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[personal profile] lizzybennet
One of the aspects of librarianship that I love is the stumble-upon factor. The capacity to stumble upon something new and interesting everyday is always there and I'm such a nerd. I really do love constantly learning new things. Unfortunately, my personal interests don't coincide very often with law and legal issues, so its not often that I catalog a book that catches my attention. When I do, it usually is something the library has collected for its historical/legal importance.

For the past several days, I've been cataloging microfiche. It is a mind-numbing task, but someone has to do it and that someone is me. However, yesterday I did a series on African Law, which turned out to be primary sources. One of the fiche was on the trial of the Human Leopard Society. Cannibalism, now that is interesting! Finally, something besides tortes to give me a little something to think about!

I've also been reading a very interesting, yet frustrating book entitled "We" by Russian author Yavgeny Zamyatin. It's a dystopian, written in 1924. I find dystopians written so long ago to be very fascinating. It's Zamyatin's writing style that is so frustrating. It's written in the style of a journal, the narrator writing to future aliens who may want to understand their society. However, he often cuts off his sentences in mid-stream, as if he can't bring himself to finish his thought. The reader is left to infer what is meant, but it isn't always clear where he's going, or what he's feeling. I suppose that is the point, because he's so confused about what's happening to him. Also, the society is totally math based and since mathematics were never a strong point for me, I find this aspect of the book to be a bit vague. Overall, it is still intriguing and I can see how this work potentially influenced many others, such as Anthem, A Brave New World and 1984.

Example of his writing:

The night was agonising. The bed beneath me would rise, fall, and rise anew -- it floated along a sinusoid. I tried to tell myself: 'At night, numbers are duty-bound to sleep; it's a duty -- just as work in the daytime. It's essential in order to be able to work in the daytime. Not to sleep at night is criminal...' And all the same I couldn't, I couldn't.

I'm pershing. I'm in no condition to carry out my duties to the One State...I...

Zamyatin, Yevgeny. We. Translated by Hugh Aplin. 1924. Reprint. London: Hesperus Press Limited, 2009. (74).

Date: 2010-12-01 02:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I love that aspect of the library too. It's why I enjoy just wandering the book shelves.

Thank you for the heads up on this one.

Serendipity in the Stacks

Date: 2010-12-01 08:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I love that aspect too. In Database Maintenance I make up for the lack of serendipity by picking a subject and cleaning up the records with that heading then moving on to related headings.

I started with the 517 records with Galileo as author or subject then moved on to the planets, astronomy, the Vatican, and am moving on to the various orders....
And get paid to do it as well

Re: Serendipity in the Stacks

Date: 2010-12-02 07:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Cleaning up the headings would be an excellent project. My only hesitation is that I'm working in a law library, which is not a field that I'm all that familiar with. After I've been here for a while, I'll feel more comfortable tackling a project like that.

Do you use your own judgement when cleaning up headings, or do you look to see what other libraries, like the LC, have done?

Re: Serendipity in the Stacks

Date: 2010-12-03 05:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I usually start with a heading I am interested in and then just follow related themes.
I am primarily looking for errors, typos, bad coding, merging duplicate records and obsolete headings. I follow LC rules and use LCSH except for certain cases (Genre I use GSAFD, etc.)

The rule of thumb is to create consistency and use headings that reflect the needs of the collection. In NYPL (where I work) for example, we use local headings for many of the New York neighborhoods (with local authority records to have the see also references to the standard LCSH headings)


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