Librarian Avengers

Look it up.

Apr 28, 2005

Big Bird

There's big excitement here at the Lab of Ornithology this morning since we announced the rediscovery of a once-extinct bird. You can read all about the Ivory-billed woodpecker hoo-ha at It's been fun to watch all of this from the inside. The Lab kept it quiet for a long time, rapidly trying to raise funds for land conservation efforts before the news leaked and the entire state of Arkansas becomes birder-Disneyworld and someone starts selling Ivory Burgers.

Apr 25, 2005

ALA tip

If any of you impoverished public librarians out there want to attend the American Library Association conference this year but need a slick way to get work to pay for it, here's a tip. Schedule your departure for the day after the conference ends. Pack large, empty suitcases. Lurk around the publishers' booths on the last day and collect the free and insanely discounted display books that the publishing representatives don't want to haul home. Especially keep an eye on the DK booth and the fabulous Tenspeed Press. If you do it right, the money you spend on travel expenses will roughly equal the amount of schwag you bring home.

I won't be attending ALA this year, having defected for South by Southwest Interactive where they have panels on subjects I care about, and the nightlife is an order of magnitude less lame.

Apr 22, 2005


Hello friends and neighbors. There hasn't been much librarianish going on lately. I'm still working on our cool audio/video catalog application, and am generally enjoying spring. I turned 29 recently, and spent the day hiking the finger lakes trail with friends. We saw a heron rookery, which is where Great Blue Herons go to hang out when they aren't busy stabbing fish. There were dozens of them living in huge stick nests at the tops of some very tall trees. They kept flapping around and honking. It was weird and beautiful.

Spring means cleaning out and planting the garden, moving furniture around, recovering from the Slime Flu that has been going around our office, preparing for a trip back to Flint (two weekends from now - mark your calendars), watching all of the Father Ted episodes back-to-back, overusing hand sanitizer (see: Slime Flue, above), and eagerly awaiting the arrival of I'm Not the New Me in the mail.

In the spirit of spring cleaning/redecoration I've been having fun with this link. I'll be putting a giant artichoke on my office wall any day now.

Apr 19, 2005

Fonty goodness

I'm shopping for fonts this morning. I work in a library with a font budget. Life is good. I'm torn between Saint Louis and Bodega Serif.

Slow wave
is a comic strip made out of people's dreams. Here's a librarian one. Incidentally, this morning I had a dream that we visited a petting zoo in Mexico which housed the Cheshire Cat.

Apr 18, 2005


Too much information? Perhaps. Here's my flickr page for all you stalkers and family members.

Apr 8, 2005


image from the Million Book ProjectTwo baby librarians were born to my wonderful friends from the Cornell library. Laih and Anika are both nine and a half pounds, super-smart, and will be entering the University of Michigan's Information program in 2028. Congratulations Kim and Brian, and Clay and Mike!

I attended a seminar on the Million Book Project last night. There were a buncha computer science folks there, and the usual gang of library folks. I was horrified by the scale of the project, which involves sending hundreds of shipping crates of books to India and China for scanning, and wrangling terrabytes of information that takes a week to even copy. Yow. One thing I found curious was their decision to do bitonal scanning instead of grayscale. I'm told that this results in "no real information loss" but many of their pages are really hard to read because of the lost grayscale info. In many cases the entire nature of the page is lost, and the resulting image looks like a rubber stamp of the Mona Lisa. Does anyone with more experience in these matters have thoughts on the subject? They scan at 600 dpi, so it can't just be a matter of storage space.

In other news, there was a duck in one of our trees this morning, female mallard who was driven to extremes by an ardent male duck. She was up there for about five minutes, wobbling around until she finally fell into the pond.

Apr 5, 2005

Index This

Did you know that there is an American Society of Indexers? How meta is that?

In a similar vein, our fearless leaders here at the Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds recently spearheaded the creation of an animal behavior ontology. I was browsing through the list of behaviors and have concluded that librarians are predisposed to aid-giving behavior, and perhaps homeostatic postures.