Monday, February 21, 2011


Just found a great digital humanities camp that I would love to attend, since this is the direction I seem to be leaning toward with school and work. Good thing is that it's free, bad thing is that it's in Texas. We'll see what happens.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Weather Station

It's pretty bad when you have to drive for two hours to find out that there is a really cool weather station just 3 miles from your house. It measures temp, wind speed, humidity, precipitation and more every five minutes, so you can see live reports or you can check back and see history. Pretty cool. There are a bunch of these all over the state.

Kentucky Mesonet is the web site and the local station is at EKU's farm. CoCoRahs also has daily precipitation collected by a network of volunteers.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

636 Wordle

Trying to use this Wordle in a newsletter assignment. Hope it works.

Wordle: LIS Words

Friday, August 27, 2010

Sunrise on the Farm

The trip to Ashley's bus stop takes me past a great view of the mountains in Estill Co. and this morning the fog was so thick you could see only the tops of them floating in a white mist just before sunrise.

When I got back home I grabbed the camera to see if I could get a sunrise shot of a similar view. From my house the mountains were almost completely covered with fog so I didn't get the photo I wanted, but while I was waiting for the sun to come up I got something even better.

She kept looking at me, stomping her foot, and circling around to get a better view. After about a minute two other deer that I couldn't see ran off and she followed.

I've been trying to get Tori to do a 365 days on the farm, but since she won't I think I'll start off my own 365 days with this.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Controlled Vocabularies

Here I am whining about controlled vocabularies and subject headings and my favorite website,, just reworked all their patterns to make searching more efficient and guess what? They worked out a controlled vocabulary to describe the patterns available.

Socks are no longer socks, they are now "Accessories - Feet / Legs - Socks - Mid-calf. " What is even more amazing is that almost 160,000 patterns were reclassified by volunteers in one week. A very narrow set of items such as knitting patterns would be easier to classify than books which often cover a large variety of subjects per volume.

Which brings me to a topic I hinted at last post. I have fought for the past eight weeks with subject searches in the library catalog. They either aren't accurate or they are too broad to be effective. For example the heading 'Registers of Birth, etc'. should not be a subject heading for a census transcript. A census is a snapshot of the country at a specific date. Nothing about births included. On the other hand "Cemeteries - United States" is too broad for a handbook on cemeteries and cemetery research.

Subject headings can be effective when conducting meta searches like the metalib search engine at the Kentucky Virtual Library. A keyword search returns so many results across so many databases that it is totally ineffective.

I wonder what the library profession will look like in another decade?

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Library School

I finally did it. Debbie kicked me in the behind and scheduled me to take the GRE back in the winter. I started my first class May 11 and it is complete. One down 11 more to go. Assuming, that is, I make it through this reference class.

I sort of understand the point of the assignments is to make us familiar with reference sources of all types, but I truly don't see the point of beating my head against the wall searching for just the right database to find the answer to a question that can be answered with Google in 30 seconds.

This is the second assignment in which we had to answer 20 questions using only proprietary sources. The instructor wants us to search the library catalog to identify sources which might have the information requested. Then we are to go to the sources and look for the information. At the same time she tells us to search efficiently using controlled vocabularies and subject headings.

I'm sorry, but in my humble opinion this type of search strategy isn't efficient. We have moved way beyond card catalogs and Reader's Guide and static print encyclopedias. The new information world is dynamic, so why are we beating our heads against the wall with static search methods? Yes, I'm frustrated.

This morning I started on this 20 question assignment at about 7:30. I have taken a few breaks throughout the day, but I haven't left the computer for more than 15 minutes at a time. It is now after 5:30 and I still haven't answered all these questions with the proprietary sources we are supposed to use.

To beat it all I finally got into the UK Libguide for reference materials just to see what I might be missing and guess what I found?

Reference Universe: "Unlike your library catalog, which only provides data about reference works, Reference Universe shows you what is inside them, searching deeply into the indexes of more than 40,000 electronic and print specialized reference works from over 750 publishers."

Sure enough this search engine gave me one of the answers I have been over an hour looking for. I would never have come up with a pop culture encyclopedia. Besides a search you can browse by title, publisher, subject headings or an index term. The search isn't perfect, but at least it is a move in the right direction. It also doesn't search all the databases I needed to answer the questions I had to answer. Ideally in the future it will.

The library profession should be putting their efforts into improving resources like this that will make searching efficient, rather than trying to justify their salaries and positions by using out-dated methodology.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Eiffel Tower Shawl

Another one of those projects that is so cool that it has to be started immediately. This is also a knitalong on Ravelry during the Tour de France.

The shawl can be found on the designer's website.

Here is the yarn I found in Lexington.