Collectioun of Cunnynge Curioustes: October 12, 2013

Johann Georg Hainz's Cabinet of Curiosities, circa 1666. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Johann Georg Hainz’s Cabinet of Curiosities, circa 1666. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

During the Renaissance, cabinet of curiosities came into fashion as a collection of objects that would often defy classification. As a precursor to the modern museum, the cabinet referred to room(s), not actual furniture, of things that piqued the owners interest and would be collected and displayed in an aesthetically pleasing manner. Collectioun of Cunnynge Curioustes is my 21st century interpretation of that idea.
 
Dear Internet,

Writing

Cunning Tales from a Systems Librarian

Reading

silverpigs The Silver Pigs by Lindsey Davis
(Amazon | WorldCat | GoodReads | LibraryThing)
Status: Finished
Widely recommended by historians and booksellers for its authenticity to the period, incredibly detailed research, and snappy pacing, in the end I found that while I enjoyed the book, ultimately I wasn’t in love with it. There were some inauthenticities that drove me slightly mad (like the use of the word “fuck” which while rare in the story, is not true to period. That word doesn’t show up in English until the high middle ages. I’m also fairly certain there was not a Latin equivalent of the word, which makes it a bit more annoying). I try to keep my prejudices in check knowing that if this was written true to language of the period, modern eyes would be bored so the work had to be given some leeway to make it more palatable. I couldn’t relate to or connect with any of the characters, which while not a terribly huge problem, is not exactly easy finish the work.
But I do like the concept of the series! And I did feel like not only was my brain getting entertainment, but I was also getting a bit of an education too. I’ll give this a few more books before I either fully commit or ditch them. Davis also has a new series with a female lead in the same period, which I also want to check out.

Watching

  • BBC The Fairytale Castles Of King Ludwig II With Dan Cruickshank
  • Atlantis
    A new spin on the mythology of Atlantis coupled with Greek mythology, this new series from the BBC is also produced by the same folks who did Merlin. Expect to see a lot of familiar actors popping in and out, slightly changed storylines, and a same kind of goofy feel. Not a bad show, but not something to absolutely love either. More of background noise than rapt attention, and more a long the lines of binge watching rather than catching it every week.  Atlantis is coming to BBC America in November.
  • Homeland
    Third season has begun and I’m a bit weary after the first few episodes of their portrayal of Carrie’s bipolarism. Not everyone who goes off of lithium, automatically gets tossed into the crazy hospital. Even more importantly, while ECT is commonly still used for treatment, you don’t just “get it” just because you’re having a moment. There are some wretched side effects to ECT that aren’t even addressed in the show. I get the point is to underscore her craziness to mean her unreliability, but it’s beginning to feel slapstick rather than serious.
  • Masters of Sex
    A quasi-historical romp of the late 1950s, following two of the pioneers of the science of sex. Two episodes in and I’m hooked, not on the obvious (it’s sex. For science!) but by the subtle interplay of characterizations and relationships. Sure, there are some stereotypes, like the hooker with the heart of gold, but overall this is great fun to watch even when it’s attempt at being serious.
  • BBC Four – A Very British Murder with Lucy Worsley, If Walls Could Talk: The History of the Home, BBC Four – Tales from the Royal Bedchamber
    I realised recently that if my life was a choose your own adventure, I would have chosen a path similar to Lucy Worsley‘s. By day, a Chief Curator at Historic Royal Palaces in England and historian/writer at night, Worsley’s interests not only match my own but what I’ve come to adore about her is how she makes history accessible and fun, no matter what the topic. I also love the fact that she’s willing to get into a historical thing to experience it herself, whether it is dressing like a Georgian queen, sleeping in a medieval bed to find the pea, or not bathing for a week to get a sense of how they did it in ye olde tymes. Her interest in a broad range of topics makes her exploration of them fresh and compelling. She also has several books out to support her topics, which I’m hoping to check out in the near future.
  • Da Vinci’s Demons
    I finally got around to see the final two episodes of this season and it was much better than my previous impression. Like Atlantis in that it’s kitchy and background noisy, it’ll stay in the rotation with the hopes it will get stronger in the future.
  • The Bridge (US)
    Slow, slow pacing; the murder solved mid-season, the fact I couldn’t get “it puts the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again” out of my head whenever Ted Levine walked into the screen, the unbearable hotness of Demian Bichir, and the confusing actions of possibly Autistic Diane Kruger made this show hard to watch at times. It just felt utterly confusing, some main characters dropped for a few episodes with no mention, and then magically reappear, the too many sub-plots floating around, and the strange build of romantic tension (or not) between Bichir and Kruger. TheHusband really liked this show. Not not loved, but liked. This is an American take on the Danish/Swedish version, and soon there is a joint English/French version, The Tunnel, coming in a few weeks. As one critic intoned, this is a format that works. Apparently so.

Weekly watching: Elementary, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.Sleepy HollowSurvivorDownton AbbeyBoardwalk Empire, Doc Martin, QIPeaky Blinders, Project Runway, The Newsroom, Sons of Anarchy, The Vampire Diaries

Links

x0x0,
lisa

This day in Lisa-Universe in: 2003

To collect or not to collect, that is the question: part i

Backstory

First, I must reveal a secret to you: I have had no formal training or have taken classes in collection development.  So my methods of selection and purchasing may be a bit more erratic than others in my position.
Now the next thing I’m going to tell you is that I worked at a book store for five years and one of my primary responsibilities was ordering in new titles, weeding out unpurchased titles, and general section maintenance.  I was in charge of one of the largest sections in the store which comprised of fiction, poetry, SF/F, romance, mythology, manga, graphic novels, and gaming books. This is my education.
The blasphemy: To me, collection development in a library and maintaining a section in a bookstore are strikingly close to being the same process.
Some librarians, when I’ve postulated this hypothesis, have argued with me that there was NOTHING remotely similar between the two functions. I disagree. Are we both collecting for the community? Yes. Are we being mindful of what we’re collecting? Yes. Are we promoting our collections via various means? Yes. Are we purchasing titles on recommendations? Yes. Do we accept donations? Bookstore: To an extent, if they have used book section. Libraries: Typically, yes.
How are these not similar?
When my friend Carolyn started her new gig as an academic librarian recently, she approached myself and a few other  mutual academic librarian friends for advice on collection development in an academic environment.
As I had been thinking about this very topic for some time given my own unorthodox background, I thought this was a perfect time to write something up.

Collection Policy

GRCC Library’s multipage collection policy can be best summed up as thus:

The library collects to support the curriculum in any capacity. We also collect titles by authors that are connected to the city or state in some fashion. In addition, we will collect for professional development if the titles are applicable across a fairly broad spectrum.

I should mention what we purchase, we are mindful we’re purchasing for an area that is incredibly narrow: community college. Not quite high school, not quite four year universities so purchasing items can be a bit tricky.  While we have a fiction collection, we’re less likely to purchase fiction titles since we’re a block from GRPL. The exceptions to this is if the title is by a Michigan author or an instructor is teaching a class with a specific title, in which we’ll then have copies available. We also collect to support events on or connected to campus if the person has a book, journal, or other out in publication.
I sometimes stretch the boundaries a bit and will purchase items that are not only not in our collection but are also not easily available to obtain from the state consortium.  An example of this is Henry Rollins, writer, poet, spoken word and general renaissance man, who tours a lot to support his work. He’s been attached to various larger universities in the state for his performances and yet, the availability of most of his work is incredibly limited to get  from our state consortium.  I took this opportunity to change that by buying all of his available print work for our collection.  In so far as I know, we’re the only library in the state with a large catalog of his available print works.
The library is structured as follows: there are five full time librarians and two adjunct librarians who share liaison duties. Each librarian is a liaison to numerous departments and as liaisons, one of our jobs is to buy materials to support that departments curriculum needs.  My departments are:

Now items that cross departments (a title that could be in either one or the other OR something we’ve seen and think the college should own) or reference based, are purchased via mutual agreement between the fulltime librarians. We have a set budget that is divided across the departments and how much each department gets fluctuates every year. For example, I have one department I cannot spend all their allocated sources no matter how much I try, so this year I’ll put the surplus back in the pool to reallocate to another department for next year.
Our collection development budget is for print, ebooks, video, periodicals. Databases are reoccurring costs are not included in this line item .
We have to spend the cash within our fiscal year (July 1 to June 30).
This is all pretty straight forward and easy to follow.  I have the policy in hand, a list of my departments, and a budget to spend.  So now what?

Part ii: The Slings and Arrows

two pints of lager and a packet of crisps

Dear Internet,
Randomly discovered today this week is Mental Health Awareness Week. I’m not sure if I had found out sooner if I would have done something to celebrate, you know, other than going off of Lithium. So we’ll just chalk it up to it’s the thought that counts.
Hello there.
I’m coming down from my last dosage of Lithium and the last few weeks have been kind of an emotional nightmare. Keeping it all together has been much more exhausting than I would have figured and I’m attempting to save all of my energy when I head to California at the end of the month for Internet Librarian conference, of which I’m on a panel. Professional development for the fucking win! The cost of the trip is bordering on staggering as flights are more expensive (GRR is a large but not really airport. Monterey is the same.) then if I had flown out of a metro area. The conference and pre-conference times start from the weekend until the middle of the week, which jacks the flight price higher. So then, of course, I have to have more days at the hotel (5 nights, 6 days). Now I’m whinging about money and time, which wasn’t my intent.
I just hope I’m somewhat back to normal by then. By back to normal I mean not what I’m feeling right now.
At first the way I would describe myself is sharp, like a knife. Anything coming close to me will get poked. My physical boundary space is highly protected. I shut down how I feel emotionally, about anything really, unless provoked. Being provoked could range from someone outwardly doing something to me to someone annoying me enough in some capacity I snap and give them a what for. Or, more often then not, I’ll just choose to ignore them. It’s much easier online, and as expected, in person is much more difficult.
As one would expect, it’s quite lonely here.
Some days I grasp at the straws of which I proclaim, silently mostly, I AM Lisa Motherfucking Rabey! I have done great things! Before turning into a sobbing mess a few minutes later. Those brief seconds are the sign I know not is all but over. I’ll keep taking those flashes, no matter how minute.
One of the small steps I did to help with, well, everything was getting rid of using our bedroom (and bed) as my personal office space. The tired laptop hobbling along I’ve been using as my desktop has finally bit the dust and I just decided to dock my Air.  Moving all of my electronics out and also forcing me to sit up and use a desk should start the mental separation of tranquility and solace (bedroom) and pew pew of the digital world (physical office).
I should move my DS3 as well but you never know when you have to check turnip prices in Animal Crossing.
x0x0,
Lisa
 

This day in Lisa-Universe in:

Collectioun of Cunnynge Curioustes: October 5, 2013

Johann Georg Hainz's Cabinet of Curiosities, circa 1666. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Johann Georg Hainz’s Cabinet of Curiosities, circa 1666. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

During the Renaissance, cabinet of curiosities came into fashion as a collection of objects that would often defy classification. As a precursor to the modern museum, the cabinet referred to room(s), not actual furniture, of things that piqued the owners interest and would be collected and displayed in an aesthetically pleasing manner. Collectioun of Cunnynge Curioustes is my 21st century interpretation of that idea.
 
Dear Internet,

Writing

The Lisa Chronicles

Watching

Weekly watching: Sleepy HollowSurvivorDownton AbbeyBoardwalk Empire, Doc Martin, QIPeaky Blinders, The Bridge (US), Project RunwayThe Newsroom, Sons of Anarchy, DaVinci’s Demons,  The Vampire Diaries

Links

x0x0,
lisa

This day in Lisa-Universe in: 1998