I'm here at the Troy Marriott attending Synthetic ConFusion, a SF con that I've been to twice before. Managed to get across the state just ahead of a winter storm they were promising for West Michigan. All I saw was about an hour of light rain. Unlike last year, Saturday dawned with bright skies and lots of sun all day -- though I was indoors and busy. Pretty sunset. It's a pretty good gathering. Yesterday I spent some time talking with fellow 2004 Clarion classmate Al Bogdan, who's been coming to ConFusions for a long time. (grin)
Here's One For the Librarians
Meanwhile Mrs. Dr. Phil is in San Antonio for the ALA (American Library Association) Mid-Winter meeting. I told her Friday night that my first session in the morning would be "The Professional Geekiness That Is Librarianship." She told me to write up a blog entry so she'd be able to show people Sunday -- so here it is.
Erica Olson works at Cornell as an IT geek for the Ornithology Lab. She's a graduate of the University of Michigan's School of Information, where she earned her Master's degree in Human-Computer Interaction. Erica represents a group Librarian Avengers and essentially was trying to recruit fellow geeks at the con into librarianship. Rather clever, in my opinion, considering the wide range of background to SF con attendees. (And they have their own Radical Militant Librarian buttons -- "much nicer than the ALA ones.")
I don't know how much recruiting actually got done -- probably some -- but it was pretty much a librarian lovefest. A couple of us were either librarians or, as in my case, married to one.
One of the fun things was a Yes/No survey "Am I geeky enough to be a Librarian?"
I enjoy acronyms. Who doesn't? AACR2 MARC dc19 Z39.50
I own a cat. Three, but does anyone ever really own a cat?
When confronted with a huge pile of sci-fi books in the Dealers Room, I think, "Hmm... I would begin sorting by author, then by title." How can I figure out what I'm looking for if they aren't sorted?
I am obsessive enough to appreciate the difference between 345.065 and 345.605. Besides 0.540 (grin).
Being surrounded by books makes me lather with delight. And they provide insulation.
I possess a useless undergraduate degree. I wouldn't call Integrated Science "useless", but the question was aimed more at the guy in front of me with an English degree from U of M (double-grin).
The idea of someone preventing me from reading Orwell because they don't like it strikes me as... Orwellian. Because it is. Irony is just lost on the book censors.
I am comfortable with the Internets. With or without that pesky "s".
If my house caught on fire, one of the things I would grab is my favorite book. That's a toss-up -- there are those three cats to consider.
I possess a useless graduate degree. A Masters in Physics isn't so bad -- really.
I can daisy-chain a herd of Ubuntu boxes faster than you can say FreeBSD. I'll admit I've never done this personally, but I can figure it out pretty quick.
These kids today. I swear. If they would just read a damn book once in a awhile, they wouldn't be blowing each other up so much. Well, duh. I mean, this is why I make ALL of my Physics students actually have to read a book from my science literacy booklist.
I could find out the middle name of your high school boyfriend with just ten minutes on the Internet. Dr. Phil didn't have boyfriend in high school -- or a girlfriend for that matter. And it would take ten minutes if I checked my e-mail first. But doesn't this strike you as a wee bit Orwellian, too?
I could find out the first line of A Tale of Two Cities with just ten minutes on the Internet. Wouldn't take ten minutes with Google. Not unless I had trouble making the network connection. Besides, I already know the answer.
I know the first line of A Tale of Two Cities. A-ha! "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..."
I am a disenfranchised intellectual. Sure. How else would you describe a part-time physics professor who commutes 150 miles a day?
The idea of arming the public with knowledge appeals to me more than, say, arming them with pitchforks and torches. And I give value-added to my Physics students -- they don't just learn Physics from Dr. Phil.
I would rather do something cool than get rich. Not getting rich on a part-time salary, 150 miles a day and $2.65 a gallon gasoline.
I can san "Colon classification" without laughing. Who'd laugh?
I possess a useless doctoral degree. Hey -- I'm using that Ph.D. in Applied Physics in my part-time long commute job!
Of the 20 questions, if you scored YES on less than 5 answers, Erica suggested there was a Magic: The Gathering game starting in another room. 5-10, you're geeky but you'll have trouble with the acronyms. 10-15, she had application forms. 15-20, grab a child and teach them to read while starting to stock up on acid-free paper.
Is The Government Listening?
And what about those Radical Activist Librarians? Well, MSU has a Activist Collection. And "get the kids off the street into poetry." Besides, ALA has a Code of Ethics. Librarians fighting censorship quietly and politely... like Canadians. (oooh... hey, I'm just reporting what was said in the session -- triple-word-score-grin)
A good time was had by all.