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I’ve moved

[UPDATED! I’m still moving stuff around; the blog is now on http://www.lauraek.net proper, rather than in its own separate directory. Someday I’ll figure out what I’m doing, I swear.]

About a year ago, I moved this blog to a new site. I waited to post anything about it because I wanted to be able to set it up nice and pretty, and it took me a year to finally get around to doing so. But now we’re up and running and if you’ve been waiting for me to write something here, well, my apologies for sending out this forwarding address so late.

Head on over to lauraek.net to see the shiny new site!

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I suspect today is going to be a little slower around here: It’s Friday, and summer in general is pretty slow and quiet around here. One of the benefits of a school that doesn’t offer Summer courses. I have a pretty short To Do list today and most of it involves research for some big upcoming projects. Big as in potential ILS migration big.

8.30 – Checked email and found myself getting involved in a long debate about the Emerging Leaders program on the LITA listserv. I’ve considered and reconsidered applying for the Emerging Leaders program for the last six months, and I think this year I’m going to hold off. Having just started a new job, it’s probably wiser to apply next year, if at all.

9 – In my first few days here I found out that we are not running unattended backups of our ILS because they have never worked correctly. Our ILS is backed up manually everyday, and then more completely once a week. But there is still an unattended backup schedule set, which throws errors in the system messages once a week. I finally found time this morning to poke around and remove the unattended backup schedule. Maybe when we get a new server we can set those up again.

11 – After the easy tasks of the morning, I had a hard time getting really started on anything, but I finally looked at the clock and realized I should REALLY start getting to work. Started cleaning up the finding aid records I loaded yesterday. Had to check with the archivist again about how these should be set up, whether there should be item records, why there are discrepancies with the collection numbers, etc. etc. But hey, I had a moment where I realized, yes, I’m an actual, real live librarian now. Exciting.

1 – Messed around a bit trying to figure out patron loading. Searched the archives of the IUG list for helpful hints and found next to nothing. Emailed someone off-list in the hopes of getting more first hand information about how to do this.

1.30 – Talked to our lovely admin about setting up a web form for students to submit requests for bound personal copies of their honors theses. I’m hoping that will be a fairly easy and straightforward project.

2 – Started reading the Open Library Environment report and got very, very excited.

3 – Called my car insurance company to switch my policy to Washington state, with the expectation that I would save a boatload of money, moving from a big city and a neighborhood with an inordinate number of car thefts to a small, sleepy town. Was surprised to discovered that I will be paying more. Got angry. Paid anyway.

4 – Accepted that today has proved largely fruitless, although I’m pretty happy to have all those finding aid records into the OAPC. Heading to the gym, then home to shower, and then I think I’m actually going to go out tonight and maybe try to Meet Some People. Though I will probably just sit somewhere with a beer and a book and wish I were with Mr. X. Sigh.

So that’s a week in my new job as a Systems/Metadata Librarian. I’ve had quite a few jobs [inserted: I mean, in my life overall] and they all managed to be pretty boring. But I have high hopes for this career path. So far I love it here. I’m doing interesting things, have a good amount of variety in my day, have the opportunity to start working on some really cool new projects, and I work with terrific people. I’ll take it.

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It’s hard to believe how fast this week has passed. I’m just keeping my fingers crossed that the momentum continues. And that my fingers stop burning from the peppers last night. Man, that stuff is potent.

8.15 – I got into the library this morning and found this hilarious video in my inbox. Embedding doesn’t seem to be working, but I don’t have time to troubleshoot that today. WordPress and video embedding always seem to have a funny relationship.

8.45 – Finished the Serials Solutions record update, Phase I, by doing a global change on the records so the location reads eLink. This project took much longer than I anticipated. I am not looking forward to doing it all over again, but at least I had time to read more CiL articles about library automation software and whatnot.

11 – Talked to the College IT department about some problems we’re having with one of our resources being routed through the proxy server. They have to set up an SSL certificate or some jazz, and we’ll also be upgrading to the next version of the proxy server and will need to test it. I am so, so glad I get to work with a competent IT staff. I certainly couldn’t figure all this stuff out on my own. At least not yet.

11.30 – Created a review file of archival finding aid records in the OPAC so we can delete the few that are currently in the system and replace them with a complete set of updated records. This seems to be a pattern this week.

12 – Lunch, and contemplation of what to cook for dinner when my co-worker comes over Saturday night. Indian food, perhaps? But that requires a lot of ingredients. Hm…

12.45 – Emailed a fellow consortium member about their solution to a problem that involves our consortium lending software, our LDAP server, and what to do with “adopted patrons.”

1 – Walked through our Summit/ILL workflow with our access services manager and a student worker. We recently switched to new software that apparently isn’t as streamlined as our previous software. I’d like, at some point, to make our various systems talk together more better, but that might be out of my hands or beyond my capabilities. We shall see. Summer months are slow here, so there wasn’t a ton to observe in Summit processing. But I feel like I have a better understanding of the process. As far as process goes, it’s much easier for me to understand it if I can see it in action.

1.15 – During a recent weeding project, there was a handful of bib records that couldn’t be deleted from the system, so my boss asked me to check them out. For some odd reason, the order records had to be set to status On Hold in order to delete them. Weird. But I did manage to delete them, and in the process find yet another book that I had to check out so I can read it immediately. The dangers of working in the library.

2.40 – Killed time before a meeting to read the emails to the IUG Listserv.

3 – Met with the archivist to talk about loading new finding aid records into the OPAC. I’m always interested in talking to him because he has some great and forward-thinking ideas about bringing together all the bits and pieces of information in the library, like digitized objects and metadata, to give all these bits context and make things more findable.

3.30 – Time to put my XML skillz to use (or at least find out if I actually gained any in my XML class last spring): The finding aids have to be converted from EAD XML to MARCXML and then to regular MARC before they can uploaded into our system. What would be awesome? If our system could deal with XML files. Hm, open standards. Wouldn’t it be lovely if we could use them?

5 – Finished loading most of the finding aids into the system, except for two for which the conversion process from EAD to MARC failed. Remind self to tell the archivist about them, and also to ask him which location these records should be given. The 856 fields came over correctly, but no call numbers, so we’ll have to talk about that, too.

Very tempted to skip yoga tonight. It’s going to be about 700 degrees in my house and I really just want to read the Sex and the City book that’s in my bag, and have a beer. Quite wishing I could do that at the Jeanie, back in Boston, but alas, living across the country makes that a bit difficult.

Another varied day in which I’ve learned yet more stuff about this monster machine that runs our library. I’m still adjusting to working on Fridays, so I keep forgetting that I have to work tomorrow. I’m sure I’ll get used to that eventually, right?

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I intended to update again yesterday after work. But I have to admit that I’m not really used to working full time and I’d forgotten how tired a person can feel at the end of the day. I have to re-adjust to this 40 hours a week thing, because my list of after-work projects is getting a bit long and untended.

Yesterday kind of slipped away from me at work, too. But here’s a general blow-by-blow of the day:

8.00 am – I had to stop and get coffee on my way to work because my coffee grinder broke! So my morning was very disjointed: I usually have my first cup at 6.15, not 8.15. Got into the office around 8.15 and read emails and RSS feeds.

9.00 – Looked at the LibGuides demo we have set up to try to figure out how to embed an OPAC search engine. I eventually figured out that there already was one that just had to be configured for our own catalog. Easy peasy. I went up to talk to our reference librarian about it and he showed me something else he’d figured out using the new free Worldcat Local interface. So we’re still experimenting with options there.

9.30 – I spent way too long messing around with the new Worldcat Local stuff, trying to figure out how it all worked before calling the reference librarian and asking what he knew about it. Got some clarity on how Summit (our consortium catalog) and the Worldcat Local free interface are working out. Made a note to check out another of our consortium library’s which is using the paid Worldcat Local interface.

10.30ish – Talked to my supervisor about updating permissions in our ILS, and about how new projects are going to be managed in the department. There is still a lot to sort out regarding my job responsibilities, and we haven’t been able to really meet about it because the Director has been out of the office since I started two weeks ago. But I think we’ll be able to start working out some of those details next week.

11.30 – Made flight arrangements to head down to Emeryville for a three-day training with our ILS vendor. And to visit friends and family! Yay!

11.45 – I decided to just jump into this Serials Solutions project and began the process of deleting all of our old Serials Solutions records in preparation for uploading a new set. This takes FOREVER. Went across the street to get a salad at the one dining hall that’s open over the summer and was very pleasantly surprised by my salad options. Wayyy better than the Simmons salad bar.

12.30 – Continued to wait for records to delete while I read more III training manuals.

2.30 – All the records were finally deleted, so I could start loading new records. I basically just loaded new records in batches of 1000 until it was time to leave.

Not a very exciting day, but I feel much more confident about getting my hands dirty in the ILS after I started actually working with records. Today should be a little more interesting. Maybe.

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So much for trying to update periodically throughout the day for this Library Life in the Day project. And so much for getting through my To Do list. I call it a To Do Wishlist for a reason. I did manage to edit the PR document on my desk, and that was an easy start to the day: I have a copyediting and copywriting background, so those kinds of projects are right up my alley. I also managed to slog through our contracts with our ILS vendor, which gave me a helpful timeline for putting together a report on the future of the ILS at my Place of Employ. And then I started trying to find out about load tables for a Serials Solutions upload project I have to complete and got stuck in the quicksand of III documentation for the rest of the day.

This is one of those annoying projects that should be easy, but isn’t because I don’t really know enough about how our system is set up yet. And boy howdy, are these systems complicated. It would be swell if I could run some test loads of records, but I don’t think we can do things like load records without them effecting the actual, live system. Thankfully, there is a large community of III users out there who are kindly enough to offer their help. I have my fingers crossed that tomorrow I can actually make some headway on this stinking project.

And a very important aspect of a life in the day of this librarian: I discovered that there are very good burritos in Walla Walla. Burritos, FTW!

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Today is the second annual Library Day in the Life web event: Librarians all over the world chronicle their work day on their blogs and other web sites, and all these postings are pulled together in one place. Now, I’m a new librarian: I graduated from Simmons GSLIS in May and just started my first professional position, as the Systems/Metadata Librarian at Whitman College. I’ve only been a librarian for two weeks, so most of my work days have been centered around trying to figure out what’s going on around here. At first I debated whether it would be worth contributing my notes and thoughts to the Library Day in the Life, but then I thought this could be kind of interesting for other new librarians, so why not?

I usually start my day a little earlier than today, but I was up late last night putting together new furniture from Ikea, and arrived at 8.30 instead of 8.15. I always start my day by checking email and skimming my RSS feed. I mark the food-related articles to read later, and read the interesting library-related articles. And because I’m a perpetual organizer, I always have to sit down with my planner and calendar and start making the list of what I want to accomplish today. I have a weekly project list, and on Monday, I usually try to tackle the easiest stuff on list.

Today’s wish list of accomplishments: Edit a library PR document and send it to the Director, read over our contracts with our ILS vendor, send some questions I have about patron loads and Serials Solutions records to the Innovative Users Group listserv, and find out everything I can about load tables. And hopefully there will be a trip to the Walla Walla taco trucks with a co-worker for lunch.

We’ll see what I actually manage to get done today…

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My Tweets

Sean came up with a way to output your Tweet stream and input it into Wordle.

My Tweets, Wordle-ized

It’s pretty fun. I love visualizations.

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