Day Five! Wow. This has been a really great week. I’ve loved reading everyone’s posts and look forward to the rest of them safe and sound in my google reader. I can sometimes feel like the busiest person on earth, but reading all the tweets and posts of my fellow Hack Lib School Day in the Life-ers I am very humbled by all they are accomplishing.
Also– hey look? I’m writing this before 10 pm. That’s because it’s Friday.
I worked a few hours in the music library, and came across a thesis from 1931. I mean, they’ve always been there sitting on the shelf, but I’ve never had reason to look at one before. But I had to grab this one for an interlibrary loan and it was really cool.
First of all, I mean, it’s typed.. like with a typewriter. Can you imagine having to type out your dissertation WITH A TYPEWRITER!!! You couldn’t spell check, or rewrite or do ANY OF THE THINGS we take for granted. Also.. if you’ll notice, the musical examples are hand written and then PASTED into the paper. So enough planning to leave room for them must happen (most convoluted ever sentence structure? But I kind of like it so I’m gonna leave it), and then the actual handwriting and pasting in. Crazy. The thing is, musical notation software has only been a really accessible thing for around 10-15 years, so I’m not even sure how far back things had to be hand written. Clearly I need to spend some time hanging out with the dissertations.
Work- part 2
So, last spring I did a project for my Database Systems class. We had to build a database of whatever we wanted and make it searchable, and there had to be administrative functions to add, edit and delete records. My fabulous project partner, Jen, and I chose to work with the cds of the University of Iowa School of Music Performance Recordings that are just sitting in the music library not being used. I don’t think I’ve ever been so frustrated, but we did it and made a pretty awesome database in my ever so humble opinion. The database itself was lost when our server got hacked by Russians pimping porn (no really, true story) and I haven’t had time to rebuild it. But Jen did a fantastic screencast of its functions.
Our idea was that, in theory, the music could be streamable so that students and faculty could access it without physically sitting in the music library and listening.
(We got an A)
And then, our music librarian worked her magic. She used our database as an example of what we could do to with a grant to make this music more available then it currently is. And… they gave us the grant!
So this year I’ve been working as the Project Manager for the School of Music Performance Recordings Database. I’m working in partnership with the Iowa Digital Library to get the audio digitized, the matching programs made into pdfs, then describe it all with metadata and make it streamable online. I supervise an undergraduate worker, who does the digitizing and then I put on the metadata with Content dm and upload it all. It’s been a crash course in metadata, and I’ve learned a lot about LC authority records that one can kind of only get searching for names for hours on end. It’s also interesting to see what people choose to perform. These are performances by the U of Iowa faculty, students and performing ensembles.
There are a lot of eccentricities to working with music records. Foreign languages are a given. There is often a composer, arranger, and transcriber on a single piece. Sometimes transitions within large works lead the splitting of tracks to be awkward. Works are derived from larger works. And on and on. After working with music records, working with books seems very straightforward.
After a few hours of that, I put in a few more hours of my practicum. Today I was mostly making a preliminary list for my “Edgy Titles” flyer. It seems pretty straightforward, but– what is edgy? Controversial content? Darkness? Sex? Drugs? I soon found as I looked through Goodreads lists and the YALSA awards something that wasn’t new news to me, but was illustrated so clearly after looking at hundreds of book summaries. So. Many. Books. Are. About. White. Kids. I had to specifically go looking for books with main characters that are people of color. Far too much of the time book covers are “whitewashed” and a quick glance at the cover makes me think the characters are white when they’re not.
I spent a lot of time reading reviews, both of professional and respected journals, and also of people on Goodreads. (Tennyson bless Goodreads!) And I found myself contemplating something I’d never really thought of in these exact terms before– how much do I need to know about a book to recommend it to patrons? I kind of feel I should read every book I put on this list. Granted, I’ve read many of them, but I don’t want to limit it to my own reading experience because that is going to be steeped in personal preference, and preference has innate bias and that’s no good. There are titles I’ve seen recommended a lot, so those I feel comfortable with, but what about titles in a genre (urban fiction for one) that don’t tend to get awards and fancy reviews? Much of Urban Lit is certainly edgy, and I want to represent a wide range of experiences for this flyer, but I haven’t read a lot of it. So do I need to read the titles I select to make sure they are quality? Can I rely on Goodreads ratings? Also, how much do I balance classics like Speak with recent titles like Shine? I realize that the world doesn’t depend on me crafting a perfect flyer here, but it’s kind of the first time I’m putting all my library-theory-think-about-things-on-an-existential-level to use. Which is exciting and a tiny bit scary. But mostly exciting.
Poster or my-ticket-out-of-library-school
Our culminating project at Iowa is a poster presentation and today was the day we got feedback about our abstracts if any was needed. I haven’t heard anything, so I’m assuming that means my poster is a go. Woot!! I’m doing my poster (get ready to be really surprised…. ready?) on queer things.
I know… take a minute to let the shock wear off.
“Where the Queer Things Are: Library Services to LGBTQ Youth” is my title. I want to talk about not just what libraries should offer this community, but also how they should go about connecting and serving them and — most importantly and most overlooked- WHY this is important. Libraries need to be able to stand up against challenge. They need to have strong reasoning about why serving LGBTQ youth is important. For this part I have lots of research from my “Literacy and Learning” class about how literacy builds identity and how information teaches us to operate in the figured worlds we construct around us.
Anyway, it’s been fun friends! I’ll still be blogging, never fear, but not… like… every day. Check out the Hack Library School Site here to learn more about the project to record library student life and to read the other rad stuff there. Then check out the list of those who participated and read their blogs and tweets and whatnot.
And like we say in my hometown– Don’t Forget to be Awesome.