Monday, September 12, 2005

Social tagging and RA

There's a new social tagging site making it's way around the library e-world: While I'll probably be a late adopter, if ever, of and I do use Flickr sparingly, I'm ready to jump on the bandwagon of LibraryThing.

Do I hear you asking why?

While the other tagging sites get our information organization juices flowing, LibraryThing has the potential to develop into a strong tool for another aspect of LIS. That, my friends, is readers' advisory. LibraryThing is still in beta form, so it's still got a ways to go. The search interface is one of the features that could use some work, but Tim's made a good start on it. Also, since there is no controlled vocabulary between users, tags are going to vary widely. That is, if they are there at all. However, books are tagged according to how the reader views it. What other tool out there allows for reader classification?

There have been discussions for years in RA on how to find books based on mood. If you had a patron looking for a Linda Howard book like "Mr. Perfect" and all you know about Linda Howard, if you know her at all, is that she's a romance writer, how will you know to recommend "Open Season" or "To Die For" rather than "All the Queen's Men" or "Cry No More"? They're all romantic suspense, right? Yes, they are. However, "Mr. Perfect" and "Open Season" have a humorous bent to them with "To Die For" being more on the humorous end of the scale than the suspense. "All the Queen's Men" and "Cry No More" (an oxymoronic title, if I've ever heard one) are dark, intense, and at times gut-wrenching tales of suspense. In LibraryThing, you could tack on "light" or "humor" to a "Linda Howard" search for readalikes to "Mr. Perfect", and see what pops up.

The biggest hinderance to it's use as an RA tool will be the lack of tagging in some, if not many, cases. I'm excited about it, though, and look forward to watching it's development.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Call for Submissions

From Priscilla Shontz at

I am editing a book that will briefly describe various
career options available to those with a masters in
library science (or equivalent, for non-US
librarians). It will include traditional library
careers (public, academic, school, special library) as
well as nontraditional jobs (vendor, publisher,
other). Though the primary audience is the US and
Canada, I am also looking for authors from other
countries. Authors will describe their daily routines
(a typical day in their position), the pros and cons
of their jobs, and advice to those wanting to follow
their career paths. Chapters will run about 2000
words and will be due Jan 1 (with a rough draft due
Nov 1).

Below is a list of chapters I am still assigning,
though some are "pending," meaning I have invited
authors and am waiting for responses. The list is
also very tentative, meaning that I may not include
all of these positions in the book.

If you are interested in contributing, please contact
Priscilla Shontz at pshontz{at} Please
very briefly describe your job so I can see how it
fits the book’s outline.

Director of large system
Technical Services/Cataloging/Collection Development
Systems/Web/Electronic Services

Head of Technical Services
ILL/document delivery librarian?
(Non-US) subject specialist (ie, music, art, science,
Law school
Other specialized

Media specialist

Consumer health/veterinary/pharmacy/pediatrics
Law firm
Tourist attraction/recreation/entertainment

Associations, local/specialized
Consortium trainer
LIS administrator/faculty
Other (online services? etc?)

Development, database design, programming, etc

Acquisitions editor
Production editor
Sales manager
Online publisher/editor

Priscilla K. Shontz
Jump Start Your Career in Library & Information Science (2002)
The Librarian's Career Guidebook (2004)

Book Review

Title: Death at Wentwater Court
Author: Carola Dunn
Publisher: Kensington
Year: 2000
Series: Daisy Dalrymple, #1
Genre: Mystery
Subgenre: Cozy
Format: Paperback
Status: Out of Print

Review: It’s 1923 England and the Honourable Daisy Dalrymple can’t understand why everyone feels the need to confide their deepest, darkest secrets in her. Daisy is on assignment for Town and Country to Wentwater Court, the ancestral home of the Earls of Wentwater. Even a complete goose, which Daisy most certainly is not, could cut the family tension with a knife. There’s the Earl and his new, young wife Annabel, his eldest son James, middle and man-about-town son Wilfred, flapper daughter Marjorie, and youngest son Geoffrey. The guests include Lord Wentwater’s sister Lady Josephine and her husband Sir Hugh, James’ fiancée Fenella Petrie and her brother Philip, who happens to be the best friend of Daisy’s deceased brother and is currently trying to convince Daisy to give up her absurd notion of working and settle down and marry him. Then there’s Lord Stephen Astwick, the man who Marjorie is pursuing, but who is pursuing the new Lady Wentwater in turn.

When Lord Stephen is found dead in the skating pond, Daisy takes the opportunity to photograph the scene before the body is moved. As Daisy develops the pictures, she notices marks in the ice that were not made by skates. She shows the photos to Detective Chief Inspector Alec Fletcher from Scotland Yard. He was in the area working on a case of stolen jewels when asked to discreetly investigate the apparent accidental drowning. Unfortunately, the photographs now show that he cannot just write it off to death by misadventure. Chief Inspector Fletcher makes full use of Daisy’s photographic and secretarial skills until his team can be moved from the other case. When the other team members do make an appearance, Daisy’s presence from the investigation is not easily dismissed.

Ms. Dunn skillfully weaves a tale of intrigue, family discord, and burgeoning romance into an entertaining read. While this is most definitely a cozy mystery, Ms. Dunn’s romance background shines through. This story, and series, would likely appeal to readers of Agatha Christie’s Tommy and Tuppence Beresford series and sweet historical romances.

Monday, September 05, 2005

New Featurette

I've decided that since one of my favorite things about librarianship is readers' advisory, I should probably post what I'm reading. I won't post everything that I read, but what I will do is do a review of some of them. Look for the first one or few in the next few days as I have to decide on a format first.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Just a pointer

Check out Librarian's Rant for a great listing on resources for Katrina relief.