Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A quick question for librarians

Are you overdue?
Do you have any books that you've borrowed, from any library, currently past the date they should have been returned?
Are they lurking, looking longingly at the door, seeming like they want to go home, making you feel ashamed?

This week, I have discovered that quite a few of my librarian friends are guilty of keeping books until they're overdue. Yes, they know how to renew online, or on the phone, or in person, but...it doesn't quite happen.

Is this one of the awful, secret truth about librarians? Do we know the rules so well we have a wild disregard for them? Is it one of the rules of Librarian Club? Are you an Overdue Librarian?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Things I refer to incorrectly



Apparently, in the CILIP Chartership system, the person in charge of supervising you is not your Mental.

And the person going through the system is not called the Manatee.

Illusions: shattered.


Image from here

Friday, March 12, 2010

What *are* those things called?


You know, the wee wooden toys, usually of a four-legged animal, that are strung together, and temporarily collapse when you press in the wooden base?
Anyhoo, I saw this advert from a design agency, apparently it's for easy to assemble furniture, but I wish it was real: I'd definitely need one of them!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

More on State Papers Online

Back in 2008 I blogged about some of the materials being made available online at State Papers Online.

At that stage, only Part I was accessible, with plans for Part II to be available in 2009. Well, they've got part II on the site now, and have announced plans for 2010 and 2011:

Coming soon in 2010

State Papers Online Part III: The Stuarts, James I to Anne, 1603-1713, State Papers Domestic

Coming in 2011


State Papers Online Part IV:The Stuarts, James I to Anne, 1603-1713, State Papers Foreign, Ireland and Acts of Privy Council

Might be of interest to any Tudor-loving historians out there, although the Stuart-loving ones will have to wait a wee bit yet :)

Although I have to admit to being somewhat stumped as to what it costs...no option for individual subscriptions, and you have to contact them to request pricing as an institution, or a trial...

The mysteries of cataloguing

Cataloguing: an arcane art, where each piece of punctuation is significant, and commas and semi colons are all-powerful.
Well, they are in "proper" libraries, where in-depth research of esoteric points goes on, and the precise spelling of Christian names, and information such as when a person lived and died can be crucial in pinpointing obscure facts.

Here, we have our own catalogue system. It doesn't have a name, but if it did, it would probably be something along the lines of "I need this book NOW, no I don't care about the precise spelling of the authors middle name, or their date of birth." I know, I know, it's not snappy, but it's accurate. Cataloguing demands are different in a commercial law firm: we don't care about much more than what it's about, who wrote, when, and what jurisdiction it covers. And what we really, really care about is "where the hell is it". Law books are amazing: they have the power to move themselves from the library shelves onto desks, into folders, drawers, bags...all without anyone ever having touched them, or having any knowledge of the books existence. The same magic is happening in law library shelves all round the country, right now...

Yes: this was all triggered by seeing a catalogue record here. I remember when I did "proper" cataloguing like that at a previous workplace. I slowly worked my way through the shelves of superseded law book stock, adding them to the online catalogue. Occasionally I found little vellum covered and nail-studded gems of books secreted amongst the "newer" old editions: a low-tech way of securing the volumes that there was no space for in the safe...

Here, there's no space for outdated information: we need it to be current, and in a hardwearing* format. When it's too out of date, it goes to the big recycling machine in the sky (and no, I don't feel guilty about destroying books: I do it with wild abandon, while laughing gleefully). We catalogue books as fast as we can, and have them grabbed out of our hands by lawyers keen to learn more about dilapidations (apparently, that's not actually a term to be used with regard to faded pop stars) and delicts (also, apparently not a delicious sounding spread).

*As an aside: Butterworths - WHY do you insist on creating Handbooks whose covers appear to be made from floppy papier mache? I don't know if you've noticed, but libraries do a crazy thing with their books: they shelve them. Which means standing them up on end. A book which has a spine and cover with the strength of damp kitchen towel does not tend to cope too well with the outrageous demands we put on it, like expecting them not to collapse instantly when you attempt to shelve them, causing a domino effect with surrounding books. Sure, watching a dozen books cascade off a shelf together is pretty, but when it's happened for the umpteenth time, it gets kinda wearing. Make. Stiff. Covers. Kthxbai.


Monday, March 08, 2010

I'm an elephant

Well, according to this BBC survey on their Lab UK site anyway (found via Shiny Forager)

You are a Web Elephant

Elephant

Slow-moving - Web Elephants like you browse the internet at a stately, methodical pace - just like real-world elephants who rarely see a reason to rush things.

Social - Real-world elephants and Web Elephants are both highly social. Real elephants are able to keep track of their own extended family trees and may even mourn love ones. As a Web Elephant, you often use social networking sites to keep track of your friends of family and are happy to rely on information from sites whose content is created by its users.

Adaptable - Real-world elephants owe their adaptability to their large brains and versatile trunks. As a Web Elephant you are similarly adaptable and are well-suited to carrying out several different tasks at the same time.


P.S. I am not afraid of mice.


Happy birthday, UK Library Bloggers wiki! Be free!

Yeeesh, it's been 2 whole years since I started building you out of the results of Google, Yahoo,Technorati and other random searches. Very quickly I realised that I couldn't bring you up properly on my own, so Auntie Jo, Auntie Christine, and Uncle Phil stepped in to help. Without them, you might have gotten a bit unruly, and grown up all scraggly and without any discipline. I think that together, we've done quite well, keeping you nicely in shape and making sure you're as well informed and as up to date as possible.

And now that you're all grown up, we've realised that the time has come to set you free in the world, to let you make your own way, meet new people, make your own changes, grow and develop in ways we might not be able to help you with ourselves. So....we've unlocked you, and now anybody (who registers with PBWorks) can edit, update and add to you. We know it's a risk, but we think you're old enough now to be able to look after yourself. Just avoid the bad people who might want to corrupt you, and be nice to the people who want to add useful things to you.

And remember, you can always come home if you need to, mmkay?

Friday, March 05, 2010

Tara Brabazon lecture in Edinburgh, Friday 26th March

I contemplated going along to this talk by the controversial academic Prof. Tara Brabazon (she "bans" first year students from using the internet as a source when doing coursework for her), but in the end I decided that it just wasn't work-relevant enough to justify the outing (interesting as it would be to hear her).

So, I thought I'd post the info on here in case anyone was interested: book your ticket by 19th March, kids!

Supreme courting...or winching*...or...something.

Iain Nisbet of the Govan Law Centre (and excellent, and entertaining Absolvitor blog) has referred to a (somewhat snarky) blog post I did back in October about the UK Supreme Court website in the Journal of the Law Society of Scotland (JLSS – not to be confused with a terrible manufactured boy band)

While it’s great to see from Iain's review that things on the site have improved (and I’m blushing at the thought of having any sort of influence other than what craft class to run in the evenings), it did remind me to double check an issue with the cases that was still outstanding in November 2009, when I looked at the site again.

Case [2009] UKSC 1 E, R (on the application of) v Governing Body of JFS & Anor (Rev 3) doesn’t actually exist on the Supreme Court site. You can find it via BAILLI, which shows the 3 cases the court decided in October. Searching for “[2009] UKSC 1” on the Decided Cases area doesn’t bring it up, nor does using the name. The only way to find it is a general search for the exact phrase / citation (which is fine if you know it), which brings up a link to the PDF version of the case. Methinks it’s perhaps time to put that in the…erm…Decided Cases section? It is kinda important, what with it being the first ever judgement from the new court….


*For the non-Scots:

winchingNoun. Courting, dating. [Scottish use]

Source

What have I missed?

Yes, another trip to New Zealand has meant yet more frantic catching up, and having had minimal internet access while upside down means I have no idea what’s gone on legal-wise while I was away. Although, as you can see, it was a terrible hardship being there while it snowed (AGAIN) here....

I must dig around post-haste, to see if any of my normal activities have been made illegal while I was away, cos, y’know, apparently, ignorance of the law is no defence. Or something…*sighing, while checking that papercrafting and internet pottering haven’t been outlawed*

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