Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Day 65: Aaaaaand Scene!

Final exam: completed!

Today's was Information System Design's final exam. Honestly, I was really, really worried about this one. A lot of people took it earlier in the month because of a whole kerfluffle that happened, and they insisted that it was much easier than the last exam from this course, but still I was wary.

But it was so much easier than the last exam from this course!

It wasn't cumulative, as had been promised at the beginning of the term, and so it only covered google and dialog.

Dialog's a pain, but as long as you knew the commands it was all good.

And now my vacation begins! Tonight there's a big SIS party/potluck thing and tomorrow I bus home.

I hope this vacation is as amazing and restful as I dream it could be!

See you in January! (wow, 2012!)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Day 64: Only one more to go!!!

Today's exam was Bibliographic and Factual Sources. I had heard horror stories about that exam, but nothing could have prepared me for that thing.

Oh. Wow.

Honestly, I did my best. I studied all that I could. My brain was crammed with every possible fact I could fit in it, and I think that I did ok. But those questions were beasts! Absolute beasts. And realistically, this exam did nothing to prepare me for any real world scenario.

I stand by my assertion that that class would feel much more useful as a project-based one.

Let's just hope my course evaluation comments get heard on that.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Day 63: Halfway Done!

As I mentioned yesterday, my exam this morning was Information and Society.

It was ok as far as exams go. I mean, there were a few easy questions, a few ones I couldn't even guess at. I feel like I did all the studying I could have, there were just a few things that hadn't stuck in my head. Things like people's names rarely do stick in my head properly.

Luckily, my prof made an extremely comprehensive review slideshow, and really I don't think I really should have bothered studying anything else. So I had covered everything before the exam.

Lets hope that my final grade bears that out!

I'm 100% positive I passed. The only variable is by how much.

But that's true of most of the classes I've ever taken.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Day 62: Opening a book and seeing its spine through the pages

Something about that pains me, the spine of a book showing bare. And it hurts even more to hear the crackling tear of the spine breaking. Any yet, the things I do for my job... Today I started tattle-taping journals, and ideally, the stuff needs to be right along the spine which means... I'm a sad panda. Sad panda, indeed.

But there's no real lesson there. Anyone who has ever opened a new book knows whether or not breaking the poor thing's spine hurts them... Except piano books... They need that lesson or their pages will try to close as you play.

Still, I digress.

Today was exam numero one!

The dread pirate Cataloguing.

Tedious as ever, and yet I still enjoyed it.

The multiple choice and definitions were reasonably easy, with joke answers strewn in... often as the answer. Going over the class slides and post-it noting my AACR2 was all the studying needed to be sure.

Pro tip: Emily Post's Table Manners for Adults has nothing to do with cataloguing if you couldn't have guessed.

Dewey is tougher when you can't check your answers like a math problem. That is, when you can't use Dewey online to see what the number you've built leads to, it's tough to be sure of the answer you've given.

But all in all, I feel that that particular exam went well, all things considered. Nothing in particularly really stumped me, it was just a long slog to create the Dewey Decimal Classifications and the Machine-Readable Cataloguing records.

Next up: Information and Society, tomorrow morning!

Study, study, study!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Day 61: Aren't I Productive?

Despite a deep seated conviction that I was completely wrong about having class today, I managed to drag myself from my cozy bed to prove that I was right about having class.

My very last class of the semester.

A review slideshow filled with stars! And yet, taking notes just felt so redundant somehow...

I was told that the TA is apparently not marking anyone's papers past the tenth page. But this was the class that gave no indication of how many pages the assignment needed to be, so I hardly think that's fair. This is why providing page maximums at the least is an absolute necessity. Regardless, I'm pretty sure the prof was marking ours, not the TA. So I guess ballet was the best choice after all!

Today's lesson was taken from our review. My family loves doing crosswords, so I'm surprised this didn't jump out at me the first time through the course material...

Lesson 61: People often call library reference desks when they're doing crossword puzzles or trivia.

When that happens, the resource that has been suggested to us is Credo which has a crossword solver which also functions as an anagram solver!

Honestly, I'm kind of worried about this exam, because it seems really hit or miss as to when she will or will not accept "Wikipedia" or "Google" as an answer, and when it's actually the answer she'd prefer...

Besides class, I also got some absolutely marvellous news, though I can't reveal it just yet, edited a friend's paper, and am more than a third of the way through the 2nd book from A Song of Ice and Fire. As well, I'm thinking about taking a fitness class at the Student Fitness Centre in the new semester... Kind of torn between "Stroke Improvement", because my swimming isn't as strong as it could be, and "Abs, Back and Bootie", which a few of my Quidditch friends are also doing and have taken before... hmmm...

Also, the strike is officially over! Thank goodness!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Day 60: Important lessons I never taught

This one wasn't so much something I learned today as it is a lesson, gleaned from my study notes, that I never had the chance to impart.

Amidst early scrawls of "what is information?", "What is information science?", "why are we here?" and "what are we getting a degree in anyways?" came a handy little initialism.


Here's my lesson...

Lesson 60: It's easier to remember if you reverse it and make it an acronym. WKID. As in: "Library school is W[ic]KID!"

WKID is the hierarchy of information, usually represented by a pyramid, with Data at the bottom and Wisdom at the top.

Wisdom is made of applied and experienced Knowledge, which is made of synthesized and processed Information, which is organized Data.

This is essentially the foundation of everything we're studying.

And I find acronyms, which are by definition pronounceable, way easier to remember than initialisms, which by definition are not pronounceable.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Day 59: Droppin' the knowledge bombs up in here!

So much for McGill's IT Knowledge Base. Count this as a win for me then!

IT services maintains a pseudo-wiki of answers to every technological issue you could ever have. How-tos, troubleshooting, information... it's really very informative and quite useful.

Because of it, I learned how to not only access the school's VPN from home, and my iPad, but also how to print to their uPrint system directly from the comfort of my own home. They're also very good about updating and adding new issues as they appear/are reported, like WebCT's inability to display PDFs properly on an iPad.

However, when I was on campus, wanting to connect to my P: drive (the personal drive, each student has their own) from a computer I could not log onto with my own McGill ID, it looked like I was out of luck. They only had instructions for setting up a connection so it appears on your computer as a remote drive. Honestly, I don't keep very interesting things on my P: drive, but I still don't want just anyone using that computer to have access... who knows what they'd put on it!

But then I noticed how they were instructing you to connect... They wanted you to put a specific URL into some annoying Windows wizard. But...

Lesson 59: Going directly to the website[insert short username here] allows full access to your P: drive through your web browser! No annoying set up, no opening your drive for the world to see, you just need your short username and your password. Exactly what I needed!

Which makes me wonder...

Why don't they just list that as an option?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Day 58: Home Sweet Search Engine

Given that today was a wrap up day, two last classes, I learned quite a lot!

Most interestingly, I learned about some of the more interesting search engines on the web.

Lesson 57: TinEye is a great way to either avoid using someone's image without proper credit or find out who is using your image without proper credit.

Though my prof didn't really think of that use, that is ultimately what it's good for. He thought that it was to find similar images, but really it's to find all incidents of that image. It's a really cool tool, but I think it's more of a straight up tool than a search engine.

Lesson 58: Liveplasma. Oh man, liveplasma.

So here's the deal, Liveplasma can search books, movies and most interestingly, music. And it shows you everything it can connect with that. It creates a kind of cloud of linked items. For Music, it apparently compares the notes in order to cluster and connect different bands. For movies, it seems to base it on genre, style, director and actors. For books, it seems to be primarily author based, genre being a secondary characteristic and possibly thematic links as another variable for constructing the clouds.

It's epic, exploratory and amazingly intriguing.

I could look things up all day on Liveplasma!

Some other interesting ones did things like organizing results with images or into shapes. Tag Galaxy makes solar systems of relations and see also references out of concept planets.

I swear I'm not stoned, that is a 100% legitimate description of what the website does.

Don't believe me?

Seriously. Check it out.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Day 57: Extensions R Us

My last project was meant to be due today, but the prof gave the entire class a two day extension last week, so it's actually due Thursday.

And I still have no idea why he gave the extension. Hrm...

Today was painful, yet productive.

First of all, who ever said that working in a library is safe? I accidentally stabbed myself in the hand with a letter opener and got two paper cuts, all within 15 minutes! And one of those paper cuts I didn't notice until after it happened despite the fact it's under my nail! Ouch.

That's not to mention me pulling muscles trying to retrieve "Medical Surgical Nursing" (a single textbook, which according to Amazon weights 4.8kg) from reserve for people, or getting my fingers/hand caught in scissors or between piles of books and desk. Because I'm awesome.

Second, figurative pain. And today's lesson.

Lesson 56: No matter how careful, conservative and gentle you are, everything needs to be replaced eventually. Like my favourite black purse. Poor purse...

But isn't it just my luck that everything needs replacing at the same time? I ran out of all my toiletries, all of my food staples, and clean clothes to wear within the same few days.

I know living isn't cheap, but having to buy/pay for all those things on the same day is just painful.

Though it did mean that I got some nice smelling new soaps, went to the bank, did my grocery shopping AND did my laundry all in one day.

Being all productive...

Like an adult!

However, it wasn't caffeine withdrawal that had me feeling hungover yesterday. The cough has been joined by a killer sore throat that appeared out of nowhere and within a matter of hours started affecting my ability to speak...

I'm sick.

Well, better sick for exams than sick for projects.

I guess.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Day 56: OMG? Nope! OMP! One more project!

Handed in my group's Bibliographic and Factual Sources report today.

What an interesting experience.

Let me sum up:
  • Some information necessary to answer our question (we chose a question about ballet) was 100% not available. We asked the source directly; they haven't even released it yet. I hate red herrings.
  • Equal division of labour does not always wind up equal. We split the questions in a way that should have been exactly equal and made complete sense, and yet, I feel like my end wasn't nearly as intense.
  • No page count was listed, but apparently, we were potentially 4x longer than the limit.

    So here's a lesson for any future MLIS students in Bibliographic and Factual Sources...

    Lesson 55: Ask about the page limit.

    Our paper was 15 pages long, plus 3 pages of references, just to answer all the questions put forth in the assignment. I honestly don't think there was much we could have cut out. Between the topic summary, methodology and search strategies, and all of the answers to our hypothetical client's answers, we could have maybe cut a page without sacrificing something that was directly asked for in the assignment.

    However, apparently two of our classmates had asked what the page count should be. One was told, emphatically, by the prof "Please don't make it too long!". The other was told by the TA that it should be 5-7 pages.

    That would have been good information to have.

    Our M.O. was "as long as it needs to be to contain all necessary information".

    But ya, awesome.

    On the other hand, I only have one more project to do! Then it's exams! Then I go home! *happy dance*
  • Friday, November 25, 2011

    Day 55: Cinémathèque Québécoise

    Honestly, I have a lot of feelings. And a lot of them can be summed up with nothing but long strings of vowels.

    But I'll try to be brief.

    And coherent.

    Today the McGill Student Chapter of the ACA (Association of Canadian Archivists), which I am on the exec for as a member of the Commsquad, went on a field trip. And no, I wasn't the one who suggested the destination, as perfect for me as it was.

    We went to the NFB's Cinémathèque Québécoise. And it was glorious.

    Honestly, I knew I wanted to work for the NFB, because of my film background, and I'm so glad I got the opportunity to visit one of the places I could work if I do wind up there!

    I learned a few things, more fun facts than lessons, but bear with me!

    Lesson 53: The Cinémathèque developed its own thesaurus which it uses for indexing, and uses a modified version of the AACR2. Their organization system is (modified) Library of Congress.

    Lesson 54: Not all libraries weed their collections.

    For that second lesson, I had always hoped it existed, but I was worried it was just a silly, idealistic dream. But no! The Cinémathèque Québécoise aims to maintain a complete retrospective of film throughout time, so if they get rid of a document it's only ever because it has fallen into unusable disrepair, or is being replaced with a new copy. But preservation is a large part of what they're about.

    Also, they're huge into making their collection digitally accessible.

    A library after my own heart! *swoon*

    Thursday, November 24, 2011

    Day 54: And so it begins again.

    Let it be known: Today was the beginning of the end of the first half of my first year of library school.

    My last cataloguing class.

    Cue the over-dramatic sobs.

    Seriously though, I liked cataloguing. And if I ever have a labelmaker and a bunch of free time, I'm totally going to Dewey-decimalize my entire non-fiction book collection. And if it's that much free time, I may just do the same to my fiction.

    Because, yes: I am that much of a nerd.

    Looking even further forward than the mere end of semester...

    Work wanted to know my holiday plans to get December/January tentatively scheduled, so I had to actually check over my schedule for next semester.

    Lesson 52: 3 weeks off for Christmas, and four-day weekends all semester.

    I thought I only had 2 weeks off for Christmas, but I've actually got post-New Years recovery time!

    I feel like I planned really well! Or... well, we'll see how I feel about that when next semester rolls around.

    All my classes crammed into two days, with no breaks, makes me feel like every day of school next semester is going to be like my Wednesdays... Except even more condensed. Rather than class from 8:35-5:25 with leisurely lunch 'n library breaks, it'll be 8:35-2:25 with no breaks but the ones my profs give me.

    Better start packing lunches more consistently!

    Also, I guess the posting is going to become very sparse next month... The only days that will count as a day of library school will be my exam days. And I'll really just be a rain cloud those days.

    Unless I can reign that in to provide an analysis of the difficulty of the exam in question and the apparent effectiveness of my studying... Hmmmm...

    Wednesday, November 23, 2011

    Day 53: Old man yells at cloud

    Or more accurately, young woman yells at internet.

    Same difference.

    My internet has been generally uncooperative all day. In fact, it has been for a couple weeks, it's just gotten worse. I'm not sure if this is a sign that my computer is dying, or that the internet quality in my area is just that bad. Could just be both.

    In any case, as a result, I probably won't be able to publish this until tomorrow. But them's the waters.

    Today's lesson is actually entirely unrelated to my rage against the (interconnected) machine(s).

    Lesson 51: Google keeps a fully accessible archive of all its past Google Doodles, including the interactive ones, so you can go revisit, and play with, the best of the best in perpetuity. Including the PacMan one, and one of my all-time faves.

    And this is totally MLIS related! First of all, I found this while doing my Dialogoogle project for Information System Design while googling halfheartedly for Google. Which kind of makes me wonder if googling Google on Google is like dividing by zero... But also, archives! Even fun, seemingly frivolous things need archiving! Particularly when they're as gorgeous as a lot of Google Doodles have been.

    In fact, Google Doodles are so pretty, the Google store will even sell you some of them on t-shirts.

    You know, even despite this Dialogoogle project, which is designed to make us hate Google, I still love it.

    Can't take away my Google love!

    Another fun fact: Google actually works via Pigeon. But that doesn't mean displaying a picture of "parrots posing seductively in resplendent plumage" will have an effect on your site's ranking!

    Tuesday, November 22, 2011

    Day 52: Cream Soda and American Internet

    I was going to write about how frustrated I am about how US-centric a ridiculous proportion of the internet is... but I feel like being frivolous today, so that's a lesson for another day.

    Lesson 50: "Acquaintance softens prejudices." -Aesop's Fables

    Since I've been living in Montreal, I've been disquieted by the fact that Crush cream soda is not pink here. Crush is pink back home, and I've never liked any clear cream sodas. Logically, I knew there probably wasn't any difference between the colours of Crush soda, but I still just didn't like it.

    This weekend, Crush was on sale at Pharmaprix and we needed a bunch of it for our pre-Yule Ball Butterbeer tasting, which turned out absolutely delicious.

    And now, I find I don't mind the clear Crush.

    Now if anyone reading this will be in Montreal this Saturday, you should come to the Quidditch Team's Yule Ball! It's only 5$ and is going to be fantastic fun!

    I have a bunch of tickets to sell, so if you want to come I can totally hook you up!

    Monday, November 21, 2011

    Day 51: Legend of Korra? Quorra of Tron? Nope, Quora

    As much as I love "Avatar: The Last Airbender" and enjoyed "Tron", neither of those are the Korra/Quorra that I learned about today.

    Today, I learned about Quora. It's a very knowledge management oriented site, aiming to get information out of people's heads and onto the internet where it can be useful to others.

    Lesson 49: The Yahoo Answers format is not by necessity bad.

    It's not that I have a big problem with Yahoo Answers, it's just that there's so much trolling, and in some cases downright abuse, that it's not always worth sifting through to find answers, plus the ultra hierarchical subject structure can sometimes make it difficult to find what you're looking for.

    Quora uses a folksonomic system which allows for more discrete subjects and categories and easier natural searching and browsing. By folksonomic (pesky librarian vocabulary), I mean user-edited tagging, though Quora's is done in a more structured way than say, tagging in Delicious.

    Quora is basically a better, smarter Yahoo Answers. It's apparently very popular in Silicon Valley, and it is frequented by a lot of big names across many disciplines. Heck, J.J. Abrams was on answering questions in the moviemaking category while I was on this afternoon!

    There seems to be more moderation as well. Name-calling is not tolerated, and most of the responses are well reasoned, self-contained, and polite. It's more discourse than argument even in the touchier subject areas.

    There is a lot of really interesting and accessible write-ups about very specific, but common, scientific questions. I've been particularly enjoying the "cultural faux pas" section, it's quite interesting.

    Of course when I say that it's a better, smarter Yahoo answers, I suppose that should be modified with a "for now". Who knows how it might be destroyed when more people start trying to answer outside of their expertise and abusing the anonymous function. I've already seen one or two rather obnoxious homophobic and fatphobic responses, but nowhere near the levels of other forums, and mostly only in less fact, more opinion driven topics (ie/Etiquette).

    I really hope it stays awesome...

    Friday, November 18, 2011

    Day 50: Slow Down Fast Talker

    Coming from a background in film production, I started really paying attention to how people speak in order to write better screenplays. It always struck me as odd how unnatural the speech feels in a lot of even the best written scripts, and I wanted to determine why that was, and how I could do it better.

    What I realized from this is that character's thoughts always come out way too well formed. Listening to actual people speak, they start, stop, rephrase and continue so many times that it wouldn't make any sense written down. That obviously shouldn't even be replicated in scripts because movies would wind up longer and even harder to understand. And when actual people speak, half the time they don't even use actual words. You wind up talking about that thingy that goes bzzt and *flail*. So only quirky characters on TV talk like actual people, like the Doctor. With his thingy that goes ding when there's stuff.

    So, I started trying to emulate "normal" characters, and speak in an articulated, well-formed, clear and concise manner. Because if I can't make my characters talk like actual people, I need to have actual people talk like characters. Which is I guess why I speak in movie quotes, song lyrics, rage comics and tvtropes. It also means that I tend to speak relatively slowly, unless you get me all excited about something, and I tend to think a lot before responding. And so I found this particular information terribly interesting...

    Lesson 48: People talk faster now than ever before.

    According to Ray Hull, a decade ago, most adults spoke at about 140 words per minute. That was already too fast for children to understand, which explains why I always needed my mom to give me instructions one at a time, as they can only process about 120 words per minute max. Now? Most people speak at 160-180 words per minute. With my sister, I presume, topping the scale at an average of 240 words per minute.

    Mr. Rogers apparently talked at about 124 words per minute.

    I clocked myself at 130 normally, and 250 when I talk as fast as I can.

    Thursday, November 17, 2011

    Day 49: WARNING! Cyborg puppies conspire to separate New Brunswick from Canada!

    Today was our first lab about Dewey Decimal in my Cataloguing class. I've always loved Dewey. I worked in a library, and I know how to find everything I could possibly want in a Dewey system without a catalogue. But having never learned it formally, I learned a great many things today about this odd, rather outdated, system.

    Lesson 47: Dewey Decimal Classification holds some very bizarre things to be true.

    These things include, but are not limited to:
  • all domesticated animals being technology. Mechanical puppies? Check!
  • a New Brunswick free Canada.
  • conspiracy theories being affiliated with computers.

    Actually, that last one's not really that odd, given the rise of conspiracy-culture fuelled by the internet.

    But my favourite thing about Dewey? This rap:

    Also, do you like the new picture of myself I've included along the right side? It's from our Quidditch Yule Ball Poster photo shoot last night, and I thought it'd be nice to actually have a good picture of myself on my blog... I'm normally the one behind the camera, so there are very few good pictures of me. And in this one I'm flying a broom! Huzzah!

    I edited it, but the photo credit goes to Lindsey P. Cameron, aka Widget.
  • Wednesday, November 16, 2011

    Day 48: Death? Yeah, sounds about right...

    Lesson 45: Nut allergies are not to be trifled with.

    Lesson 46: While a peanut is actually a legume, tree nuts are actually split into 6 or 7 different families. So, allergy wise, you can have reactions to one family, multiple families or all of them, but if you're allergic to one nut in a family, you will be allergic to all the other nuts in that family. Or be similarly un-reactive to all of them.

    Which is why it was a bad idea of me to test out whether I have an allergy to chestnuts by eating a (absolutely delicious) chocolate-chestnut cupcake at the ACA bake sale (which was a huge success, btw). You see, I haven't had chestnuts at all really, and certainly not in any volume, or since I discovered my peanut allergy and started reacting to nuts.

    I didn't even know I was actually allergic to peanuts until high school, after a ridiculous few weeks of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for every lunch. That incident culminated in me having 3 such sandwiches in one day, and reacting terribly (itching, hives, breathing issues... everything). I haven't eaten peanuts since. At least not intentionally, and I don't really react to small amounts.

    But I've eaten walnuts, pecans and almonds and have no reaction to any of them. Which makes sense to me now, as most people who are allergic to nuts aren't actually allergic to almonds, and walnuts and pecans are both from the same family. I've been noticing a small reaction to cashews, which are with pistachios in the mango family. And my mouth itches a bit if I eat nutella or kitkat bars, which means I'm probably allergic to hazelnuts, filberts and hickory nuts, but like I'm about to stop eating kitkat bars and nutella! I've never noticed a reaction to macadamia nuts, which are apparently a family of their own, or brazil nuts, from the family legythis, that I'm aware of.

    But really, I always thought a "nut allergy" was more of an all or nothing thing. Not a you might be allergic to these ones over here, but have no reaction to those ones over there kind of deal.

    And now I know, nuts from the beech family, such as beechnuts and chestnuts, are 100% painfully off the table.

    All it took was a numb mouth transitioning to tingling and onto painful, watering eyes, itchy throat, headache, exhaustion, nausea, and finally itching from the inside out.


    Worth it. If only for that cupcake.

    Tuesday, November 15, 2011

    Day 47: Flattery will get you everywhere

    This is more of a PSA than a true lesson...

    In the past few weeks, I've seen a lot of my friends being stepped on entitled people, demanding they do things for them and behaving as though my friends are in the wrong for turning them down. So I suppose it's about time I confronted this one.

    Lesson 44: Entitlement will get you nowhere.

    I had work today, and I've dealt with some people overstepping their bounds before, being demanding , but today I had some right peaches.

    We usually give out headphones, either earbud or the kind that clip over your ears. But they're very popular. We ran out of earbuds a while ago, and ever since, I've had a lot of people ask me "don't you have the kind that go in your ears?" when I hand them the clippy ones. Usually, their reaction to this disappointment is reasonable. "Oh well, thank you for these ones!" though I did have a few who acted like it was a personal affront to them that we would dare try to give them the clip-on headphones rather than the earbuds.

    Now, we're out of both, have been since sometime last week. Headphones are an easily forgotten item, and people know that they can just get new ones from us, so we go through them quick. But today, when someone asked for some and I had none to give, while I was already in the middle of helping someone else, instead of a "oh, too bad, thanks anyways" or similar answer, I get a sighing, exasperated "Still?" followed by an eyeroll and "Fine, I guess I'll go see if another library has them."

    If you are asking someone for a favour, don't expect them to do it. You are not entitled to it; they are doing you a favour. When you act like that, you don't engender a desire in that person to help you in the future.

    I feel like I shouldn't have to wish University students would ask nicely and be polite. At our age, it should be a given.

    Monday, November 14, 2011

    Day 46: Next time... I'll be deadly serious. Next time!

    I didn't make it to class today, we weren't even back in town until 6, so at that point, it was really "how quickly can I get home? How long can I sleep?"

    I mean, what an amazing, whirlwind weekend!

    Honestly, I hardly feel like we were in NYC at all. I mean, it's New York City! Big, epic, distinctive! But I didn't see any of that. I didn't see any of the things I remember from my last trip; the churches, Lady Liberty, The Empire State Building, Times Square, Broadway.... I saw Randall's Island and the small strip of the city we cut through to get to it. So I don't feel like I was in New York City, but because I know I was, I'm starting to actually comprehend it as a place people live that isn't really that different from Toronto or Montreal, except in scale.

    Maybe that's weird, or maybe I didn't phrase it well, but I hope you understand. New York City is finally becoming reality to me instead of myth.

    But that's besides the point. The real story is the Cup! And honestly, the Quidditch World Cup could only have been better if a Canadian team had wound up winning it! It was fantastic!

    At the North edge of the Athlete's Village, we created Canada Corner: U of Ottawa, Carleton, UVic and McGill all snuggled together. Though Ryerson didn't come join us, we had the bulk of the Canadian teams chillin' together. We even had a Canada v Canada scrimmage, followed by a massive Canada v USA dodgeball game. Canada lost. Mostly because people kept wandering onto the American side and joining in, whereas we started with pretty much all the possible Canadian players on the field from the start (and Vermont... the honorary Canadians?).

    I reffed SO MANY games... it was really fun! I even reffed one that the Finnish team were playing, so while I didn't see them at all through the rest of the weekend, I did get to see them once.

    Everyone loved my little suit, sweater vest and all! I was really surprised at how many comments I got about it. My clothes never get commented on, so it was rather shocking to me... Is that what normally happens to people when they put more thought into their clothes than "clean jeans, nifty t-shirt"? My monopod/walking stick even added an extra layer of awesome class to my getup. I managed to resist the urge to buy a wand, Ravenclaw tie and broom to complete the nerditude; but maybe I should have just caved... I did get myself Deathly Hallows earrings though. They're gorgeous!

    As for game play, McGill lost the first game against South Florida (SFU), but won all the other games in their pool (SLU, America's Finest and The Silver Phoenixes [Texas A&M B-squad]). Oh America's Finest Quidditch Club... In their stars&stripes soccer socks and Uncle Sam jerseys, with all their smack talk about Canadian teams being maple-syrup guzzling mudbloods, and with their apparent attempt to accrue the largest possible number of yellow cards over the course of the weekend... well, watching McGill thrash them was particularly satisfying to see. SLU and The Silver Phoenixes were both solid competitors, and we had invigorating matches which we ultimately won. SFU was a really good competition, and a very disappointing loss for us. I hate overtime decisions in every sport, and particularly for it to be our first game of the tournament...

    Coming out second in our pool (with AFQC being last), we went on to single elimination. We thought we were supposed to play Arizona State, but after a bracketing issue, our "match" became nothing but a big ol' hug fest in the centre of the field! Instead, we wound up playing Penn State, and winning. So we moved on to playing Florida. It was an intense, well matched game, but ultimately, they won by a snitch catch and moved onto the quarter finals.

    After a "beach-weather in Canada" run sans-shirts by a few of the Canadian team members (mostly from McGill), all the Canadian teams went to the Stadium for the final games in a rousing procession with a snare drum in front and everyone holding their brooms like rifles. We were cheered by other teams the whole way, and finished our procession with O Canada as we got to the stadium where there was a crowd watching us arrive. We all sat together to watch the final games; first Alumni Allstars, then Minnesota v Florida (Florida won), then Middlebury v Texas A&M (Middlebury won), and finally Florida v reigning champions Middlebury. An impromptu painting of "MIDDLEBURY" across a few McGill chests and stomachs, many cheers of "Status Quo" and a few too many stretchers on the field for my tastes later, Middlebury emerged champions for the fifth year running.

    Hopefully next year, McGill be the ones to end their streak.

    Fingers crossed!

    [Note: videos of all the games I have mentioned, except Alumni Allstars, will be available to watch on my youtube channel in the next week or so. Starting with McGill v AFQC. For now, you can watch the footage from the Canadian Cup which is now available to the public.]

    Friday, November 11, 2011

    Day 45: We, we, we, we so excited...


    I am so ridiculously excited, you have no idea... Quidditch, reffing, filming, party busses, sleepovers... WORLD CUP!!!!


    All the work that needs to be done is done. I am ready to go to the World Cup for a weekend, ignore the fact school exists for a few days and get Quidditch-crazy!

    But of course, we're basically at parity right now (dollar-wise) but all the banks are closed for Remembrance Day. That means no money exchange for Veronica. Sad panda.

    Anyways, I'm skipping the lesson again today in favour of a few fun facts in honour of the World Cup!

    Fun Fact #1: Butterbeer, the delicious warming beverage enjoyed by Hogwarts students visiting Hogsmeade, actually existed and was quite popular in the Tudor courts. It was a warmed, almost mulled, nog-like mixture of beer, eggs, butter, sugar and spices. I have a recipe for it from 1588 that I'm going to try out next week. However, J.K. Rowling states that she "made up" Butterbeer and imagines that it tastes like a "less sickly butterscotch", so Tudor Butterbeere isn't exactly what she had in mind.

    Fun Fact #2: This year's World Cup is legitimately international! Not only are teams coming from across the United States and Canada, but also from Finland! Argentina and New Zealand! [edit: Argentina and New Zealand couldn't make it... :( maybe next year...]

    Fun Fact #3:  Despite being a big enough fan of the series to have gone to every midnight book release, play Quidditch, get an advanced Beta-account for Pottermore, and have my granddad make me a wand (which I lost a few years ago at Barber Scout Camp in Guelph, to my greatest regret) I do not actually own the books... I read the copies that were given to, and bought by, my sister. But I never got my own copies; until they were released in French paperback. So I've read all the books in French and English, prefer them in English, but only own them in French.

    You can keep up with all the World Cup action from the comfort of your own home with Muggle Net's Snitch Center! Watch streaming games, keep up with the scores, peruse player profiles, and check out the rankings (McGill currently sits at the #7 team... IN THE WORLD). Games start tomorrow morning after a 9AM opening parade.

    Well, I have my camera, clothes, warm winter wear, a bag full of Dollarama candy and a sack full of Montreal-style bagels. I am good to go!

    I'll be out of contact while I'm south of the border, so have a good one! I'll talk to you when I'm home!

    Thursday, November 10, 2011

    Day 44: The age of not.... procrastinating

    Anyone who gets where my mind went in that title is either awesome, or just watches way too many old children's movies. On the other hand, Angela Lansbury is fantastic!

    Yesterday, I got a lot of marks back, and was surprised to find just how well I did... B+ on that midterm of fail that I was only sure about 50% of the answers on; A on the database that exploded on us the night before it was due.

    I can live with results like that!

    And the midterm this morning in cataloguing wasn't nightmarish at all!

    What a good lead-up to the World Cup! Lets hope this kind of good luck carries over to my team's chances of winning!

    But anyways, today's lesson is rather personal again. A know thyself kind of tidbit...

    Lesson 43: Group work is the best way to keep me from procrastinating.

    Group work will not stop me from procrastinating, but because it requires more structured advanced due dates that hold me accountable to someone other than myself, I do get things done in advance in a way I don't when I work alone. I suppose the trick is that I'm at risk of disappointing others, whereas when I set due dates for myself, I'm the only one I disappoint. And I do that enough as it is, so it doesn't really matter.

    I just need to come up with a way to get that to carry over to non-group work...

    Wednesday, November 9, 2011

    Day 43: Projects and Midterms? What, again?

    No lesson today except business.

    2 project meetings today and a midterm tomorrow morning to study for.

    That's my second midterm in that class. I am unimpressed.

    Rageface of the day is: Are You Kidding Me? (warning: link contains colourful language and probably some general NSFW-ness. Reading the whole site may also lead to understanding a lot more of what I say... dangers abound.)

    Tuesday, November 8, 2011

    Day 42: The Meaning of Life, The Universe and Everything

    Unfortunately, absolutely nothing Douglas Adams related has happened to me today, despite it being my 42nd day at library school. Well... not counting most Fridays... to be honest, this count isn't as accurate as it could be, so 42 was probably a while ago. Given that I only have school Monday, Wednesday Thursday, but generally post Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday.

    Oh well, as with most categorization, I'm just going to have to accept that my numbering is essentially arbitrary and consistency is key. Which is basically the lesson that I'm finally starting to realize is behind every class I've had.

    Lesson 42: Accuracy is irrelevant. Consistency is key.

    I've always been a big stickler for accuracy. (Truth, beauty, freedom, love!) So this is a hard lesson for me to take to heart and really enact. But I've realized how much I've been doing it already without knowing, so maybe it won't be nearly as hard as I think it will.

    Today, I go clothing shopping. I need to fill this craving for tweed and vests, and if I don't come out of this looking like a female version of Giles, I will have failed. Wish me luck, fashion idol!

    "uh, yes. Well. Good luck!"

    Proud of me, Giles? I probably won't wear it with the tie often...

    Monday, November 7, 2011

    Day 41: Grad Students Have No Standards

    My lesson today was courtesy of the one and only ACA McGill Student Chapter President/ProQuest ProFessional.

    Lesson 41: Grad students have, and will, write about everything. Even boycotting McDonalds with accordions.

    If you are doing a project about something and are getting discouraged because you can't find any literature on the topic, and you are completely out of ideas for sources; just search through theses and dissertations. You will find what you need, guaranteed!

    Completely unrelated lesson of the day: I am the industry standard size to be a plus-sized model. Though I suppose I'm still not tall enough...

    I had always thought that "plus-sized" models were Marilyn Monroe plus-sized; size 12-14, really the lowest end of sizing for any plus-sized line of clothes I've ever seen. But in a twist for the ridiculous, I discovered in the uproar about Lizzi Miller's nude photo in Glamour that she is actually too big to model even plus-sized lines, at size 12-14. They actually want their plus-sized models to be basically incapable of fitting any plus-sized clothes properly; they want girls sized 8-10. Maximum size for a "regular" model? 4-6. Essentially a single size difference.

    I looked it up, and most plus-sized lines I found actually start at 14-16.

    I mean really, the hell is this?

    Thursday, November 3, 2011

    Day 40: 3 days in, 300 words behind.

    Ya, I'm already falling behind in NaNoWriMo. Maybe I can catch up after I've finished all my researching and annotating and presenting. Maybe not. We shall see.

    I'm hesitant to use the lesson I had decided upon today, at the risk of speaking too soon. But then again, I said that I liked cataloguing, and that has stayed true enough. Consider this as an extension of that lesson.

    Lesson 40: Designating subject headings is not as difficult or daunting as I was afraid it would be.

    It feels very logical to me, and it just makes sense. I imagine it will be harder when I'm trying to do it from a hard copy list in the quiz than it is when I'm using the fully searchable LC subject headings catalog, but I rather like it.

    It's like compromising a need to complete a search. It's something my brain does automatically. I look at a title, I have a question, and I immediately break them down into their component parts. In some ways it just allows me to classify them in my memory and remember them better; "Oh yes, that book! The one about women's psychology and its application to healthcare, it's right over here..." or "I have often wondered that myself! Why just the other day...". But it also allows me to optimize a google search at lightning speed, and apparently, to divine subject headings with relative ease.

    Although, why isn't it more helpful with Dialog?

    Ugh, Dialog. The love-hate relationship I have with that thing.

    There's a lesson for another day. "Be Careful What You Wish For".

    Wednesday, November 2, 2011

    Day 39: Stressed? Maybe?

    I've had a revelation a long time coming. Kind of a slow boil, and now that I really understand it, I'm surprised it took me so long to fully comprehend.

    Lesson 39: Being busy is not the same as being stressed.

    In undergrad, looking back, I wasn't particularly busy. In fact, I was less and less busy the closer to the end I got. But I was perpetually stressed. My living arrangements, food quality, work or lack thereof and resulting money difficulty, school, lack of exercise, the very real worry that York would pull something on me and I wouldn't graduate, constantly being on edge for the next thing to go wrong, having no social life to speak of and being too far from any possibility of activities (6-10$ and an hour by transit as a minimum), it all meant that I was just a big, painful ball of stress. I felt like if I took anything extra on, the stress would kill me.

    Compare that with now. I'm living within walking distance of nearly everything I want to do, in a good, un-infested apartment that I'm paying reasonable rent for. I'm eating in an appropriate and satisfying manner. I have work, it's not much, but it's something. School is intense, but things going wrong now feels like a rarity instead of an inevitability, and I feel like I'm working with a much more supportive administration. I play Quidditch, which takes up a lot of time, but it's physical and provides a fantastic social aspect. I really feel connected to, and involved with my classmates; I feel included. I get invited to events, and I actually feel like I can attend them. Even on a whim. Even as a split-second decision. And now, I'm even writing NaNoWriMo (there's an excerpt if you follow that link).

    I am so very busy! I don't know that I could take on anything extra right now. But I don't feel stressed. I feel stressed only when things go wrong, like my database of doom debacle.

    Stress is a sign that things are going wrong, I think, at least for me. Stress and anxiety go hand in hand and they feed on one another and spiral you down.

    But I'm not actually stressed. I'm busy.

    And busy makes me happy.


    Something I couldn't find anywhere to fit in, here's a quote from my Information and Society class where we were discussing Information and Communication Technologies:

    "Cloud computing sounds lovely, doesn't it? Care Bears live on clouds!" - Carolyn Hank

    Tuesday, November 1, 2011

    Day 38: A Day Late on Group Work

    So far, my first year of Library school has been very nearly exclusively group work. Group presentations, group creation of authority records, group creation of a bibliographic database, group annotated bibliographies, group research... you get the idea.

    Most of these groups have been small, easy to organize, voluntary and efficient.

    However, that kind of luck can only hold out so long... in my case, that was until yesterday.

    A larger group, chattering with nervousness, all concerned about completely different issues, is like hitching horses to a cart pointed in opposite directions. Everyone gets worn out quickly and no one gets anywhere.

    Lesson 38: I can be a better leader than I ever give myself credit for.

    This is something I need to remind myself of, and more importantly, it can be true of just about everyone.

    Just breathe, and look at the big picture. That was the only way I was able to get our (supposed to be) half hour group meeting done in under 2 hours. The solution I found was to go through and write down everything that needed to be done without, and this is the part my group seemed to have the most trouble with, worrying about who was doing what. Every time we got sidetracked with that, the group energy would just shoot off into a worry spiral. But focusing just on what needed to be done, we got a whole picture of everything that we could then slice up between us and ensure that the work was divided equally.

    I just wish I could have executed that solution sooner.

    Add that meeting to the list of things that should be followed by a stiff drink...

    Speaking of... apparently, grades for the database and the database quiz are up... I just really don't want to look at them. Some lesson this week will probably wind up related to that special kind of doom.

    Turns out that's just for the other section. I get to live in ignorance and stay in the program just a little bit longer [/unnecessary theatrics, melodrama and exaggeration]

    Monday, October 31, 2011

    Day 37: The Drain Pipe that is YouTube...

    I lost an entire 24 hours of my life, at least, to completely wasted activity trying to upload stuff to YouTube. I have 25GB of Quidditch games recorded from the Canadian Cup on Saturday and I hoped I could get them all transferred, edited and at least started on the uploading.

    As it is, I did... but all the uploading failed after 12 hours, and all of it has to be redone.


    Lesson 37: Never assume anything can be done quickly on YouTube.

    As an aside, today is my last day as a free individual. Tomorrow NaNoWriMo starts and I have to write approximately 1750 words per day on top of homework, classes, work, Quidditch and maintaining this blog in order to achieve the 50,000 words in a month goal.

    So my apologies if I let any of these things slide. I may start including NaNovel excerpts in my posts...

    Wish me luck!

    Thursday, October 27, 2011

    Day 36: Exhaustion

    I set a ridiculous number of alarms to make sure I wake up in the morning. I set two on my iPad, 3 on my computer, and at least 2 on my cellphone, all to make sure that when the time comes that I wanted to wake up at the night before, I have no choice but to wake up.

    The different alarms coming from different sources all sound at different times and must be found and shut off separately. That makes one so awake, there's no sleeping past your alarm. And that is what I count on.

    Lesson 36: Sometimes, no matter how many alarms you set, exhaustion will win out and you will sleep through every one of them without even realizing it.

    After the past three days of stress and minimal, low-quality sleep, that is just what happened to me this morning.

    So now, I'll study the slides from the class I missed until I have to go to work.

    But for the first time this week, I'm starting to feel human again.

    Wednesday, October 26, 2011

    Day 35: Of Madness and Midterms

    Today was the dreaded database midterm. Dreaded for good reason. Particularly with the database disaster of Monday and Tuesday leaving me with exponentially less time to study than I would have liked, I don't feel that I did particularly well on the midterm.

    I feel like I passed, or at least I hope I did, but I don't think I got the higher marks that I feel I am accustomed to. Which has the overachiever in me fuming a little, but the oft-repeated lesson of library school is smothering those flames as best it can. Today's lesson has been repeated by many people; students, professionals, today more than any other.

    Lesson 35: Grades don't matter.

    As long as you pass, and don't flunk out of the program, no employer is going to care whether you got a D- on a midterm, a C on a cataloguing quiz or even if you got nothing but As across the board.

    When we finish school, our diploma says the words "Master of Library and Information Studies". It doesn't then finish with "... who got nothing but Bs the entire time, what an unremarkable and average student". Because outside of academic institutions, grades really don't matter.

    I've even started hearing a new variation on this lesson, saying that specialization doesn't really matter. Yes, choosing archival studies over knowledge management will leave you better equipped to become an archivist, but if when you leave school you realize that what you really want to do is be a knowledge manager in a corporation, what is it that your diploma says?

    Ultimately, this program will have us prepared to be any kind of information professional we desire to be. We'll also leave with a few specific tools of the trade from our chosen streams, but in the end, all skills are transferrable.

    It all comes down to marketing.

    Tuesday, October 25, 2011

    Day 34: Feelin' pretty Charlie Brown

    For those of you who don't know me personally, or at the least, haven't seen a picture of me, I have very curly hair. As in, I'm planning on being River Song for Halloween. Actually, I'm going to a mad scientist Halloween party, and archeology=science therefore, a sociopathic archeologist is a 100% valid costume.

    But I digress, easy enough to do with my current mental state. Waaay too stressed for focus... which brings us to the lesson.

    Lesson 34: My hair is a very accurate indicator of my stress level.

    The frizzier and more Einsteinian my hair looks, the closer to the brink of dissolving into a blubbering mess I am.

    And that is where I am right now. I had a major database project due at noon today, and I was fine until last night. But last night, my partner had finished the last of the work on our major database project when her netbook fell to the floor, crushing the poor USB stick protruding from its edge. The very same USB stick that contained our entire completed database.

    Luckily, we had a backup on the school computers, but we still lost a good chunk of the work. So I went over to her place with my iPad and documented the damage, emailed the professor with photographic evidence to beg for mercy, tried to repair the stick, ordered us pizza and polished up the accompanying documentation so that she could blast through restoring the database without worrying about silly things like meals...

    I mean, who needs food? Am I right? [/sarcasm]

    This morning the professor got back to us, giving us a few extra hours to fix the damage before handing it in. Hallelujah! Mission accomplished.

    But still, this morning every single hair on my head has decided it has a mind of it's own and is sticking straight out. And I could really care less. I have bigger fish to fry.

    Like tomorrow's midterm. For the very same class we just handed in our database for.


    Monday, October 24, 2011

    Day 33: Everything's biographic and nothing hurts

    What do you think when you see a web address that ends with ".net"? I just want to make sure I'm not the only one who goes "What is this? The 90s?"

    My professor was going over biographic sources today. Talk about week of the biography! My database project, due tomorrow, is a database of biographies. One of the biographic sources she mentioned was Burke's Peerage, something I've never heard mentioned outside a period piece. It's online now, and (nearly) fully searchable. She gave the address as, which is actually an address for sale. I imagine it used to be the address for Burke's Peerage, but then they felt it was too low rent and upgraded to, as I found, I'm interested to check it out and see if I can find any familial links... so far one "Constance Wilkie" married Sir Something-or-other, but that's all I've found.

    Lesson 33: Do your own research. Verify and double check all the information you find. It's rare that the information you'll find is actively or maliciously wrong, outside of people trolling wikipedia of course, but even some of the most esteemed sources are just woefully out of date. However, hands down, the best way to find out if someone is dead, has died or is just having a rumour of their demise spread about, is the very professionally named "Dead People Server".

    That's right. Dead People Server.

    It sounds more to me like the internet for the recently deceased: Surf the net... from beyond the grave!

    Thursday, October 20, 2011

    Day 32: Everything is Obsolete

    In cataloguing, we use a set of rules called the AACR2 (Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules, 2nd Update [with 2005 revisions]) to create and structure all our data in a standardized way so it makes sense, is consistent and is therefore easier to use.

    However, these rules are largely a throwback to cataloguing for card catalogues, old technology with distinct limitations; space and size being the most obvious ones. So there are a lot of rules that we use that don't make much sense when you're cataloguing on a computer. For instance, if a book has more than three authors, you only list the first one. Even though, since we're using computers now, we could list every author a work has, even if it had 100 of them. Evidently, these rules could use some updating, and that's where the RDA (Resource Description and Access) comes in. A new set of rules for a new age, or some such business. Basically, the 130$ I just spent on the AACR2 will be going by the wayside in 2013 when the RDA comes into force. I'm not bitter, honest I'm not!

     Anyways, to the lesson! With such a major overhaul on the horizon, and one that we aren't really learning specifically right now, there are a lot of things I don't know about it. But I learned one thing today that I found particularly interesting.

    Lesson 32: With the restructuring of cataloguing rules, works will have their own authority records.

    We currently have authority records for people, so that if they use different names, or people spell their names wrong, it still directs to the one official, approved (authority) record for that individual. Doing that for works as well will allow us to find all the editions, translations, adaptations, etc. of one work in the same place. For instance, whereas now you'd have separate, and likely unconnected, entries for The Two Towers as a book by J.R.R.Tolkien and The Two Towers the film by Peter Jackson, despite the fact that they are the same narrative entity, with these new rules, you'd have a record for "The Two Towers" and it would link you to the book, the movie, the 50th anniversary edition, the french translation... everything! We'll see how it works out, but for now, I think that's pretty cool.

    A good example of this concept in action is if you look at goodreads. There are flaws in the execution, which goodreads librarians like myself work to tidy up, but in general, all the editions of each work are combined into one listing. Which is particularly handy for the way you're meant to use goodreads, because it seems silly to say that I've read "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" and have it suggest that since I liked that, maybe I'd like to read "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone". Instead, the system knows that those are really just different sides of the same coin.

    Though I'd like to know how they're dealing with boxed sets...

    Bonus unnumbered lesson: What my program feels is a full course load (4 courses, or 12 credits, a semester), is only considered 80% of a full course load by OSAP. It doesn't really affect or ruin anything, it's just an oddity.

    Wednesday, October 19, 2011

    Day 31: Stuff just got real.

    Today's lesson is a little more intense than the usual. But today we were learning about the history of libraries, archives, literacy and publishing, so that's a pretty hefty topic to cover.

    The Chinese invented movable type. This much I already knew. 

    They had it made of clay, wood and finally metal before Gutenberg was even a glint in anyone's eye. But a very eurocentric lecture about library and archive history made me wonder about this original iteration of movable type. 

    While it is undeniable that while the Chinese did it first, it didn't explicitly create the massive waves that affected the very structure of the society we are currently living in the way Gutenberg's press did. 

    But why didn't it? What social effects did it have? 

    So that's what I started looking into... It's hard to find reference to the Chinese invention, and subsequent Korean attempts, beyond "Gutenberg did it, but the Chinese did it first". But my extensive research (by which I of course mean, Googling till I got what I was looking for) gave me my answer.

    Lesson 31: The Chinese invention of the printing press did not have the same impact as Gutenberg's printing press, and is therefore rarely mentioned and often overlooked, because the Confucians (aka, the group in charge of China at the time) actively prohibited the commercialization of printing and the invention was restricted to governmental use. 

    So while the Chinese (and Koreans using Chinese characters) had been using movable type for centuries before Gutenberg, the citizenry at large had never encountered, used or benefited from it, so its impact was limited to the scholarly. For instance, we are grateful to it today, because it saved, recreated and revived a lot of pre-3rd century (A.D.) Confucian learning.... which likely had a profound, but subtle, influence on the Enlightenment, rise of humanist thought and by extension the society we are currently living in. But it didn't seem to create any grandiose, "first great ideological revolution" like Gutenberg's press allowed in Europe. It created no wave of skyrocketing literacy rates, or increase in public education,  or emergence of the middle class the way Gutenberg's press paved the way for.

    Well, and also: racism, colonialism and eurocentrism. But despite those things, we still attribute the invention of gunpowder to the Chinese, so it was obviously something extra keeping it quiet when it came to the printing press.

    Tuesday, October 18, 2011

    Day 30: I can stand on my own two feet! Or at least, one of them...

    Today, as a usual Tuesday, I only had work. Homework too, but just work to actually go out to.

    Working the loans desk, a book about Living Assessments and Self-Care Assessments passed through my hands. It was a very thin book, and as I know of relatives having these assessments done on them, I figured I'd see what they were all about.

    And despite my mother's ridiculous and constant worrying and badgering, I learned valuable lesson...

    Lesson 30: I meet all the standards for self-care! 

    So you can all stop worrying.

    Monday, October 17, 2011

    Day 29: Guess who's back!

    Thanksgiving break was a great success! So much tastiness!

    I guess it was a better success for others though... Despite how much I heard about "This break isn't to go off places, it's to study!", my course this morning was ridiculously under-attended. I suppose today's lesson must be that... 

    Lesson 28: Some classes are just worth skipping if it reduces your travel costs.


    Lesson 29: Some classes should just straight up be avoided. 

    I had been planning on taking the multimedia course, but I heard today that it is beyond basic. And I don't mean that it goes beyond the basics. I mean beyond in the other direction. I have also been told that despite my desire to dabble in archival studies, I should not take Records Management. I should stick to Archival Principles and Practice, and Preservation Management, given my interest.

    We'll see if my advisor agrees.

    Friday, October 7, 2011

    Day 28: Everybody's workin' for the weekend... BUT NOT ME!

    I was stressing so much about the assignment that was due today (having been extended from Wednesday, thank goodness). I mean, this week has been so tumultuous and overwhelming, between getting ridiculously sick on Sunday, and getting engaged on Wednesday, having assignments and tests and blaaaaaaaargh.... Anyways, as a result all my plans to work on this paper have been intended and dashed so many times I was worried it would never get done. But...

    Lesson 27: Don't worry! Be happy!

    Once all that stress and uncertainty is forgotten in the urgency and crush to complete it... All of a sudden it's completely doable, and all of a sudden... it's just done. 

    And so my break begins! 

    Turkey Time! 

    Thursday, October 6, 2011

    Day 27: Everything's going so well!

    Today's lesson is a bit of a remnant from last week, but I figure you can handle it. There's an odd thing about library school: The vast majority of the work is group work.

    This often means headaches and logistical nightmares of trying to divide the work fairly and always feeling simultaneously like you're slacking and your partner thinks they're doing all the work, and feeling like you're doing everything yourself. But so far, that hasn't been my experience at all. In fact, today just taught me.

    Lesson 26: Buckle down! If you just sit with your partner and talk through the whole project, some things can be done in an afternoon.

    My partner and I just sat down and did our authority record project between class and our lab last week, and even though it isn't due for another two weeks, we handed it in today. I can honestly say that I don't think I've ever completed something so far in advance of the due date. It feels amazing!

    Wednesday, October 5, 2011

    Day 26: *_____________*

    Lesson 25: Nothing happens when you expect it to.

    I got home, planning to go get a special gift engraved and finish up some homework, and instead, I wind up proposed to! <3

    I was (semi) ready for him though, and proposed right back! ^.^

    ... Needless to say: I'm feeling a whole lot better!

    Tuesday, October 4, 2011

    Day 25: Too sick for lyfe

    Gorram colds. Forced myself into work today because stupid health. No real lesson today. Just a killer need for sleep.

    How do you get better from a cold as fast as possible? Make that my lesson for the day!

    Monday, October 3, 2011

    Day 24: Too cool for school

    No really... I'm too cold for school. Or more accurately, I have too much of a cold for school. I'll get notes from my friends later, but for now: cold medication and sleep.

    Missing out on that social I was so looking forward to as well :( I suppose that'll be the next lesson.

    Lesson 24: Sometimes, as much as you may not want to, your body will just force you to take care of yourself.

    ... Stupid body.

    Thursday, September 29, 2011

    Day 23: VINDICATION!

    Lesson 23: Good things come to those who wait.

    Oldy but a goody, as we say in my family. But when I got to class today, guess what we had! SWEET NASA CHAIRS!

    All of a sudden, I'm so much more comfortable sitting in class. But unfortunately, ours are plain old grey, not lime green. I guess they didn't get the memo that MLIS students are a bizarre and wild bunch who should have chairs coloured to reflect that.

    Still. Soooooo nice! I finally have space to put things in class! I feel like a winner! A very, very comfortable winner.

    A+, McGill!

    Wednesday, September 28, 2011

    Day 22: Competition is Overrated

    I'm not a very competitive person. I'm more of a supportive type. I learned a long time ago that if I use others to measure my success, I'm usually the one who comes out the loser, and that is more hurtful than helpful. So instead, I do what I want to do, even if I'm not good at it, just because I enjoy doing it. I still get down on myself sometimes because there are some people who are just better at everything I want to be good at than I am, like a certain best friend/musician/linguist extraordinaire that I could mention. But in general, I don't see someone doing something and feel that drive to just do it better, I get the urge to let them know how awesome they are, so that they suffer no doubts about their abilities.

    Apparently, that is strange. Oh well.

    I will say however, that I feel like I'm now in competition with the classroom next door. They just got these sweet lime-green NASA chairs to replace the tiny, side-desked chairs we all have whose desks don't even swing out of the way. Our's are stationary and lock together! Their's are awesome and swivel and have wheels, and a basket underneath to hold your bag, and a fully moveable desk that can go on either side, and are a sweet colour to boot! Yet again, I come out on the losing side of a comparison. (sarcasm) This is totally new... (/sarcasm)

    Lesson 22: If the classroom's empty, feel free to lead an expedition to check out those sweet new chairs... they're niiiiice!

    Day 21: I know it sounds sordid / But you'll be rewarded...

    My broom bruise is coming in well, and I actually went to a 7am run with a few members of the Quidditch team. I don't think I'm the same person who has been at York for the past 4 years... I mean... Wow! But this is a library school blog! Not a Quidditch blog! Geez!

    I really just had work today. Tuesday is a no class day! But that doesn't mean I didn't learn!

    Lesson 21: Always carry your multi-tool. Yes, even in a library. I'm going to be bringing mine from now on. We needed to file down a key in order to open the cabinet that holds our loanable laptops, luckily, one of the liaison librarians carries their multi-tool because they bike to work. Problem solved!

    The Scouting motto is basically my motto for life: Be Prepared.

    Monday, September 26, 2011

    Day 20: Doctors are fail

    I missed part of my class today in order to go to the doctor. He claims I'm fine, as though being violently ill three times in as many weeks is totes normal. So I feel like it was a bit of a waste of time, though no more of a waste of time than being in class would have been. Looked over a friend's notes and they were almost identical to the ones I took in class last week. Oh well!

    Also had work and Quidditch practice. Sounds like stuff is going to be heating up in a major way on the pitch! Lets just hope my poor, rickety body held together with hopes, dreams and duct tape can keep up...

    Lesson 20: The Library and Archives of Canada has a sweet catalogue that is very much worth checking out. I had never given it much thought, but now that I've gotten a glimpse, I really want to just browse through it. Seriously, take a look!

    Friday, September 23, 2011

    Day 19: Da Stacks Are Dat-a Way

    For the first few weeks of classes, I couldn't spell McGill. My hands naturally kept spelling it McHill.  I think that tells you something about how I feel about the school. Trust me, people who work at libraries don't need to go to the gym. Shelving bound journals is all the weight training I need, and you walk around that library enough, that's your low intensity cardio right there.

    Plus there's the fact that my library, and all my classes, are at the top of a big freakin' hill. Seriously, I walk up it, top speed so I'm not late, every day. With a bag on. I am breathing hella heavy by the time I'm there.

    Which brings us to the lesson.

    Lesson 19: Own the sweat stains. Everyone has them. We all walk the same hill to get to class, it's inevitable. Don't be embarrassed.

    Thursday, September 22, 2011

    Day 18: This book was written from BEYOOOOND THE GRAVE

    Cataloguing class, work and the first Quidditch practice I'm actually participating in (I wanna be the Keeper!); it's a long yet awesome day.

    Had a particularly interesting lesson in Cataloguing about books written by mediums.
    Lesson 18: The Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules (AACR2) have a rule for cataloguing books that were written by spirits through mediums. So if you're ever looking for a book by author and see a few options, one of which has "(Spirit)" next to it, that particular option will contain all the books written by that person after their death related through a medium.

    Some examples from McGill's catalogue include Sister M.G.'s "The purgatory manuscript : the relations of a nun with a soul in purgatory" and Sitting Bull's "message from spirit life" written by (from?) him the year after he died... The spirit of one Robert Hugh Benson seems to have had a particularly active afterlife.


    The More You Know....

    Wednesday, September 21, 2011

    Day 17: What even just happened...

    Very nearly got to do a project about the history of organized crime in Canada, but turns out, that's not a viable topic. Too bad.

    Anyways, today's lesson is an unfortunate truth about scheduling at McGill.
    Lesson 17: All classes are scheduled to start at 35 minutes past the hour and end at 25 minutes past the hour. Unfortunately, most professors have decided this means that they can start their classes at half past with no issue. I'm sorry, but that's an issue to me. Class is scheduled for 8:35, I will probably show up at 8:33. I am not late. Stop making it so that I seem to be. I do not appreciate it.

    Sad Panda.

    Day 16: Working, working all the live long day...

    Today was a day of calm, relaxing work. I also caved and got myself a deviantART profile where I'm going to catalogue my attempt to teach myself to draw. Tangential but fun!

    Work today brought up a very important (to University library users) PSA that has to happen, so I offer it in lieu of the usual lesson.

    Course Reserves PSA: A lot of schools allow professors to pull books vital to their classes from normal circulation, and offer them instead as reserves, where you can only borrow them for 2-3 hours at a time. This way, all the students have access to the text books without shelling out the huge amount of money to buy them. Overdue fines for course reserves are BY THE MINUTE. This is something people don't seem to understand. If you are told it is due at 3:30PM, but keep it overnight and return it at 10AM, that is an entire night of minutes you are paying (5cents per minute) for.

    So please, for your own pocketbook's sake, return reserve books early when at all possible. And if you return them late, don't take it out on the poor library workers who are merely the bearers of bad news, and have probably spent the entire evening previous apologizing to all your classmates who tried to borrow the book but couldn't because you kept it.

    (Also, reserves are different from holds. Please be clear.)

    Monday, September 19, 2011

    Day 15: Fear is the Mind Killer

    Allow me to rephrase that: Sickness is the mind killer.
    Despite an awesome weekend of Comic-Con, my Sunday was destroyed by being violently, violently ill, for no discernible reason. I wound up missing all the panels I had wanted to see (no Stan Lee for me :( ), though I did manage to stay at Comic-Con long enough to take some great photos, and get basically the rest of my Christmas shopping done. Regardless, I was feeling human enough to get up for class this morning, I just have yet to test if I can eat again yet.

    Today's class was Bibliographic and Factual Sources, and we covered Open Access in our discussion portion, and catalogues in the class.

    Lesson 16: I need to learn to love WorldCat.

    Perhaps it's been the librarians around me being disdainful towards WorldCat that's made me wary and hesitant of it's usefulness, but from what I heard in class today, it is an incredible resource with a lot of potential. It seems that it just requires some intense GoogleFu. GoogleFu is something I have in abundance.

    With over 200 million items, on a variety of topics, from around the world (74,000 institutions in 170 countries), I cannot neglect WorldCat just because I find it has a tendency to be obnoxious, uncooperative and, dependent on my mood, garish.

    Saturday, September 17, 2011

    Day 14: Librarians are Awesome

    No classes today. My Fridays and Tuesdays are both free, making me one happy camper! I wasn't completely away from school though. We had a big get together at what I understand is the official campus dive bar, or as someone said "the classiest dive bar around".

    It looks like the MLIS pub night will become an unofficial weekly event. I'm looking forward to it because of this week's special day off bonus lesson...

    Bonus lesson: Beware the quiet ones. Not exactly a new lesson, it's been around a long time, even immortalized as a trope on, but today this lesson was reinforced in the most awesome ways. Hence the title of today's post, which could just as easily be phrased: "Information professionals are awesome". But that's not nearly as catchy, is it?

    Thursday, September 15, 2011

    Day 13: Tedium, not always a bad thing

    Hooray for cataloguing class! Frankly, I quite like it. Maybe I just have a weird standard, but there you have it. I also had work again today, which I also rather enjoy. Today's lesson is related to difficulty and tediousness.

    Lesson 15: Cataloguing is not hard. Cataloguing is tedious, but it is not difficult. It's easy to confuse the two, something being tedious usually makes it hard to do, but only in the sense that when something is tedious, the mental energy necessary to really get down to it and complete the job, is higher. But that does not make it difficult. In fact, I'm finding I'm rather enjoying the tedium. It's even... soothing.

    Wednesday, September 14, 2011

    Day 12: Chickens Shouldn't Fit in Potholes

    My first experience of ultra intense Wednesday has been completed. Information System Design followed by a lab for the same class, followed by Information and Society with the irrepressible professor back from Greece with candies in tow.

    So exhausted by the end, but all in all it was fun!

    Lesson 14: Primary and Secondary sources aren't as black and white as I had always thought. A scanned copy of a journal actually doesn't qualify as the same as having the journal in hand. Basically, I need to go back and redo every bibliography I've done ever made...


    [and yes that title is serious: the mayor of Dorval was paying people 5$ if they found a pothole they could fit a chicken in]

    Tuesday, September 13, 2011

    Day 11: Laundry day / See you there / Underthings / Tumbling

    An interesting confluence of fate. Because I was running a little late, I ran right past my friend from middle school/early high school, and didn't even know it until he posted on my Facebook wall that he thought he saw my doppleganger. I'm sure there's a lesson in that...

    But no classes today, just work. I had a rather redundant feeling lesson on library organization and shelving order. My official supervisor, after more than a week of me working there, taught me how to organize call numbers and alphabetize.

    Lesson 13: People love to teach, but hate to learn. Being taught information you feel you already know inspires feelings of indignation, but teaching people about things, even if they claim to already know them, makes you feel productive and useful. If you feel like you already know something, sitting and listening may feel like a waste of time, but you never know when you might learn that a space counts as a letter.

    Monday, September 12, 2011

    Day 10: and I can finally buy my books!

    The last first of the semester: my first Bibliographic and Factual Sources class. Because our year started on a Thursday, and the intervening Monday was labour day, we're in our third week of classes, and just now starting one of our classes. Today's lesson is one I had already learned in undergrad, but that really proved its importance today.

    Lesson 12: Never buy your textbooks for a course until you've had at least one class. You never know when the edition switch will make a world of difference. For instance, the latest edition of our primary book for Bibliographic and Factual Sources was basically a complete revamp; a nasty situation for everyone who already bought the previous edition!

    Also, buying textbooks should be preceded, or followed, by a stiff drink. You need something to soften the blow of that price tag... yikes!

    Saturday, September 10, 2011

    Special Weekend Edition!: Fibrefest, bran not included

    Ottawa is a weird and wonderful place, and since my trip here was school inspired, I felt that it warranted a special weekend post!

    In Ottawa, radio stations have contests to win babies, and they have a little thing called Fibrefest. Fibrefest is all about fibers and the textile arts. And librarians love their knitting, so doubly appropriate!

    Special Weekend Lesson: Button collecting is apparently a huge and serious hobby in southern Ontario. People came all the way from St. Catherine's and even lovely ol' Guelph just for Button Mania.

    Given my penchant for accumulating buttons, this may just be a great new hobby for me... I found some great buttons in the poke box. Including a gorgeous button with the McGill crest on it! I'll post a picture of that one here when I can.

    EDIT: I was just joking about the winning a baby thing because I saw some pretty ridiculous ads, but it turns out, the ads were 100% serious and you can currently actually win a baby for real on the radio in Ottawa... There's another lesson in this: never assume the ridiculous is a joke, sometimes it actually is disturbingly real.

    Friday, September 9, 2011

    Day 9: On OSAP and provincial weirdness

    Today was remarkable in that it was just so inexplicable.

    I started out by going to work, doing pick-ups, sorting, loans desk... the usual, punctuated by looking up photos of the aftermath of yesterday's McTavish Reservoir overflow. But then, at the end of work, I had to rush to the bus station to take an impromptu, emergency trip to Ottawa. Why?, you may ask. That is the topic of today's lessons!

    As a University student, I have never been eligible for OSAP (the Ontario Student Assistance Program), for various wild, wacky and highly bureaucratic reasons. However, now that I'm not even attending school in Ontario, I am eligible just by virtue of the fact I've been out of high school for just over four years. Which brings us to our first lesson.

    Lesson 10) Check your student aid eligibility yearly. You never know when something that didn't seem terribly relevant to you will all of a sudden be the biggest deal to those providing possible aid.

    As I have never been eligible, but tried to apply once upon a time, I had an account with OSAP but didn't have any of the details to access it. I know now that because I'd never successfully submitted an application, they didn't even have a name associated with my account. Regardless, they wanted me to go into a financial aid office in person to gain access to my account. But as a cross-provincial student (ie/ an Ontario resident living and going to school in Quebec), this is where our next lesson comes from.

    Lesson 11) Provincial student aid organizations are really bad at sharing. If you go to an out-of-province school, anything you do through your own school's financial office will take infinitely longer to process. Getting your account number and password, for instance, is instantaneous at an in-province institution even if it's one you do not and have never attended (such as, in my case, the University of Ottawa) but if done through your own, out-of-province institution would take up to 6 weeks to process. All because you're working across provincial borders. Therefore... Bonus lesson: Deal with all provincial student aid questions while you're home, even if the closest University is one you have never had any interaction with.

    Ya..... today really was a three lesson day. And I didn't even have class!

    Thursday, September 8, 2011

    Day 8: Stress, my old friend...

    Finally we begin our week of seconds. My second cataloguing class was today. I couldn't sleep last night until I finished the lab/homework exercises from WebCT because I wasn't 100% positive that it wasn't to be done for today (it wasn't. She actually handed it out in class. Whoops...).

    Lesson 9) Don't stress, just sleep. You don't need a caffeine addiction to go along with your busy days. It'll just make you more frazzled and worsen your stress.

    Wednesday, September 7, 2011

    Day 7: Death by Acronym

    Another first. This time it was the first class of Information System Design! (followed by the ABQLA meeting, followed by the McGill Multilingual Children's Library)
    Because I was so busy today, you're getting two lessons again!

    Lesson 7) A Masters in Library and Information Studies is basically an MBA by a different name; with a healthy dose of a Computer Science degree thrown in for good measure
    Lesson 8) Student organizations aren't as intimidating as they seem! Get out, get involved! It looks really good on a resume and is a relatively light commitment (or so they've told me). I am now the co-Communications (or shadow Communications, oooOOOoo!) Officer of the ABQLA and am involved with the McGill MCL!

    Tuesday, September 6, 2011

    Day 6: High ho! High ho! It's off to work I go!

    No classes today! Oh how I love my schedule...
    So I worked all day instead! Fun stuff. The PGSS New Graduate Student Orientation was today as well, so today's lesson is somewhat related.

    Lesson 6) You will never engender more envy than you will wearing a neon green flash drive bracelet. SWAG.

    Monday, September 5, 2011

    Day 5: Labour? I scoff in the face of labour!

    Labour Day! I shall celebrate by doing no labour. Verily.
    My iStudiez Pro (an iPad app) is telling me I have class. Liar. I'm taking the day off!
    Class dismissed!

    Friday, September 2, 2011

    Day 4: Classes? We no need no stinkin' classes!

    Off-center day of classes! My class that's normally Wednesday was actually today (a Friday?) because next Wednesday the professor's actually in Greece, so we need to get started so as not to fall behind. Confusing. Following that trend, my lessons today were all about confusion.

    Lesson 5) People are generally uninterested in libraries and as a result seem to think they are organized by magic. They are also incapable of understanding interchangeable use of the terms "bookshelves" and "stacks" without a whole song and dance.

    Bonus unnumbered lesson for non-library people: you know bookshelves. Bookselves are shelves for books, you've seen them in the library and you probably have at least one in your house, even if you don't use it for books. Point of interest though, when we have bookshelves in the library, we also tend to call them "the stacks". I don't want you to be confused when we refer to "that stack over there". We aren't talking about a pile of books, that's just what we call the shelves. Same thing when we refer to entries, we're talking about catalogue entries, usually on the computer, not entrances.

    I feel that sometimes we can be confusing without meaning to. Just remember that we are professionals, experts if you will. Just like I wouldn't necessarily understand if you started talking about things from your field with the terms you use with your colleagues, we will use our terms when talking with you because that's how we speak when we're in the library, and sometimes we forget that we're not just talking to another colleague. So please accept my apologies for this in advance.

    Thursday, September 1, 2011

    Day 3: Libraries Libraries Libraries!

    First day of lectures! First day of work! Phew!

    Lesson 4) The solitude of the stacks is inner calm like nothing else.

    Wednesday, August 31, 2011

    Day 2: Orient me!

    Today was a nice day. It felt a lot less early than yesterday! Orientation was more of a half-day followed by a BBQ, a tour and an introduction to Thompson House, the PGSS (or GSA for some of you).

    So today's lesson is as light as the day was.

    Lesson 3) MLIS students love Harry Potter and Doctor Who... I'm home!

    Tuesday, August 30, 2011

    Day 1: I'm a Master(s Student) Now?

    Wow, it's really real, isn't it! I am actually attending the prestigious school I've wanted to attend since I was 12, and if I survive, I'll come out with a Masters! A bonafide MLIS! I am on my way to be a MASTER OF THE UNIVERSE... er... Master of Library and Information Studies that is. What's the difference really? The Universe is essentially made of data. On a quantum level, everything is just bits, switched on or off. But I digress; you came for the lessons!

    Since today was my very first day of (very early) orientation (preceded by an even earlier job interview), I'll leave you with two lessons.

    Lesson 1) it doesn't feel real until you're deathly I'll the night before and are at risk of missing your first day. Alternatively, when you're sitting awkwardly surrounded by strangers in a lecture hall considering how soon you'll be friends with them, and terrified that won't actually happen.
    Lesson 2) I can do film related work in any of the three MLIS streams: librarianship, archival studies or knowledge management.