Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Freed from the mandatory assignments of the quarter, I am back to devouring novels at nearly pre-grad school rates. So. Freaking. Good. Because composing full sentences appears to be a challenge today and because the faster I stop blogging here the faster I get back to reading, a few random thoughts on what I've recently read.

*Pretty much everything I've picked up and read from the New York Review of Books' press has been amazing. Daphne du Maurier exquisite short stories, Mavis Gallant, and now Elaine Dundy's The Dud Avocado. I've ordered on Summit the second Dundy and Mitford's Madame de Pompadour.

*I am finally getting to reading David Copperfield and am in love. It's a strange read at times because I'm so familiar with Dickens' biography and can tell where he's drawn on his own history. That doesn't necessarily diminish the work, but means that I can sort of predict where portions of the story start to go. What I'm noticing in this read of a Dickens' novel is his incredibly strong sense of pacing. When he finishes a chapter/section, I find I'm torn between the drive to know more and the delicious sense of suspense or hesitation. Sometimes I close the book just for a bit to let it wash over me before pushing on. Bleak House was too long ago for me to remember and Pickwick doesn't start to feel like a novel until a fair bit of the way in, so I can't tell at what point he really honed this ability and when it started to fade (I do recall that he had trouble over/under writing Our Mutual Friend).

*I'm pretty sure I have a mental block against Middlemarch. I know it's beautiful and Important and changed the state of the novel and everything, but I just can't seem to commit to that much George Eliot. I'm sorry. I know I'm the worst Victorianist ever. Maybe I'll take it on a trip with me this summer as the only reading material and see what happens. Blargh.

*I have a million books on digitization and metadata sitting on my second desk at work. I still find it impossible to move forward in any major project without first ordering and/or consulting every book I can find in Summit. Smart or debilitating? We'll soon find out.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

RDA Toolkit Goes Live Today

The long anticipate formal launch of the RDA Toolkit begins today. I'll be touching base with the cataloging guru here today to see if/when we'll be able to start logging in, though after the demonstration we had in LIS 539, my hopes aren't as high as they once were. It will be interesting to see how the LC Test Partners start to feel out this new tool - how much will they be relying on the AACR2-to-RDA widget and how much will be actual immersion in the text? I'm also very interested to see what some non-MARC people will be able to do (XC perhaps?).

My real question is, can I begin my testing timeline countdown now?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Moving right along...

The Quarter is over and soon AK will start his yearly pilgrimage East (camps, Summer Nationals, maybe home for a bit, potentially Coaches College, more camps..). While I still have some work to do for iPeer, there really isn't anything on my agenda for the next three months except friend, books, more friends, and more books. A friend will be flying up from the Bay Area this weekend in her boyfriend's plane (with two unnamed compatriots). I've just purchased a ticket to visit NY later in the summer, which is fantastic. The trip promises actual summer weather, the anniversary celebration at the Frick (my favorite museum in the city after the Met), and plenty of time with excellent people.

Tomorrow at work we unpack the giant scanner and thus our digitization program will begin. I've been doing a lot of reading up on CONTENTdm, which has been mostly web-based. Things should really start falling in place for me when I can get into the software and start playing around. I often learn by doing, by poking around to see how everything is connected (and to see how to fix things once I break them...). The project also promises to bring me back to my library roots: archives and special collections. While I won't be the one selecting the materials for our pilot project, I will get to scan, photograph, and otherwise work with the archival bits. Really, this project is a nice full-circle moment for me - my former archival work and my current technology/metadata work mashing together.

Still waiting for the LC RDA testing to begin. Tomorrow we'll be hashing out the kind of RDA access we'll need at our institution. I'm still really torn about the implementation of RDA in the US. While I'm glad that it hasn't been abandoned, I feel we're losing so much potential by staying rooted in MARC and by neglecting the RDA vocabularies. But the alternative? I'm not sure I have one, not yet anyway, and that's a continual source of frustration. How do we renew without blowing it all to bits? Or should I just grab a safety helmet and learn to duck?