BOOK REVIEW: Information Now by Matt Upson

Information Now: A Graphic Guide to Student ResearchInformation Now: A Graphic Guide to Student Research by Matt Upson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As a librarian, I loved this book and learned how to better explain things to students. I can see this being a good textbook for students or good to recommend to students interested in better research skills. I plan on using a few pages from it as handouts for instruction.

View all my reviews

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Clue/Halloween game day in the library – ideas for your library!

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I made versions of these for all my co-workers.

I work at a theological library, which means every October we celebrate Theological Libraries Month with book spine poetry and food. But this year, we decided to do a game day:
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ATLA’s TLM logo was a fingerprint this year, and it fit perfectly with the game Clue…which also fits perfectly with Halloween, in my opinion.

So, we decorated.

My boss was the smallest of us all, and would thus use less tape, so we volunteered her for the “Mr. Boddy” job (he died while reading):
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And we came up with a live version of the game. 20161024_142633 clue-game-image

And food: tlm-2016-foodclue-image

The rules of the game were pretty much just like trick-or-treating: players collect all six “clues” by interacting with us (going to our offices). We also passed out candy wrapped in a library fact of our choosing.

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The clues were cut into strips and color coded so we could know who was passing out which clue. There really was no correlation between what the clue was and who was passing them out, but it did help patrons keep track of which characters they had contacted (side note, our copier was Col. Mustard – we think he’s an integral part of the library staff).

Once players collected all six clues, they had to guess. The answer was on the back of the clue box.

Most of our players guessed correctly!

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It was an all-day event that was self-paced. If any of us left for lunch, we just left our clues and candy outside of our doors. When patrons would engage me for more information, I would say “If you want to know more, you’ll have to talk to my lawyer!” and that would keep things flowing.

The answer  to the mystery: Professor Plum with the Lead Pipe (of course in the library, that part’s a given, hence the outline of the body).

There’s plenty of ways you could change up the weapons and characters to have a different outcome if you wanted to play it more than once in the year or have a different outcome for the next. We certainly think it’s worth doing again!

An example of the clues cut out and the library facts around the candy:

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P.S. I stuck a doily on my head for my maid costume. That got a laugh.

Ancestry Adventure Part 1

I want to document my experience with Ancestry.com’s DNA.Ancestry.com.

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Lotsa white people

I’ll admit I picked this one because it’s the only brand I recognized and could afford (*sheds tears for the National Geographic one*). I’d do them all if I could.

I know very little of the science behind the specific type of DNA test they do. Here’s a helpful chart that breaks down cost and terms across brands… But I’ll stop talking about research you can do on your own in a Google search.

After purchasing the test and then experiencing buyers remorse (what the hell am I doing, throwing this money around? I am 25 and should be saving! Dear God, there’s some months I scramble for food money.) I told myself: Wait, Amanda, you want to know this stuff. Why not find out now? It’s not like you treat yourself to every new iPhone. You deserve to know the truth. This could be fun.

After checking the terms and conditions, which contained a paragraph like this gem:

By submitting DNA to AncestryDNA, you grant AncestryDNA and the Ancestry Group Companies a perpetual, royalty-free, world-wide, transferable license to use your DNA, and any DNA you submit for any person from whom you obtained legal authorization as described in this Agreement, and to use, host, sublicense and distribute the resulting analysis to the extent and in the form or context we deem appropriate on or through any media or medium and with any technology or devices now known or hereafter developed or discovered. You hereby release AncestryDNA from any and all claims, liens, demands, actions or suits in connection with the DNA sample, the test or results thereof, including, without limitation, errors, omissions, claims for defamation, invasion of privacy, right of publicity, emotional distress or economic loss. This license continues even if you stop using the Website or the Service.

…I was directed to a spastic page full of options on where I could start my research (if an old person–er, excuse me, genealogist–ever complains about information overload in their “research,” it’s justified). There’s not a shitton of guidance.

My motivations for wanting to know my ethnicity are for undoubtedly narcissistic reasons. I do confess it’s strange a 25 year old wants to work on genealogy like some retired senior citizen proving their worth through pedigree.

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Some of my “pedigree” – the family tree I’m able to create at dna.ancestry.com.  The tree remains free with a DNA kit purchase. Most of this information came from superficial internet searching (it’s information I plugged in–no, it’s not already there for you just by name alone, mom). I’m worried that if the site ever goes defunct, I’ll lose it. No way to download it in a usable format, but you can print, apparently (not sure how well it comes out). Findagrave.com is the coolest for doing “surface” genealogy. I have no further subscription with ancestry.com and I don’t really intend to. In fact, ancestry.com really riles the copyright librarian in me. Most of their records are in the public domain. Shouldn’t have to pay to see them! Grr.

No, I don’t really have living relatives I want to find. This isn’t a “wanting to find my family” thing. I’m pretty content with the family I have, though more are always welcome. No, this isn’t a “I want to leave a historical legacy behind for my future generations.” I don’t even want kids! This is a “I want to see if the facts we have are right” thing. (ALSO: not a “I want to know if I’m like one of my ancestors–could I be their reincarnation?!?” thing. Nope, not at all…)

Family stories get convoluted. Science won’t lie. Yes, I know it’s not perfect, but it’s still better than going off word of mouth.

Toast to my conflicted feelings and my soon-to-arrive DNA test kit.

“Pedigree.”

 

 

Librarian Rant: James Patterson is ruining publishing

Remember a few months ago when I got in an argument on Twitter about how James Patterson giving money to indie book stores is really just a pile of heaping shit?

Well, it seems like someone on TeleRead agrees with me, saying:

“Meantime, if Patterson Inc. is partly responsible for creating this ecosystem, Patterson’s donations to indie bookstores and so on only go the shortest distance towards undoing the damage. And it’s perhaps a blessing, but no surprise, that Amazon has come along and refragmented demand, so that FMCG-style passive-consumer demand economics no longer have such power over the suppliers. No wonder the Big Five who grew Big off Patterson Inc.-style big-box marketing are now struggling to hold up their share of sales. Thank Patterson Inc. for that.”

Here’s some more librarian opinions:

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This librarian says publishing needs to change!

Literary agent shuts down librarian because librarians aren’t allowed to have opinions and should be grateful for what the publishing machine gives them:

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Yes, it is sad I have this attitude. But just what do you think caused me to have it? Having libraries screwed over time and time again by publishers.

…And then there was this last passive aggressive tweet:

How can you tell a librarian she’s not reading enough? Of course I’m reading enough. Which is why I’m angry at the same old diversity problems. The same old ebook pricing problems. The same old rehashed plot ideas problems. I could go on.

It’s not that there aren’t good books being published.  Of course there are and I’ve found many. It’s just that the vast majority of what the Big 5 publishers churn out is really disappointing. So disappointing, in fact, that it takes James Patterson giving money back to the places that sell his books (SO HE CAN MAKE MORE MONEY IN AN ENDLESS CYCLE) for the system to function. What the “publishing industry” produces is not enough to keep even an indie book store afloat sometimes.

It’s time to break the James Patterson cycle.

Librarians and “Wild Abandon”:

‘A publishing executive turns in the night, her sleep disturbed by a vivid nightmare: Deep inside the halls of a venerable college campus, a renegade group of access-crazy techie librarians are scanning the entire contents of hundreds of textbooks, cover to cover, with wild abandon and mounting them on a web page with no restrictions they are doing this just because the technology exists to do so, and without any thoughts about the repercussion of their actions. They excitedly talk of their status as pioneers of a twenty-first century economics, where information is “free for all.”’ –Managing Electronic Reserves by Jeff Rosedale