Saturday, July 11, 2009

Presentation Materials and Biographical Resource Info Guide

The Biographical Resources Information Guide is available publicly on Google Docs at:

Very best,

Christina (Neen)

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Final Countdown

Wednesday night was our "dress rehearsal" for the presentation.

...And aside from some technical problems (and the challenge of reading presentation notes off of the same screen that the actual presentation is on), things went very well. I think that our group as a whole really made an effort to make this a presentation that people will be interested in.

This is the first time that I'll be doing a presentation through Elluminate, so I was very grateful for the rehearsal. Admittedly, speaking into a microphone and not being able to make eye contact with the viewers can be a little unsettling. It's difficult to gauge reactions from people you cannot see. Fortunately, Elluminate does offer some "emoticon" functions that I really hope people will feel free to use during the presentation. It would make me feel less like the crickets are chirping, so to speak.

Tomorrow, the final presentation will be available on the blog, courtesy of Also available will be an excellent information guide for biographical reference sources, compiled by Evelyn Bruneau and hosted by Google Docs.

We're really looking forward to sharing what we've learned about biographical sources and hope that you'll consider checking out the presentation here on the blog if you won't be at the Elluminate session. Since there may not be a great deal of time for questions following the session, please don't hesitate to ask here via a comment. I'll be glad to share any queries with Evelyn and Jennifer.

Until tomorrow,

-Christina (Neen)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Getting into the Research Groove

After a brief Elluminate meeting last week, things really got moving!

With the semester now in full swing, we've begun evaluating biographical sources and preparing Powerpoint slides for the final presentation.

I have to say that it's been pretty fun to evaluate the sources. With the endless amount of biographies out there, you're bound to find some entertaining ones. This one is from

Batman Biography
Cartoon Character
The superhero Batman was the brainchild of cartoonist Bob Kane. The character first appeared in Detective Comics in 1939, and was such a hit that Batman comics remained in print in one form or another into the 21st century. Batman is the "caped crusader," the crimefighting alter-ego of millionaire Bruce Wayne. Wayne inherited a fortune as a boy after his parents were killed by robbers; when Wayne grew up he dedicated himself to fighting crime and chose the guise of a bat in order to strike fear into the hearts of criminals. (Unlike Superman and Spider-Man, Batman is a human with no supernatural powers.) Batman lives in Gotham City and operates out of his secret crime laboratory, the Bat Cave. He battles exotic supervillains including the Joker, Two-Face, Catwoman and the Penguin, and is often aided by a sidekick, Robin the Boy Wonder. Over the years Batman has appeared in many media and with various levels of seriousness. The 1960s live-action TV series was played for laughs, with a deadpan Adam West as Batman and nutty celebrity villains including Zsa Zsa Gabor as Minerva and Roddy McDowall as the Bookworm. (The series also featured Yvonne Craig as Batgirl.) Two decades later Batman was reinvigorated by the 1986 publication of Frank Miller's gloomy, acerbic graphic novel The Dark Knight Returns. Miller's work inspired a darkly popular Batman feature film, directed by Tim Burton and starring Michael Keaton as the caped crusader and Jack Nicholson as the Joker. (Val Kilmer and George Clooney played Batman in sequels.) Batman: The Animated Series began a long run on TV in 1992, with Kevin Conroy as Batman and well-known voices like Mark Hamill as the Joker and Adrienne Barbeau as Catwoman. The film series was revived in 2005 with Batman Begins, starring Christian Bale as Batman and Michael Caine as his faithful butler, Alfred. Another sequel, The Dark Knight, again starring Bale and with the late Heath Ledger as the Joker, was released in July 2008. Extra credit: Batman's first home, Detective Comics, later became better known as D.C. Comics.

What I really like about this particular source are all of the internal links to other people/characters on the website. This allows the user to navigate through related information more fluidly. Who2 also provides links to posts on their Editorial blog that are related to the current biography that the user is viewing. Very cool stuff.

For now, we're still evaluating sources and sharing slides with one another. We've planned another team meeting for next Wednesday (July 1st) where we'll hopefully start putting things in some sort of order for the final presentation on July 11th.

Until then...!


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Welcome to LIBR-210

Welcome Back!

Last semester, I created this blog to use as a platform for discussion in my LIBR-240 class. While it was a challenging, fun experience, alas all good things must come to an end. I really enjoyed the opportunity to learn more programming and have Perl on the horizon for the summer.

That said, this semester, Stuck in the Stacks switches focus and will be taking a closer look at reference materials. Specifically exploring different types of reference materials, best practices for assisting library patrons with reference questions, and ultimately concluding the course by creating a pathfinder for finding reference materials on a specific subject at a local library.

Currently, the class has been divided into teams which will each give a presentation on a specific type of reference sources. Joining me on the blog for our project on biographical resources are Evelyn Bruneau and Jennifer Barton. The goal of this assignment is to familiarize ourselves with these sources and also further our skills as instructors.

After a brief Elluminate meeting last Wednesday, we split up the list of major biographical resources among the team members and agreed to meet again this week to track progress and share some of the information uncovered in our separate research sessions. Evelyn will be tackling some of the resources for current biographical information, i.e. Who’s Who in America, Jennifer will be taking a look at some of the more retrospective sources, i.e. The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, and I will be taking a look at what is widely available online and through the SJSU portal, including and The Biography Resource Center. Together, we will be sharing our findings with our LIBR-210 class on July 11, 2009.

Don’t worry though if you’d like to see our presentation and you’re not our classmate. Thanks to Slideshare, it will be available for view on Stuck in the Stacks shortly after it is presented.

Cheers, Christina (Neen)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

My Second Life

Today was the first time I have had a chance to interact with SJSU folks via Second Life and I have to say that I really can't wait to try it from my home computer. My computer at the office doesn't quite have the required memory needed to run the program and so I experienced lag of horrific proportions.

In my first experience with SL, I was completely on my own and just exploring. Today, I had a chance to chat with one of my professors and some other students on SJSU Island. It is so fascinating! I'm really looking forward to trying out some of the classes and interacting more with my peers. "Standing" there chatting with everyone, it certainly didn't feel like we were on separate coasts. I admit I've missed the camaraderie that comes along with being in an on-site course that has a specific meeting time. While in SL today I learned about some in-game events and activities that other SLIS students take part in and I really felt like part of the campus.

Hopefully at some point during my courses, time and finances will allow me to take a trip to San Jose to see where I actually go to school. For now though, this seems like a really great way to start feeling more connected to my colleagues.

Took a couple of in-game snapshots, but this one is my favorite so far. Here I am hanging out with my professor and fellow classmate. They have some awesome bling, no?

If you think their bracelets are neat, you should see the rave pole!

It's true folks, librarians know how to party.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A Slideshow...

Just sharing some of my favorite pictures for a little practice at embedding...

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Digital Preservation, or Lamentations on Files Lost from a Tandy Computer

Last semester I wrote a paper that covered a brief history of digital preservation and the current initiatives in place to develop best practices for saving our electronic heritage for future generations.

This really interested me a lot and even after I finished writing the paper, I found that there was so much information that went unused simply because I didn’t have the time to sort through it. In light of that, I’d like to continue researching that area for LIB240.

One of the statistics that really got me thinking was this:
Of the 72,000 indexed pages included in 1994’s first full-text search engine, Web Crawler, none of the top 25 pages listed exists in any form today (Kirchoff, 2008, p. 285).
It really hit me then. What history has already been lost to us? How do we combat that? How do we decide what is worth preserving? I know a lot of people who have vintage advertisement posters. Will people in the future look at banner ads or LOLcats and want them as the background on their future computer? To us, that seems so silly. But how many people thought that those signs that say “Refreshing Coca-Cola, 5 cents” would become iconic?

Long gone are the Tripod and Angelfire web pages I created as a 13 year old at computer camp (read: NERD). I may never again see the picture of my childhood Dalmatian that I edited for hours in an early version of Photoshop. I’m certain that it’s on a 3.5 inch floppy disk lurking somewhere in my parents’ basement, but would it even be readable anymore? I don’t know.

Therein lies the problem. Sure, I can back up my iTunes library until the cows come home, but how do I know that mp3s will still be in use five years from now? Even if I save everything I have a hundred times over, there’s no guarantee that it will remain accessible as technology evolves.

So who makes the decisions? Raise your hand if you’re in Library School! It’s up to those of us who have chosen librarianship as a profession to not only archive these materials, but ensure that their usability remains intact. Right now groups of librarians across the world are hard at work developing plans for digital repositories and hoping to develop some kind of international standards for electronic preservation. Unfortunately, with the economy being so shaky, funding for this has been reduced significantly.

It’s important to realize how crucial preservation is. We cannot learn from the past if we let it disappear. Bailing out banks and major industries may be a great short-term solution to boost the economy, but projects like digital preservation, construction, and environmentally responsible engineering are what will create long-term jobs.

And as library professionals, I think it’s important to accept the responsibility and embrace the challenges ahead of us.



Kirchoff, A. J. (2008). Digital Preservation: challenges and implementation. Learned
Publishing, 21.4, 285-294. Retrieved from Library, Information Science & Technology database.