I have this professor, you see.

(Years ago I read a Dick Francis book that began:

“I have this friend, you see, that everyone loved.
(My name is Sid Halley.)
I had this friend that everyone loved, and I put him on trial.”

Great beginning, no? Even if he probably should have used “who” instead of “that,” but we’ll forgive it, because it’s a brilliant book.)

So anyway, this professor is great. She knows her stuff inside and out, she talks at least three or four times faster than your average lecturer – and classes are three hours long – she starts every PowerPoint presentation with library-themed LOLcats from icanhascheezburger and just generally makes subject material that could be both confusing and dull, neither of those things. And she says funny stuff in class.

So I thought I’d share.

You might not think any of this is as amusing as I do, which could be a context thing, or could be a library-humor-is-its-own-breed thing. Anyway, enjoy. And did I mention she’s Canadian?

On searching/browsing: “There’s no serendipity if I make PDFs out of everything you need to read.” (Okay, this isn’t actually that funny, but the word “serendipity” always makes me think of the adorable little swimming dragon from the book.)

On library science in general (?): “It’s got all the good acronyms.”

On the institutional repository: “[IR  is] the redheaded stepchild [of information discovery systems].”

On our first assignment: “I’m asking you to do something no user would ever do.”

When looking at a metadata poster (in the tone of voice one usually reserves for tiny kittens): “Look how teensy the word ‘archives’ is!”

About that same poster: “It’s an organize-y thing.”

On metadata: “There are a lot of Australians who are really into metadata for reasons that escape me. And a lot of Scandinavians.”

About an assignment on tagging: “If you were a book, how would you be described?…Pretend you’re a book.”

On Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH): “You cannot go making up main headings.”

On the five volumes of LCSH: “It’s like the elephant in the room, it sneezes and you have to deal with it….Sooner or later it will go away.”

I’m sure there will be more to come. Meanwhile, here’s a list of illustrations I’ve made in the margins, for one reason or another:

-an umbrella
-a needle in a haystack
-a tin can phone
-a duck (OK, pretty sure there was no reason for the duck)
-alphabet soup
-a crosswalk
-a librarian with a hand on her hip
-a cup of coffee
-a parakeet (a.k.a. budgie. Same thing, apparently! Learn something new every day.)
-an elephant sneezing
-another cup of coffee

Finally, other notes:

New favorite word: Aboutness (YES. It’s a real word!)

The word “abstruse” reminds me of strudel (“mmm…apple strudel. <3” -a classmate)

“Comic sans – just don’t do it.” (apple-strudel-loving classmate)

Do librarians ever name their sons Marc? “Mom, why’s my name spelled with a ‘c’ instead of a ‘k’?” “Well honey, you’re actually named after MAchine Readable Cataloging…” (the strudel-loving, comic sans-hating classmate made the excellent point: “Better than naming him AACR2.*”)

*Anglo-American Cataloging Rules, Second Edition

DEAR FUTURE KIDS: I apologize in advance.



Filed under random, school

2 responses to “Marginalia

  1. mom

    bet you’re losing a lot of people on this one.
    and what has your friend got against comic sans?

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