who needed access to our collections for their studies. Quite a varied sort of workplace!

But after 4 years it was definitely time to move on, and I found myself working for my current employer, a commercial law firm. Once again, it was a pretty steep learning curve. Yes, I knew about Scots law, where to find things, where to look and who to ask if I didn't understand things, but the difference was that this time, I was dealing directly with the people giving me the enquiries. Previously, those questions had usually been filtered by the librarians of the firms using the library, and the core points had been teased out, leaving me free to go straight to what they want, whether that was a book, case, or anything else. Here, I was getting people who weren't quite sure what they were looking for, and needed my help to work it out. It's certainly helped develop my "asking people questions until they decide what the important point is" skills! Actually, it's helped me developed my telepathy and mind reading skills too! The time pressure's pretty different as well - everything's always needed yesterday! But it's nice to be in the same place as my users, to be able to see them, chat, socialise etc. and get to know their information needs better. Here too, as in my previous workplace, I'm encouraged to explore technology, and see what tools could be useful for either staff, or library staff. We have an in-house Current Awareness service, so I'm always aware of news and developments, and feeding them back into the firms systems.

Another big difference is that I work solo here - I'm in charge of one office, and my boss is in charge of another. Multiple daily phone calls and emails help us keep track of what's going on, with a wiki for shared information / in case of emergencies, and regular face to face meetings fill in anything else, and help remind each other that we really exist! When I first started I felt like such a pest - being on my own, and being technically a department of my own in this office too meant I had no team members around me - I was never off the phone asking daft questions, not only about the library, but about things like how do I get a document scanned, and what the email shortcut was for the IT department! The patience of my boss was verging on saintly! Now, I know everyone here, and who does what, and have seen multiple waves of trainees pass through the door...I feel almost like an old hand.

The firm and my boss have also encouraged me into anything and everything that will benefit me professionally, so I've attended conferences, joined committees, edited newsletters, blogged, chartered, written articles...I'm certainly not allowed to isolate myself into the world of law and hide out!

So, not quite the career path I had thought of...in fact, law librarianship isn't actually a career path that I even knew existed! Luckily though, I love working in this sector, and am glad that I saw that advert for my first, part-time post!


Oh yes - the books up the top are from a little sprinkler accident at one of the libraries - amazing sight to see halls, rooms and corridors filled with ranks and ranks of splayed open books! I couldn't resist taking some photos!

The trauma of training

*Warning - extreme and pointed sarcasm may be used in this post. Those with weak hearts and constitutions may want to stop reading now*

Dear people-who-have-agreed-to-attend-the-training-with-a-supplier-that-we've-set-up-for-your-benefit, I am very, very sorry.
I obviously forgot a few things.

I forgot:

  • That I am your personal diary secretary, and I myself should have reminded you that you had agreed to attend this training.
  • That you are incapable of leaving your seat without my specific instruction to point you towards a training room, and therefore cannot make your own way to your training.
  • That the frequent pop up reminders on your computer of your imminent training session are only for you to ignore. Every time they pop up. For an hour beforehand. Every 10 minutes.
  • That you can only tell me that you're not attending the session once I have had to come looking for you and ask you personally.
  • That you cannot write an email or pick up the phone to spend 20 seconds telling me you will no longer be attending, and thereby stop me wasting my time chasing around the building for you.

Foolishly, I assumed you were adults, and therefore able to deal with grown-up stuff like this.

Of course, when you have any issues with the product you didn't attend training on, you'll be able to solve them yourselves, won't you? Excellent.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Steampunking Austen

So, I finished Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters a few days ago. I have to say, I enjoyed this even more than Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters has a society that was much more altered from the original (I imagine, not having read it), and which was much more steampunk, and humorous, than I expected. Lots of boats, pirates, monsters, strange chants, various animal attacks, experiments, underground cities, and trained mutant lobsters. With some old-fashioned morality and "proper" behaviour thrown in.
And of course, there's various mysterious sub-plots, the solution only revealed at the end, which hints about pop up throughout the book.
I don't want to say much more, so I don't ruin the fun of discovering the contents. I'd definitely recommend giving this one a go!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The sea monsters, the sea monsters!

You know, I'm really, really enjoying Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters. I know even less about the actual story of this than I did about Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, but I really son't think it matters. I seriously doubt that homicidal sea creatures, massive domed submarine living quarters, mysterious island-dwelling, mountain-worshipping semi-humans, and regular battles with sealife featured in the original book!
And you know what? I don't care! On its own, this is a fun, and funny book! I have no idea how the in depth conversations on who feels what for who fit into the original, and whether polite society included women who had been stolen form their native lands in burlap sacks, and forced to be wives to seafaring adventurers were in there (I have a sneaking suspicion not...), but to read about two ladies maintaining the niceties of conversation while being attacked in a canoe by the Fang-Beast certainly amused me!
About half-way through now...oh, who will win the hearts of these lovely ladies? What man will be theirs? And will he have the facial appendages of a squid? Who can tell!

Monday, September 28, 2009

I PROMISE I'm not stalking her!

It just so happens that Woodsiegirl has been blogging lots of things recently that catch my attention, and interest! So, I'm copying her Q and A!

Do you snack while you read? If so, favorite reading snack?

Depends where I am when reading. Usually, it's on the bus to / from work, or in bed, neither of which are snacking hot-spots for me. If I'm spending a few hours on the couch reading, then yup, usually crisps....but those crisp-smeared hands never touch the book until they've been cleaned!

Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you?

No writing in books! I have enough trouble removing the underlined passages in books at work (which at least tend to be historic, and in pencil...current users know I'd gut them if they inked up the library books!). I didn't write in books while studying either - I remember things better if I've written them myself, so I'd write notes on lined paper instead.

How do you keep your place while reading a book? Bookmark? Dog-ears? Laying the book flat open?

Bookmark or laying it open carefully, without cracking the spine. Having bought a lot of old, charity shop books, I know pages tend to fall out at the points where the spine's broken first...and I have a liking for smooth spines, if it's a new book. If I've read a book, it can be hard to tell, as the spine's usually still perfect.

Fiction, Non-fiction, or both?

Fiction. I have to read enough non-fiction information in daily life to not want to deal with it in my free time. Unless it's about murders of course. Yes, I am morbid, and love forensic science.

Hard copy or audiobooks?

Hard copy. Not sure that I've ever listened to an audio book. I read really fast, so to have to sit and listen to someone reading out what I could read for myself in a quarter of the time would drive me mad.

Are you a person who tends to read to the end of chapters, or are you able to put a book down at any point?

End of chapter if possible. If not, I'll just put the book down where ever I feel like I can't read any more for (evenings) or when my stop's coming up (commute).

If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop to look it

up right away?

Nope. I can usually work it out from the context, and if I can't, I'll just ignore it. One word's not usually critical to understanding things. If I remember, I may check it out later, but usually, I just forget!

What are you currently reading?

"Arthur and George", "The Shadow of the Wind", and "Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters"

What is the last book you bought?

Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, new. I tend to bulk buy from charity shops though, so often it's hard to tell what I bought last as it's just a bagful, but SSSM I really wanted to read, so pre-ordered from Amazon.

Are you the type of person that only reads one book at a time or can you read more than one at a time?

As you can see from my current reading list above, I can have anything from 1 to 4 books on the go at once.

Do you have a favorite time of day and/or place to read?

Afternoons, or evenings. If I have nothing else to do (cue hysterical laughter here) I love an autumn afternoon or evening on the sofa, lost in a book, with a cosy blanket.

Do you prefer series books or stand alone books?

I like stand alones. As my usual book sources are charity shops, finding the parts of a series is a rare event, so books that stand alone suit me better. Although, if I like a series, I'll buy the books new, to ensure I can read the whole lot.

Is there a specific book or author that you find yourself recommending over and over?

I love the Time Travelers Wife, but haven't read Audrey Niffenneger's new book, so I don't know if I can recommend the author. I'd recommend the book (I'm ignoring the misspelling of the title!), and tell anyone who's seen the film to forget that pile of pants and read the book! I also have a weakness for David Eddings fantasy books - brings back my teenage years :)

How do you organize your books? (By genre, title, author’s last name, etc.?)

Organise? Books? Nah, that's for work! My books go on the shelves according to...erm...no rules. See? It's all higgledy piggledy - books I've bought, gift books, read books, unread books, toys, photographs, scrapbooks, craft stuff...my bookshelves are a glorious mess :) And to be honest, there's not even all that much room for books!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Why do I do this?

By "this", I mean the whole librarian thaaaaang.

Woodsiegirl recently blogged on why she became a librarian, and after conversations in the comments section, I thought I'd join in with my own blog post on the topic.

As I said on Woodsiegirl's blog, I am one of those odd people who always wanted to be a librarian. My Mum and careers adviser both said it was a daft idea as 1) there'd be no jobs as computers would be doing everything by then (careers advisor) and 2) there's no money in it (Mums advice, herself a lifelong librarian). I actually was surrounded by librarians: Mum worked in libraries her whole career from the local branch library (when I say local, I mean local: 100 yards from my parents house) to the secondary school I went to (although years before I went there). My Aunt worked alongside my Mum for a while before emigrating, and has worked various shifts as cover in the local library since coming back home. So, I kinda grew up in libraries: I would go to the library after primary school and wait for Mum to finish work, while reading my way through the junior section, and into the adult. Cheaper than a baby sitter, and more educational! To me, libraries have always been friendly, fun places, where people come in not to just look for books, but to socialise and find out what's going on in the community.

But...I'd been told by two reliable sources that chosing to be a librarian was silly. So I went with science, because it's what I was best at. I ended up studying an Environmental Biology degree (a combination of Biology and Environmental Scince / Geography / Geology) and looking at my future with gloom. I can follow instructions to do an experiment, but not devise it myself. I'm too easily distracted to do the rigourous thinking and planning that's needed in science, so really, I was looking at a future of working as a lab technician. Not a bad job, but not particularly well paid either...so why not go for a not-well-paid-job that I wanted to do...be a librarian! A year and a half into my course, I was busily trying to figure out how to escape...and found that to get onto a Masters in Information and Library Science at Strathclyde University, I only needed a General degree, not an Honours. Woo-hoo: a year of my life saved!

Cue me volunteering in a local secondary school to get experience. My time there was great, and being able to help point the kids in the right direction to find good sources for their projects and work made me think that I'd like to work in a school, or a public library when I got a job. After being accepted onto the course, it was a long slog of travelling over from Edinburgh to Glasgow for classes, and making flying visit to the Uni library to get articles on...libraries before running back to Edinburgh. A lot of my coursemates were re-training or changing careers, so were really focussed, soit wasn't a very 'fun' or sociable group. Meanwhile, I'd just continued in the student vein...and I'm not a good student. I can do a lot better than I do, but I leave things to the last minute and throw stuff together! So, the Masters option was never going to work out for me...I got my Postgraduate Diploma and scampered back to Edinburgh to begin the job hunt. The first position that came up was a part time job at a legal library within the court complex on the Royal Mile. I knew absolutely nothing about law, but through that job, and the others that followed (and the knowledgable people I worked with who pretty much gave me an apprenticeship in law librarianing), I've learned a LOT about it! Luckily, I love law, and having a job that encompasses so much learning and development. I have a friend who refers to me (despite my threats of serious personal pain if he keeps it up) as The Oracle, because he knows that if I don't know the answer to something already, I'll make it my mission to find it out. Or it'll really, really annoy me for aaaaaaaaages :)

So, in the end Mum was right, and the careers advisor was wrong (but the dot matrix career guidance printout I still have was right - it said librarian too) - there is no real money in librarianship, but there's a satisfying career if, like me, you like answering questions and solving problems. Cos that's what being a librarian is, really, regardless of what tools, techie or otherwise, you have at your disposal. And the computers still haven't taken over the world!

And no, I don't fit the "everything's organised and sorted" stereotype either. My bookshelves and CD shelves are tidy, but not catalogued or in any order (other than books of a series go together). It's pot luck finding things in my flat! I do read fast, which means I never buy books new, and once they're read, they go back to the charity shop to be resold, so only unread books, or books I really like stay on my bookshelves.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Seamonster time!

Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters arrived on Thursday, so I shall be launching into that at some point soon. Have read the first few pages, and am already enjoying it: the final message of a man mauled by a tiger shark, written on a beach with a bit of driftwood while his face is held in place...that's my sorta Regency romance! :)

Oh, and Quirk Books (the publisher) posted a comment on an earlier post, and say they're announcing the third in this series of mashups at the end of the month...will be keen to see what they have in store next!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Mr Darcy, you disappoint me!

Well, I finished "Mr Darcy, Vampyre" a few days ago, and I have to say, my initial impressions of it didn't improve much.

*Spoilers below*

I'm no writer myself, or book critic, but I really didn't think much of this. It seemed a bit of an awkward attempt to shoehorn in phrases that would have suited at the time when Pride and Prejudice was written, but don't quite sit properly in with the rest of the writing.

There are a LOT of sections where everything's rushed through with very basic description, eg. they unexpectedly have to cross the Alps, by mule, after an escape from a mob, wearing only what they had on. This would take a fair chunk of time, and be difficult, but what you get is a page and a half of "we went past glaciers...in a valley..up steep slopes, oh, it's really pretty' etc, with no information on timescale or how they made it over.

When they get to the other side there's a bit about Elizabeth looking so wild and dirty that if Darcy hadn't been known there they'd have been driven away from the Inn as vagrants. So she didn't wash? Were they months crossing these mountains? Weeks? Days? It's frustrating that this bit (which in itself should have been a massive adventure)

is skipped merrily over.

Time is totally odd...they start their wedding tour, and seem to spend months either travelling to locations, or living there, but it's an eternal summer...even in Italy in November things are flowering and the weather is lovely. I have no idea what timescale this book is supposed to cover: 6 months, 9 months a year? More? We get 'time passed in a swirl of soirees' etc sort of statements, but never anything more detailed.

I was also driven nuts by all the brooding expressions, flickers of 'darkness' and tortured moments Darcy seemed to go through. Look - your book says he's a vampire / vampyre in the title...we KNOW what he is, only Elizabeth doesn't, and I'm pretty sure that by the time Darcy's 150 years old he's well able to control his facial expressions.

Elizabeth acts strangely - she randomly decides on complete strangers to 'confide' in, at points where the author must have decided that she needed to have Elizabeth 'reassured', so she won't blow the plot too early, before she can be taken through some more nice stereotypes - the isolated, scary castle, the attack of the baying mob...

There is of course a looming menace in the form of the Old One, who is apparently the oldest vampire, and nobody knows where he came from or anything more about him. As expected, Darcy must fight him to save Elizabeth...and guess what? He doesn't win, but the Old One is injured, enough that they can escape. And what gave Darcy the strength to battle this hugely powerful fiend? Oh yes: love. *yawn*. And that's the last we hear of the Old One - the threat that's been following them around Europe, trying to steal Elizabeth, is bested in a small fight in the forest and they escaped easily. Oh. That was it then?

And ageing. Darcy and his sister (and, it would appear, most of the world) are vampires. Darcy was 14 when turned, his sister much younger. Yet they're both now either adult or thereabouts. Did they just decide to age to a certain point that they liked the feel of, then stop. But they state that part of the vampire curse is that they don't age, so they couldn't do that.

And the finale? Oh. Dear. God. We've entered cliché-ville: a ruined monastery / hidden Roman temple at an unknown location, marked by a distinctive tree and view (of course unknown to the aged and fragile teller of this tale (on his own a whole special cliché), but it just so happens Darcy fell into it while playing there as a child...dear God, did Darcy live everywhere in the world as a child?!? And was this as a vampire child, or a human child? Cos as a human child he lived in London, not Italy...oh, I give in), the chance to lift the curse Darcy's under, an ancient cave, a fight with unseen monsters (which Darcy and another do, off screen as it were, and arrive back dishevelled but won't speak about it..so WHY even put that in!!), petrified forests, unearthly glows, earthquakes, separation from the faithful guide / helper, a split second choice to be made, and in the end, of course, love triumphing over all.

Yadda yadda.

A new recession indicator in law firms?

Missing books.
You know the Library bought them.
You know they were on the shelf.
Now they're missing.
And they ain't been signed out on the system.
But someone out there has them.

So...first, you do a shelf check in the areas surrounding where it should be. People have a tendancy to see a gap in the approximate area where the book they borrowed came from, and just shove it back in there. Apparently, an alphabetical system of spine letters, and shelf edge guides stating the topic books in that area cover is too taxing on the brain. Obviously employment law books are just as at home nestled in with planning law as they would be with their other employment law book friends.

Then...you do the desk check of the likely culprits, all of whom deny ever having seen any book at all, let alone that specific one, or god forbid, that they actually used it. Sometimes they'll even deny knowledge of its existence, and demand that it be passed to them when it's found, as I've let them down by not reading their mind that they wanted it, and personally placing it in their hands the moment it arrived. It would appear that my mission in life is merely to falsely accuse innocent people of using books, and hide the books that come in from them so they can never use them. I am a bad librarian.

Then...you do the office-wide email, putting the author and title in the email headline so peeps can skim and delete the email without opening if it's not relevant to them, to save them time. Now you sit back and wait for the flood out out-of-office emails to calm down before you can get on with anything.

Then...you get the "hilarious" email responses. Top replies include: I'm using it as a doorstop; I'm using it as a pillow; I took it home cos it's my favourite; I took it home cos I have insomnia and it'll help me sleep; I sold it on eBay; My dog ate it.
All of these are new and fresh, every time.

Then...you trawl around the local area via email, seeing if any nearby, friendly librarians would let you borrow their copy for a short time. This involves making winsome faces and partial begging. The things we do for our users...

Then...you go to an institutional, membership library, and borrow their copy...if they have it in. You may have to go and collect it personally, or it may be posted out to you. Either way, it's not going to be with the requester instantly.

As you can imagine, all of this eats up time. So...while I'm happy that things are picking up, judging by the volume of books constantly being asked for...I WISH THEY'D SIGN THEM OUT!

;)

Friday, September 04, 2009

Darcy's here...and he's a vampyre

I received my copy of Mr Darcy, Vampyre on Wednesday, so made a start on it last night. So far, I'm not overly impressed: the writer seems to rush through things, hardly any description of what's going on, more "he said, she said, they did", but I don't know if that's just because they're trying to hurry to get to the vampire bit, or if this is how it's going to be throughout. And there's all sorts of tortured expressions being displayed for fleeting moments, and brooding. I hate brooding, I do.

Also, there's a LOT of familiarity assumed with Pride and Prejudice - it starts pretty soon after Pride and Prejudice finishes, so you're assumed to know all the characters and names that are thrown in. I'm glad I had read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies not too long ago, so who most people were came back to me, and those characters are left behind by the end of the first chapter, but I did slow me down a fair bit: racking my memory to work out who people were!

Only 36 or so pages in though, and now they're en route to Paris, so we'll see if it improves.

Hmmm: should I join my public library now?

So I can borrow an energy meter!
I've said before that I'm not a member of my local public library, because as a working adult with good computer skills and a computer / internet access at home, no need to read specific books for pleasure (I buy what catches my eye from charity shops, then give them back to resell when I've read them) or research (I'm not studying anything at the moment) , I don't see what they can really offer me just now.
And I don't know whether, for their statistics, it's better to have an adult registered that doesn't use them, or not be registered and therefore not appear on their radar at all....anyone know?

Anyhoo, regardless of the lack of my lovely presence (!), Edinburgh City Libraries are definitely doing well - catching the headlines, in a time when their budget is also under the same pressure as everyone elses finances! And of course, they have a presence on pretty much anywhere online you can think of looking: Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Bebo...if you're there, they are too, under their "Tales of One City" brand and blog. I don't know how they find the time!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Remembering we have a different legal system

The lovely Scots Law News blog has pointed out a few teensy issues on the website of the new UK Supreme Court.

I particularly like the thought of judges being tried in their very own court...wonder if there's specific crimes for judges? Other than the usual crossdressing (only a fashion crime) and frequenting "saunas" (sometimes a crime, depending on the activity indulged in...).

Any suggestions for judge-specific crimes?

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Edinburgh International Book Festival - Memoirs of a Radical Lawyer



So, on Monday afternoon, it was time for the now-annual Scottish Law Librarians Group jaunt to the Edinburgh International Book Festival. Every year, the Committee try and decide on an event that's as relevant to the members as possible (law related, Scottish issues, publishers with a Scottish interest), and at as convenient a time as possible...and that we can get enough tickets for. As you can imagine, that's not always an easy trick, but I think we did well this year, and even managed to get a day when the mud was minimal, despite the signs warning us about it!

The event chosen was Michael Mansfield. The info's gone from the site now, but it was:

Michael Mansfield Mon 31/08/2009
4:30 PM - 5:30 PM
From Ruth Ellis to Jean Charles de Menezes, Bloody Sunday to the
Marchioness disaster, Michael Mansfield has taken on many of the most
difficult cases of our times. The Memoirs of a Radical Lawyer recalls a
career defending the innocent (and sometimes the guilty), infuriating
the establishment and championing human rights, with wit, passion and
honesty.

He's hit the headlines lately with his claims in his book that Princess Diana's death was not an accident, but on Monday he was more concerned, as were the audience, with the implications of the recent release of Abedelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, or the Lockerbie Bomber. Michael Mansfield was in attendance at much of the original trial, and indeed, his book begins there, and he read to us a small sample to illustrate, so he has a wealth of knowledge about the case.

In advance of the release of the related documents on Tuesday, and the Parliamentary debate / motion today, he made various points about unanswered questions which he hoped would be raised in the debate:
Why was Megrahis appeal not expedited when it became clear that his condition was terminal, as it would have been in England. He waited 2 years for his appeal to go through, and in the end it was dropped. Who or what stopped the case being reviewed as a priority?
What was the evidence the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission on which based the referral of his case to appeal?
Why was he not returned to Libya on the Prisoner Transfer Agreement?

He also read from trial transcripts of the Maltese shopkeeper identification of Megrahi as the man who had made purchases in his shop. The shopkeeper seemed very unsure of himself, as is understandable. His initial identification of Megrahi was made 9 months after the alleged purchases, and the trial was 10 years after that event. As Mr Mansfield said, this is an incredbile timescale to be able to identify a man you served for 5 minutes. There was also confusion over when he saw photos of Megrahi, and the fact he identifed another individual, and changed his description of the suspect from interview to interview.

Mr Mansfield explained the concerns about where exactly the bomb had got onto the plane, and how it had got through security, wherever it had got on.

He believes no issues will be cleared up until there's a proper, judicial enquiry, something which he feels the current Brown/Blair government will try to block.

Woven amongst these discussions (and often linking to his belief the Megrahi was failed by the system) were other interesting snippets. He spoke of the Oscar Slater case, a Scottish miscarriage of justice which Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was heavily involved in righting, and which helped lead to the founding of the Scottish Appeal Court in the 1920s(apparently the English one had been founded earlier in response to a similar miscarriage of justice there in the 1900s - I've not got time to fact check either of these statements).

He was heavily involved in the Stephen Lawrence case, representing the family in the private prosecution, and wearing a ribbon during his appearance at the event. He again raised the issue of being able to identify properly a suspect, not only in Stephen Lawrence's case, but also Megrahis. In both cases, idenitfication was based on one witness identification, and in Lawrences case, this was not enough.

Mr Mansfield then took questions from the audience.

The first asked about the Bloody Sunday enquiry, sitting for 10 years and not yet reporting, and whether this was why the Government tries to discourage public enquiries. His response was that that was a massive, historical enquiry involving thousands of witnesses, all of whom needed to be treated as being as important as each other. It was set up to fix what was seen as the whitewashing response of the first enquiry, so must be totally wide ranging. It's now almost ready to report, and has acted almost like the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa and other countries, to allow those hurt to face those who inficted the hurt, and let their voice be heard.

Another (slightly odd - there's always one) questioner pointed out the discrepancy in the height between Megrahi and the description given by his Maltese shopkeeper identifier. Mr Mansfield said that the height difference was understandable, few people are experts on height estimation, but his other descriptions were more seriously flawed.

Finally, he was asked about who's in charge of security, and where does "the buck stop" when it goes wrong. Mr Mansfield agreed there were serious questons needing answered about who knows what, and when. He gave the example of the London bombings, when initially all the security services denied knowing anything about the lead bomber...and it's since leaked out that at least some agencies did know about him...so why did't they tell the others? And if it was true that they didn't know anything...then what was the point of having these agencies at all?

So, despite the attempts of various police and ambulance sirens to drown him out at least three times (one of the joys of being in a marquee), Michael Mansfield treated us to an interesting discussion on the ins and outs of the legal process, and the innocent victims it can sometimes create.

And Prince Albert, the Prince Consort, supervised it all from above...I think his horse was a bit tired by this point...it's been a long Festival.

Customer service - a dying art?

Or really, any sort of service at all, since offering a 'free' issue of a newsletter for assessment doesn't really make me a customer, since I've not bought a product yet....

Ah, the joys of LexisNexis! They must be getting desperate for business indeed, if their new tactics are anything to go by.

I was called up a few weeks ago by a woman. I don't know who, she never gave her name. She asked me if I would like a free sample issue of their relaunched "Tolley's Employment Law Newsletter". As thats an area we cover, I said yes, but also that it was hugely unlikely we'd take out a subscription of any sort. She said that was fine, but went on to make a HUGE point of the fact that, I HAD to reply to the email she would be sending me within 30 days. I had no idea what the email content would be, it would be made clear in the email, but I HAD to reply to it. I said no problem, and calendared it in as I was talking to her. She had me spell out my email address, letter by letter, so there was no confusion over it.
Then she said that I "might" get an invoice, but it was ok, I could ignore it, as long as I replied to the email to confirm whatever this mystical email wanted me to confirm, I assume my refusal of a subscription, since she was now mentioning invoices.
She said was going to email me right that second, and remember, it is absolutely ESSENTIAL that I reply to that email.

Needless to say, the email didn't arrive...but days later, the Newsletter did. Now, without this email I can't cancel this non-subscription that I don't have...yet also, they have no evidence of any sort of request from me to receive this sample issue...I wonder how this is all going to work out?

I contacted the customer service email on the website as soon as the issue arrived on the 24th August (which reminded me the email from Phonecall Woman had never arrived), and told them I had received a sample copy, had no intention of taking out a subscription, had been left with no contact details for the woman who called and no email to reply to to confirm I didn't want a subscription, they could regard this as my statement that I did not want a subscription to the Newsletter, and forward this to the appropriate department to deal with.

I got no reply or acknowledgement from customer service, no contact of any sort. Now, the date I put in the calendar for reply (at the very latest) to that non-existent email is the 17th September...lets see what happens, shall we? Invoicing for a non-requested, non-existent subscription?

Fun and games with publishers. *sigh*

Friday, August 28, 2009

My next purchases...

"Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters" (pre-ordered), and "Mr Darcy, Vamprye" (currently en route).

These are the only way I'm ever going to be able to cope with these type of classic books! Monsters! Vampires! Yay!

I shall post a review once I've read 'em :)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

West librarian email update

Information Overlord kindly pointed me towards Wests reply to the staggeringly badly thought out "Librarian name" marketing email.

Wisely, they've put their hands up and confessed to being *rses, and apologised. A good response, but why did a massive (I believe, I'm not overinformed on the US legal information suppliers marekt) company whose focus is on supplying information to legal and information professionals, ever think that it would be ok to insult the best informed sector of their users?

And who authorised that email going out? Did they look at it and go "Yup, that's just the tone we want to set!"

Apparently, it "won't happen again". I'm just surprised that it happened at all.

How to insult your users

Well, West (the American parent of our UK Westlaw) seem just about ready to start giving classes in "simultaneously patronising and insulting some of your core users".

Sarah Glassmeyer posted this screenshot to Twitpic of a West email to its users.

Shall I explain why I find this to be hugely insulting? Well.... do West understand who the biggest users / on site trainers / troubleshooters / BUYERS of its products are? Have they ever actually met a librarian, or do they still think all librarians wear half-moon glasses / twinsets / pearls / sensible shoes / their hair in buns? I suppose we should be grateful they didn't throw in a clipart library matron, or something about keeping te noise down too. And do they really think it's a good idea to imply that knowing a colleagues name in another department, who's there to do expert research work to save that fee earner valuable time, is beneath the dignity of a fee earner?

Sigh.

*Written by the librarian who has short hair, no glasses, no pearls, twinsets or other librarian clothing, and who has never told anyone to shhhh in her life. And whose colleagues DO know her first name, cos, y'know, I'm a real person, and it's my job to do the research work*


Sunday, August 02, 2009

So I'm a bit stubborn...

I was pointed a while ago to this discussion on JISCmail a while ago, which I'm not a member of, so I couldn't respond to the discussion about library blogs (and to be honest, I couldn't be bothered joining to explain why the UK Library Bloggers wiki came from, and why it is as it is -it's all done in my free time).

The point I took from it was that the UK Library Bloggers wiki wasn't regarded as comprehensive, and was seen to be inconsistent. As it's always a work in progress, I took that on board...and spent 30+ hours over the last few months going through each of the 800+ liblogs listed on the Hotstuff 2.0 list discussed in the JISCmail thread, and determining which were in the UK, and if they were missing from the liblogger list.

From that, I found 37 new liblogs (and a lot which I would classify as dead, as they haven't had any posts in 2009, so I ignored), some of which were debateable whether they fell into the liblog definition (automated library news areas, rather than actual blogs etc), and I've spent a few spare hours when I've found them to visit each blog, classify it, and add it to the list. Meanwhile, Jo Alcock and Phil Bradley have also been adding to the list as they find more blogs in their online wanderings. One of the fab benefits of having people involved who work in different professional areas, and are able to pick up blogs from their professional links!

I've also expanded the categories to include information professionals: those who are working with libraries / librarians, who would otherwise fall outside the boundaries of the list, but contribute a lot of useful information to librarians and the information profession. Hopefully this is a good plan - to include people who don't claim to be librarians on a list of...erm...librarians!

*And yes, I do know there's a lot more to life, but like I said, I'm stubborn, and since it was pointed out that the wiki was lacking, I decided to sort that out...*

Friday, July 10, 2009

Fancy a change of career?

Fed up with lending books (librarians), interpreting the law in them (lawyers), or just feeling a burning desire to get more fun out of working with books?

This could be the job for you:

The Job:

The Children’s Bookshop in Edinburgh is expanding and opening a new bookshop for grown-up fiction and non-fiction. The manager will need to develop core stock, as well as undertake daily stock replenishment and new stock ordering. She or he will also be responsible for event organisation, cashing up, maintaining the customer mailing list, customer orders and managing any additional staff. The manager will contribute to overall business development. Work days will be Tuesday-Saturday.


The person:

The candidate will have a proven track record in bookselling as well as experience of managing staff and budgets. Good IT skills and excellent interpersonal skills are a must. She or he must be self-motivated, but also work well in a team with other staff and with The Children’s Bookshop. Reliability is vital.


Those nice people at Fidra books are expanding into the world of grown-up books, and need a manager for this new venture. Wouldn't it be nice to actually work with books you'd like to read, and recommend to others to read? (I would strongly advise against reading law books for pleasure, unless your definition of pleasure also includes pulling out your own fingernails, and watching the growth of mould in damp areas). The bookshop will open on the 5th September 2009, and I'm hoing to take a trip over.


Prior to the opening of the bookshop for grown-ups (apparently, calling it an "adult bookshop" might attract the wrong type of customers ;) ), they're using the space as a gallery for illustrations by some wonderful childrens book artists.during a period which also encompasses the Edinburgh International Book Festival. The Fidra Gallery will be open from the 11th July - 29th August...think I might make it over to that side of town to have a look. And if I'm feeling too lazy, it's got a website too.


They're also on Twitter as @FidraBooks


It's so nice to have such a friendly, fun and communicative independant bookshop in town, instead of just the Big Beasts of Waterstone's and the supermarket 'reading for the lowest common denominator' options! Through their blog and their Twitter posts, I feel like I know the staff already, without ever having met them!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I love the smell of musty books in the morning...



Ohhh, there's just nothing like the scent of old, mouldering books to make you feel at home in a library, so when you're feeling lost while sitting at your desk, paging through the latest electronic information source, why not blast a spray of this around, and think back to happy times spent researching obscure points, buried in ancient texts...

Other varieties available...maybe ;)

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Open University course for librarians

As mentioned in CILIP Gazette...or Update (my memory sucks!) the Open University has launched a new course for "information professionals": "The Evolving Information Professional: challenges in a digital world" is an online course,. available to begin studying at any time.

The blurb says:

This course is for information professionals – librarians, archivists, information and knowledge managers – looking to keep up to date with modern technologies, sources of information and today’s users.

It is for those in the profession who wish to stay relevant in this fast-changing world of information, find out how other information services are facing the challenge and consider ways of proving their worth in the Google age. Among all the issues that the course covers, you will be given the opportunity to reflect on the possible consequences for your service of a new generation of ‘Homo zappien’ users, try out games developed for library users and archivists and consider the implications of the 7 Ps for marketing your service.


All looks very interesting...but in general terms. And I can't really see myself paying almost £500 for that level of general interest. It may be more useful for public /academic librarians, or anyone who has to deal with a regularly changing group of users.

When they invent a course that includes dealing with lawyers and their....'foibles', then I'll be there in a flash! :)

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Lawyers are smart...aren't they?

I mean, they've all gone through many years of expensive education, designed to weed out those who're not able to perform to the high levels demanded in the competitive world of the law. In the case of Advocates, Solicitor-Advocates and Barristers, after their initial degree qualification there's even more training involved, again, accepting only the best minds to this higher level of education.

And then, once they're out practising in the Big Bad World, they have to be able to assess information presented to them, the accuracy of that information, identify opportunities and threats, and figure out what's really a sensible conclusion to many issues.

So...with all that education, knowledge, experience and business skill, just how the hell did this proposal get any further than a 4am late-night-cheese-snack-induced nightmare?!?

The Executive Committees of Inner Temple and Middle Temple have agreed to commission a feasibility study to investigate the potential benefits of merging their Libraries and creating a Joint Education and Advocacy Centre.


The study will be overseen by a working group chaired jointly by Master Jonathan Hirst for Inner Temple and Master Stanley Burnton, Deputy Treasurer, for Middle Temple.


The results of the study are likely to be available in the late summer and no decisions are anticipated until much later in the year, after full consultation with staff and consideration by the relevant Inn Committees, Bench Table and Parliament.

In particular, no assumption has been made as to which Inn would house the Library and which the Education Centre, should the project proceed.


Vivian Robinson QC
Treasurer


Now, having worked at a large institutional legal library myself, my brain just shuts down in shock when confronted with a lunatic proposal like this. Really - this is actually a serious proposition, from these "smart" people? Charon QC has commented extensively on this here, and here: please feel free to take part in his poll. Many others have also commented on the absurdity of this proposal.

Even in Scotland the Inn Libraries have an outstanding reputation. Their extensive holdings and experienced staff are essential to the smooth running of the legal system in England and Wales, just as the Advocates Library is here in Scotland. Without the knowledge and skill of the library staff, and the immediate access to a wide range of legal materials they have in stock, the barrister profession of England and Wales would be hamstrung.

So, to propose that that wealth of experience and materials would be effectively halved by merging the Inner Temple and Middle Temple Libraries is verging on the insane! And where is the actual detail on this proposal? What exactly are they studying the "feasibility" of? Cutting staff? Cutting stock or putting it into storage? Losing study space? Saving money? Ahhh...saving money. I think we may have found the reason here. Because you can be sure that this initiative is not for the benefit of the members of these libraries...it'll be about cutting costs, while pretending to (as is a favourite excuse) "modernise" the service.

Because, of course, a modern service is one that has fewer staff, and fewer resources, but looks shiny and pretty. As, after all, nobody reads those musty old things called books any more. And librarians just sit at desks and stamp books. And users can navigate the intricacies of all the massive databases with ease, because they're designed to be nice and user friendly. And all the books that users actually do want (strange, old fashioned users that they must be!) are always right where you want them....

Right?....

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Badgers v. Solicitors

I think in this case, the badgers win...

Apparently they're asking for a solution for their badger problem. I do happen to know that, although it's illegal to move a badger without a proper licence, or "interfere" with it and its sett, if a young badger does happen to move in somewhere inconvenient (say...under a joiners workshop), and try and establish its home there, that a period of full-volume dance music / cheesy local radio, played through speakers in that workshop while in the course of using it for the established business seems to be a good encouragement to those wandering young badgers to move along to a more serene location to establish themselves in... ;)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Pride and Prejudice...and Zombies

I'm not one for Regency romances, or any book where the "plucky" heroine has to struggle womanfully against the suffocating strictures of the moral code of her day (in a ladylike, delicate manner), so Jane Austen books have never appealed to me...but if you throw in something a bit different, like zombies, I perk up! So, when I read there was a new book coming out, a mashup of Pride and Prejudice, with zombies, I pre-ordered straight away!

I've enjoyed reading this (despite some editing / proof reading errors: e.g. I know for a fact that the English countryside has at no point been the native home of chipmunks, and the concept of "coy ponds" instead of "koi ponds" in a Japanese parkland setting was a bit jarring), and the addition of zombies definitely made it more entertaining: no walk in the English countryside, or carriage ride to London was safe from violent zombie attacks. And no young lady of refinement is considered to be accomplished unless she is skilled in the Deadly Arts, and has studied them in Japan or China. So the various encounters, and methods of despatching then certainly made for a bit of light relief when the "thwarted love that it was indelicate to discuss" thaaang kept coming up. And, although I early on thought I'd like a copy of the original to compare this to, to see where the differences from the original text are (other than the zombies), now I know I just couldn't cope with having to read it. It ain't made an Austin fan of me...but perhaps it has made a zombie fan of me.

Next, I shall read of one poet's descent into the zombie horror by buying Zombie Haiku...

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

CILIP Council open session, Wednesday 29th April

So, tomorrow's a big day - CILIP Council are experimenting with an open session to discuss how CILIP could / should be using Web 2.0 tools to interact with and support its membership.

If (like me) you can't be there in person, you can take part via Twitter (although I'm not sure how this is going to be integrated into the session), and the presentations of Phil Bradley and Brian Kelly are either already available in draft form, or will (I think) be made available after the session.

CILIP Council blog post here.

Twitter hash tag is #CILIP2 (#CILIP2.0 tag has been abandoned as the 'point' disrupts some applications)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

CaseCheck expands coverage

CaseCheck issued this press release a few days ago, and it's a great service, so I thought it was worth popping on here:

CaseCheck Launches UK-wide Service – Free Access to over 5000 legal case summaries and more

Scotland’s leading online legal information provider, CaseCheck, has linked up with Law Brief Publishing. This collaboration with the English legal publisher will give users free access to a database of more than 5,000 case summaries. The resource is popular with the Scottish legal community and has ambitious plans for the rest of the UK and beyond.

The free web-based resource now covers all major areas of law across the UK and EU, and includes expert opinions covering a wide variety of specialist subjects. Visit www.casecheck.co.uk to find out more.

CaseCheck is the brainchild of legal geek, Stephen Moore, who gave up practicing law for a career in legal information technology. Moore combines his work as a technology consultant with a number of leading law firms, with development of the CaseCheck concept.

Moore explains: “As soon as we launched we began getting great feedback. In spite of there only being 10,000 lawyers in Scotland the traffic picked up really quickly. Revenue grew on the back of that traffic and we became committed to seeing how we could develop the idea into other jurisdictions. It was just a question of finding the right partner.”

Law Brief Publishing was set up by Tim Kevan, a barrister, writer and entrepreneur. Commenting on the tie-up, Kevan said: “From the start Stephen really impressed us with his dynamic and innovative approach. CaseCheck has the potential to be an extremely important application and we are delighted to be helping with that. In return Stephen is able to give our extensive back catalogue of case reports a new audience.”


I love the fact that Stephen Moore is a self described "legal geek"! :)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

UK Library blogger wiki update

So, a month or so ago* I did a trawl through all the institutional / professional group blogs on the UK Library Blogs wiki, checked that the ones I'd found before were still there, added any new ones I'd found, and added a new area on entries, for account information on those groups or professionals with Twitter accounts listed on their blog.

I'm trying to do the personal blogs soon too, but with more work, less time to do it in, and my own life getting a bit busy, don't hold your breath for that to happen in the next few days! :)

As always, if you're not on there (and that's quite likely, the Magical Interweb is a big place, with many nooks and crannies hiding things), contact me either via the 'contact owner' option on the wiki front page, or via the email cunningly disguised in the right hand sidebar here, and I'll add you as soon as I can :)


*Oh, looks like it was a bit more than a month, more like two! Time flies!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Dear Bloglines...

....I love you, really, I do.

I know, I know: I may have become slightly disillusioned late last year, and threatened to leave you for Greader, or Netvibes, or NewsGator, or any of the other feed readers I tried out when you were having "personal issues" and trying to "find yourself".

But I stayed with your original version, I didn't desert you for that fickle Beta, I liked you just the way you were. And I didn't get on with those others like I do with you.

And I thought you appreciated that. You bucked up your ideas, sorted yourself out, and I thought we were happy together.
Until this week.

My dear, why do you now think I want you to import every post, from every feed I take, dating back to 2007, all marked as new and unread?

I mean, it's nice that you want me to have comprehensive information, but really, it would have been better just to stick with what I asked you to do, which was supply me with the feeds, and make them go away once I'd read them. It's nice that you think I might want to keep them around, but really...no.

And that new thing you're doing of making feeds appear unread, even though I'd read them a few seconds before? And regardless of how many times I "mark as read"? Stop it. It's not as endearing as you may think it is. And it wasn't even funny the first time.

Now, I think we're strong enough to be able to work through these issues together, but it's got to be a team effort. So, if I promise to not shriek in a high pitched manner, and mash the keys, will you promise to stop doing these really, really annoying things to me?

Mmkay?

Friday, January 23, 2009

Yesterday was a good day...

....I got rid of the mail pile, and made big advances in the ongoing game of "Chase My Own Tail" :0

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Playing catch-up

Ok, going on holiday for a month sounded like a fabulous plan, but the reality is, you get the best part of a months work backlogged for when you come back, and spend all your time trying to get that done while also keeping on top of the current stuff.

I'm aiming high - by the end of this week, the mail pile should be gone....hopefully.

In the meantime, a link to a story the lovely Hedgehog Librarian sent me while I was off bungee jumping in New Zealand...

The Digital Repository of the National Library of Scotland (which has its very own lovely blog here) has made a choice of technical partner for its ongoing project of creating a Digital Repository of many of the important documents from their massive (and always increasing!) collection.

Also, I just realised that the NLS also has a Flickr account, uploading lots of interesting photos from their photograph collections. A great way to be able to see some of the things you wouldn't always expect a library to have. After all, libraries just hold books...don't they? ;)

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

The blogging bard

It's a busy time for Rabbie Burns. As the National Year of Homecoming is centred around the 250th anniversary of his birth, he's got a lot of people looking closely at him and his work. So, he's been reanimated, and popped up on Twitter, tweeting poems, line by line. After the initial news reports, NTS actually posted the essential information needed for following him on Twitter: his username - ayrshirebard. They might however want to note that Twitter updates to your phone haven't been possible in the UK for many months.

And now, the revived poet has also taken to blogging!

Robert Burns' Letters will be posting the letters of the bard, on the anniversary of the day they were actually written. He's currently in full love-letter flow, writing to his 'Clarinda'. The content of 91 letters will be being posted, concluding in 2010, when it is hoped the National Trust for Scotland will be able to open the doors of the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum. Funds are still needed for this (about £4 million), so if you can donate, please do!

Although one plea - pleeease take off the SnapShots thing on links to sites outside the blog, it's the most annoying popup in the whole entire world...ever!

Now....time to try and find a good ceilidh in town for Burns Night....
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