Pfeiffer Partners chosen as architect for Colorado College’s library renovation


My library is scheduled for a major renovation, and the architect firm in charge is Pfeiffer. I got to sit in a meeting with them yesterday and was greatly impressed at their attention to detail and firm knowledge of library business. Now I’m excited to see what they will do with our Netsch-designed Brutalist library.

Take a look at some of their libraries here via a Google Image Search


Charleston Conference

I’m attending the Charleston Conference for the first time. I’m excited to be visiting a city I’ve never been to before. My pre-conference workshop on Excel is being taught by Colorado librarians including the inestimable Chris Brown.

Downside I foresee for this conference: vendor capture. What I mean is, a focus on sales pitches and corporate artifice. Salespeople in dark suits swooping around everywhere. I’ve been told I can get in on some good meals if I sign up with vendors. I’d rather go out and explore the city during meal times.

The best, most useful library conference I’ve attended is the one with the least amount of vendor capture: NASIG. Lots of great sessions, great people, it’s informal, and vendors aren’t running the show. ER&L is, in my opinion, too vendor heavy. I went to IUG once; it was fine during the regular conference but the preconference (with registration charge and extra hotel day) proved to be mainly sales pitches for add-ons, not info on what we already had. ALA is incredibly overwhelming, even if you live in the city where it’s being held, and the vendor expo feels like a weird sort of meat market.

We’ll see how it goes next week. Hope to pick up some good info. At the very least I will get some warm weather, see palm trees and maybe encounter a few of the Eastern birds I’ve been missing since I moved to Colorado. Charleston has cardinals, right?

Zine collecting

Interesting article in the Serials Review v.40 no. 1 2014
Before Blogs, There Were Zines: Berman, Danky, and the Political Case for Zine Collecting in North American Academic Libraries

Before Blogs, There Were Zines: Berman, Danky, and the Political Case for Zine Collecting in North American Academic Libraries

David Tkach & Carolyn Hank

We have a small zine collection in our Special Collections. I used to collect a few … maybe I should donate them?

Correcting a misspelled author name

Recently one of our faculty discovered that her name was misspelled in an article citation in The matter was referred to me. It turned out the source of the misspelling was several steps removed from the observed error. So I had to keep on emailing and filling out forms to traverse the path back to its original occurrence.

Journal website -> Gale Cengage -> British Serials Library -> WorldCat

Gale wouldn’t fix the spelling until the journal website’s Table of Contents reflected the correct spelling. The website fixed it. Now we wait for Gale to fix their data and for it be propagated to British Serials Library (British Library’s document delivery service), and from thence to be propagated into WorldCat.

I have no idea how long this will take. The professor was happy that some action was being taken, even if the path was labyrinthine.

Adventures in Bibliographic Instruction

This week I worked with a class of 8 international students who were in a summer start program. The idea was to help with their English and college skills before the regular school year started off. I was helping them do research for their citation assignment and later on, a 7-10 page paper. The general topic was on immigration issues; the students had to

So while the kids were searching Academic Search Complete, I pointed out a few things, such as that if they needed to make their results a little bit more interesting, “spicy” as I put it, use controvers* as an extra keyword, picking up controversy and controversial.

I had picked a random immigration related search term that came up in autocomplete, Then I entered controvers*. Result number 2 or 3:

Smith, Evan & Marinella Marmo. “Uncovering the ‘Virginity Testing’ Controversy in the National Archives: The Intersectionality of Discrimination in British Immigration History.” Gender & History. Apr. 2011, Vol. 23 Issue 1, p.147-165. 19 p.

Abstract: “This article explores the practice of ‘virginity testing’ by British immigration officers in the late 1970s through the internal documents of the Home Office held at the National Archives in London …”

Yes, some South Asian immigrants to the U.K. were subjected to “virginity tests” to ensure they were “legitimate” fiances of male immigrants. British officials occasionally performed “gynecological” examinations to make sure women had intact hymens. In the 1970s. Is this crazy or what?

One student’s response to the title was “That’s pretty spicy!”

University of Konstanz says no to Elsevier

Successful presentation tips

After stumbling through the organization and presentation of a session for college staff, I offer the following in the hopes it will help somebody else.

  • The presenter(s) should not be the organizer(s) of the event. One party should worry about content and the other worry about the logistics.
  • If organizing, make sure your first catering choice is available at the proposed time of the session
  • Invite others to present who are:
     – Already well-known on campus
     – Accustomed to public speaking
     – Have a sense of humor
  • Have an outline and maybe some introductory remarks prepared, but don’t “can” all the material; some of it should be fresh
  • Presenters kibbutzing with each other, in the spirit of camaraderie, adds to the entertainment and engagement of the audience
  • If appropriate, a YouTube playlist of inoffensive but entertaining videos make a good intro. See: CC Lab Guy’s Email playlist
  • Don’t let the time run out before you pass out the evaluation forms!

Our session was very successful but not without some bumps. Namely, that I had organized the whole thing and was anxious about logistics (are there enough seats in the room, how will I get extra food items over to the venue). Our cafeteria company was not available to cater the event, since it was during Spring Break. (Jimmy Johns filled the gap with sandwich platters). Meanwhile I also had to worry about presenting in front of a large group of people, in a non-library venue. I’m comfortable on familiar territory but venturing outside of the library is where it gets a little dodgy.

And if you want to know what our session was about: we called it “Organize Your Outlook” and talked about the many ways of dealing with email in Microsoft Outlook, sometimes on a philosophical level, sometimes on the level of quick tips. We also got some calendar and scheduling stuff in there. We had close to 40 attendees and got good reviews, and have been called on to do a repeat and more sessions like this, possibly one on Excel.

Duke University Press at odds with scholarly society over journal

Kevin Smith writes about the fighting over Social Science History.


Excel: two ways of numbering rows

Excel shows row numbers on the side of the spreadsheet. But what if you want those numbers in a column?

This Microsoft Help page describes how to use the Row function:

Enter =row(A1) into the first cell of the column. Then copy the formula, and paste down the column. The formula should automatically adjust with each cell to reflect the row number. If you need to have actual numbers in there and not formula results, copy the column into Notepad, then copy the result in Notepad back into your column.

Another way: Python can do it very quickly.

j = (maximum number of rows, 40 or 200 or whatever you want, plus one)
i = 1

while i < j:
     print i
     i = i + 1

The resulting output can be copied into Excel.

AutoHotkey macros — joy and frustration

Once again I find myself using AutoHotkey to create macros for tedious cleanup work that can’t be done in an easy, automated fashion from within the ILS. Yes, you too can magically copy and paste fields if they appear in regular spaces.

And once again AHK is driving me nuts because it works sporadically and I can’t figure out why!! Hit the hotkey sequence once — it works. Move to the next record, either with cursor or mouse, and it doesn’t. Change the record manually. Then enter a third record. AHK works again.

Yes, this is used liberally in my macros:

Sleep, 100

I encountered this problem before, when we had a local server. The need for high sleep cycles has probably been worsened by having a hosted server with a slow connection for the ERM coverage info.

Anyway, if you have repetitive tasks that your ILS can’t manage, you may want to AHK a try, even if it’s not perfect. It will give your wrists a break.AHK