Archive for June, 2008

The Baby-Sitters Club

I stopped at a thrift store today, and started perusing the books, as I am wont to do. And much to my delighted surprise, I found a copy old copies of Baby-sitters Club books. The series was my absolute favorite when I was a kid, and when I found out a few years ago they were out of print, it made me kinda sad. Of course I had to buy them at the store today. So freaking awesome!

I’ve been reading real, grown-up books lately, too. I just finished Tom Perrotta’s most recent, The Abstinence Teacher, and liked it much more than I expected. I’ve always enjoyed Perrotta’s books, but never found them particularly thought provoking or moving. This new one, though…I can’t stop thinking about it, and thinking about the wave of religious fanaticism sweeping the country, which obviously inspired Perrotta’s book. I’ve actually been working on a more complete review, which I’ll get up here soon.

In the meantime, though, I think I’m going to have to spend an afternoon hanging out with Kristy, Mary Anne, Claudia, and Stacey. And it will be grand.

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Oooh, surveys are fun

I just saw this one on Alison’s awesome blog, Spinstah. No, I wasn’t tagged, but I don’t even care. I’m going to answer it because I have a weird fondness for survey questions and these are good. And I would tag Miss Crystal with this one, but I highly suspect her blog won’t be updated anytime soon. (Ahem, if you do decide to update little lady, go ahead and answer some questions.)

1. Ten years ago I was… settling in for my first summer away from home, living with my aunt and uncle in San Francisco. I had probably just started my temp job for Blue Cross, and I was trying to figure out whether I should double major. I actually have a web site from lo those many years ago, and apparently, I was going to see Sean Lennon play an in-store at Amoeba. (Please forgive all the Tripod pop up ads. I was young and didn’t know any better.)

2. Five things on today’s To Do list: Updating the new webpages for interlibrary loan, finding out how to bake sourdough with my newly born starter, working a reference shift, testing ArtStor on Mac Leopard and Vista, and taking a nice, long walk. Everything but the reference shift and the bread baking = done!

3. Things I’d do if I were a billionaire: My real estate lust is out of control: I would definitely buy a place in San Francisco. Pay my parents’ mortgage. Pay off my student loans. Hire an accountant or personal finance advisor to help me invest wisely. Stock up on cava.

4. Three bad habits: Proclivity to laziness, impatience, shyness.

5. Six places I’ve lived: San Diego, CA, Santa Cruz, CA, San Francisco, CA, Boston, MA, Somerville, MA. Yeah, that’s it, I have not lived in six places. UPDATE:I HAVE lived in more than six places: I have also lived in Madison, SD and Brookings, SD. Completely forgot about that, because I was a baby and have no memories of actually living in these places. Doh.

6. Six jobs I’ve had in my life: Editorial assistant, Assistant Librarian, Marketing Associate (what does that even mean?), Student Services Coordinator for an online high school program, barista, waitress.

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Thanks to ReadWriteWeb (how did I only just start reading this blog?) for bringing to attention OpenCongress.org–this is a great site that pulls together tons of information on the US Congress and offers users a variety of ways to stay up-to-date about their Congressional representatives and all the (probably nefarious) activities going on in Washington. I haven’t had a chance to really delve into the site yet, but on my perusal, I thought, “Now this is the kind of site all that Web 2.0 hoopla is really good for.” It would be a great addition to any Research/Reference Guide on US Politics, methinks.

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I picked up Everything is Miscellaneous to read while on vacation, and was promptly made fun of by my library school colleagues, because, apparently, it’s an assigned text in one of the cataloging classes. Well, I commend the person who’s assigning this book, because it’s really excellent. David Weinberger does a great job talking about complicated issues of information organization and changing knowledge structures in a way that is accessible and even entertaining.

Weinberger’s book discusses the ways that the new digital order is changing our innate drive to organize the world around us. He claims that humans have always been trying to bring order to an essentially miscellaneous world, and that the growth of the digital allows everything to remain in its miscellaneous state, while allowing each individual to order and access things in his or her own way. According to Weinberger, this frees people up for more higher-order work: innovating, thinking, collaborating, and creating, instead of organizing and ordering.

I think this book has some really fascinating implications for, most significantly, education. Weinberger only briefly discusses the way that students and teachers are using the digital infrastructure to learn and work differently, and I would have liked a little more depth on how students’ learning styles are changing, and how our educational systems are reacting to these changes. My guess is that they aren’t reacting nearly fast enough. I think it could be really interesting to spend some time thinking about how to bring this new disordered order into education, to take advantage of how people really learn.

So whether the book is assigned or not, I highly recommend it. I’m searching for some follow up blog posts, as I’m really interested to hear what other people have to say about Weinberger’s ideas. If you’ve read something interesting about digital organization, please send it my way!

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