Monday, August 31, 2009

The End of Summer, or Our Stalwart Heroine Once Again Starts Her Last Year of LIS School

Yes, once again, it's time to put aside all the fun stuff and head on back to the salt mines. Not this case, salt mines=school. Why, yes, I was supposed to be all done with my MLIS degree by now, and probably even have that freshly printed diploma stuck in my bookshelf between some books, just like my other 2 are. Yes, I can see how you might be a tad confused as to why exactly I am not done yet, considering how joyful I was last spring when I finished what I (mistakenly) thought was my LAST. PAPER. EVER.

So, allow me to explain why in the world I am subjecting myself, my family, my friends, and everyone who reads this to yet another YEAR of this.

When I originally transferred to what was The College of St Catherine (St Kate's) after my sophomore year of college, I did so with a purpose. It wasn't because it was an all-women's Catholic college. Actually, those were strikes against them. No, it was because they had a MLIS program-the only one remotely close to me in the state of Minnesota. My thought was that if I transferred once, I wouldn't have to do it again after I'd finished my baccalaureate degree, and would be able to seamlessly go into the MLIS program.

Well, it almost went as planned.

I did, in fact, transfer to St Kate's and finished my last 2 years of undergraduate college. With mostly A's (I had 1 B+. I was 13 points-THIRTEEN POINTS-away from an A in my Statistics Math class. Let that be a lesson to ALWAYS do all extra credit offered), it was challenging enough that I earned the honors I graduated with. And, because I was done with all but one of my classes I needed for my history degree, I applied, and was accepted for early entry into the MLIS program. This meant that I could take 2 MLIS classes my last term of my undergrad senior year. So I did. Yes, I was nuts. (2 graduate classes is considered full time. Well, I was taking those 2, plus my last 2 undergrad classes, so that would make me nuts x 2).

ANYHOW. I was formally accepted into the program with a start date of Fall term 2007. I would've been completely done in December of 2008, but we were building a house during the summer of 2008, and both the builder and my dear husband thought that perhaps I should drop a class so everything could get finished. So I did. And in the end, it's what saved me. Or condemned me to this next year, whichever.

For you see, the entire time I'd been working on my MLIS, St Kate's had been trying to get accreditation from the American Library Association (ALA). And in January, 2009, the decision was made by the ALA to not grant St Kate's the needed accreditation, but instead, to keep the program in candidacy status for another go-round. (This is obviously a very brief explanation, I realize, but for our purposes, it works). If I'dve graduated in December 2008 as planned, my degree would've been fairly worthless, for all intents and purposes. But, knowing that St Kate's was going to appeal to the ALA's better nature, I registered and took that last class, the YA lit one that I blogged about Spring 2009.

When it became apparent that the ALA would not reverse its decision in time for me (and others in my same situtation) to get a 'real' MLIS degree, St Kate's worked out a deal with University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee for us. We could transfer, finish our program there, and graduate with an ALA accredited degree. As far as I know, 41 of us transferred over to UW-M. The problem was that UW-M wants us to have 18 resident credits from them, which is not altogether unreasonable. However, since I had finished the needed 36 credits for St Kate's, it meant I'd be losing 18 credits. Luckily, St Kate's is paying the tuition for those 18 credits that I will be re-taking (approximately 6 classes), so all I have to buy are my books and materials.

UW-M is having us take at least 2 of their core classes, which aren't exactly what I want to take, but I will. There's one other core class that UW-M wants me to take, but since I took the equivalent to it at St Kate's, I'll be appealing their request. (UW-M wants me to take their lower level cataloging class. But I already took a cataloging class, and I don't want to take another. Thing is, UW-M is giving me credit for their upper level cataloging class instead. One of the prereqs for the upper level class is the lower level class. The mind boggles.)

So, this term, I'll be taking 4 classes. Yes, I know that I'm nuts. I believe we already established that above. But I am highly motivated to get done. My kid was in the 4th grade when I went back to school. My goal was to be done before she started her PSEO (post secondary) classes in her junior year. I might just make it.

And, I want to be done because I'm tired. Worn out. I've been out out of 'give a craps' since last Winter term. Getting everything ready, I feel like I'm going off to war, which I guess isn't too far off the mark. Or, to bring in the Greek mythology, I totally get the whole Persephone myth about her having to stay in the underworld for 1/3 of the year (I'm in school for 2/3rds of the year)...or even Sisyphus and his rock-rolling. They all seem like apt metaphors right now.

It's gonna be a fun ride, right?

Here's what I'm taking:

Information Access and Retrieval (LIS 571)--This is 1 of the core classes UW-M is having us take.

Introduction to Research Methods (LIS 591)--The other core class. It's gonna be a real good time. Uh-huh.

Library Materials for Young Adults (LIS 646)--Like what I took last Winter term...but better. It's my 'for fun' class this term. Let's hope it is fun.

Multicultural Children’s Literature (LIS 691)--just what it sounds like.

The fun starts 2 September 2009.

Are you all ready for this?

101 Things in 1001 Days: August 2009 Roundup

Yep, I know. I forgot to update in July. But, trust me...there wasn't much change.

So, without further ado, I give to you the August update:

1. Take boxes of books to Half Price (Done 10/19/07)
2. Donate hair to Locks of Love (Done 1/3/08)
3. Summer Break 2008- see 5 first run movies in theater (5/5)(Done 9/1/2008)
4. Build new house (Done 10/11/2008)
5. Get mutual funds transferred (Done 4/1/08)
6. Donate $1000 to Higher Ground (Done 12/8/07)
7. Watch Season 2 of 'Digging for the Truth' (Done 7/19/2008)
8. Choose 2 kids from church's Jesse Tree @ Christmas and buy them presents (Done 12/6/08)
9. Replant plant on towel shelf (Done 6/6/08)
10. Listen to Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud
(Completely Done 3/20/08)
11. Edit a Wikipedia article (Done 9/4/2008: did the Winsted, Minnesota article)
12. Type out Goodwill donation tax slip (Done 3/4/08)
13. Get eyes checked (done 8/26/2008)
14. Make a 20 item anti-procrastination list (done 7/15/08)
15. Do all 20 anti-procrastination list items within the month (done 8/15/2008)
16. Do Advent readings and wreath (Completed: 1/7/09; Advent lasts through Epiphany)
17. Over Christmas Break 2007 see 5 first run movies in theater (5/5, done 1/7/08)
18. Clean up computer document files (Done: 12/30/08)
19. Read "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" (done 8/19/2008)
20. Catalog 25 books on LibraryThing (done 7/14/08)
21. Walk to work 30 times (30/30: Done 9/12/2008)
22. Send my mother in law flowers just because (done 8/5/2008)
23. Read all the Josephine Tey books (Done 12/23/08)

24. Read entire Inspector Rebus series (3/18)
25. Graduate with MLIS degree (target date: not sure now...)
26. Watch 101 movies in theater or at home (42/101)
27. Complete 23 More Things
28. Read 20 of 100 All Time Classics (Modern Library) that I haven't read already (4/20)
29. Visit 5 art galleries in Minnesota (3/5)
30. Watch 10 documentaries (5/10)
31. Upload all my CD's to my iTunes
32. Update FLYControl Journal (waiting for life insurance information)
33. Write 3 letters complimenting good service (2/3)
34. Write 3 letters pointing out bad service (2/3)
35. Complete a crossword puzzle book
36. Visit 10 other libraries in my system I haven't been to yet
37. Write wills
38. Have new family picture taken
39. Send Christmas Cards with family photograph
40. Design library webpage & link to system and city
41. Beat PSX2 game Galaga
42. Watch all the seasons of '24'
43. Go to a Latin Mass
44. Plant 5 trees in yard (0/5)
45. Clothing 1
46. Learn how to play Cribbage
47. Bike around the lake
48. Get important documents in fire proof box
49. Fly first class as a family
50. Go see 5 Minnesota Tourist attractions
51. Get new glasses (or contacts)
52. Host big family Christmas
53. Frame tree picture
54. Watch a Cowboys/Vikings game in Dallas
55. Watch Cowboys/Vikings game in Minnesota
56. Read 5 Biographies
57. Frame black & white pictures of the ocean and hang up
58. Learn the Rosary prayers
59. Walk everyday for 30 minutes for 1 week.
60. Host a Summer Croquet tournament
61. Link library webpage to librarysites
62. Health 1
63. Health 2
64. Health 3
65. Health 4
66. Watch all Seasons of MI-5
67. Read Twilight Series (3/4)
68. Read 5 Non-fiction books (2/5)
69. Read Inspector Lynley Series
70. Pay off and close Chase Visa. (APR adjustment, indeed)
71. Draw a master landscaping plan for yard
72. Get a chair for my library
73. Donate 1,000,000 grains of rice on FreeRice (2580/1,000,000)
74. Donate 5 trees from answer4earth (5/5) (Done 16 July 2009)
75. Up Emergency Fund to 3 months salary
76. Get rockers/outdoor furniture for front porch
77. Make a 10 item anti-procrastination list (Done 7 July 2009)
78. Do all 10 anti-procrastination list items within the month (Done 7 August 2009)
79. Read all books on saved page a day calendar pages for 2004(0/5)
80. Read all books on saved page a day calendar pages for 2005 (0/4)
81. Read all books on saved page a day calendar pages for 2006 (2/15)
82. Read all books on saved page a day calendar pages for 2007 (1/13)
83. Read all books on saved page a day calendar pages for 2008 (0/14)
84. Read all books on saved page a day calendar pages for 2009 (1/22)
85. Get curtains hung in last 2 bedrooms
86. Get a new desk/shelving unit for home library
87. Finish Kid’s room
88. Hang up 5 pictures
89. Donate to the Food Shelf 7 times ($25 or equivalent) (0/7)
90. Adopt a family for Christmas 2009
91. Leave a 100% tip 3 times (0/3)
92. Donate 50 of my books to the library (without reading them 1st) (50/50) (done 15 August 2009)
93. Put a $50 bill in the second collection basket
101. Finish writing this list--Again

Friday, August 7, 2009

More Things on a Stick: Thing 47 Evaluation

Yeah, I know I'm late in finishing. But it was bugging me that I'd only gotten through some of the Things, so I decided to finish up on my own. This round was so-so for me. Some of the Things had been covered in the 1st round, others I'd figured out on my own. There were some new Things, which makes it (mostly) worthwhile. I loved Thing 35: Books 2.0, like I need to find more to read... :D
I also liked bits and parts of various other Things. Twitter, or Thing 27 and Thing 31 is already something I use frequently, so it was interesting to see how other participants reacted to it. Some 'got it', some didn't, some stuck with it and loved it, which seems to be pretty par for the course with regards to any social media application.

Overall, every bit of 2.0 learning I do helps in some fashion, even if it's just something that I can pass on to a patron somewhere down the line. So, thank you to all the volunteers who research the different Things, and put this program together. Your work is much appreciated.

More Things on a Stick: Thing 46 WJMN

What did you find most useful on WJMN?
I admit, I signed up for WebJunction during the 1st round of 23 Things, but haven't used it much since. What I do like about it is that there's information for all kinds of libraries, especially rural ones. It doesn't seem as if there's much actual discussion going on, but the resources and such can be helpful.

The general WebJunction is great, but having things specific to Minnesota is also good. I like the class offerings, but since I'm already in a MLIS program, they'd just be extra work. For someone who isn't doing that, I think they'd be useful, and since it can be done at home, instead of traveling somewhere, that's a good thing.

What kind of Minnesota-specific resources would you like to see on WJMN?
Hmm. Haven't really thought about it. When I use WebJunction, I tend to look at the general site, not the Minnesota part, so I just don't know.

More Things on a Stick: Thing 45 Cloud Computing

What do you see as the advantages of joining “the cloud” by using a Web OS? Disadvantages?

  • My bookmarks and documents can be accessed from any computer, anywhere.

  • I can collaborate with people to get a project done, without being in the same location.

  • If my system is down, or just freaking ssslooooowww, I can do my work from a faster/better system.


  • My accessing my information is dependent on the site where I have it stored. If that site is down, for whatever reason, I probably can't get to my stuff.

  • I think my information would also be more at risk, especially if the site I'm using to store it gets compromised.

  • iTunes is tied to a specific system, so I couldn't store that in the cloud. I know I could use the different Internet radio sites, but I like my iTunes too.

There are other advantages/disadvantages, but those are what I came up with right off the top of my head.

Do you currently do any computing in “the cloud” (i.e. GoogleDocs, Zoho, etc)? What do you think? Has it helped your productivity?
Actually, yes, I do. This past year in school, I used things like GoogleDocs and other tools for group projects for which it was just not feasible to meet out of class. In fact, one group project involved building an entire website, and the only time we met was once a month in class. Another class, we built a Ning, completed a paper, and put together our entire presentation online. It was awesome, and was exactly what was needed to complete the assignments.
I don't know that they help my productivity in everyday life because I tend to only use them for schools. I've been migrating select bookmarks to my library Delicious account so I can access them while at work, though.

What other cloud applications are you using or planning to investigate?
When I was looking at the Mashable site (which I have really liked ever since I started using Twitter last fall), I saw the GTD NINJA: 50+ Websites For the Kickass Control Freak page, so I'm going to take a closer look at that. I'm a fan of GTD (well, a modified version, anyway), have been since I started school. I'm not sure I'dve made it through sane if I wasn't.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

More Things on a Stick: Thing 44 The Economy

Find anything use in any of these sites?
Many of these sites were useful, some more than others. Most of it is common sense. We do most of our banking & bill pay online, so that's nothing new. Some of the sites are targeted more toward urban/suburban areas, and not so much rural/out-state places, so that had to be taken into account as well.

What was your favorite(s) site(s) and why?
Out of the ones listed, U of M Extension Gardening Information was one of my favorites. We're landscaping the front yard, and it's a great resource for me to figure out what the native plants are, and how to grow them. Another promising site is, a site that lets a user see all his/her accounts in one place, although I'm not sure I'm really keen on the 'recommending savings' feature.

Did you find any new sites that you'd like to share?
Some of the sites that I use that would fit nicely into some of these categories are:

What are your favorite money management/money saving/shopping tips?
Uh...subscribe to the 'ant' philosophy instead of the 'grasshopper' one?
I'm not sure I'm in any position to give advice, considering I still have some debt to pay off. :)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

More Things on a Stick: Thing 43 Online TV and Video

1. Did you discover something that interested you enough to watch? What was it and how did you feel about it?
I tried Hulu because it seems the most straightforward. It wasn't a question about if I found something that interested me enough to was more "Wowie kazowie, there's a bunch of programs on here I'd like to watch."
I watched parts of a couple documentaries, and part of a movie. It seemed odd, watching them on my computer screen, while sitting at my desk, though.

2. Do you feel that having free on-demand access to TV shows and full-length feature movies will change your viewing behavior?
Not really. I've been in school the last 6 years (and have 1 more to go), so mostly I don't watch a whole bunch of TV because I have homework to do. Even during the summer, when I'm not taking classes, I mostly read for fun more. We only have 1 TV, and I don't seem to get the remote very often.

3. What do you think the impact of free Internet video entertainment will be on broadcast or cable TV?
We're already seeing the impact on broadcast or cable TV shows. Since I don't watch much TV on a regular basis, when I do, I notice the increase of product placement in the shows themselves. Maybe that's to do with impatience with commercial breaks (if the commercials are even watched at all, thanks to TiVo and the like), or maybe it's just another source of revenue for the stations. Either way, there's definitely been a sea-change over the years.
Some of my friends have looked at getting rid of their cable because most of the shows they watch are on Hulu, or can be watched elsewhere. I think that a person's home system/laptop would have to be able to stream well, otherwise it gets just too frustrating to watch anything.

4. What do you think the impact of free Internet video entertainment will have on your family?
Eh, not much of a change, I think. It'd be me who would use it most, probably, and like I said, I'm not much of a television viewer. The ability to see some of the shows that maybe I didn't have the VCR timer correctly set for is great--there've been a few times that I've missed the beginning or end of 'Survivor' (the only show I watch on a regular basis) and have gone online to watch. For that, though, I usually go to YouTube first. I'll have to see if Hulu does anything like that when the new fall season starts.

All in all-this is very cool. I can see how this really could take the place of regular broadcast/cable TV, especially for sporadic viewers such as myself.

More Things on a Stick: Thing 42 Music 2.0

Have you used any of these services previously? What do you think? Will Internet radio replace broadcast?
I had not used any of these services previously; I use my iTunes or just go to a specific radio station online and listen to it there. Any of these options would be good, but I decided to test-drive Songza because I'd not heard of it before. Even as I'm doing this post, I'm listening to the 'One-hit wonders' playlist. As for whether Internet radio will replace broadcast...who knows? Maybe, maybe not. Depends on how technically savvy the user is, I guess. There are plenty of people who don't equate 'radio' with 'Internet',and there will always be the Luddites who will wish for the "Good Old Days."

Can you recommend any radio stations that you found?
I don't listen to many online radio stations because I do have my iTunes.

Any problems with any of this--technical difficulties, finding a station difficulties?
Nope, no problems. It's always nice to have new avenues opened up, though.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

More Things on a Stick: Thing 41 Mashup Your Life

Do you think these services make life easier? Are they productivity boosters?
Maybe and maybe. I think services like this can make things more streamlined. Instead of going to each individual site, all the content can get funneled to one central location, which might make it easier to keep up with everything. On the one hand, they could be considered productivity boosters because of that, but for the most part, I'm leaning toward "No."

What did you like or dislike about these services?
I liked the idea of having everything come to a central locale, but not the actual practice. It was a bit overwhelming to see the different sectors of my social media life all coming together like that. I know people who love things like FriendFeed, and others who hate it. I guess I fall into the middle of the two. Each site has something to offer, and it could be just that I'm so not ready for them. Some of it, too, stems from me not wanting to know Every. Single. Detail. of what my friends are doing. :)

More Things on a Stick: Thing 40 Mashup the Web

Which mashups did you explore? Were they useful?
I looked at Walk Score, and was pleasantly surprised that my hometown of Winsted scores a 77/100 (even if the nice people spelled Winsted wrong...). I also looked at a Walk Score for Paris, France to see what the comparison would be, considering Paris is, oh, a gazillion times bigger than Winsted. It scored a 94/100, and is a "walkers' paradise". Huh. Good to know.

I also liked the "Let Me Google That For You" link. Ah, the fun that could be had with that...but I will resist using my super librarian powers for evil. This time.

And I love love LOVE Interestingness by Flickr! I love looking at photos, especially if they're well done. *click* Favorites.

I went to the link for the + YouTube, but it isn't working anymore.:(

Can you think of any uses for mashups at the library or at home?
There are always uses for mashups. There's probably a mashup for about everything, so, yes.

Which of the make a mashup tools did you use? How were they to use?
None...I'm good. Really.

Did you find other mashups we should know about?
It's not so much a mashup as it is a site that I like: Mashable: The Social Media Guide.

More Things on a Stick: Thing 39 Digital Storytelling

Can you see a use for this in your library? At home?
I don't scrapbook in real life--I'm happy enough that I remember to upload the pictures off the camera. I spent more time with this than I thought I would, just trying to get the highlights of the season. I can see this would be really neat in the library, maybe for StoryTime or Summer Reading. I can also see where this would be a major time suck at home. ;)

Which of the services did you use? Did it work smoothly?
I used Smilebox because it didn't have a ton of extraneous stuff on the site. Oh, and it was free, which is always good. I liked the easiness of use-one step lead to the next, and once I figured out how to get pictures uploaded, I was cooking with gas.

So, here's the finished product, and yes, she really did break her thumb at Nationals, during the semi-final game. To turn the page, look for the little arrow in the lower right hand corner (the only thing I didn't like about this layout)

Click to play this Smilebox scrapbook: Chaos 2009
Create your own scrapbook - Powered by Smilebox
Make a Smilebox scrapbook