Friday, August 14, 2009

Information, Information, Information

After a recent blog post and possibly the Tweet or Retweet from The Pumped Librarian I have been thinking a lot about how we interact with information. Is it better or worse to have this much media flowing into our phones, computers and for some televisions? I have thus far refused to use because I already cannot handle the amount of information coming to me through various forms of social media and standard web surfing. I would have a complete mental breakdown if I had a running list of articles bookmarked that I had meant to read but hadn't found the time to.

One of the articles I did receive and read was MSNBC's Search questions often both wacky and weird which discusses how search engines have changed our lives and how Google (and other companies) auto-fill search predictors offer an amusing insight into the world's searches.

I first noted the hilarity when typing in the phrase, "which is worse" when trying to compare high fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners. What I saw was this:

I found it funny that marijuana use is listed twice but not using it's hard to spell term, but rather weed. You would think that a browser's auto-spell check would help out with this, but perhaps it is a bunch 12 year olds sitting around trying to figure out what to try first. It's not surprising, to me, that health concerns dominate the list, considering how unhealthy we Americans tend to be.

Of course, seeing this and then reading the above mentioned article I decided to test out a few other phrases to see how entertaining this could be. I tried "who is" next:

Here we find someone looking for a question posed in Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, among other things. I am most struck by the last one asking who the antichrist is. Seriously? Is this just a group of scared christian children using the web to get all the answers they couldn't find in the good book? But seriously if there was an antichrist who came to town and there was an epic battle between heaven and hell I am pretty sure this would be common knowledge to all of humankind.

Next up "Should I...":

"Should I get a divorce"

"Should I call him?"

There can't really be people sitting at their computers thinking that the internet has the answers of these extremely personal questions, right? Please tell me I am right.

I am pretty sure "should I shave my pubic hair" wins this round. I think google should respond to this one with questions of its own.

"Do you have crabs?"

"Is it uncomfortable?"

"Does your boyfriend or girlfriend call your nether regions The Black Forest?"

"Is your Boyfriend or Girlfriend having a hard time locating the desired parts?"

Two other great phrases are "last night I" and "could I"

Hopefully we have all learned something about how Google has practically become everything to everyone, a confidant and a friend. What does this say about us? About the age of information? And about where we are headed as a culture?

Monday, August 3, 2009

A Confession (30 days on)

In the name of the books, the director, and the holy library.

Bless me Father for I have worked. It has been 1 month since my last day of unemployment. These are my tasks…

Collection Development: I am the library liaison for English, Communication, History and Business Administration. This means I am in communication with each of the mentioned departments discussing collection needs and accepting requests for monograph purchases. It is up to me to judge whether a suggested book is appropriate for our collection and ultimately whether it is to be purchased or not. I also get to do some purchasing when the departments don’t submit enough requests. It looks like I have a lot to learn in this area.

Reference: I am scheduled 5 hours a week at the reference desk once the semester starts. This is one of the things I am looking forward to the most. The reference desk is one of the most fun places for me. You get to interact with people and help them find the information they needed. I like helping people but and more selfishly I enjoy learning about the random things that people need help researching.

Instruction: Over the course of this semester I will be eased into Library Instruction. Luckily I am not being thrown into the fire (though I am sure I would survive). I will be teaching classes about research and how to use resources at a professor’s request for various courses offered here at the college. First I get to observe, then co-instruct, then instruct (with support) and finally set free to soar on my own. Hopefully I won’t fly too close to the sun. There haven’t been many advances in wax over the last 3000 years.

Miscellaneous : Reformatting and updating the Subject Guides on the library website. This is often tedious and sometimes entertaining. We are using Springshare’s LibGuides for our guides. I edited and updated the Information Literacy Modules on Blackboard that all incoming freshmen are required to complete. I am also on the planning committee for the Library Expo 2009, which is a fun, informational event for students to become familiar with the library and its services. As of right now I am tasked with creating a crossword puzzle using clues from the various stations or stops setup throughout the library.

I am happy for these tasks and all the tasks I cannot remember

My God, In choosing to do work
 and failing to continue to be unemployed, 
I have sinned against you and the failing economy 
whom I should love above all things.
 I firmly intend, with your help,
 to do penance, 
but work no less,
 and to avoid whatever leads me to unemployment.

‘Your un-unemployment is truly forgiven. Go in peace.’

Thanks be to Employment.