Archive for June 2009
The title may be a bit misleading; we may need to think about this a bit more often. But I find myself noticing these stories now because Pride Month is celebrated in June. Some of these links are things I would not mind adding to posts at the library's blog, but we do need to maintain a certain decorum over there. And since I don't quite have enough for a well-thought out piece on my main blogs, I am posting the links over here. So this is kind of like additional notes to go with some of the work I have done already on the topic.
- First, I found this essay about being gay in academia. This is definitely a must read. If you are gay and going into an academic career (read becoming a professor), there are some good points to consider. This may also be something that administrators need to read as well. Found via Inside Higher Ed. Also via Inside Higher Ed, a note on a recent study about sexual orientation and the college experience. The article is by Christopher Carpenter, and it is published in the journal Economics of Education Review (2009). Title: "Sexual Orientation and Outcomes in College." I am not linking since it is an Elsevier journal, but I am sure you can get it via your library.
- Pharyngula, one of my favorite irreverent blogs, has a couple of things. One, he makes a brief response to clerics who think there is such a thing as Moral DNA. He also points to the recent ridiculous advertisements against same-sex marriage by the National Organization for Marriage (NOM). He has the clip over here. Why the hell some people feel a need to use religion to justify their bigotry and ignorance is beyond me. It's an issue of basic civil and human rights.
- And John Aravosis at AmericaBlog points to his friend David Lee ". . .On the need to stand up to religious bigots." I think this is certainly well written, and it is something I agree with. It is time we stop giving religion a free pass when it comes to bigoted and ignorant behavior. And we certainly need to stop giving a free pass to so-called "moderates" who defend their bigoted brethren, or worse, stay silent thus giving the bigots tacit approval.
- And on the military front, it seems conservatives may be shifting to favor openly gay service members, according to Gallup. This would be in the U.S. Other nations in the world have no problem with the idea.
This is not the first time I have made light of campuses and their donors, and some of the choices donors make when it comes to feeding their vanity. Let's be honest and call a spade a spade. Most wealthy donors are not doing it for the common good, but as a tax write-off. So, going in with our eyes open, should we be surprised when we see certain stories out there? From donors forking out bucks to name bathrooms to corporate branding on campus, getting people to be somewhat generous with educational institutions is an art and a pain. To some, it can be a necessary evil. Anyhow, the latest fuss about getting donors to name courses in order to save the classes made me wonder. Sounds like the type of thing to write an extended post, but I am lacking the time. So for now, I am just tossing some items here so I can ponder for later. But at the end of the day, let's be honest again. Is it really that far fetched to have donors name a class after them? I can see the possibilities already.
- From The New York Times, "Colleges Ask Donors to Help Meet Demand for Aid." It does not seem unreasonable to me, but giving some money so some kids can graduate is just not as glamorous as naming the new sciences building or putting in a few million bucks for some phallic bell tower or very elegant garden. You can't put a plaque on a student. Now, a tattoo, that may be an idea.
- And from The Wall Street Journal, it seems that there is "New Unrest on Campus as Donors Rebel." Because often charity comes with strings attached, or in cases like this, very strong chains and contracts. And donors tend to get pissy if you sell off that fancy art collection they gave four generations ago because you need to keep the electricity on.
- And more recently, the City College of San Francisco was floating the idea of naming courses for donors in order to save those courses from extinction. Here and here are some accounts on the matter. Is it really that much a stretch to name a course or two after some donor? Jack Welsh is putting his name to an MBA program. If it works for him, why not for other classes? Maybe we need to come up with a list of candidates then hit them up for some money.
Just a thought or two.
Lately, I have seen a few pieces dealing with job hunting for academics. Also, I am making these notes because I have been involved in some phone interviews, this time as an interviewer, and I have seen the effects up close of not being well prepared. Those effects are not pretty. So in the interest of sharing for anyone who may find them useful, I am collecting some good links I have looked over.
- From Inside Higher Ed, Christine Kelly has two pieces. First, she writes about "Preparing for the Non-Academic Interview." This is important in this economy where you have to go where the jobs go. A doctorate gives you a lot of skills you can bring to a workplace, but you have to sell yourself. Kelly gives you some advice on how to handle some common questions you may be asked such as why you are applying for a job outside of academia. These are questions to think about ahead of time before you go to the interview. Second, looks further at "Non-Academic Interviews" telling you how to prepare for the interview once you have one. Kelly points out how the interview is a lot like acting. It is a performance. The common theme? As G.I. Joe would say, ". . .and knowledge is half the battle." Do note that some of this can apply to librarians seeking work as well if they choose to seek work outside of librarianship.
- You may find yourself using social networking sites to help you network. I find Facebook has been pretty good in terms of gradually building a professional network. I have tried Linked In, but I have not used it as much. I may need to review it. Just in case, here is a small article about "LinkedIn Profiles: Avoid the Six Most Common Mistakes." This is in addition to the usual advice about using privacy settings effectively and avoiding content postings that could be embarassing to you somehow. By the way, the title on that says "six," but there are only five items. Maybe the sixth mistake is make sure you know how to count. The advice is still good enough to have a look.
- Now many doctoral graduates may end up working in a community college. Actually, that may be a good thing given that in this economy, community colleges are the fastest growing institutions of higher education due to their affordability for one. But those graduates need to keep in mind that the mission of a CC is different than the average four year school, and it is definitely worlds away from a big research university. These are teaching institutions. David Lydic, at Inside Higher Ed, has some advice for those choosing this route. First, he tells us how about "Interviews at Community Colleges" and gives advice on how to prepare for the interview. Second, he gets down to more specifics when he tells us exactly "What You'll Be Asked." This article has very good sample questions from various CC's to candidates for jobs. If you are considering a job teaching at a CC, this is a must read. Personally, I would be willing to teach at a CC, or at least work at one of their libraries, precisely because of the teaching mission and student diversity.
- Carole Martin, at CEO Consultant, writes out "10 Killer Job Interview Questions and Answers." This is a more general list, but it tells you how to answer them, with even small comments about what an employer may be concerned about when asking the questions. I think this is important, being able to see things from the employer's view in terms of why they may be asking a particular question. Some of these questions are applicable to librarians seeking jobs. If the link is problematic, this site also picks up the article.
Update Note (6/22/09): Here are two items on interview questions that I would add to this list. They specially tell you what to say as well as what not to say when answering interview questions. These two lists are great tools to help anyone prepare for a job interview.
- From the blog Dumb Little Man, here are "10 Answers You Should Know Before Your Job Interview."
- And from Bhuvana Sundaramoorthy, here are "50 Common Interview Questions."
I did this once before, and it seems to be a good way to keep track of books I may want to read as well as some of the places that have discussed those books. I am a reader who likes keeping lists of items to read, so here we go then.
- Here is a "Batman Variety Pack" from the folks at Guys Lit Wire. From their lists, I already read Batman: The Resurrection of Ra's al Ghul, which I liked. That book is listed on my GoodReads list. Look under the tag for graphic novels and comics once you get there. Also from the same folks, a post about the Best American Comics series. I have seen the titles, but I never gave them much thought; after all, I already read an annual series for science fiction, and I read comics as I get to them. I may go take a second look now; it could be a good way to get a sampling of what is out there in American comics.
- From the Literary Saloon, an announcement that El pais de la canela won the Premio Internacional Romulo Gallegos. This is a reminder for me to keep up with my Latin American reading. The blog notes that the novel is not available in English yet, but for me, that is not a problem. Spanish is just fine.
- From LISNews, a couple of links about Street Lit. This is not a genre that is in much demand here, but I may need to take a look at one item at least sometime to keep my "RA cred," so to speak.
- From Likely Stories, a post about "Webcomics and the art of avoiding work," which looks at some of the nominees for the Eisner Award in 2009.
- From Blogging for a Good Book, there is a suggestion to read Touch Me, I'm Sick: The 52 Creepiest Love Songs You've Ever Heard. Just for the title alone I knew I had to add it to my reading list.
- Seattle Dan, doing a guest posting at Jesus' General, has some current affairs suggestions under that blog's Department of Book Reports. And here is Seattle Dan's book report on Gods, Gachupines, and Gringos.
- And here are the Dirty Librarian's book reads for April 2009. I always like to see what this blogger has read in terms of graphic novels and manga. Here are her March 09 readings.
- Not books, but this is still stuff I want to get around to reading. The Eclectic Librarian offers a list of "Webcomics I think you should be reading." From the list, I already read Questionable Content, Unshelved, and Shelf Check.
- From Feminist SF–The Blog, some notes on items out of Fantasy Magazine, including some Latin American speculative fiction.
I keep clipping items about blogging and writing in my feed reader. Some of them are things I want to read later, and others are things I might want to try out. As often happens, life has a way of trumping blogging as the old saying goes. So for now, as I have done before (like here and here) I am gathering together some posts on blogging and writing that I think are must reads and not to be missed. For me, kind of like making notes in a commonplace book. Actually, when I think about it, this blog serves as sort of a commonplace book for me. Anyhow, here are the links with some notes:
- Some items from Problogger:
- "5 Ways to 'Systemize' Your Blogging," a guest post by Nick Thacker. Thacker mentions keeping a schedule, which is something I have found myself struggling with as of late. Not because I lack things to post about. What I find difficult is hunkering down to put the posts together, or at the least, make a schedule of ideas, then hunkering down to put them together.
- I liked this post because once in a while we do find ourselves without Internet access. Mr. Rowse in his blog suggests then "How to Improve Your Blog When You Have No Internet Access." This happens to everyone at one point or another, so these are ideas on making the most of the time when you can't get online.
- Rowse warns us of 21 Mistakes Bloggers Commonly Make. Right away I know I am guilty of number five: irregular posting, at least for my main blogs (it is not an issue here). Part of it goes back to my struggle with finding the time and probably need to focus more too.
- And readers come and go. I never worried too much about how many readers my blog has. But it is reassuring to know that readers come and go, so don't be depressed about it. Learn here then "How to Lose Readers [And Not Get Depressed]"
- More on consistency and keeping a schedule: "Be Consistent and Useful: Thoughts on How Often to Publish on Your Blog."
- This I definitely need to read and heed closely: "Develop a Plan to Boost Your Blog's Profile and Readership Online." Not so much because I want to suddenly get famous, but because there is some good advice here on planning for blogging long term as well as some very good reflective questions I would like to write out when I get the chance.
- An assignment: "Write a 'Review' Post." You would think that as a writer and librarian I would be able to write some pretty decent book review posts. I read a lot. But taking the time to write something substantial, something you could call a review, is not something that come easily for me. Maybe this is something I can work on. I certainly review articles from the library science literature, but I would like even for those to improve on the style a bit. To supplement this, I would also read "What is the purpose of a book review? And are book reviewers writing anything useful?" by Michelle Kerns over at examiner.com.And since we are on a roll about reviews, I may as well toss this on as another bonus or supplement: CW at Ruminations reviews the book Half of a Yellow Sun. What I found useful in this post was the simple review format CW uses.
- From Write to Done:
- "The Cycle of Creativity and How to Ride It." I need to look at this one more closely.
- This one looks very reflective: "Are You a Spiritual Pioneer?"
- I need to work on improving the "about" page I have now on my main blogs. Maybe this advice will help. Here are "Five Tips (and a bonus) on How to Write a Fantastic About Page." After all, the "about" page is one of the first impressions a reader gets about your blog and you. For me, since I use The Gypsy Librarian as a professional tool, I would like to improve that.
- A guest post by Jonathan Mead on "How to Create a Highly Viral Blog." No, I have no aspirations of infecting anyone. Having said that, there are some basics here for writers that are very good.
- From Anecdote:
- A white paper on "How to be memorable and inspire action at work by telling stories." This is for more than just blogging and writing, but since I often use my blogging as a way to tell stories, I think it belongs on this list. And at times, my blogging does lead to action at work or just professionally.
- From Copyblogger:
- "Your Blog vs. The World: 7 Steps for Winning the War for Attention." The advice on knowing your audience is good advice for any writer.
- And sooner or later someone might say something you may or not agree with. Someone might leave a comment in your blog about something you wrote. I am also thinking of a recent comment I got that I did not get back to. So, you should know "How to Handle Criticism." From the list, I liked the last one: let it go. I think that is why I did not go back to that one comment. Sometimes it is better to just let it go.