Wiki Punk

  Color me slacker-grey.  I have a second class this semester that is condensed and started two and a half weeks ago.  It has large reading requirements and is stressful.  I also bought a house, destroyed an existing kitchen and floor, and started building it back.  Other than that, it’s been pretty dull.  Except, of course, for the return of Heroes and Ugly Betty.  But let’s not linger on the new fall line-up (Life is my favorite so far of the new ones). 

I have come today to discuss the wonderful world of wikis and my chosen contribution.  Let me begin by saying, quite firmly, that I do not like the wiki concept.  I understand Wikipedia is the seventh most visited site on the internet right now.  Porn is also very popular.  My feelings about both can be summed up as follows:

1. Just because somebody thinks their thing is compelling, doesn’t mean it is to everyone else. 
2. Not everything you see on the Internet should be believed.   
3. The level of quality varies wildly.
4. Your favorite thing may not stay just because you’d like it to.

That being said, I understand the prevalence of the form and bow to its success.  (Particularly since I can’t seem to get through a conversation with one of my friends without them linking me some arcane thing from WP.)  So, I’ve delved into the Doc’s list of potential treats and come up with my own arcane little topic.

The wiki I’ve chosen is LISWiki.  Not particularly creative, I know.  But certainly up to the task.  I looked at a list of topics there that had nothing written about them yet and came across this:

Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records

See, the thing is, I really know next to nothing about cataloging.  Sure, I did the cataloging in a rural elementary library for 6 years.  Yes, i had rudimentary instruction on which fields to fill and the form I should use.  And, yes, I’d go looking at the LOC website to fill in blanks – or the Sears catalog of subject headings… but I always felt like I was winging it.

Let me state, flatly, that I am NOT a ‘winging it’ type of woman.  Uncertainty, lack of order, and unestablished lines of authority make me nervous.  Hence, my dislike of wikis.  And though there were many things about my job that I loved – MANY things – cataloging without a real basis in what I should be doing and the principals behind it – was not one of them.

Which is why, when I came across this, I knew I had hit home.  I NEED to learn about this myself.  Or at least get the basics down before I come across a professor who will someday quite soon blithely refer to it as FRBR and expect me to know what they’re talking about.  And I don’t mean just what the acronym stands for.

So, I’m off on my journey to read and learn about bibliographic entry standards.  Not terribly sexy, but a must-read.  With any luck, I might even be able to put it in layman’s terms.  Though I’m not certain that’s a good thing in ‘scholarly’ circles.

Nothing against scholarly circles or people or articles… it’s just that I keep coming across these articles that are meant to convey the weighty grey matter of their authors with the gravity, breadth, and vocabulary of their text – which could be much more accessible and enjoyable if they’d have employed your average Newsweek writer.  Or even one from The New Yorker in a pinch.  Though those guys like the sound of their own keystrokes a bit too much as well. heh.

That business taken care of, we’re off down our travels again…

Let’s see… ahhhh, yes!
I was the girl with blue hair in high school.  In a sea of izods.  I wore T-shirts when they weren’t permitted (eeewwww, aaahhh).  I listened to punk when punk was still grimy.  I was, in a word, a loner.  I had friends – don’t get me wrong.  But they were isolated, one-on-one types.  Never in a crowd or co-mingled.  I never liked crowds, really.  I liked quiet.  I liked reflection.  I liked things in their place.  (Never mind that my room as a girl looked like chaos).  I remember imagining the perfect job as one that would be on a cloud, much like those characters in video games.  (I was a teenager, gimme a break) 

Just bask for a moment in the irony… I’ve grown up to find out that a librarian has to deal with people ALL THE TIME!

fortunately for me.. and my future co-workers and customers.. I’ve grown a bit more comfortable with the whole ‘crowd’ thing.  Bring it on, question-askers!  Give me your best shot, tech-newbies! Have I got a brand-new bag for you!


1 Comment

  1. You’lll want to check out William Denton’s blog at
    for this, both because he has great resources and becaus he’s been known to comment on our class blogs that mention FRBR.

    Doc Martens

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  • Playing God

    I wrote in one of my posts here that I thought of authors as God when I was a kid. And now I'm putting MY random thoughts out there for general edification. heh. Karma. As a job, being God is kind of intimidating. Thank (God) only adults are reading this. (I hope.) That way, I only have to be intimidated about being, say, a lesser cherub.