Library Day in the Life 6

Jan 24 2011 Published by under Praxis

Once a year, librarians get together to tell people what we do all day, because we know that many people have stale, stereotyped, or just plain wrong ideas about what that is. I don't usually talk about my job here, because I've landed myself in hot water over that before, but for Library Day in the Life I'll make an exception.

For the record, what I do: My job split three ways as of last August. One-quarter of me belongs to the institutional repository, at least until such time as that enterprise is absorbed into the grand new digital-library infrastructure currently being built. Another quarter of me belongs to the library school, allowing me to teach two courses per year. The remaining half co-manages Research Data Services, pitches in on various projects relating to scholarly communication, (usually digital) preservation, and research-data management, and has some other irons in the fire that aren't yet ready for prime time.

Today's doings:

  • 7:30 am: Arrive at my office. Start up the iMac; tidy up a couple of (physical) things while it boots.
  • 7:32 am: Start up email, RSS feedreader, IM client (among other things, it's how colleagues know where I am), calendar app, Evernote (with my to-do list).
  • 7:33 am: Chug through email-related to-dos, while chugging the morning's Diet Coke:
    • Send an old RDS announcement to a committee member for revision.
    • Send a researcher at another institution a copy of a closed-because-of-copyright thesis that they found in the institutional repository. (We treat such requests just like interlibrary loan, by policy.)
    • I have a green light to talk briefly about RDS at Thursday's all-staff meeting, yay! Quickly write up what I want to say in Evernote (so that I can have it in my iPod Touch on the day).
    • Do a requirements writeup for a projected new RDS website feature for the folks who manage the RDS website.
    • Check the scholarly-communication questions email address. Nothing there but journal spam. Delete journal spam.
    • Hack through stuff in inbox that doesn't need to be there. Make it to Inbox 6. Note a few things that have been waiting to get done; give them a lick and a promise, because it's a busy day.
  • Intermittently: skim feeds, FriendFeed, and Twitter. Not much I actually have to stop and read through today, which is good.
  • 8:45 am: Set IM client away notification to "At a meeting, sorry!" Chug across the quad to catch part of a SLIS health-informatics class. They're demoing a new campus research facility whose PI is interested in help figuring out how to manage the digital and analog data that the facility will produce; this is the best chance we'll likely have to get a read on the project, given how hard the PI is to reach. Demo is useful; I ask questions related to what data they will be recording during experiments, and whether/how installations like this one are sharing their work. From the sound of things, we'll be in on the ground floor as they think through these questions—which is wonderful.
  • 9:30 am: Get back to office, slightly lightheaded from the glue smell in the library entryway (they're replacing the absorbent padding on the entryway floor). Set IM status back to "available." Revise ("put a screenshot on the back!" sounds so easy, yet isn't) and start printing flyers and handouts for afternoon meet-some-faculty event for RDS.
  • 9:34 am: Notice from @joan_starr on Twitter that DataCite Metadata Scheme is published. Grimace, bookmark it in Pinboard (tags "datacitation" and digital-curation class number), leave it open in a tab to look at later.
  • 10:04 am: Flyers merrily printing (they're both two-sided, and it's a communal printer, which means a lot of running-back-and-forth), take the opportunity to check the course-management system for any student SOSes. First-week homework is coming in; good. Had some drops, which is unsurprising and probably positive (if they can't handle the first week's homework, they don't belong in my class, and I deliberately set up the first week's homework so that students would find that decision easy).
  • 10:13 am: Try to sort out issues with RDS-related email list. Send SOS to library helpdesk. Get prompt, helpful response. Email internal RDS list to start discussion about future of related list.
  • 10:18 am: Skim the published DataCite scheme, paying special attention to the XML instance listed. Realize that DSpace can neither create nor do anything useful with such an XML instance. Sigh. Wish once again that we were off DSpace, or that DSpace would finally recognize that metadata stoppeth not with key-value pairs.
  • 10:20 am: Squeeze in some work on OLA Superconference slides ("Turning Collection Development Inside-Out"). For me, this means hunting for CC-BY licensed photos and art and sorting out the typography and general aesthetic I want. Save new Keynote theme in case I want this particular combo again.
  • 11:25 am: Everything's printed, yay! And I have some finished slides and a lot of presentation outline done. Heading down to meet health-informatics professor for discussion over lunch.
  • 12:30 pm: Back in office, with game plan for health-informatics professor's project. Send requested email to professor. Churn through email that's piled up over the morning. Figure out where RDS-related meeting is; realize that I'll have to leave in 25 minutes to make it there on time. Sigh. Try to move slides a wee bit further along.
  • 12:50 pm: Answer an emailed question for an institutional-repository contact on a different UW System campus about copyright clearances for graduate theses.
  • 12:55 pm: Shut down iMac; there won't be much point in returning to my office after meeting, so I'll just go home and do the rest of my workday from there. Depart for meeting, grabbing up folder with flyers on the way out; chug up and over Bascom Hill to the center of campus.
  • 2:35 pm: Having listened to many cheerful facts about the square of the hypotenuse conflict-of-interest reporting and watched a librarian colleague knock her RDS presentation out of the park, head out to the bus stop to catch a bus home. While waiting, check email and RSS feeds via iPod Touch. Star one RSS item related to OLA Superconference talk for more in-depth perusal later.
  • 3:10 pm: Arrive home, boot up Buffle the MacBook. Log onto the course management system, deal with group-project assignments, post some administrivia, grade first-week homework (yes, I am mean and cruel). Note with pleasure that students new to XML (which isn't all of them by any means, and I can tell the difference!) are figuring out for themselves that you can "make up your own tags" in XML that make sense in context.
  • 4:00 pm: Done grading. A successful assignment; I feel good about it (which is an important datum in a first-time course). Four assignments missing, but they have another hour's grace; I'll get the stragglers tomorrow morning. One last email check, one small, non-serious fire to put out.
  • 4:10 pm: Realize I forgot to water the philodendron in my office. Sigh. It's a forgiving plant; it'll live until tomorrow. Start expanding the little one-or-two-word notes-to-self in Evernote into this post. Not that this is part of my workday, of course; I thought folks might wonder, that's all.

Over the course of the evening, I'll probably look in on email and the course-management system a couple more times, but I won't answer anything unless it's an immediate problem (which it hardly ever is).

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